Server Migration Complete

When I first started self-hosting my blog, I was using a 2010 MacMini running Mac OS X 10.6. When Apple released 10.7, it did away with the server edition and instead replaced it with an app that didn’t work. That forced me to migrate my blog to Linux. I used Ubuntu Server LTS and it worked very well. However, I didn’t utilize any automation so whenever I wanted to do maintenance on or rebuild my server, I had to do so manually. This meant that maintenance didn’t get done when life got too busy. Over the last year I’ve been slowly migrating my manually built infrastructure to fully automated builds using Ansible. While I have a number of grievances with Ansible (YAML is an awful automation language and whoever decided to use it should be crucified), it is the least awful automation system that I’ve tested.

As with any major project I started with the easy things. First I automated building my DHCP and DNS servers. Then I moved on to automating the building of my VPN, NAS, and so on. I finally got around to writing an Ansible playbook to build this blog.

Previously I followed conventional wisdom that servers should be run on long-term support distributions. But I started to question whether that wisdom was appropriate for what I do. Whenever I had to upgrade the server running this blog from one Ubuntu LTS to another, the upgrade itself went well. But I always ended up having to manually fix a number of things that broke due to the significance of the changes that occurred between the two LTS releases. Those breakages often weren’t trivial to fix. They would eat up a lot of my time. So I started to experiment with more bleeding edge distros. I settled on Fedora Server since I already run Fedora on my laptop and have become familiar with it. Major version upgrades haven’t resulted in major breakages. When something does break, it usually takes a minute or two for me to fix.

So this blog is now running on Fedora Server 34. And I can rebuild it by issuing a single command.

I’m guessing there will still be a few issues that need to be resolved. I changed quite a bit on the back end so I’m expecting a few breakages here and there and I’m sure I’ll have to make a few performance tweaks (not that you’ll likely notice issues regarding performance since my Internet connection sucks). But the site largely appears functional.

New Theme

Your eyes aren’t deceiving you. I changed the theme for the first time, at least that I can recall, since I started this blog. The old theme hadn’t been updated in a long time and a recent plugin update caused a catastrophic error to occur in the administration interface (why a theme that is only used by the user facing part of the site causes errors on the administration facing part of the site is something I can only attribute to WordPress being, well, WordPress).

I switched the theme over to the least offensive one I could find on short notice. I may change it again if I find something I like better. However, it’s tough finding a theme that doesn’t want to take up a third of the top of the page with a useless image, only show summaries of posts on the main page (I want the complete contents of each post to show on the main page to save you pointless clicking), or otherwise waste screen real estate and introduce unnecessary clicking. This blog is predominantly text and most themes seem geared towards multimedia (which is why I stuck to my old theme for so long). Maybe my preference in simple themes shows that I’m an old curmudgeon when it comes to blogging.

Ten Years

It’s hard to believe that I started my blog almost 10 years ago (it came online January of 2009). In that time I’ve written 7,878 posts on a lot of different topics.

Looking back at my decade of blogging I can say that it has been a good use of time. Writing, like all other activities, is improved with practice and regularly blogging gives a lot of writing practice. Moreover, writing about topics requires more thinking than one might otherwise do. It’s also interesting for me to look back at how my interests and beliefs have changed over the last decade.

While I find that blogging has been greatly beneficial to me it has also be time consuming. In order to focus on other projects, I’m planning to do quite a bit less blogging in the coming years. I don’t plan to stop completely but I can’t keep up this pace while also keeping up with everything else. You’ll see new content here in 2019 but not as much. When the other projects I’m focusing on are further along, I’ll post about them here.

Anyways, here’s another the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019. Hopefully the new year ends up being as absurd as the last year (I would hate to be bored in 2019).

Nothing to See Here

I spent last night breathing new life into an old Mac Mini. It ended up being more of a hassle than I expected since Amazon sent me a 250GB solid state drive (SSD) instead of the 500GB SSD I ordered. When I returned the drive the replacement they sent was, once again, a 250GB SSD. Thank the gods for Microcenter.

Nothing to See Here

I was at the Sabaton concert last night so I didn’t get anything written for today. If anybody is wondering, Sabaton put on a great show. Battle Beast, another band I enjoy, was one of the opening acts and also put on a good show. In fact, I wish Battle Beast would have had some additional stage time.