New Website!

Every few years I grow tired of my website and build a new one. More often than not, it is actually me trying to simplify something that I made more complicated than it needed to be. After listening to friends and co-workers, I'm finally making the jump to static sites.

My Previous Sites

I’ve had probably half a dozen websites since my first one in 2012 (I think?). My first website was HTML made in Dreamweaver for part of my undergraduate Music Technology class. In this class we covered a short section on what was called “web development”, then more music related technologies such as Finale and ProTools. I purchased my domain and deployed the site. Shortly after that I decided to pursue Computer Science in college (that story is long and I’ll probably write a blog post on that later). After a few years and rough iterations of my basic HTML site I decided to learn Django. I worked for the Computer Science department and we had decided to rewrite our site using Django, so I took it as an opportunity to learn on my own and make my own website. I created three separate sites www, resume, and labs (I was a lab instructor at the time and wanted to host my materials). This was all fine and good but the overhead required for each of these sites was a database. Now I was just using sqlite, but the process of building an entire database driven site around what was mostly static content, seemed unnecessary. I liked the idea of trying to use the Django admin panel as sort of a Content Mangement System (for anything other than a small website, this is a bad idea) but, as it turns out, I rarely go back and edit my site (And by the time I do I’ve forgotten the password so I have to login and run django admin to reset the bloody password). The other issue is that my version of Django has become hopelessly obsolete. Like, refactor the whole site to move to 2.0 obsolete. So I was faced with the choice of a) redo the site in Django again with the same frontend (I’m actually not really a fan of it anymore) or b) explore new options. I chose that it’s time to explore new options.

Static Sites

When I first started looking into build a website, my first boss had tried to point me to static sites. He said something along the lines of “You don’t need a dynamic site, and the security of it will eventually cause you problems.” Luckily, I haven’t had security issues with my website (You have to have something of value to be an actual target 😂), am running it on FreeBSD which, more often than not, boggles the minds of pen testers, and finally, am not an easy to hit wordpress site. I started looking around into static site generators and immediately could see the benefits. Once the templates are setup I can simply write Markdown for posts. I enjoy this way more than logging into a WYSIWYG editor. There is no denying the speedup implications regarding a dynamicy python site vs. static html files. I am also learning Golang for my current job, so that naturally brought me to Hugo (which I had previously received many glowing recommendations for). After looking around at the pre-built templates I finally settled on one that I liked (what you’re seeing now).

The Desire for a Blog and the Move Away from Medium

I’ve always dabbled with the idea of writing a blog. I had a WordPress blog site once and acually liked it (until I accidentally nuked the cloud instance from orbit and had no backups😬). I tried building a blog in my old Django site, but absolutely loathed the interface, even after vamping it up with TinyMCE. I started a Medium blog and even published a post through my employeer HomeAway. However, I recently learned that Medium is starting a membership program where you will have to pay to get full access to the site. As someone who founded UnlockedEdu(see my projects section) and doesn’t believe that knowledge should be hidden behind a pay wall, this pissed me off. I had been putting off updating my website and moving forward, but I do believe the Medium situation was the straw that broke the camels back. I will still have to publish there due to work (when I write public blogs) but I will write a post with a link to the blog. I don’t think I can republish it under this site since it is technically the property of my company (No animosity in this statement at all, I love my job and my company. It’s just how it is).

The New Site

Low and behold, a new site was born. It’s the site you’re reading this blog on. After the intial “what the hell is this?” phase with Hugo I’ve come to enjoy it. The template that I chose was a good starting point, and I have spent more time modifying the template than actually writing the initial content of this site, but I’m happy with the result. Once I get the deployment of this site up and have automated the release process, be on the look out for another blog post detailing this process.

Welcome to my new site, it’s good to have you here.