A blog about everything by Jack Baty

Category: Misc

Appreciate This Moment – Dave Rogers

So appreciate and be grateful for the privileges we enjoy today. We may not have them for much longer.

Appreciate This Moment :: Dave Rogers


A year?

I paid in advance for one year of hosting at Siteground. I’m not sure I’ll make it that long using WordPress.

We’re on SiteGround

Whenever I’ve felt like using WordPress, I would spin up a new pre-built DigitalOcean instance and that has always worked fine. I’m mostly capable of managing servers and dealing with issues and patches and such, so running my own WordPress instance isn’t a big deal.

This morning, though, was different. I was figuring out why image metadata wasn’t being included in resized images. I assumed it had to do with the GD library I thought WordPress used by default, so I went in to check on ImageMagick’s status. Sure enough, the WordPress “Site Health” area of the control panel claimed that PHP’s Imagick module wasn’t installed.

First off, why? I could’ve sworn it always had been before, but perhaps not. Should be easy enough, especially with DigitalOcean’s usually thorough documentation.

Long story short, installing ImageMagick and installing/enabling the PHP module was easy enough after some Googling. Except it didn’t work. The control panel still claimed that the module was missing. It wasn’t long before I got into the “start throwing things at the wall and see what sticks” mode of server management, so I decided it might be better to pay someone to manage things for me.

There are a few highly-regarded outfits offering managed WordPress hosting. I basically flipped a coin and signed up for SiteGround.

Migrating the site using their migration plugin took about 15 minutes. A quick DNS change and I was running on the new platform with nary a glitch1. Speed seems acceptable. I enabled Imagick in PHP via their control panel and I’m off and running.

A year of hosting cost me $36. That’s less than three months of Digital Ocean’s instance, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Sometimes it’s nice taking the easy route.

  1. I did have to manually request an SSL cert (from Let’s Encrypt) via the SG control panel, though. ↩︎

Film photography as late-stage Burning Man

Original photo: Depositphotos

I’ve never been to Burning Man, but for years I really wanted to go. I mean c’mon, a bunch of normies heading out to the beach (at first, but later, the desert) to do drugs, walk around half (or fully) naked, and opt out of society for a while. A place to really hippie it up for a week or so. I think I would have loved it.

Today, I wouldn’t go to Burning Man if you paid me. Best I can tell, it’s become a giant, corporate, Silicon Valley tech-bro networking event. A place to “cut loose” but also maybe find some VC money while we’re at it. Something like LinkedIn on Dirty Joke Day, but in the desert (if LinkedIn had a Dirty Joke Day, that is).

Earlier today I was going through YouTube and my RSS feeds, which are very film-photography heavy, and I became disenchanted with the whole film photography bubble. The comparison is weak, I know, but somehow following the online film photography gang is starting to feel like I imagine recent Burning Man events have felt. Everyone is a Brand™. YouTubers mention each other like some Influencer circle jerk. Everyone is all “OMG Cinestill makes these neon signs look amazing!” and “10 reasons why you SHOULDN’T buy a Leica.” Boring, is what it is. I’ve probably just become oversaturated with it all. I can only imagine what’s happening on TikTok.

My current mood really got rolling after I found a list of recommended photographers and many of them were film photographers. Normally, this would be cool, but I noticed that many of them introduced themselves something like this:

I’m a film photographer based in London.

Yuck. If you have to lead with the “film” part, I can’t help but be skeptical about the “photographer” portion1.

I’ve been shooting film since the 80s, so maybe I’ve seen so much of this for so long that I’m easily annoyed when some wannabe Influencer acts like they personally discovered Tri-X.

I’m too old for Burning Man and there are too many people there anyway. Harrrumph!

  1. Some were actually quite good, but my point stands. ↩︎

Blogging like it’s Twenty Twelve

WordPress theme designers need to calm the fuck down, IMO

 Me, in 2021

Has every WordPress theme created since 2012 been competing to see how overwrought it can become? Seems like it. All I want is a simple, chronological, full-post layout with decent typography and a clean layout.

I spent a couple of hours scouring the web for a suitable theme. I couldn’t find one. Also, have you searched for WordPress info recently? What an SEO contest nightmare of ads, newsletter popups, and content farm nonsense.

And don’t get me started on “full-site” editing. JFC I don’t want to design the thing myself. I just want to pick a nice theme and start writing. Too much to ask, apparently.

Anyway, I got so frustrated that, in protest, I installed the Twenty Twelve theme from the WordPress folks and it’s as good as anything out there, so here we are.

I expect to interact with this blog primarily from external tools such as iA Writer or MarsEdit or even Emacs. I haven’t installed a single plugin yet1, and have only made a couple of minor CSS tweaks. I don’t care if it’s ugly, I just want it simple and familiar.

My favorite feature of using Twenty Twelve is that it tricks me into believing I don’t give a shit about endlessly tweaking my blog’s design and that I only care about the writing.

  1. Not exactly true, but I consider JetPack part of WordPress. ↩︎

This is exactly how I feel about the iPad:

The reason this topic remains evergreen is that I want to use my iPad more. There’s something ineffable about it. It’s a thrill when I use my iPad to do something that an iPad is actually best at. I honestly think I’d be more productive if I owned no iPad at all, yet I keep trying to find ways to use it more.

John Gruber, ‘Giving Up the iPad-Only Travel Dream’

I honestly think I’d be more productive if I owned no iPad at all, yet I keep trying to find ways to use it more.” is me.

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