Am I reinventing the wheel? What’s going on here? Surely there are easier ways to do this, it’s true. I’ve done Blogger, Wordpress, a little Drupal and Joomla. Heck, I had a Geocities site in the 1990’s (“Sign my Guestbook!” lol). There are and have been many ways to do this, but I’m starting from scratch with Jekyll. Why?

Information Technology, as you know, is ever evolving, so one goal here is to try something new to participate in the evolution and to broaden my horizons. The route I’ve chosen involves several languages: Ruby, Liquid, YAML, SASS, CSS, HTML, and Markdown. Some I am familiar with, but most are new to me.

Then there is the “system” itself. I use those languages above to create content and change how it’s handled. Jekyll then renders it for me and I review and upload it. It’s not something that someone else has done and all I have to do is compose or email my content and it magically is published. This has my fingerprints all over it, start to finish.

This is just the beginning. It’s not a turn-key thing, but an educational journey. The layout is going to change, I’m sure. Comments are coming soon. There’s a LOT to learn. I have the skeleton stood up, now to flesh it out!

Memory Lane:

While I was thinking about this post and the notion of “isn’t there an easier way/why do all this,” I reflected on my life in IT thinking about all the “easier ways” there had been and how technology has changed. My first PC was a 80286 that ran at 12MHz. It had a TURBO button if you needed “More Power!” I ran a dial-up Bulletin Board System (BBS) called “The Midnight Caller.” We were on Fido-Net, so each night the system called an upstream server and up/downloaded all the new content for the “newsgroups.”

At work in the Navy I worked on a Honeywell DPS-6. That’s a mainframe system where one computer is made up of 4 or 5 refrigerator-sized cabinets. It had magnetic core memory, where little wires ran through tiny iron donuts. If the polarization was one way, that donut was a binary 1, if the polarization was the other direction, it was a 0. Reading the memory destroyed the contents.

We upgraded to an HP Apollo 9000 series minicomputer. Now an whole system fit in ONE refrigerator-sized cabinet. We installed a Cisco gateway that could dial-out to the base network, and from there, to the Internet “A network of networks!” We “browsed” with Lynx and read the web in plain text on green screens.

Home saw upgrades as well, 3- and 486 PC’s, a Pentium. Compuserve and the local BBS scene gave way to consumer Internet access. Dialing your 14.4K modem to a local ISP so you could read email in a terminal emulator session was cutting edge. You did have to manually start the PPTP protocol stack after dialing. Then Gopher came along and man was it cool! Access to sooo many libraries and sooo much information, and you could do it with a Windows client. Amazing.

Then one day my buddy called me up to tell me about “Netscape.” Whoa. Pictures on the screen with the text of the web page! What next?? The aforementioned Geocities page, email lists, Newsgroups, Blogs, Social Networks.

And here we are. Doing something new. Again. Thanks for reading.


This is #2 of #100DaystoOffload, a blogging challenge intended to get folks to “Just. Write.” If you’re a blogger, were a blogger, or want to be a blogger, jump in!