Positive change – WordPress update

One of my favorite aphorisms that I developed while at IBM, and used in all my career and development presentations, as well as my after dinner speeches was:

Make sure change is something that happens for you, not to you.

It was particularly apposite at IBM, where change was constant. Hopefully by the time this post is publically available, change will have happened. I have migrated my wordpress.com hosted blog over to a siteground hosted wordpress blog.

It was much more complex than I expected, mostly around hsts/https issues and having the domain name registered by wordpress. It’s on the move and will be completed by Monday when this post should become available with any other new ones written after this.

For this blog, as opposed to any of the others (triathlon, technology, house construction), I went with the bog standard twenty sixteen theme. I used twenty eleven when I first started on wordpress.com and its an easy change). My hosted blog is still out there at markcathcart.wordpress.com and will eventually be deleted. I decided in the end to move it because I want to delete all my content and account from facebook as discussed in this entry.

To do that, I wanted again a structured way to share links, videos, music etc. I was surprised how many tools there were still out there that would allow me to “currate” content, they include diigo, instapaper, pocket and even del.icio.us is still around.

delicious

As it turns out, I prefer delicious. But I’ve started using it, and given up, more times than deli.icio.us has been acquired, and thats a lot. My oldest link on delicious dates from February 03, 2004.

Delicious allows my to get an RSS feed based on a tag in delicious. The resultant content can be directly embedded on a page, or a post via a Jetpack supported shortcode. However, it’s “ad supported” these days, and the web UI is a disaster from back in 2009, the formal android app doesn’t work anymore, and an unofficial app works for saving links, it fails at the first attempt to save to the server, and syncing to the app isn’t supported. Also delicious RSS update frequently enough.

The Pocket era

So, I’ve spent a few days getting the blog moved over an experimenting with numerous plug-ins and feed services. I’ve settled and using Pocket aka getpocket. It has a great web ui for maintaining and editing content. There is a good plug-in for wordpress which once an authorised Pocket app, will pull content into a widget, page or post via a shortcode.

The only disappointment is that it doesn’t offer the ability to edit/create the extract that is displayed as part of the content in wordpress. Which was the most useful part of the delicious service. Rather than just bookmarking a link, video etc. you could add a description, which would then be served as part of the RSS feed.

While the old blog is still out there, you can compare the result.

This on my old blog using delicious
with the new invocation using Pocket

I’d still like to do more wordpress theme customization, but given the complexity of moving it, I’m going to try not to.

Siteground

Siteground were pretty good for tech support, but their wordpress support seemed to be working only Central European extended office hours, which meant 10-12 hour waits if I needed help after 3pm Central Time.

Summary

No doubt I’ll be tweaking things going forward, but for now there are three new pages on the blog that can be accessed via the menu at the top.

READ. – is a page where a stream of articles that I have read, or am reading will appear.

WATCH. – is a page where a stream of videos I have watched will appear.

HEAR. – Music links and sets.

The reason I did this was to provide a location to bookmark important content but not clutter up the main blog page. Let me know what you think, if you have any questions or suggestions.

Author: Mark Cathcart

Formerly an Executive Director of Systems Engineering and a Senior Distinguished Engineer at Dell. Prior to that, an IBM Distinguished Engineer working for the Systems Group in NY and Austin. I'm currently "retired until further notice".

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