New Domain

Switched the blog over to its new domain and playing with settings. And some ruminations on privacy on the internet.

donkey riding through jerusalem

"Via Dolorosa" by The American Colony. Public Domain.

We have a new domain to go with the new Jekyll-generated site. Woohoo!

On the backend, I wrote up a little bash script named "highwaterupdate" that updates the whole website in about 3 seconds. Now it's trivially easy to experiment with CSS styling and Jekyll capabilities. Just pushing out the changes to the website is actually easier than testing things locally now.

(For those who are curious, I mount the server over sshfs. I keep the image files in _images so Jekyll skips it during generation. I use the -u option for cp to copy over just the new images. Then I copy over the whole contents of the _site folder to update the actual pages. As the site grows, it will take a little longer, but the difference between doing a dozen html files this way and a hundred is negligible.)

There is no RSS, the CSS is still mostly browser-defined, and the commenting system is less than ideal. For the last, I'm going to make some simple little rails commenting applet using sqlite. I think I'll just use a different table for every post. Anyone can fill in the four boxes: name, title, text, captcha. The date will auto-generate. If you pass the captcha, it'll automatically post. If spam becomes a problem, I'll throw on a fifth boolean column: display? When I moderate, I'll just flip the bit.

The actual post text will run through a markdown converter of course. So people can use that or html to format. There is always the risk that people will use some gnarly html which, since we aren't messing with javascript and are just generating the comments straight into the page's html, might make problems. But we'll deal with that when we come to it.

I was thinking about using Disqus, but I actually would prefer to not have social media functionality. Facebook has become completely public. All my acquaintances, friends, family, and (most importantly) co-workers are on it. Technically I suppose I could setup varying levels of privacy and whatnot. But besides Facebook's terrible record of privacy management, there is the administrative tedium as well: it's a pain in the butt to create and maintain such things. And even if my settings were perfectly sculpted to only show the content to exactly who I wished, I assume when friends leave comments, it is fairly easy (possibly automatic) to share them to their own wall.

All this is not to say that this blog is supposed to be some top secret installation. It just needs to not be "public." Which at this point means for me:

With the posts not completely public, my self-censorship filter drops to a much more open and intellectually productive level. A great many more topics can be talked about.

This is an instance of a much larger question: how are behavior and personality affected when there is a permanent, public record of everything said and done online?

It's an at-least-billion dollar question. And it's just a facet of the much larger question of how humans are managing and will manage the transition to computer-augmented and network-augmented beings.