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From the wayback

Last weekend’s WordPress exploit drama prompted me to upgrade my textpattern installation on a couple of sites, a process which consists in its entirety of:

ssh -l ME MYSERVER
wget http://textpattern.com/file_download/56/textpattern-4.2.0.tar.gz
tar -zxvf textpattern-4.2.0.tar.gz
cp -r textpattern-4.2.0/index.php ~/webhome
[... repeat above for two other files and one directory ...]

But that’s not why I’m writing now. While the upgrade process is quick and easy, I do always like to doublecheck around the site and make sure that everything still works as intended. I have quite a few years of hackery under the hood here, after all, so I check in on the archives and the comments and assorted other bits. Since the site is so low-maintenance and I rarely get under the hood anymore, it also gives me a chance to remind myself just how Textpattern’s mix of section, page and form designs actually work.

Today I found myself wishing that I had done a better job of archiving all the various permutations this site has undergone over time. I’ve been doing various kinds of work with the web since 1994 but haven’t been very good at keeping records of the different kind of sites I built and helped build. Somewhere there’s a stack of CDs and 3.5-inch floppy disks with copies of all those sites I worked on in college, but I don’t own a floppy drive anymore and who knows if those old CDs are even readable? [1]

So I went for a drive through archive.org and oh man the memories. I dug up a trove of old material from college and I’ll foist those on my tired reader another time. Today it’s a part 1 of “why am I reading this guy’s web site again?” or schussman.com through the years (an entirely personal diversion that’s really for my benefit only and undoubtedly pays no attention to the things you’re actually interested in).

Pre-history

I registered schussman.com (godaddy; I know, I know) in the fall of 2001, but due to a squirrely web host disappearing entirely one night, I don’t have any records of the first site I built except for a few miscellaneous graphics floating around. It was wicked cool (I maintain), though, using a simple perl-based templating system to display the most recent of a set of dated text files within a design and with navigation and index to the other files. I had previously set up a similar system on my college account and on another ISP’s hosting. This was back when you had to roll your own blog, but it wasn’t long before I stumbled across Movable Type and relaunched the site.

And then that web host vanished.

I found a new host right about the time we moved across Tucson and started to settle into our first experience as homeowners. That gave me plenty of blog fodder, as did year two to three of graduate school where I was taking prelim exams and doing a lot of writing. I even have the vintage linux+Windowmaker screenshot showing my bibTeX library (working in sixpack reference manager).

A year later I had redesigned, and a year after that I had made the switch to Textpattern — then only days into public gamma testing. That, of course, necessitated another redesign (as well as a couple of days’ database tinkering to figure out just how to move all my MovableType entries into Textpattern).

The following year (spring 2004 to 2005) was busy and eventful, culminating in trying to sell the house, and then succeeding, househunting in Flag, and finally moving to the mountain. Of course, the new view inspired one more blog redesign, which, aside from some under-the-hood changes, has persisted ever since. Along the way that same year I ended up buying into the TextDrive VC II (all kinds of backend server changes accompanied that transition and subsequent TextDrive-no-Joyent activities — money very well spent), got my first Mac, and went for a lot of bike rides in the woods.

And since that last redesign? Well, I’ve written some, but blogging in general has slowed down. Though I’ve had a pretty good streak of Lightroom- and photo-related blogging, I’ve shifted most of my online production to the casual confines of twitter, posterous, and, yes, the Facebooks.

That probably means it’s time for a blog redesign.

1 Turns out at least one of them is. The other? Well, did you know that restarting a Mac while holding down the mouse button will eject a stuck CD?


About, the short version

I’m a sociologist-errant. This site is powered by Textpattern, Pair Networks and the sociological imagination. For more about me and this site, see the long version.

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