Blog of Blog Entry

There are 274 blog entries within the category of Blog Entry

Corrected the Blog Dating
August 1st, 2022 | View Post
A few days after releasing the new blog format, I found there was a small bug with the grouping of older month/year combinations. I've since fixed that code and everything seems to be working as expected now.

I should also mention that there has been a great deal of work that's gone into maintaining the page Sitemap. This isn't intended to be used by any regular person, but rather should help the various bots to better index and catalogue the full extent of the site.
Updates and Changes
July 28th, 2022 | View Post
I've been meaning to write a post for a couple of weeks now, but I've been especially busy with work!

I've been fortunate enough to be implementing all sorts of new innovations at work and so I've had to balance my development time accordingly. But between the massive code changes to this site (and ultimately the software that runs it), the various publications that I've been working on, the handful of TikTok channels I've started managing, the music work I've been trying to stay on top of, and the numerous travel plans I've been working on (namely to Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, and Africa), things have been extremely busy!

While the site might not look super different just yet, all of the new development code has been merged into the main code branch and I can absolutely say that the changes are plentiful.

One of the biggest changes to come out of the new release has been the addition of my own Blog management software.

How I Originally Modified Wordpress

When I first wrote this software back in 2005 (at which time the project was called staticMOD), I actually had taken the time to write my own blog management software. Blogs hadn't been around all that long and they wouldn't last much longer with the advent of YouTube mostly taking over the space. So although staticMOD relied upon a custom blog interface, the successor codebase. called openFace, did not. Instead I simply modified the backend of Wordpress and used part of it inside of my administrative toolset.

None of my site was actually running on Wordpress. Rather, there was just a nice text editor built into it and so I customized it so that the entries would be saved into my own personal database with my own personal flair. It's worked extremely well for the past 15 years, but I've been wanting to officially move away from it and so I finally have. My goal has been to have as few 3rd party applications as possible.

The Process of Custom Blog Management

I started making these changes in the summer of 2021, but then had to put the project on hold for a little while. I picked it back up in November and made huge strides - generally getting to work on it most every evening. But with many more personal downturns still ahead, I ultimately had to put the project on hold for a few months - which I did. When I finally came back to all of the coding around March of 2022, it's pretty much been a steady sprint to the finish line. And here we are.

There are definitely still some things that I'm working out, but all in all the site is much easier for me to manage. I now have the ability to easily start integrating all of my social media into my own site. I don't think we've yet reached a time whereby people truly value that, but some day they will.

Additional Tech Highlights

There are two additional tech highlights that I'll mention as they've both been incorporated into my software.

In December of 2021, I put a ton of work into a language processing tool. It was essentially designed to be fed any kind of communication between two people and to analyze every little nuance of said communication. I thought it was a pretty cool tool. While I had fun building the project, it ultimately proved to be a huge waste of my time and effort (the project did take me a ridiculous amount of time to make and like most of my projects was coded entirely from scratch).

But as I'm always one to find the silver lining, I took that software and instead retooled it for openFace. I haven't released it just yet, but it has the ability to analyze decades of information that I have and break that information down into much more meaningful pieces, all of which will have accompanying timelines.

And then in April/May of 2022, I finally was able to build my own facial recognition tool. I've only recently found a good script that will allow me to use this, but my hope is that I'll be able to incorporate this into openFace and ultimately have my entire photo (and later video) library automatically catalogued for me with primitive AI.

More Changes Coming

There are still a host of changes that I haven't rolled out yet. As I had previously written, all of the photos and videos are now in a distributed cloud network. They load very fast and much more importantly, I finally have an infinitely scalable filesystem. I will definitely be releasing these assets more and more in the coming weeks and months.
No Small Parts - The Ladies of Seinfeld
July 25th, 2022 | View Post
If you haven't yet had a chance to check this out, please do take a look. I've had this idea for a few years now and decided that I would finally implement it for a TikTok audience.

The project is called "No Small Parts" and this first season is called "The Ladies of Seinfeld". I'm primarily building and releasing the videos to a TikTok audience, but have been duplicating them on YouTube as well (albeit not at all trying to promote the YouTube channel).

The idea is to showcase all of the minor female characters and to try and show people what else they did throughout their respective careers. In the six weeks since launching the first episode, I've since released 14 total episodes. They've gotten a respectable 100,000 views or so. Perhaps in time it will start to pick up, but I just enjoy making them.

I have another show that should be coming out before too long. That one is based more on my love of Dan Carlin's history show as well as the extensive literature I've read of execution over the years. After reading "The Faithful Executioner" a few months ago, it occurred to me that some of this material should be retold and I'd enjoy doing it.

But for now, please enjoy two episodes from "No Small Parts - The Ladies of Seinfeld".

Here's episode 2, "Laura", played by Lynn Clark



Here's episode 6, "Donna" played by Gretchen German.


Preparing the New Site
June 10th, 2022 | View Post
After many, many months of code changes, I'm delighted to announce that this site is about to get a pretty massive overhaul. The changes won't necessarily be visible to the end user (eg: it will still look the same), but the infrastructure that powers the site will be significantly different. It will be much more powerful, much faster, and much cheaper for me to operate and maintain. The end result is that there will be a lot more content (which I don't feel like I'm really lacking in the first place).

What's the timeline?

I started working on these software changes in early November of 2021. It's a passion-project so I only work on it when I have some spare time. I wound up taking some time off from the migration in January and early February, but then got back to full speed in early March. Since then, I've managed to get everything more or less where it needs to be. It'll still be a few more weeks before I can actually "flip the switch", but as I've been wanting to make this change for a couple of years now, I couldn't be more thrilled to be getting so close.

What changes are coming?

The short answer is that it's a massive infrastructure overhaul. Without going into too many technical details, all of the backend software, operating system, database, and processing infrastructure has been upgraded. This should result in the site running much faster and should allow me to add several pieces that I've had in the pipe for years (detailed photo statistics, geolocations, and videos, just to name a few). It's also going to result in all of my media being distributed on networks around the world. While this will likely have the result of my site being indexed much more heavily and routinely, it should also reduce media loading times rather significantly. I've been testing them for awhile and everything seems to be on par with what I'd expect.

Which brings me to the change I'm most excited about: I'll finally be able to put my entire video library online! When I first built the original software back in 2006, I thankfully had the foresight to create full video support. That might not seem like a big deal today, but archiving digital videos back in 2006 was an extremely daunting and difficult technical challenge. I continued supporting my video management with several major upgrades over the years, but it eventually got far too difficult to manage. The bottom line was simply that we were creating digital videos at a rate that was just too cumbersome to keep up with. Not to mention, storing videos is expensive. I stopped trying to make all of my videos available some time around 2014 or 2015. That's a pretty big gap now.

Once the migration is completed, I'll finally be able to start putting these online and properly managing them. I've been using YouTube's API for years to automatically place videos on their site, but I'm hoping that I'll be able to do the same with TikTok.
Walnut and Maple Art Easel
June 1st, 2022 | View Post
After watching a handful of Instagram and TikTok videos on custom-made art easels, I was asked if I might be able to make a similar one. The ones that I saw, while functional, were ultimately pretty basic. Since I generally like to try and build my projects as nuanced as I can, I decided it would be best to come up with my own plans. Granted, I did use the basic structural idea of the ones I'd seen, but the design elements were entirely my own.



The easel was crafted from Peruvian Walnut, Ambrosia Maple, and a single piece of Curly Maple (for the easel tray itself). It also has a number of hardware adaptations all of which use black oxide finishing. I think the design decisions ultimately turned out a pretty nice looking easel and it made a great gift.

Dimensionally speaking, the easel stands at 72" tall. It has 1-5/8" (40mm) square legs, a 31" wide easel tray, and as noted above, all of the hardware is finished with black oxide. The main structural pivot bolt is 3/8" at 6-1/2" long. The easel tray bolts are 1/4" at 5-1/2" inches long and compress against the front two legs to lock the tray into place. All of the bolts are lined with black oxide steel washers of varying thicknesses and each outer washer has an outermost neoprene washer included to protect the wood.
3-Layer Instrumental Jam
May 18th, 2022 | View Post
I've been continuing to amass a collection of song pieces, multi-tracking instrumentals, and other musical bits on my TikTok channel. Here's the latest one I've posted.