A Brief Tour of Foldedspace

16 December 2010 · 8 comments

Since I’ve decided to make Foldedspace a priority again, I realized that I should probably provide some context for new readers. Which is most of you.

This blog has existed in one form or another since 16 March 2001 — and its roots go back to 1997. When you consider that I’ve had a number of blogs over the years, I have tons of material scattered across the internet on a variety of subjects. Ultimately, my goal is to bring all of that material — except my personal-finance writing — here to Foldedspace, uniting it in one blog. (And I even have some great old posts from USENET I’d like to retrieve someday.) That’s going to take a lot of time and effort, though. It’s one of my Big Projects for 2011.

Why are things scattered all over the web? The main reason is that Moveable Type sucks. When I started this weblog, I used Blogger. That was too limiting, so I changed to Moveable Type in early 2002. I loved it. I still love what it was. But in time, MT became bloated. And then in 2005, my MT installation went down hard, and lost access to my database. Because MT creates static pages, I still have access to all of my content, but only the code itself. I can no longer get into the database, which is what I need to edit the old blog.

That crash effectively killed Foldedspace. It disconnected the old content, and made me think about starting other blogs. Which I did. Using WordPress instead. I love WordPress, and I don’t regret switching from Moveable Type, but I have to manually move the old MT posts into WP if I want them in the same blog. It’s a nightmare. I hope to make the time to write some scripts next spring, though, scripts that will automate the process of moving the old MT entries to WordPress. Fingers crossed.

The Geography of Foldedspace

So, at Foldedspace, you have access to all of the basics. For example, you’ll note the tabs at the top of this page. They lead to the following:

  • Home takes you to the front page of the blog. The root of the site is a landing page to help new folks find what they need. (Which is usually Get Rich Slowly.)
  • Archives leads to just that: the site archives. There, you can currently access posts by month or by category. This will become more robust as time allows.
  • Classics is a stub right now, but eventually it’ll contain links to my favorite articles from the past decade. It’ll be a list of “greatest hits”.
  • The About page is woefully out of date. I think it’s from 2005. The list of links should really be moved to “classics”, and the bio itself should be revised.

That covers basic navigation, but what about all the junk in the sidebar. That junk has a long and storied history! Let’s cover each piece in detail.

  • First of all, the masthead/logo thingie has been around for years. It’s no great shakes, I know, but I made it myself. The name Foldedspace, by the way, originated in 2000, when I was searching for my own domain name. I was walking with my friend Andrew Cronk through downtown Hillsboro, and we were brainstorming names. He suggested “Folded Space”, which I loved. It’s a geeky science fiction reference, and it applied to my life as a box salesman. (I don’t care which you call it — both Foldedspace and Folded Space are fine.)
  • The subscribe button allows you to subscribe to this blog’s feed, if that’s something that interests you. If you don’t know what that means, it’s no big deal. (Trivia: Get Rich Slowly has 87,000 subscribers; Foldedspace has 373.)
  • The photo box contains rotating images, most of which are photos of me, my family, and my friends. Others are some of the favorite photos I’ve made over the past decade. And some are just goofy images that I like. (On certain rare posts, the photo box will actually contain an image — or movie! — related to the post. Cool, huh?)
  • Under the brief Welcome, there’s a search box. It works exactly as you’d expect.
  • The Twitter feed contains my latest tweet. Again, if you don’t know what that means, don’t worry about it. It’s just a sort of microblog of my most recent activity.
  • The Recent Comments section lists the last five comments on any Foldedspace post. The format is: Comment author (with a link to their site, if any), the first 20 or so words of their comment, and a link to the post they’re commenting on. I know some people find this feature useless, but I like it. It’s been a part of Foldedspace since Day One.
  • The Miscellaneous Flotch is a feed of the last five items I’ve bookmarked at Delicious. When my blog was based on Moveable Type, the Flotch was actually a second blog that integrated into the main site.
  • Recommended Reading contains a list of blogs that Kris and I read. These are mostly from family and friends. (If yours isn’t on there, it’s because you haven’t updated in ages, because your feed is broken, or because I forgot to include you.) For each blog, I yank the titles of the last three posts. Handy, huh?

The old blog, back when it was actually at foldedspace.org, had lots of little sub-sections, most of which weren’t obvious. If you’d hung around for a while, you knew how to find them, but new readers wouldn’t realize there was a recipes section or a section of photos. That’s not true here. Yet. But, as I say, I hope to get everything moved over to jdroth.com in 2011.

Make It So!

I really am re-energized about Foldedspace, by the way. Can you tell? I’ve posted for more than a week straight. I talk about it constantly, as Kris can tell you. For the first time in five years, I’ve even gotten into the flow of Foldedspace. That is, I remember what it’s like to have a personal blog and how to write for it.

As I go about my day, there are often little things that occur to me to share. Sure, most of these are trivial. If they’re really trivial, I post them to Twitter or Facebook. But if I think they’re fun and other people would like them, I’m beginning to remember to write them down so that I can post them here.

It’s going to take months to get this site to where I want it to be. But when I’m finished, I’ll have incorporated all of my writing for the internet since 1994, and it’ll be easily accessible. That’s cool for me, even if nobody else cares.

1 Paul (not that one, the other one) December 16, 2010 at 13:36

> I think my soon-to-be brother-in-law has agreed to help me write a
> script to parse the old posts.

Just to be explicit about it, your thinking is correct. From your description, it sounds relatively straightforward.

2 Harlan December 17, 2010 at 00:28

I’ve been getting back to my personal blogging roots as well….

3 kelli December 17, 2010 at 00:52

cool! in the classics sections, i’d vote for “dark safeway” & the one about the lady who wanted a medium sized box. i think about the killers frequently when i’m in a safeway, and just last week i suggested to my mom that she use a piece of paper to measure something.

4 Patrick December 17, 2010 at 05:53

I really enjoy your personal blog. I am a GRS subscriber who clicked over on a link from your Belize trip post, and was hooked. I still follow GRS, but I prefer this blog. I enjoy the extensive travel logs; (I have 3 young kids, so I’m not down for long international vacations!) I also enjoy the honest, personal tone of your writing. Keep up the good work!

5 Victo December 17, 2010 at 17:16

I wish you all the best in your endeavor to revive your site and add the older content to it. I think it’s great that you’re resurrecting it and not leaving it for dead. More bloggers should do this! I wrote a blog post on this and mentioned your efforts. Perhaps it will motivate me to spruce up my neglected site as well! Best regards, and I hope you accomplish what you set out for 2011.
http://www.revisionbar.com/2010/12/is-abandoning-your-blog-new-it-thing.html

6 Tyler Tervooren December 20, 2010 at 18:50

Love being a Folded Space pioneer, even if I was about 6 years late to the party. Looking forward to seeing how things develop here, J.D.

7 Sean December 25, 2010 at 04:10

JD, GRS was the first blog I subscribed to … if only I had known about Foldedspace back then (13 months)! Thank you for the gift of you. Looking forward to great things from FS!

8 bethh December 31, 2010 at 15:58

I’m curious to follow the Foldedspace journey – I’ve been following GRS for 3 or 4 years at least but lately feel like with 100+ comments on every post, my tiny voice is lost in the crowd (and it typically seems someone else has made my point for me!). I hope your master plan to port over old content works out – if not, would it be worth paying someone to do the grunt work of copying, cleaning, and pasting for you? (I’m not volunteering, just suggesting another course of action.)

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