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Back with WordPress

At the end of January I decided to make the switch to the Ghost blogging platform.  I had heard good things about it and decided to move over to it.  Well, this past week I decided I wanted to expand a bit more with how I blog and realized that Ghost really wasn’t going to work for what I needed.  Given that and my limited knowledge of node.js, I decided that I’d be better served moving back to WordPress as my platform since I am familiar with PHP and its inner workings.

It wasn’t an easy decision and I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t second guessing myself, but for the moment, I’m happy with where I’m at.  I backed up my Ghost install, database and all so if down the line I feel like Ghost would be better suited for what I’m looking for, I should be able to move back with limited problems.

At the end of the day, this blog still gives me the space I need to express myself and that is what’s most important.

Run Forest, Run!

Well, it’s official, this November I will be running my first full marathon. On November 23, 2014 I will be running the Philadelphia Marathon.

Last year I ran the Philadelphia Half-Marathon which was a huge accomplishment for me and I’m looking forward to pushing myself to the next level. 4 years ago I could barely run a mile and last year I was able to hit 13.1 miles. Now I get to see if I can run 26.2 miles.

The marathon will actually be the end of a big running year for me. I’m going to be running the Broad Street Run in Philly (10 miles) and two half-marathons. I’m looking forward to running all of these races and am really hoping to get in better shape.

Now to start training.

Me running the Phillies 5k in March 2014

Full Steam Ahead

A week or so ago I decided that I needed a new programming project to work on. I haven’t really had something like this since I closed the book on OpenVoter.

Originally I was planning on building a project tracking tool in .NET but I decided that I wanted to do something a little less “corporate”, at least right now. Instead, I’ve come up with going back to an older project idea that I abandoned but am now thinking I’ll go back to.

I’m not going to go too much into it right now, but I will say it’s something that I’m actually excited to build and feel like it’s a product that I would use on an everyday basis.

I’ve already designed the logo and have been working on the wireframes. I’m hoping to get into actual layout over the next week or so.

I’m planning on building it in Ruby on Rails and have mobile apps planned for development as well.

I haven’t been this excited about a project for a while and am looking forward to seeing this move forward and becoming a reality.

My Thoughts on Ghost so Far

Two weeks ago, I decided to make the switch from WordPress to Ghost as my blogging platform. For me it was a figuratively big jump as I have been using WordPress for years and hadn’t really thought of switching to any other platform.

For me, it was also a challenge to figure out enough about Node.js to be able to set up and configure my blog with Ghost. I ended up getting it up and running on my development server, played around with it, worked on porting my theme over, and finally decided I liked it enough to switch over.

I’m still playing around with it, though not as much now that it’s stable. The only thing I’m trying to get working is the 404 page. Whenever I try to add my custom error page, the site constantly gives me a 503 error. One day, I’ll figure this out!

I really like the writing tool. I’m still getting used to the markdown syntax, but I love the simplicity of it. It’s also nice because you can mix in HTML code with it as well to get the additional features you miss with markdown. You can just start writing and not think twice about it.

I also like the overall simplicity of the platform itself. Not to knock WordPress, but there is a lot of functionality there that is not really needed for a blog. That doesn’t mean that it is a bad thing as some sites could definitely benefit from the added features, but for my needs, Ghost provides all the functionality I need.

One feature that I’m waiting for Ghost to implement is scheduled posting. I would like to be able to schedule a post for the future which I was able to do with WordPress, but not with Ghost. That said, this does seem to be in the feature list for Ghost so I’m hopeful I’ll see it in the next release.

I would also like to see archives functionality. I do miss the ability to view a specific month or year’s posts which doesn’t seem to be available currently, but it might be available in a later release.

Overall I’m quite happy with my decision to switch over to Ghost. It seems to be a solid platform that works great for me. If you’re considering it, I’d highly recommend giving it a shot.

Podcasts Galore!

Pocket Casts

Many times while I am working, I often listen to podcasts. I find that they’re a great way to keep myself up to date with what’s going on around the world, or just to learn something new.

I used to listen to NPR a lot more, and I still do, but with all the meetings I’m called into, I seldomly get to listen to a full story or full episode. Now this is part of working so I’m not compaining, it just means that podcasts make a little more sense to me since I can pause the episode and come back to it at the point where I left off.

The app I use to listen to podcasts is called PocketCasts. It has both an Android and an iOS app. I like it because it syncs across my devices. I switch back and forth between my Nexus 7 and my Galaxy S4, so it’s nice to have the episodes sync across the two. It’s also nice because it will automatically download the episodes I generally listen to.

The only downside is that sometimes the counts go up to the point where it is difficult to keep up with them, even when I filter them down to the episodes I am interested in. That being said, I find that it does keep me up to date with what is going on in various different areas such as politics, tech, news, hockey, and more.

Here’s a list of the podcasts I listen to:

Do you listen to podcasts? If so, what podcasts do you subscribe to?

Is the Bill Nye – Ken Ham Debate Worth It?

Tonight, Bill Nye (the Science Guy) is going to debate the founder of the Creation Museum, Ken Ham. The debate is going to center around the whole Evolution versus Creationism argument.

But why even really have this debate? I really doubt anyone is really going to have their minds changed by this debate. There are those who believe in evolution, and there are those who believe in creation according to the bible. I feel like those who side with Nye are going to just laugh at Ham’s arguments, and those who side with Ham, are going to pretty much ignore Nye.

As someone who believes in science and follows the evidence, I obviously believe Bill Nye to be on the correct side of the argument and it is HIGHLY unlikely my mind will be changed by Ken Ham. With that said, I feel like Bill Nye’s time and energy would be better spent pushing to improve science education in our schools (keeping creationism out of public school science classes), and just increasing science in the public eye. Maybe if we educate more people about science, scientific theory, and the scientific method, debates like this one won’t have to happen.

Now Running on Ghost

Despite my initial skepticism about switching over to Ghost as my blogging platform, I still pushed ahead and made my blog theme for Ghost. As you can tell, the look isn’t all that different from it’s previous look, but the backend is completely different.

I have to say, the way it handles editing is slightly different, but in a good way. I’ll write more once I get more into the nitty-gritty.

Making a Switch to Ghost?

Several months ago, when Ghost was first released to the public, I took a look at it and made a note to give it a look-see. Over the past week, I finally got it running on my dev server playing nicely with my Apache setup. So far I’ve been playing around with it and am contemplating whether I want to switch my blog platform over to it from WordPress, which is what I currently use.

I’ve been blogging off and on since 2007. My first blog was actually a custom blog that I first built to help myself learn PHP. Since then, I’ve generally used WordPress with various different looks. WordPress has worked well for me. I’ve gotten a decent understanding of how it works so I can build themes for it and maintain it properly. I can post from my phone and my tablet with ease through the WordPress app. Simply put, WordPress just works.

So why should I even contemplate a switch? Truth be told, I still can’t come up with a great answer for this. I see other people raving about it and its simplicity for simply writing does have a certain draw to it. One of the reasons for this blog was to get me into the habit of writing and Ghost seems to do a great job at doing just that. It doesn’t yet seem to have the same support that WordPress has for plugins and whatnot, though that’s apparently in the works. Still though, I don’t really use any plugins for my blog at all except for Disqus so it probably isn’t all that big of a deal.

I guess one of the biggest drawbacks (for me) I see for it is that it’s written in node.js. I have no problem with node.js, its just that I haven’t really played around with it much and would like a better understanding of it before I’m willing to run my site on it. That in itself wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the fact that I’m busy enough the way it is. Now I feel like I’m just complaining about nothing or maybe I just have too much on my plate at the moment.

Either way, it’s something I am still considering, but I can’t help but to think…if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Delays, Delays…

This week, I was hoping to get back into my gym routine. I went so far as to do a double session on Monday in hockey (2.5 hours of drills) and was all ready to start on Tuesday after a few false starts over the last month.

Life unfortunately, doesn’t always go so easy. Tuesday there was a pretty big snowstorm and did not feel comfortable to drive to the gym. Wednesday I was all ready to go…but then I got sick. Stupid virus or something knocked me on my ass until today, and even today I don’t feel 100%.

Oh well, maybe tomorrow.

Exploring New York City

This past weekend, Lauren and I went to New York City. It wasn’t the best weather for the trip, but overall I feel we lucked out as we only needed umbrellas twice. Most of the time it was just gray or misting which isn’t too bad in the grand scheme of things.

The weekend was relatively low-key, we spent a lot of time watching hockey both at Madison Square Garden and at sports bars. We got tickets to the Harvard-Yale game at MSG and it was a fun time. We had no real stake in the game, but it was an amazing arena and a fun game to watch.

Face-Off

We had pretty good seats for it too as you can see.

The other thing we did was spent Saturday afternoon at Museum of Natural History. I went there once in elementary school and was bored out of my mind. I think there were two parts to why I was so bored. The first was that I was so used to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia and how many of their exhibits were interactive. The second was that it was around the time when it was “not cool” to really read and study the exhibits, so trying to fit in with my peers, I opted not to care. Fast forward 10 or so years later and I’ve been wanting to go back to the museum and actually explore the museum for real this time. Needless to say, I’m glad I did. We didn’t see the entire museum, but we saw a Dark Matter planetarium show, explored the ocean, and the dinosaurs.

Face-Off

I already miss NYC.