Hey, you sass that hoopy Bill Napier? There's a frood who really knows where his towel is.

One does not simply relaunch a blog...

I've been having the urge to start writing some more longer-form things. Things that just don't fit into the current social media landscape. Stuff that's too long for Facebook or Google Plus. So I've decided to revive the blog and use it as my outlet for some longer writing.

So, what kind of topics am I going to cover? Pretty much all the same stuff as before. Expect tech heavy coverage in things that I'm interested in:

  • Gadgets (mobile, TV, etc.)
  • Software (programming, hacking, etc.)
  • Projects that I'm working on in my spare time.

But I'll cover stuff beyond just this narrow scope. Anything that I find interesting is fair game.

Now of course, I couldn't just start writing again. I had to tweak some stuff in the software stack. And finish the migration away from VPS hosting to Amazon EC2 (as long as I'm changing things).

Blog Software

I've been slowy trying to reduce the amount of software I host and manage by moving things to hosted solutions. For example, I stopped with my own Gallery installation and moved to Picasa (now Google+). Less things for me to worry about.

I had looked into moving the blog to a hosted solution (Blogger, Tumblr, etc), but it didn't really work for me. But I wanted to still host the blog under hoopyfrood.net, still wanted my old links to work, and had to host some static content (not related to the blog). It could be done with a hosted solution, but it wouldn't have been idea. So hosted was out.

So, self hosting solutions. This blog had been powered by Wordpress for many years. But the thought of configuring MySQL again actually caused me physical pain. So I went looking elsewhere and was pointed to Ghost. Since it uses SQLite instead of MySql, I was on board with it (yes, that was my top selling point).

Docker

I hate migrating blogs from one machine to another. I'm a bad sysadmin. I keep no notes on how I set things up last time, so it's all brand new to me when I try and move to the new host. So this time, I tried something new.

Docker is a container management system. Basically you bundle everything up into a bundle, and then you can easily move it from system to system. When I spun up the new EC2 host, all I had to do was install docker (a one line command) and then start deploying my containers.

My (rather simple) workflow is to build the container on my laptop, deploy it locally, and test to make sure things work. Once I'm happy with it, I push it to my server and deploy it. And it works on the server just like it works on my laptop.

I'll write more about Docker in a later post, as this one doesn't even scratch the surface.

Now what?

Well, I think that's enough for the first post after the relaunch. I'll try and get another update out soon!

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Bill Napier

Bill Napier

Technologist, Gadget Lover, Father. Doing full time work at Google and part time work on everything else.