I started this blog on the 7th of April 2014, exactly one year ago. The first post expressed some reasonable doubts about whether I would actually update the blog at all or continue to flit between CMSs and fiddle with formatting. That wasn’t the case, mostly because Ghost, while missing a few features due to its new, in-development nature, is the best blogging platform I’ve used. It’s simple, fast, responsive, and has the perfect split-pane Markdown post editor that allows me total control over my formatting, instant preview, and none of the headaches of WSYIWYG. If you’re a technical writer, Ghost is the way to go, blog-wise.
My unstated (until now) goal with the content of this blog was to provide external value with at least most of the posts. In blogs I’ve kept before, I wrote a lot about the mundane goings-on in my life, and while that was fun for me (oh, the teenage years) in recent years I’ve (1) realised that that sort of thing isn’t very interesting to read and (2) grown completely bored of writing it. So I was having none of that going forward – I would still grind my axe on some inconsequential stuff that bothered me, but I’d at least try to make it slightly relatable, external-facing and not bound up in what I had for lunch that day. I think I’ve managed to hold to that mission statement, on average. This very internal post is an exception, but eh.
And now, a listicle! I’ll leave out the Buzzfeed GIFs (this time).
Top five posts by viewcount
Below we have, in ascending order, the five posts which have received the most views as of this writing (according to Google Analytics).
Fifth place: Setting up a UniFi Controller on CentOS with SELinux
I wrote this one because all the existing tutorials I could find for setting up one of these controllers began with the line “disable SELinux”, and when I was setting one up, that wasn’t an option.
Fourth place: Review: Apothecia
This was my first negative review. It’s not perfect, but it at least proves I can write reviews of things I don’t like.
Third place: Automated file upload in Ruby with Net::HTTP and MultipartBody
This was the first tutorial I wrote, with the stated purpose of having it turn up in the Google searches of people who are trying to do this particular task and bashing their head against a wall because of it, like I did for about a day. That it’s such a popular post means it must be working.
My tutorials, meager though they be, are my way of perpetuating something I quite enjoy: specific and detailed technical tutorials on people’s personal blogs. StackOverflow is great and all, but whenever I hit an answer to something I’m searching for on a blog, I usually poke around at the person’s other posts and see what projects they’re involved in. I’ve found a lot of cool stuff that way.
On this front, I’ve got some more extensive and detailed tutorials planned for a few tools and frameworks. Hope to get those out soon.
Second place: Scraping Facebook for fun and profit
Ah, the Crushly post. I had a lot of fun making that website, frivolous and narrowly focused though it may be. The lesson learnt is that if you have a simple idea, however silly, you should just do it. I learnt a lot, had fun, and even earned a little bit of AdSense revenue in the week or so that the site was popular.
First place: Review: Starbound
I’m pretty happy that this is the most viewed post, because it’s one of my favourites. It’s long and rambly, but exactly the sort of long and rambly I like in my reviews. It’s also my second negative review. Going by views, I seem to be better at those than positive ones – maybe I should do a few more.
So that was the first year of my vanity blogging project. I had a lot of fun, got to practice writing, programming and system administration, and even provided a little value to some people (potentially). I hope to write more posts in the year to come.