Saturday, May 25, 2013

Working behind the curtains

Blogging isn’t an event—it’s a process. It includes writing, then editing and finally publishing posts, though other things like research can be included, too. The point is, posts just don’t appear out of thin air.

Maintaining this blog is a bit like that for me, too: It’s not self-perpetuating. In fact, I spend quite a lot of time tinkering around behind the curtains, fixing things that have gone wrong, streamlining things, adding or deleting things. It, too, is a process.

Today, I was searching this blog for something, and ended up doing something else (that happens fairly often, actually). Because of that search, I saw one of the posts with shownotes for my podcast (back when they were hosted here). I noticed the artwork (what’s usually called “cover art” or even “album art”) was missing from those posts.

One day quite some time ago, I was going through my blog pictures/graphics on Picassa, Google’s image storing service where all graphics posted in Blogger posts are stored. I noticed that sometimes there were two (or more) versions of the same thing, usually because I uploaded something, deleted it to change it and re-uploaded it. So, I started clearing them out, but among the things I deleted were several copies of the podcast artwork I thought weren’t being used; it turned out, obviously, one or more of those copies were used in those old posts.

So today I went and copied the HTML code for a copy that was still in use and pasted it in place of the original code. However, it also meant I had to update the links to the actual podcast episode, too (clicking on the artwork takes readers to the post on my podcast site). Time consuming, but not difficult.

I had two thoughts while I was doing this. The first was about how I used to be a little uneasy about editing old posts, but now I do it all the time (usually just for style/appearance).

The second thought was a little different: I wish that when I set up my podcast site, I knew what I know now. If I did, I’d have exported the contents of this blog (up to that point) and then imported it into the new site (which is, of course, a blog). If I had done that, all of the original comments would have been on those posts (and I could have deleted all the non-podcast posts). Because I didn’t do that, all those old posts that I reposted to the new site have no comments. The history of my podcast is fractured, and I regret that.

Still, you don’t know what you don’t know, right? I’d do things differently now, and will, if I ever change the hosting company for my podcast. The larger point, though, is that as I’ve learned more about the stuff behind the curtains, I can do more, so I do more. Actually, none of this would have happened at all if I’d known how to copy the HTML code for those old posts so they’d all link to the same graphic.

Blogging is a process. So is blog maintenance. The first often leads to the second, as it did today. At least it keeps me learning stuff; I like that.

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