It's 2012 and this blog is now 5 years old. I figured, then, that this would be as good a time as any to clean things up. So I have. As far as "clean ups" go, this one is extreme. I'm starting with an empty root directory, brand-new database, fresh install of WordPress 3.3 and an extra-minimalistic theme. I've rebooted.
Those playing along at home will know that I'm fond of the odd redesign — or twelve — and for the majority of the last 5 years I've redesigned this blog with dedicated regularity. That is until the last year or so. It's not like I haven't "tried" to freshen things up, just that I've made a dozen attempts and none of them ever really progressed further than a basic mockup before I would get sidetracked with something else or simply lose interest.
Last night at 9:50pm — yes, I redesigned my blog on New Year's Eve, I'm just that awesome — I decided that if I was going to relaunch for 2012 then I had to do something about it pronto. What you're looking at is the result of that snap decision. The focus being on the articles that I will (or at least intend to) write, rather than the site itself. I had been toying with the idea of also publishing short posts with links and other things I found interesting but in the end I've decided to stay away from that — at least for the moment, I may yet change my mind.
Gone is all the old content, all the old (unnecessary) plugins, all the comments, all the likes, all the images, all the scripts — everything, gone. And I like that. (That's not entirely true, I haven't blown them all to oblivion, instead I've archived them off onto a sub-domain and will attempt to set up some 'smart' redirects so that old links don't break)
I do intend to bring back some of the "better" articles from the archive, still not sure what I'll do for the couple of articles that have really good comments attached to them.
As far as plugins go I didn't have a huge amount running anyway, maybe 20 or so, but they weren't doing much. Aside from Akismet none of them were really that useful if I'm completely honest. And now that I've banished comments as well, I probably don't even need Akismet. I'll probably turn a couple of plugins back on in the next week or so after I discover that I was actually using them, will have to wait and see.
While this site is now live again with it's new look, its far from complete. I still need to work out basic things like the archive and an about page. The site header probably needs a little work, its simple, but I can't decide if its too simple. I also need to redo the "responsiveness" of the design so that it adapts to different situations — it is one of the "nice to haves" not one of the "must haves", at least on this site.
On the immediate radar for 2012 is to continue to pimp out my very first <subliminal>you should buy it</subliminal> iPhone app, CricLive, that was released just prior to Christmas. I submitted an update for approval yesterday, and there is still a few more improvements that I hope to make. I'm pretty happy with its release considering that 10 weeks ago I'd never written an iPhone app — sure I'd played around with Interface Builder, but that doesn't count. This is an actual app, an app that you can buy, with money, in the iTunes store. Wonderful.
I've got rough plans/ideas for a second iOS app, one that would have a much broader audience — I just need to a) work out if the 'rough' idea is a 'good' idea, b) work out if I'm capable of executing the idea, c) work out how I find enough time to put into the idea and d) find a cool name for it. Maybe it you keep an eye out on dribble you might spot some of my "ideas" in near future. I've already trawled the app store and couldn't find anything the same — there were a couple that were "similar", but they looked poorly done and hideously designed. I don't want anything I do to ever fall into either of those categories.
On the web front I'll continue to update the BigBashBoard which I started on a whim one Friday night earlier in the year and suddenly people started using it. It spiraled out of control from that point, and now I'm (slowly) building up this massive database of Twenty20 Cricket stats. It's fun though, and that's the main point.
A couple of my other side-projects died (or at least went into deep hibernation) at some point during the year. Not because I didn't love them, but because I wasn't getting anything out of them. The time spent maintaining them was was probably 100-fold the time other people spent using them. A bit sad, maybe one-day when I've got more free time (ha! like that's ever going to happen) I'll revisit some of them.
Fluency Admin needs an update, the current version simply doesn't work with WordPress 3.3. But I'll admit the motivation to start work on the update is low, primarily because the main feature (fly-out menus) of Fluency is now just part of the default admin interface, but secondly because the default WordPress Admin itself is not really that bad anymore — it gets closer to looking like Fluency with every update… but I'm sure I'll get to it at some point, it's probably something I can work on during my lunch breaks at work.
During 2011 I set up a 'portfolio' site, where I could stick stuff I'm working on or have worked on — essentially the sort of things that used to be in the "projects" section of this site. That's part of the reason that this blog has returned to "just" being a blog. That way Fluency Admin, CricLive etc. can all live over on the FortySevenRobots site instead. And they do, quite happily.
Ok, that's enough rambling. I've got some idea expansion to do. On with 2012.