Tuesday, October 19, 2004

You might not notice... but voidspace is now being hosted on a new server - thanks to the guys at Sapphiresoft.

There is also an install of python 2.3.4 here, so I'll be migrating all my CGIs (like the guestbook) over in the next few days. There are a few other things to sort, like reinstalling the search engine etc, that also need doing. Hopefully not too much has been lost in the change !! Making sure that the copy of your website on your hard drive is the up to date version is always a challenge.

Plus ca change, rien change. Or something like that ! Everything changes, nothing changes. Everything has been moved over to the new server, but this isn't the revamp I've been talking about. This is just the old voidspace on a new server. BUT I have done a lot of work on the change. The basic layout is done. I can show you a 'pre-release', but for technical reasons the javascript has to be shared with the old voidspace, which means it will only gve you an idea of the how it looks - not polished yet. See New Voidspace to have a look.

For a reminder of some of my aims in the change, see New Voidspace Manifesto.

I'm now working on my 'offline content creation system'. As you will see in the manifesto it's based on something called ResT - restructured text. This will enable me to keep all my content as close to plain text as possible. When I add files, images, new pages etc, I can just run my system which will autogenerate indexes and pages etc. I'm already using CSS to keep the styles for the whole site in just two files. I'm using SSI so that the headers, footers and sidebars for every page are also kept in just two files. I'm now hacking 'docutils' to be able to emit the XHTML I need for my content and writing my own preprocessor to build indexes etc.

It all sounds like a lot of work, which it is, but it means I will be able to add new pages or reorganise by just dropping the new text files into the right directory. The framework will then generate the full HTML and automatically add links to the index pages. Maintaining voidspace should then be a lot easier. If I can be bothered to clean up the tools properly, other people might also find them useful. Unfortunately that will then be *a lot* of projects that I'm maintaining *sigh*.
posted by Mike Foord on Tuesday, October 19, 2004

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Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Here's a website I just had to share with someone... I'm only sorry you're the one who has to suffer *grin*

Unfortunate Animal of the Month
posted by Mike Foord on Tuesday, October 12, 2004

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Sunday, October 03, 2004

I'm at home recovering from an operation. I won't bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that sitting down is a little painful right now !!

For some reason I've been reading a lot more recently. I've just finished all four dune books... man what a marathon. In some ways like the matriix, I thought the first book was amazing - but after that it lost it's way a bit. I know there are people who disagree and at the end of the day I guess its down to persnal taste. However, I did think that after the rich wealth of characters and depth of culture in the first book, a lot of that was lost in the following ones - and the promise of interesting politics never really paid off. Oh well - to be honest they hurt my head as well.

After all that heavy science fiction I thought it was time I read something of substance. I've been reading Anne Franks Diary, which I don't think I'd ever read before. I'm amazed at how readable it is. Full of insight and humour - mostly from a thirteen year old girl !! Amazing. I'm nearly at the end of it and I'm a bit scared. I know what happens to her and I can't bear the thought of it happening to someone who obviously has so much life.

It's made me refocus a bit on what I want to achieve. Ann is desperate to be a writer, something she achieved posthumously more than she could ever have dreamed of. After hours of shelling peas she is determined not to waste her llife in 'mere domestic drudgery'. Anyway, my recent foray into 'service development' for the Jesus Centre project has meant that I've been writing more than ever in my life. But not quite in the way I imagined ! It's good practise though, my guidelines on publicity and producing a budget for an activity etc are all getting read and have to be written clearly and informatively. I've always had a great admiration for CS Lewis who had a real skill for saying the deepest things in ways that anyone could understand. Part of the trick is to make sure your sentences aren't too long and there are no unnecessarily obscure words. On the other hand another of my favourite sayings is oneby Albert Einstein - things should be as simple as possible, but no simpler.

Ha - this rambling monologue is no example of good writing. But this is my blog and I have the right to let my thoughts tumble as they will..... Back to the point - a lot of my creative energy recently has gone into programming. The trouble is that anything to do with computers is necessarily transient. The inexorable march of progress means that any actual code produced today will be obsolete if not tommorrow then certainly a few tommorrows down the road. I'd like to live for something a bit longer lasting than that - something a bit more real. I have lots of things that I haven't even begun to express yet... Hmmm...

Added to which there's been a minor crisis in the part of New Creation Christian Community in which I live. I son't think I've mentioned it already, but a long trusted friend has really struggled and left. Now, as well as being part of the furniture around here it's also precipitated a minor crisis of my own.

Again I say hmm.... the good news is that the progress on the technology front means that I soon might be able to put my effort in to content rather than form...... See the techie blog.
posted by Mike Foord on Sunday, October 03, 2004

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