Ten Years of Blogging

I have now been writing at this address in some form or another for over ten years1. Sometimes it feels like just yesterday that I started tinkering with blog engines. Other times it feels like I’ve been a blogger forever!

I like to say that I blog first for myself and second for everyone else, and that’s still true. Ten years doesn’t sound like a lot of time, but it’s fascinating to read the crazy things that 20-year-old-me wrote. I really have changed quite a lot in that time! That said, it certainly is nice to have readers. Not only do you keep me motivated (and correct me when I get things wrong) you have also taught me an awful lot over the years. I have met so many people and learned so many things that I just don’t think I would have without this blog. I really appreciate all of the relationships and opportunities that writing here has afforded me!

Surface Pro & HTC Windows Phone 8X

Technology and the web have also changed quite dramatically in the time I have been writing here. There are lots of reasons that my posts have gotten longer over the years, but one big factor was Twitter. Before Twitter launched, I would occasionally write really short “status” entries here, like this one. Increasingly I have been producing content elsewhere, whether it is Tumblr, YouTube, or Instagram. Still, this blog has remained the glue that ties it all together.

I have mentioned this before, but it was around 2008 that my blog started to focus very heavily on local topics. It was September 2008 that I launched my Edmonton Notes series2, which is now one of the most popular features on the blog. If you’re looking through the archives, don’t be surprised if you find the first five years of this blog to be much more random than it is now!

Whether you’ve been reading for years or are new, thank you. Here’s to another ten years!

New Design

You may notice that I refreshed the look of the blog this week. I’ve been meaning to do so for a while now, and the anniversary was as good an excuse as any! My blog is now a fully responsive site, which should make for a better reading experience on your mobile devices. There’s a bit more room for content, and I’ve made the text bigger by default.

Curious to see what this blog looked like in the past? Thanks to the Wayback Machine, you can:

I’ll continue tweaking it, so please let me know if you have any feedback.

  1. I generally treat November 6, 2003 as the start of my blog because that’s the oldest post I was able to save when I moved to WordPress in 2008. I actually started blogging prior to that, but unfortunately all of those posts were lost. 

  2. Five years of Edmonton Notes, can you believe that?! My blog has been Edmonton-focused for about half of its existence. 

Using Disqus for Comments

Today I switched the comment system for this blog to Disqus (“discuss”). You’ve most likely already used Disqus on other websites even if you didn’t realize it – they reach over 200 million people each month. Disqus is used by CNN, Fox News, TechCrunch, and many other popular websites. Their reach is all the more impressive when you consider that the company only started in 2007. Here’s how Disqus introduces itself:

DISQUS is a comments platform that helps you build an active community from your website’s audience. It has awesome features, powerful tools, and it’s easy to install.

There are a number of features that Disqus provides that are quite compelling. As a blogger, you get threaded comments, inline media embedding, social integration, mobile support, email support, and much more all “out of the box”. All of that is now available here, on this blog.

Installation was simple – just download the plugin, activate it, and login. One of the primary reasons I felt comfortable switching to Disqus was its integration with WordPress. All new comments will appear in both Disqus and my WordPress database, which means I can remove Disqus at any time without losing any data. All existing comments are now in Disqus too. That process was somewhat trickier – the automatic importing didn’t work properly for me, so I had to manually export some comments from WordPress, and then import them into Disqus. Even that didn’t take much effort though.

Disqus also has really simple integration with Tumblr, so I am using it for comments on my Edmonton Etcetera blog as well.

You can learn more about Disqus at their blog. If you’re a developer, check out the API documentation (I’ll be looking into that more).

Hope you enjoy the new comment experience here!

Website Changes

Unless you read my blog in an aggregator of some sort, you probably noticed an updated color scheme and picture on my website today. I was getting bored with the blue so I decided to change it. I also tweaked things a bit so that it’s easier to change this sort of thing in the future. Thanks to everyone who has commented on the look already – some of you like the changes, some of you don’t. The picture is a little too formal for my tastes, so my Dad has agreed to take some new ones for me when he’s in town in a couple weeks.

I also added a find me online feature recently. Basically it’s a list of links to my various profiles around the web. I haven’t done it yet, but I am going to clean up the sidebar as well. It’s horribly out of date, and I think I could be using the space better.

Any other feedback, suggestions, or requests?