Jacking up the license plates…

…and changing the car.

Welcome to the first non-trivial update to this blog since 2003. Things are still in flux, but I’m officially retiring the old co-lo WebEngine server in favor of Amazon EC2. After running continuously for fourteen years, its 500MHz Pentium III (with 256MB of RAM and a giant 80GB disk!) can take a well-deserved rest.

The blog is a complete replacement as well, going from MovableType 2.64 to Hugo 0.19, with ‘responsive’ layout by Bootstrap 3.3.7. A few Perl scripts converted the export format over and cleaned it up. LetsEncrypt allowed me to move everything to SSL, which breaks a few graphics, mostly really old Youtube embeds, but cleanup can be done incrementally as I trip over them.

Comments don’t work right now, because Hugo is a static site generator. I’ve worked out how I want to do it (no, not Disqus), but it might be a week or so before it’s in place. All the old comments are linked correctly, at least.

Do I recommend Hugo? TL/DR: Not today.

Getting out of the co-lo has been on my to-do list for years, but I never got around to it, for two basic reasons:

  1. I was hung up on the idea of upgrading to newer blogging software.

  2. I didn’t feel like running the email server any more, and didn’t like the hosting packages that were compatible with MT and other non-PHP blogging tools.

In the end, I went with G-Suite (“Google Apps for Work”) for $5/month. Unlike the hundreds of vendor-specific email addresses I maintain at jgreely.com, I’ve only ever used one here, and all the other people who used to have accounts moved on during W’s first term.

Next up, working comments!


Actually, next turned out to be getting the top-quote to update randomly. The old method was a cron job that used wget to log into the MT admin page and request an index rebuild, which, given the tiny little CPU, had gotten rather slow over the years, so it only ran every 15 minutes.

The site is now published by running hugo on my laptop and rsyncing the output, it’s not feasible or sensible to update the quotes by rebuilding the entire site. So I wrote a tiny Perl script that regexes the current quotes out of all the top-level pages for the site, shuffles them, and reinserts them into those pages. It takes about half a second.

Since there are ~350 pages, there will be decent variety even if I don’t post for a few days and regenerate the set. If I wanted to get fancy, I could parse the full quotes page and shuffle that into the indexes, guaranteeing a different quote on each page (as long as the number of quotes exceeds the number of pages, which means I can add about 800 blog entries before I need to add more quotes. :-)

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