The Adventures of Systems Boy! Turns One

So I realized recently that the one year anniversary of this blog was coming, and as of today, May 29, 2006, TASB is one year old. It was exactly one year ago that I posted my first blog entry. Frankly I'm kind of surprised I'm still here.

I posted my first entry — and started the blog in general — out of frustration. Frustration with Tiger, partly, but also frustration with a lack of information on the web about the kinds of things I deal with in my professional and personal life with regards to computer systems. I think we're doing some interesting, and often quite challenging, things in our lab, and I needed a way to document them. A log of my thoughts and activities. TASB seemed like a good way to accomplish this in a way that was centrally located and accessible from all corners, with the added benefit of perhaps helping — or getting help from — other folks in a similar boat. I've tried (and been fairly successful, I think) to keep this blog focused on systems issues. This is a blog about systems from the perspective of a lab administrator. It's by and large, but not necessarily, Mac-centric as that is my platform of choice. It's opinionated and often long winded, and that's how I like it.

And I really do like it. I'm a bit shocked that I'm still writing, but it turns out that writing this blog has been extremely therapeutic for me. It's also been quite practical. It's a great way to keep a record of, think out loud about, and sometimes even get feedback on things I'm working on. There's something quite useful about putting things down on paper (or in pixels, as it were). It forces me to concretely articulate things that can often be quite abstract when simply left inside my brain. And that's useful. But more than anything, it turns out I just like writing. And particularly about systems. It's fun.

Another thing I realized just prior to this anniversary is that I have no backup for the blog. After a good deal of research I decided to stick with Blogger for the site. It does what I need it to do and keeps me from having to deal with the problems of self-publication so I can concentrate on what I'm here to do, which is to write. It does have limitations though, and the biggest for me, as I move forward, is the fact that the Blogger system has no method for archiving my content. If I did ever decide to host the blog myself, I imagine porting the content would be a big headache. But then, I guess probably anyone who changes blog engines at some point deals with this issue on some level or another. Fortunately, I was able to download every article on the site using a nice little donationware app called WebGrabber. And since doing so I've discovered the wonders of wget, which I'm now using to make periodic site archives.

Blogger also features something called BlogSend, which I'd never used until now. BlogSend is an easy way to archive (and, if necessary, repost) articles on your site. BlogSend will email any new article you publish to your address of choice, so everything is archived in your email account. And, should anything ever happen to screw up your blogger site itself, you can use BlogSend to repost your articles. Simply email them to the provided BlogSend address and they will be reposted. This is a great way to do automated, emergency backups, but it, obviously, doesn't preserve comments. Also, BlogSend only emails the first posting of an article, so if you decide to add or change an entry, you will not get emailed the changes. So I guess the occasional full-site download will still be necessary. Anyway, once again, Blogger (with some help from BlogSend, wget and cron) has proven perfectly adequate for my needs, so kudos to them.

In other blog news, in case you hadn't noticed, TASB has a new banner. It more or less coincides with the TASB one year anniversary, so think of it as a birthday makeover, though it came about a month early. I like it. It's simple, funny and to-the-point. And I think it's fairly unique.

Anyway, I hope someone out there occasionally finds this site as useful as I do, and that if anyone is reading they continue to do so.

And, if I may, Happy Birthday to The Adventures of Systems Boy!