Sweaty Spice, the other Spice Girl

There are several things I need to do for this blog, so I ought to lay them out, more for me than for the community.

Theme

I am currently using a “Free” theme, and it is, for want of a better term, meh. Part of the issue is that I am on version 4.x of Ghost, and many of the cooler, commercial themes are not yet supporting the full feature set introduced in version 4.

I will keep it with this less than stellar theme for now, but I know that I need to spend the $40 or so on Theme Forest when I find one that I like.

Of course, Ghost themes are not as plentiful as Wordpress, and virtually all themes that I buy for Ghost will require some fiddling. Mostly to put in links to my social media presence, and to strip out the commenting bits (by and large, all themes have provisions for integration of Disqus comments) since the era of engaging in the comments has ended, either moved to Facebook, or just devolved into spam and human rights abuses that require a shit-ton of moderation.

Just head over to Fox News and look at their comment areas. The day that The Economist turned off comments on their online articles was when it became normal to not have comments.

Content

I do have another public blog, Tralfaz that gets a fair bit of traffic. It has nearly a thousand posts, from the simple items I imported from my time active on Posterus, to 11 years of opining on whatever struck my fancy.

However, that place has become a bit messy. As is usual with Wordpress, you have two axes of taxonomy, the categories, and then tags. That, coupled with a thousand posts, and about zero discipline in choosing categories and tags has led to a mess of epic proportions.

A few years ago, when I moved a couple of sites and blended them together, I began cleaning it up, but soon tossed up my hands. It is just a mess.

So, I will probably begin posting more here, less there, and start with a simple taxonomy.

Ghost makes this somewhat simpler, as there is only the concept of tags, and they are the only categorization, so that a braindead chipmunk like myself in moments of weakness won’t create Tech, Technology, and two other related categories, coupled with 5 or 6 variants of tech in the tags.

I hope this works.

Automation

While I will set up the sign up and subscriptions, I will not connect them to Stripe, and will not charge. If a miracle happens, and my number of hits goes through the roof, and I hit and exceed my allocated TB of monthly bandwidth, then I might offer a paid subscription. But, after 12 years, and a thousand posts, Tralfaz gets an average of 25 page views a day. I am so far from hitting my bandwidth limit that I can afford to not have 3 coffees at Starbucks and fund this hobby.

Unlike Wordpress where Jetpack will connect to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and a ton of other external vehicles, Ghost doesn’t have that. However, it does have a nice integration with Zapier, that can do the work for you. I will configure that, so that posts here will go to my Twitter account.

Twitter is pretty much the only social media that I remain active on. I do have a Facebook account, but I often go 2 to 3 weeks between logging in.

Theme hacking

As I mentioned above, I do have to go into whatever theme I am using and fiddle. Fortunately, Ghost themes are constructed using a templating language called Handlebars that provides a simple, very flexible, and - if you spend the time to get into it - intuitive environment.

Like when I dive into Arduino for some electronics work, or into Python to work on Project Euler I learn Enough to do what I need, but never achieve mastery.

I keep telling myself that I will go deeper next time, but I never do. Perhaps this time I will stick to it.

Backing up and maintenance

This is hosted on a droplet that I rent from Digital Ocean, whom I can’t recommend enough. If you are somewhat technical, and unafraid to roll up your sleeves, for $5 or $10 a month, you can get a full Linux server that you can set up exactly how you like. Since this is becoming a new channel of content, I will sport down for the extra $2 a month to have weekly backups. Just in case I fuck it up. (And, honestly, since this isn’t a high stakes environment, I often cut corners, and yes, I have fucked it up, and had to restore.)

Since the Droplet is running the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS image, it should be good for quite some time. I have learnt my lesson that major version, in-place updates to the distribution are a good way to have a shit-show.

Weekly, I will log in via SSH, apply any updates, and check for new versions of Ghost. That is pretty much the standard fare.

Summary

In some ways it is cathartic to start from scratch. The Tralfaz blog is old, crufty, and unfocused. This is a clean break, and will ultimately take it over. Plus, I can use Ulysses to write and upload my content, so I don’t have to suffer with the Wordpress Gutenberg editor that I absolutely fucking hate. I am not too thrilled with the Ghost Koenig editor, but I really like being able to compose in Ulysses with Markdown, and it handling the importation, and finishing up in Ghost back end.

It is going to be a ride.

Oh yeah, I curse when I write, and I will be cursing in these posts. If you have a problem with that, you should show yourself out.

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