This Hand-Coded Collapse Blog – Built with Open Source Software and on The World's Worst Blogging Platform™ – is Being Shut Down

This Hand-Coded Collapse Blog – Built with Open Source Software and on The World's Worst Blogging Platform™ – is Being Shut Down

Are you a From Filmers to Farmers reader? Everybody's been doin' it!

So as stated at the beginning of my previous post, yes, I've decided to shut down this hand-coded From Filmers to Farmers blog of mine. I'm guessing you've never heard of the term "hand-coded blog" before (as opposed to just "blog") and might not even know what it means. If that's the case then you're about to find out what exactly it is that it means, because it's via hand-coding that I inadvertently ended up starting this haphazard blog in the first place.

For starters, and having a thoroughly incomplete 190,000+ word manuscript called From Filmers to Farmers: From Couch Potatoes to Potato Cultivators collecting dust on the shelf for about four years now, it was back in 2014 (as I came off of my 5-year hiatus from the Internet) that I decided to purchase the fromfilmerstofarmers.com domain for unknown future considerations, and/or to just ward of an enterprising individual from somehow overhearing the title of my manuscript, snatching up the domain, then either holding it for ransom and/or just plopping a porn site on it in order to get me to cough up some cash. Following my purchase of the domain I got the obtuse idea that I ought to put up a splash page on it, resulting in me teaching myself a bit of coding (HTML and CSS) so I could do so. The splash page was, however, rather ugly.

I of course didn't want a rather ugly splash page and so kept playing around with things and teaching myself more coding in order to improve upon it all. Problem was, no matter what I did the splash page just got uglier and uglier, and then got really ugly (you can see the progression go from here to here to here to here to here to here to here to here to here to here to here to here to here, then for really ugly you can see here). Fortunately that final step of ugliness was the last straw, resulting in me scrapping the whole thing and starting again from scratch (you can see the first version of the new iteration here). Somewhat happier with the results I stuck with it this time, fortunate enough to find out that things were getting better rather than worse (the progression goes from here to here to here to here). Having gotten the splash page to a point of being half-decent I then realized that it was rather bereft of content, and with one thing leading to another, and without having the slightest intentions of doing so in the first place, well, I then ended up starting a blog out of it all.

Whoops.

So as you should have clued in by now (if not before), I don't actually use a blogging platform as does every other sane human being that blogs, but have instead been using a "platform" whose coding I wrote from scratch and whose every new post I have to manually put together (you can see the checklist which I refer to every time I put up a new post), including the RSS feed.

I've got templates set up, but still – Every. Single. Time.

That's not to say that I coded the entire site, although besides the HTML and CSS I did manage to decipher things just enough so that when needed to I could ever so slightly manipulate the JavaScript, AJAX and PHP coding of the various scripts I incorporated into the blog. I won't linger on this much, and so will just quickly point out (to give credit where credit is due) that I incorporated into my hand-coded blog Commentics for commenting purposes (which allowed me to maintain control and "ownership" over all comments), the lightbox Magnific Popup, a jQuery treetable that mimics Blogger's history/archive functionality (but without the database of course), as well as a dropdown header bar which I lifted off of this site (whose excellent RSS app I purchased for the iPhone I was gifted). Alongside all that I also incorporated a form from Formbakery for collecting email sign-ups.

(I was however forced to deactivate the form recently after my Twitter account was for some reason followed – and then two days later unfollowed – by @collapseblogs, the Twitter account for a blog I avoid reading – The Economic Collapse Blog. Because what somehow resulted from that is an array of spambots discovered my site and flooded my sign-up list – and thus my email inbox – with thousands upon thousands of fake sign-ups.)

With that all set up, it was only after having seen From Filmers to Farmers on a smartphone for the first time about half a year after I started it up (on that free iPhone I was given) that I became aware of how awful it looked (imagine the website squished down to the size of your palm) and so realized I had to figure out how to create a mobile-adapted version of the blog. That I did, and in time integrated into it the Mega Dropdown menu for a secondary archive/history functionality, as well as the Auto-Hiding Navigation script for some added razz-ma-tazz.

Along with all that, rather than using Google Analytics I've integrated the open sourced program Piwik, which similar to Commentics has allowed me to maintain control and "ownership" over all of my analytics data rather than host it all with a third party which would use the collected information for data-mining. (You're welcome?)

So besides the Formbakery script of which I paid a few bucks for and the dropdown header bar which I lifted, the entirety of From Filmers to Farmers runs with open source software. Open source software, in case you aren't aware, is software whose "source code is made available with a license in which the copyright holder provides the rights to study, change, and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose".

Likewise, nearly all of the software I've used to build the hand-coded From Filmers to Farmers blog is also open sourced. Seeing how 2000 was the last year I purchased a computer (an Apple G4 for video editing, and which I got rid of in 2006 or so), I haven't actually owned a computer for about a decade now and as a result mostly built and maintained this blog using various library computers in various countries. Necessitating computers that allowed me to execute programs, this also meant I needed to install the open source program Portable Apps on a USB stick, a USB stick in which I installed a swath of other open source software which I in turn used as well.

Clockwise from top-left: Gimp, Commentics, Piwik, Firefox, LibreOffice Writer, FileZilla, elementary OS, Portable Apps, Brackets, Nextcloud

I again won't delve into this all that much, except to say that for browsing the Internet I use Firefox (whose long-awaited and much improved-upon version 57 will be available on November 14th), Gimp in place of Photoshop for image manipulation, LibreOffice in place of Microsoft Office, an install of Nextcloud instead of Dropbox (or whichever other option), FileZilla to connect via SFTP to my server, and finally the code editor Brackets to build and maintain this hand-coded blog.

At times I've salvaged not-exactly-fantastic laptops from friends and family who were dumping their "outdated" machines, computers which ran much better once I cleared whichever version of Windows they had on them and replaced said operating systems with the open source Linux distro elementary OS. Until, that is, said computers completely conked out. (The hand me down computer I currently use and run elementary OS on is a salvaged-from-the-trash-heap Dell laptop which is... well... pink.)

Every day's a test of how secure I am with my fragile manhood

Similar to all this, and in the spirit of all the open source software I use, all the writing on this blog is licensed under a Creative Commons agreement (you can see the CC logo at the bottom of this page), which in the license I chose means that

You are free to:
Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format
Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material

Under the following terms:
Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
NonCommercial — You may not use the material for commercial purposes.

Moreover, and in case there's any masochists out there interested in giving it a whirl, I've gone ahead and open sourced this database-bereft From Filmers to Farmers "blogging platform" of mine, entitled it "The World's Worst Blogging Platform™", and made it freely available on GitHub (view at your own peril).

There is of course absolutely no reason for anyone to make use of the "blogging platform" I've created, if only for the reason that it's an absolute shit-box. In case you also don't know what "shit-box" means then I'll also relay the story of the spare car my parents owned during my teens and which I was given pretty much free reign to use (the closest I've come to owning a motorized vehicle), that vehicle being a dilapidated Hyundai Stellar that was so awful that I was pretty much the only one that could manage to drive it. It was so awful (yet awesome) that had of I left it running out front of a store and came back an hour later any thief wouldn't have been able to get further than five metres with it as it would have undoubtedly stalled the moment they touched it (never mind that they would have turned up their nose upon discovering it didn't have power steering). Likewise, The World's Worst Blogging Platform™ is likely to "stall" the moment anybody attempts to use it, and no, it doesn't come with customer support (except for a million bucks a year).

In other words, just like I wasn't likely to get very far with that vehicular shit-box I used to drive, one likely isn't to get very far with The World's Worst Blogging Platform™ shit-box that I put together either. And although both of them got me around just fine and I'm grateful for them while they lasted, I realize that there's no chance I was ever going to get very far with The World's Worst Blogging Platform™ in the same way that I wouldn't actually have attempted to make it from Toronto to Salina, Kansas with the vehicular shit-box in order to attend a Prairie Festival at The Land Institute.

If you're catching my drift here, that's not to say that I haven't had the desire to get very "far" with this From Filmers to Farmers blog. What it does say is that while I most certainly am shutting down this hand-coded version of From Filmers to Farmers, I am nonetheless very close to relaunching it all on not The World's Worst Blogging Platform™ but what might very well qualify as being the world's greatest blogging platform. (Which has come not a moment too soon, what with not only the spam-botted sign-up system but also the fact that for some reason I'm no longer getting email notifications about new comments.)

So yes, we can all breathe a sigh of relief, because this sputtering From Filmers to Farmers blog is in fact getting a new lease on life.

Olé?

Having said that, I should probably extend an apology to Heather after I inadvertently induced her to leave that rather kind comment on my previous post in belief that this From Filmers to Farmers blog was disappearing in its entirety. If I can offer a few words in defence, perhaps having spent two months researching Cary Fowler's way with words and half-truths has rubbed off on me a bit too much? On the other hand, the post's other commenter, Dean, probably already knows by now that he doesn't get apologies.

Anyway, while I've been busy for the past year or so learning many of the ins and outs of this new blogging platform that I'll soon be using, and while I've been extremely busy over the past couple of months building the theme for the relaunch of From Filmers to Farmers (you can see all the green squares of activity on my GitHub page), manually migrating over all the content, and also upgrading/optimizing all the images for the superior capabilities and layout, I'm happy to say that I've got just one post left to hand-code on The World's Worst Blogging Platform™ before I finally (!!) ditch this shit-box once and for all and relaunch From Filmers to Farmers on the last day of this month.

And that, dear readers, is when the ante gets upped.

My pink computer's elementary OS desktop

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