Letting go

Occasionally, my personal quirks mean that I do things the hard way. For example, I started working on webpages in Emacs and I always preferred writing them by hand and getting everything to work Just Right™. It was a point of pride, mainly because I can do it and I think I'm pretty good at it.

Some of that changed this weekend.

I don't know if it was just getting overloaded with projects or watching my father obsess about trying to get something Just Right™ that encouraged me. But, I hit a point that I realized I didn't really want to work on the plumbing for one of my websites, I just wanted it to work. In specific, this one (http://d.moonfire.us/).

I already had WordPress on it for the blog so I decided to just turn the entire site over to WordPress. (I way also trying to convince someone else to let me use WordPress as a CMS for their site.) It was pretty easy since I had a well-designed directory structure on the webserver.

I'm pretty happy with the results. I lost the ability to automatically upload stories on the site but... that really doesn't happen that much for the last few years.

While I was doing that, I realized that my own personal theme (Rough Blue) was a bit dated and didn't support some of the WordPress features I wanted (Flattr). It was also a bit harder to read since the font (which I liked) didn't actually handle all of the characters I use in my writing (macron with vowels and ellipses). So, I went with a more pre-packaged theme and a few minor customisations.

It is scary letting someone else take control. It took me a few months before I was willing to do it, but I think I finally got there... at least for this site.

There were some added bonuses for switching over though. One, I can put Flattr links on all my stories. It is a minor thing, but I've been giving away stories for so long that I thought someone might want to show appreciation. They aren't perfect, but I'm proud of my writing. The other is that the Disqus plugin is now on the stories which means people can ask questions about the story... might be useful/fun. And finally, I had a few people (recently Shannon) remind me that my old site was rather hard to navigate. So, I created a drop-down list with all the stories currently online. I broke a few links in the process, but I'm going to not worry about that for the time being.

In thematically related news, I decided to reencode my entirem movie collection. I have a Roku and it works pretty well, but not with my preferred video format (Matroska. I spent weeks trying to get an answer out of Roku if they would ever support it, but I gave up in frustration.

Side note: Roku's technical support kind of sucks.

I found a channel in Roku that allowed it, but the Roku only has a specific format they support. So, I had a choice. Either the MKV file format I love or MP4 that Roku handled. In the end, it came out to letting go. My MythTV front end requires updating twice a year at least and has a 40W power supply. The Roku draws 3W while running and has high resolution, support for HDMI and 1080p, and a lousy interface. And the Roku was updated for me, though again, minimally.

The interface I can ignore.

It will take a few weeks to actually reencode everything. The media server is not exactly fast (it is rather old) and I have 2.2 TB worth of videos. But, the test files worked like a charm and really... it is one less thing for me to do.

Oh, related to the watt discussion. I found a link last week that talked about the power draw of dark and light websites. It is a really interesting read, but LCD monitors draw about 4W less on darker sites. It is a minor, tiny little thing, but I'm probably going to switch to a dark theme in the next week or so.

In other words, a painful weekend that will hopefully make my life better.