Switching back to PostHaven

The first time I evaluated Posthaven, I did not even spend three hours on it. If I remembered correctly, the experience went like this:

  1. I hyped myself up by reading posts about Posthaven
  2. Tried to migrate some of my programming posts to it
  3. Immediately realised that formatting code in this platform sucks and;
  4. Gist embeds does not work (script tags are forbidden, although I understand for a good reason)
  5. Customisation options are severely limited (I am not even trying to do hardcore customisation, I just wanted to add a couple of menus and a date archive similar to what you can see here)
  6. There is no option to truncate posts on the homepage and limit the number of posts that are displayed

At that point, I just gave up and cancelled my account. I emailed them to give me my money back. I cannot even remember if I gave them an account of the experience I had above, but here it is now.

I immediately went over Digital Ocean and it did not take me long before I can set up a Ghost blog by provisioning a $5 droplet. Having done this over and over again with multiple cloud VMs, containers and even on a Raspberry Pi, it was almost automatic for me.

Fig. 1: Current snapshot of my Ghost blog.

And I think that is where my problem is.

If everything went right, you are now probably reading this post on Posthaven. You have read that right. I switched back to this ugly site and migrated all my posts by hand (fixing the code indentations manually, even wrapping them on pre and code tags by hand, just like these two words). Regarding my old Ghost blog, no, nothing disastrous happened. It was not hacked nor did it break down due to neglect. I am abandoning it solely due to the reasons I have stated above: I have done these steps over and over again for the past few years and I am no longer willing to do it in the next years to come

Why? Well, I am planning to write more on a regular basis, again. And this time, the posts that you will read here will no longer be just soulless tech how-tos. They will be akin to how I have usually written things prior to my attempts to attract the attention of technical recruiters. No, seriously, I will try to be more personal this time and share more about my life (?) and possibly the things that I do.

But John, you are not making sense. What's your point?

When I first thought about writing again, I realised that blog maintenance takes a good amount of time. The more time I spend as a software engineer, the more lazier I get with regards to these things. Not to mention irritable. Do not get me wrong, though. I enjoy tinkering and creating stuff. But repetitive and tedious stuff that does not give me something new, something to be excited about, is just not my thing. 

Sooner or later, something somewhere is going to break. And no amount of automation or code quality check can prevent this from happening. It could be anything: a dependency update gone wrong, a network hiccup or even a heisenbug. That is just how software is. Probably the same reason why people still cannot see software development as real engineering. Most of our time in software engineering is spent either fixing things or finding out what went wrong, no different from how other people view IT as a profession: fixing computers. Heck, even this service might break the next moment. 

But that is the beauty of it. If it breaks, I know I cannot do anything about it. I will not stress about it and just let the good guys figure it out while I think about what to write next. By now, it might be getting obvious where I am getting at. I used Posterous heavily before it got acquired by Twitter. I continued using it after the acquisition but I did not bother to export my data by the time it was approaching its demise. If you have known me long enough, you must have known that I have maintained a couple of blogs during my formative years, with topics ranging from literature, photography and even the local skateboarding scene in the Philippines. Some of them are still around with obscure names, some suffered the same fate as Posterous and most of them I have just recently made password protected (maybe I will write as to why in the next couple of weeks). 

The first thought I had was to create something like this, a blogging service that was intended to last forever. I even prototyped a distributed web application on the Ethereum platform for it. I did not release it because I thought the walled garden implementation that I did suck (there are better ways to shoulder gas prices for your users now, though) and that I know for a fact that maintenance is going to suck harder as the libraries such as web3.js have breaking changes all the time. The DApp will definitely break, sooner rather than later.

In case you are not in the know, Posthaven was made by the same guys who made Posterous. That and the promise they have is the ultimate reason why I switched back. It was also reassuring to know that in case I decide to stop paying for this service twelve months from now, this will permanently be online in archive mode. It might be a marketing gimmick for all I know, but I now treat these things with arguments no different from Blaise Pascal's wager.