Latest diary entries
Ramblings about cats, games and miscellanea.
It has finally happened - I've updated my website! It's got a new design, a new blog, and a new back-end - yes, I have at last ditched the 15 year old perl includes in favour of a django site. I've put it straight into its new Christmas theme - it's a work in progress, since I've got a few more things planned for it this month, including a new improved TCMI and a new advent calendar which is not quite ready.
The main change to the new site is that I've split my diary in two. There's now a new blog section for tech stuff, and the old diary has moved into the new personal section of the site and will mostly be about cats. I'm doing this because I've always felt the tech stuff got in the way of stories about cats, and vice versa, which has led to my all-time-low of 3 entries in 2013. This will now change.
If you're reading this on the old RSS feed address, you'll get both the diary and the blog - but if you don't want to read one of them, there are now separate feeds.
I've released a new project: django-yarr, a Django-based RSS reader for people who want to self-host.
I'd been hoping to have my new site up and running before I started releasing things, but we'll have to make do, because the Google Reader Apocalypse is Nigh.
I'm a big fan of self-hosting, so when Google announced on March 13th that they were killing Reader, I started looking around for a replacement to drop into one of my Django sites. There were a few around, but they didn't seem to be heading in the direction I was looking for - basically a clone of Google Reader - so I started Yarr on March 14th.
I was aiming for an 8 hour project, to release that week - I made it 4 hours in before the phone rang, and I've been distracted with more pressing matters ever since. Never mind - with less than 24 hours to go until the Reader switch off, Yarr is now ready to start taking over as my RSS reader.
I won't lie - it's still a work in progress. Most notably, although you can import your feeds from the OPML in a Google Reader Takeaway, once they're in there you'll have to use the admin site to manage your feeds - although you can expect that to get fixed in the next couple of days.
If you're looking for a google reader replacement and have a django site handy, please give it a try and let me know what you think.
So, my new site is ready on my dev machine, but when it came to deploying it to this server, I ran into a bit of a dependency issue. Long story short, I can either plough ahead and risk breaking important things, abandon my deployment system, rip out half my code, or get a new server.
Seeing as the first three will be a pain and I was going to be replacing this server soon anyway, I'm not really tempted to spend the night trying to get it to work here. The catch is that I can't shut off this machine until a certain unnamed client leaves; they promise they'll be ready to go "at the end of this month", but they have been promising that since August 2012 - so I'm reluctant to pull the trigger on the new server and have to run an extra one at a loss for months just for this site.
I do have other servers I could put it on, but for various reasons none of those would be ideal at the moment. I'm having fibre broadband installed later in the week, so maybe I'll just run it over that for a couple of weeks. Who knows.
I may have a change of heart in the morning, but for now all I'm going to say is: the new site will be up soon. Hopefully. Still, at least this will give me some time to improve the easter eggs...
Last year I made an important decision: it was time to quit my job.
Regular readers will know that I don't exactly have a job - I've been freelance since I left university, picking up work wherever I found it, mostly working directly for people who want websites. The problem has been that most of my clients' priorities were things like design, content and SEO - but I'm a programmer at heart, so didn't exactly find that enjoyable. Not that you can expect any job to be fun and games all the time, but I also made some terrible decisions which meant I found myself doing really massive chunks of boring work for free. All work and no money makes radiac a dull idiot.
So I decided that it was time for a change. Over the past few months I have completed my outstanding client work, have handed off the larger sites which kept me busy, and I'm now free to spend the next few months working on projects for myself.
The first thing is a new website here at radiac.net. Given my track record with this site I'll probably regret saying this, but I'm aiming to have it ready next Monday - that will be radiac.net's 13th birthday, so seems somewhat appropriate.
I want to get back to writing more diary entries; in 2006, a couple of my clients had mentioned something I'd written about on here, which kinda freaked me out - it was like getting out of the shower to find your boss standing there asking for your TPS report. I changed my work e-mail address so new clients wouldn't know about radiac.net, and decided to write posts assuming that it would be read by everyone I had ever met - but that just meant I'd get halfway through a new post, think about how someone would find it inappropriate or boring, and throw it out without posting. Then I just got out of the habit of writing anything at all; for years I haven't said anything about work, holidays, gaming, my cats - hell, I haven't even ranted about UKIP since 2009.
I'm therefore going to try splitting up my diary into two parts - personal and tech. That way I can put personal stuff on my site for my friends and stalkers, without clogging up the feed for strangers who want to read my tech-related ramblings. I actually started working on this in 2009, when I toyed with the idea of making an entirely separate website, but having two seemed rather egocentric. I'll be publishing separate RSS feeds, but current subscribers will continue to get everything.
I've also worked on a lot of personal projects over the years, with a view to eventually releasing them with an open source license; some have been sitting around for a long time, and the world probably doesn't need another perl framework or django cms now, but I think I've written some bits here and there which others may find useful. Over the next few months I'll be splitting out components, putting them on github, and making mini sites for them here on radiac.net.
And as for a long-term business plan? It's simple - I'm going to make this site so incredibly awesome that I attract a horde of rich patrons who shower me with so much cash that within three months I'll be writing a diary entry describing the mojito I'm drinking on the beach of my private island in the Caribbean. That could happen, right? Yeah! I cannot see how this could possibly fail.
It's that time of year again when radiac.net puts on its christmas costume and rolls out the TCMI! Sadly I'm phoning it in again this year - I've been working on a new design for the site on and off for the past few months (mostly off), but haven't found the time to finish it yet, let alone do a christmas version. Play the old advent calendar and pretend it's new!
In fact, 2012 has been a bit of disaster as far as radiac.net is concerned - only 4 diary entries, an all-time low. I did actually manage to put a new code project onto the site this year, but given it was just a trivial cookie law disclaimer, it has predictably been met with nothing but electronic tumbleweed and a lone comment expressing displeasure. Rather depressingly, visitor analysis undeniably confirms that my most significant contribution to humanity to date continues to be my article about chancel repair liability from 2010.
For me personally though, 2012 has been pretty good - I've had plenty of work, started to make some progress at the gym, bought a nexus 7, our cats are doing well, we've started learning Spanish, and we've just come back from an excellent 3 week holiday to Chile and Argentina - more about that once we've finished sorting through the 2000 photos I took. I'm also in the process of moving away from working directly for people who want websites - bit of a change after 8 years, but I'll save the details for a future diary entry once things start to fall into place.
Of course, 2012's not over yet - December promises to be pretty busy for me, what with finishing off my last 2 large client projects of the year and trying to balance the consumption of christmas-themed chocolate with time in the gym. I think I will be spending a lot of time in the gym.
Happy Christmas, everyone!