What should this thing be?
Aug 31, 2013
What‘s the point of this website? Why do I bother keeping and nominally maintaining it?
There are a few reason, all of which range from completely unrealistic to somewhat reasonable. The first and possibly most unreasonable is that I dislike the idea of my content – the web-facing record of my daily thoughts and life – existing soley within an array of proprietary walled gardens:
I genuinely enjoy what these services do, and how they allow me to interact with my friends, family and acquaintances without much effort. The chances that these same people are going to come find “my content” here on my website is so close to zero that I might as well not even consider it an option.
But STILL, jesus fucking christ, I hate that these services essentially own my content, and have it within their means to control who gets to see it, and if it continues to exist into the future. The only reason they choose to maintain a record of my life on their servers is to figure out a way to squeeze a few pennies out of it. Sigh…
So, keeping this in mind – that very few will ever see content posted here, but that it is at least within my full control – what exactly can I do with this space? The ideal format for what is posted here should be in the format of a tumblog:
- Images and videos with little or no text
- Short thoughts and observations that capture a snapshot of a fleeting moment
- Audio snippets captured with my phone’s microphone (with still image?)
- Longer form posts, similar to this one, about my life or about specific projects that I’m working on
Is low-friction convesion and publishing possible?
How to update and post to this without while creating as few barriers as possible? I should be able to, for the most part, post to the other services I use and have them automatically get cross-posted to this website. How could that work? Probably the easiest way would be to mark posts on other services in a way that could tell an automated script to pull them down and generate the files necessary to push here.
Content from specific services could be targeted, converted and posted:
- Post an image to Flickr with, tagged with “keep”
- Original-size images are pulled down and uploaded to a folder on my website
- Posts are created with the image date and linked to the flickr post
- Image is given any associated caption from the flickr post
- Post a tweet that I want to keep
- I DO NOT want to include a fucking hash tag the designates the need for re-posting…
- Other options… a specific ASCII or Unicode character could be included as a marker. Something pretty but unobtrusive:
- The most practical option, though, would be something which is accessible from the phone’s keyboard, but rarely used.
- Post a Facebook image or video: like flickr, pull down the file and upload it to this server. Tagging looks like it sucks, so would probably be limited to the above-mentioned ASCII/Unicode character marker in the photo description or title.
- Facebook status update: Turn it into a regular text post. Would need to mark it with a special character.
- Soundcloud: ???
- Pinterest pins… is there really a need here? One possible use case is for a recipe. Save a draft with a link to the original recipe. I could then create a fleshed out version consisting of how I ended up modifying the recipe, photos of the result, and thoughts about how it turned out.
If any post contains geodata, a map should be embedded on the page.
The automatic posting processs
- IFTTT periodically checks the various services for new posts
- If not IFTTT, a web application could pull individual services, triggered by cron.
- All new content is posted to service-specific endpoints on my domain:
- Specific endpoints process content and transform it into a format suitable for this website
- New resources are saved and pages are built
- Textual markers are removed from content
- Where possible, original resources get a link back to this site’s version in the format of a comment or reply
- A text message is sent to me with a link to the new post.
- The endpoints create the new files, kick of the Jekyll build process, and upload the files (if on a different server) or move them in to place (if on the same server).
This is the shitty (but really FUN) part. It takes time to build these things. The most realistic thing to do would be to implement one service at a time, starting with the most used. The endpoints themselves could exist as a single application on my own server, or live on a single and tiny application on a cloud provider like EC2 or Nodejitsu.
- Triggered build and deployments of the website
- Discovery: service-specific discovery modules
- Conversion: service-specific content conversion modules
- Transport: sends converted post data to service-specific endpoints
- Jekyll Post Builder: builds jekyll posts using service-specific data
Now, we get to see if I actually do this.blog comments powered by Disqus