Rummaging Through the Basement

February 3rd, 2013  |  Published in etc

There was never going to be a good way to do this, so I just bit the bullet and ran the WordPress importer on 1,038 entries from the old Movable Type-based Puddingtime! blog and removed the 177 that were not mine from the resulting import. Something about the WordPress Markdown plugin I’m using is really screwy, so there are some glitches in the way some posts render, but the words came over o.k. So now I’ve got all my blog entries going back to late 2002 on one site.

I’m pretty fuzzy on what my web presence was like prior to blogging on Movable Type:

There was a greymatter blog that I had a few entries in, and for a while I was keeping a thing sort of like a blog in phpwiki. All that stuff is lost.

Before that? I guess before that, there wasn’t a I had some web space at my ISP in Charlottesville and I called the site I had there “pudding bowl.” There’s writing original to that site dating back to 1999, plus some I saved from my GeoCities site (which dated back to 1995 or ’96).

Prior to Geocities, I think I had a Tripod site, but nothing survives from that.

Main point, I guess, is that I have a handle on almost all of my web presence from 1995-6 up through today, minus a brief gap when I was fiddling with PHPWiki.

One thing that entertains me is the tools page from the pudding bowl, which notes the use of Emacs in conjunction with a static site generator called genpage. So the other day? When I mentioned “the deathless novelty of static site generators?” That’s what I was thinking about.

Once I had all the old entries into the WordPress database, I ran the Jekyll importer on the complete puddingbowl/puddingtime corpus, and it was kind of cool to see all 1,863 posts sitting there in plain text. I ran a quick, sloppy script against them to see how much writing I did in my blog each year:

YearWords WrittenPosts Written

2007 was the year of Peak Blog. The counts for earlier years are thrown off a little by the presence of automated posts that were rounding up delicious bookmarks and such, and for other years by a posting style I adopted that involved just one entry with several subjects per day.

Update: Fascinating Jekyll fact: The site build time (and this is without me doing anything to trigger syntax highlighting in the markup):

rake generate 242.75s user 22.06s system 96% cpu 4:35.03 total

Remember how everyone wanted to get rid of Movable Type and move to WordPress because the site build times under MT were so agonizingly long and it was sooo much nicer to go to a database-driven site to wipe out build times? Right.

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