Kickstart

… no, I’m not starting a Kickstarter campaign about a product I will never ship. Instead I’m kickstarting yet another try to run a blog somewhat consistently. In the end it’s probably the same outcome. I won’t collect money from you first though. But lets get into the weeds:

Relaunch

This is the relaunch of Subject to Change. This blog existed before. Actually it’s the n-th reincarnation of something I like to call my personal blog. There’s been so many different sites (I can’t even remember them all), effectively covering the same thing: my thoughts about virtually anything. This is the story of how I stumbled into reviving it again:

Earlier this year, I can’t really remember exactly when and why, it must have been sometime in June or July, I started playing around with themes on Micro.blog, as you do. I thought: “Hmm… you had this old blog that ran on Hugo, let’s see what happens with the template if you put it in there”. And so I started tinkering with my test site and it actually worked pretty well. It clearly needed a little tweaking here and there, but the basics were easily compatible. While trying to get it ported, I read most of my old posts and thought it’s a shame they’re not available anywhere, so why not put some life into this old blog again? I didn’t want to put everything on my – up until now – main page hutaffe.blog. I suddenly had the urge to have a place for more substantial and longer writing again. hutaffe.blog is my microblog. It’s a Twitter replacement to follow people and conversations. I left Twitter a couple of years ago and my microblog is my place to put out the usual short bits and thoughts along with an occasional photo. It’s the place for my Micro.blog community. Subject to Change was the place in the past where I put out some of the best posts so far. And it will be the main place in the future for me to put longer posts, giving me more space to breathe again and feel more comfortable to share more of my thoughts than it is to put these things next to the quick, fire & forget like posts on hutaffe.blog. It also keeps them more discoverable here whereas they are basically lost in hundreds of microposts otherwise.

The name sounds a bit more “serious”, and there’s also a reasoning behind it: In general I don’t stick to any given topic, subjects vary and will include lots of different things, constantly changing. Originally, when I used that title for the old blog I didn’t have a dedicated domain for it and I could not decide on an actual name for it. I thought since the subjects will change, maybe it will be a bit more clear over time what the blog is about, so the whole blog name could also change. Everything was subject to change. But with time, I grew fond of that name somehow and I still like it and I think it makes sense (at least to me it does 😊). So, this is where I am at this point in time. A (not so) clean slate. Bringing back some things from the dead, trying to breathe new life into something I enjoyed quite a while ago.

This blog now includes a more informative About page and an even more specific /Now page. I was always a fan of /now pages. We’ll see how this will turn out. There’s usually not much fluctuation in what I do and I also tend to put lots of things on hold. But I like it the way it is at the moment. If it stays or if it goes or if it’s updated regularly… we’ll see! There’s also a Favorites page with some pointers to posts I think are a good starting point or which I care about.

The design is very old. I think I “got inspired” by some Wordpress theme, but I recreated it all on my own and changed a couple of things. It’s not perfect, but I still like the general structure. I want to have things clean on my site. I gave it a fresh look with some color and a different font. It might look extreme to some eyes but I enjoy this kind of color scheme in my code editors lately (I don’t know why… I hated those before). And this is yet another thing that is very much a subject to change in the future.

A Little Bit of Histoy

As I said before, there were lots of reincarnations of my personal blog. The last try was when I started out at Micro.blog, leaving Twitter behind in 2017. The name at the time was Think Lagom (you can find some info about that in my favorites. This blog didn’t last too long and I moved all posts into my microblog at hutaffe.blog. I decided that Subject to Change is the place for my longer posts (the ones with a title) from now on, so I mirrored all those posts into this site. Those mirrored posts are marked with a ⇌ sign next to the post’s date and link to their original location. I keep them at hutaffe.blog to keep the conversations that evolved around some of them alive. All this custom logic built with a template running on Micro.blog, how cool is that? (More details further down)

I also decided to include an even bigger history of my blogs. While digging around in the weeds of my archive I found some stuff from my „youth“. I won’t tell much about them and I won’t directly link to them though, but they’re also not very hidden away. I’m not sure anything of this time really needs to be here, but at least for now it feels good to have a home for this stuff again. While reading it a lot of great memories came back to me. It’s part of my history and a defining time of my life. It deserves to be here. At least for a while. I went into the weeds and even found some posts I created in iWeb 😃 Plowing through this and extracting the couple of posts from there was really something. Let’s just say that iWeb was not built to be very flexible with your content 😉

Unfortunately I also found an old custom built website, yet no database for it. I found a SQL export file, but there’s also some stuff missing. So some history is lost forever. I didn’t even remember this site, but now that I do, I’d really love those posts back 🙁 It’s also clear to see the time where Facebook became big and everyone was on there all the time and blogs got forgotten. For me it started some time in 2007 and I slowly pulled back around 2015. There’s basically a big void during that time. It’s a shame.

The Vault

This should be yet another starting point of something new and while I love that I finally have a place where nearly everything is in one place, I didn’t want this content to be on the front page anymore. Therefore I created The Vault. These old posts are not hidden… They can be easily seen on the Vault page and are also all included in the archive on this page. Some of these posts might have references to blogs of mine that do not exist anymore or have been renamed or links and images that are broken. But that’s the way things go when switching blogs, domains, services… I came to live with it. I tried to fix some of them, others I might have missed. I might fix some in the future. Oh well…

Mechanics

While moving all of this content from A to B, MarsEdit helped me a lot! It made moving, editing and updating all these posts much easier than I expected it to be. And while I have three different blogs now on Micro.blog and there’s already another project on the horizon, having a tool like MarsEdit is indispensable to managing all of this and not messing everything up (and I messed up some posts and my timeline along the way of setting this up while not using MarsEdit 😅)

Also, while I mirrored and added some of my old posts, I realized that some content in those posts on hutaffe.blog was actually missing. Something must have gone wrong with my import from my Think Lagom blog back then. So not only do I have everything consolidated in one place now, I also fixed some other things along the way. Win Win!

Some of my older posts from kokodev.de were also migrated. Now, I do have a current blog running at kokodev.de. And while this might be a little stale lately due to lack of progress on my programming projects, they are not included on that site anymore. The early posts from there are more suited to this kind of blog, so I decided to (still) also have them in here.

The Hugo template for this page is highly customized to my needs. I’m not sure I would go this route again if I started new, but when I first tried to play around with the template on Micro.blog, I tried to migrate the design and the features of the original blog which was also built with Hugo. There were some quirks to figure out, but all in all, the way this blog is created and how the content is structured just shows the power of Micro.blog and the fact that the blogs are based on Hugo and you have a whole lot control over what you do with it. The important thing is: If you want to take that control. If you don’t, you’re good to go in no time. If you do, there’s a whole world open for you to play around.

This template is more than 5 years old by now. Hugo worked slightly different back then and it was the first time I fiddled around with it. Since it is very customized and contains some very bad code, I decided not to open source the template, at least for now. I might change a few things here and there and I’m sure I will stumble across some bugs, so it’s not meant to be public as it will 100% not work for anybody else. For the insiders: for example there’s only categories on Micro.blog and you can’t create custom taxonomies here. At least I could not figure out how… maybe this changed in the meantime. But I had tags and categories on the old site to split the content and have different sections, so I mix tags and categories into a single category field of a post and then have to split that up in the template code and its configuration again to remove those categories from the tag cloud for example. This mechanism is also used to create The Vault and have special links to mirrored posts (from hutaffe.blog) or archived posts (from ye olden days). It’s all in the categories and built to fit my needs. So… I planned to release it in the beginning, but quickly realized that this wouldn’t work.

I also want to work on another blog related project, which would need some special design. I think it’s important to share these things, if they work for the public, so I plan on releasing this template then. But this is in the early, early stages, so no promises yet.

This blog is running as a second blog on my @hutaffe account on Micro.blog. That means that anyone following me there can automatically see everything I post here in their timeline.

Why? Again.

I don’t know. For all I know this is yet another failed attempt. But maybe it’s sticking this time. Why not try? Since a couple of months I have an urge to get an outlet for some more creative things. Life can be difficult at times. Kids, family, Corona… you name it. 2020 is a hell of a year… it literally is hell sometimes. Writing brings me joy. All I need is some time and putting in some effort to actually sit down and just start typing away at the keyboard at night. This is how this post was created and it will be how 99% of the other posts were created in the past and it will be how they are created in the future. I’m still learning. Constantly. Just like I wrote in the past, this is also about learning to write and get better. Still.

So… that’s about it. I already have one or two posts drafted and always a couple of ideas in mind. Let’s hope they will see the light some day.

To a third life! Or a fourth… or… fifth…? Or…?