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Every year people make resolutions to do various things throughout the year. On average, it seems like pretty close to none of those things happen. This helps keep the resolution market wide open, since most of the time you can just repeat the pledge (and failure) next year. Some people use weight loss, or smoking, or other such things as their serial resolution. I seem to use blogging.

2008 came and went on my blog in about the same way as ever. I told myself I’d say a lot, but ended up not saying a whole lot at all. What I did say was mostly political, which is really not the point of this blog. Sometimes I fell into the trap of not wanting to write because of how little I had written. Usually, it just didn’t occur to me to write.

The resolution this year is a little bit different because things this year are a little bit different. I’m still going to resolve to write more, and I still expect that I will most likely fail. I have a different outlet for my politically oriented posts thanks to some friends, which leaves this blog free to focus, as it should, on my life. Now that I’m not at college anymore I hope to use blogging as a way to continue practicing writing in the absence of papers and reports for school. If I can really get into the zen of this, I might even find a way to write shorter posts.

So there it is, my internet resolution for 2009. Guess we’ll see how it goes.

Bloggers work quick. It didn’t take long for one of the most bizarre conversations I’ve ever had to make it to the internet.

Her post, I think it’s safe to say, doesn’t quite capture some of the more intricate oddities of the entire conversation. She was looking, I think, for a much less technically oriented conversation than we ended up providing. But with both of us having worked a bit with some of the innards of “Web 2.0″ at various points, I don’t think anyone would find it too surprising that we have a somewhat more detail-oriented view of the whole thing than your average couple of guys sitting in a coffee shop typing away at laptops. It didn’t help at first that neither of us were quite sure what she was talking about at first; I don’t think of websites as being “Web 2.0 software” — my conception of software extends only to things which are installed and run locally on an individual computer, which is something that “Web 2.0,” by any definition I’ve ever stumbled across, is not.

Turning to her article, despite some worries that she didn’t quite get what we were talking about, I come away with the impression that she did ok. It’s apparent that she hasn’t had the level of study in the history of networked computing that we both have; but that’s not unexpected for a non-technical writer targeting a non-technical audience.

But despite the limitations in the writing, her parting line caught me with much interest: “Maybe I should use the term social software instead.” I couldn’t help but think to myself that, yes, she should… and so should everybody else. If there is a change going on in the nature of the web, it’s entirely to do with the nature of what content is being delivered, rather than the method of delivery itself. The web has passed through eras of connecting people to information and connecting people to commerce, what we see now with “Web 2.0″ are ways of connecting people to each other. The shiny technologies of AJAX and its ilk, which are what most people I know think of as “Web 2.0,” are little more than a means to an end, and will ultimately probably not be much more than a footnote in the chronicles of internet history.

As of this morning, I’m convinced. No more flickr for me. As down as I am on for-pay web service, I suppose it was only a matter of time before I got fed up with them and started looking for something else. Or, more particularly, before they finally ran me up against a limitation which I wasn’t willing to find other ways to work around, even if I could have.

I’ve known for a while that flickr is somewhat annoying with the restrictions they put on free account users. The service came with a monthly upload bandwidth cap, but this was high enough that it’s never affected me; I just don’t upload enough stuff to get there. They also restrict access to high resolution images, a fact which is fine for most of my purposes since it’s somewhat unusual that I’d want to distribute those, and I keep the high resolution originals on my hard drive anyway. They also restrict the number of photo sets to three; this one was actually slightly annoying because the photo sets are excellent for organizing pictures into groups, but they also offered unlimited tag support which I could leverage to produce roughly the same result.

Last night, though, I hit another restriction that I didn’t even feel like trying to work around. Apparently, they have a 200 picture cap on the number of pictures that can be accessed in free accounts. With my upload of pictures from Kara’s wedding, I ran up against that limit, meaning some of my older pictures had disappeared. Not deleted, mind, just inaccessible; if I pay or delete some pictures, they’ll come right back. Now, this perhaps isn’t too big a deal since I seldom go back and look at my old pictures, usually only doing so when a friend asks to see something from them, but I have a deep loathing for not being able to access my own data even if I probably never would.

Thankfully, the CMS I use for my personal website has a photo album module that’s easy to install and get running. After messing around with it a little bit, learning how it works and how I can make it fail spectacularly, I think I’ve come to the conclusion that I like it. It integrates very well with the rest of the website, as one would hope a custom module would do. It looks fairly nifty, visually, using some interesting JavaScript to produce a nice presentation effect. It organizes things the way I wanted things to be organized originally by flickr. And because I’m in total control of the software, the only restrictions are ones that I haven’t added code to remove yet.

Now all I need to do is come up with some content for an actual homepage and I’ll be all set.

Maybe with this I’ll finally be done moving my blog all around.  I’d definitely like for this to be the last place it ever sits, especially since, this time, it’s actually costing me a bit of money to put it here.

As far as I can figure out, everything should work exactly like it always has, just at a new address.  The database move wasn’t completely simple, since apparently URLs for every link in the blog get stored there, making a direct copy basically impossible.  Fortuntately, a quick find and replace inside the SQL dump was enough to solve the problem acceptibly well, and as of right now, everything looks to be fine.

The benefits, though, are several and quite interesting.  One of the problems I had with the old setup was that my blog was configured to not send e-mail, because my server simply couldn’t handle that well and I had no inclination to try to make it.  This thing should do e-mail automatically as part of its basic setup, which is actually good for me.  On the other side of things, this should be a lot faster and more reliable than my server ever was.  Being a real server designed for hosting real websites, connection speeds should be much higher and downtime should be a whole lot lower.

I’m rather excited about this.  It should be good.

So, I’ve been thinking some about why I haven’t been updating this blog as much as I should be, and I came to a few basic conclusions.  The first is that I’m just generally bad at this whole idea of blogging.  The second is that even when I do feel like creating an entry, I find that the software was kind of getting in my way a bit.  This is my attempt at eliminating that second reason to not update.

Hopefully it works a little better than the other stuff.

I suppose it would be in some sense improper if I didn’t start this off with that quaint little greeting which has echoed through the world since many years ago. After all, this is my first attempt with something like this, and I’d like to start it out right.

My basic hope in hosting this thing is to try to get myself to evolve the dicipline to actually post in it frequently. This whole project is largely dedicated to my parents, who consistantly ask me an incredible number of questions about my life. If I actually do what I mean to do, maybe I can make things a little bit easier on everybody.