Happy 140th birthday, Canada!
A grain of salt is probably called for, in light of all the many previous terror warnings that (mercifully) haven’t panned out, but for what it’s worth:
A secret U.S. law enforcement report, prepared for the Department of Homeland Security, warns that al Qaeda is planning a terror “spectacular” this summer, according to a senior official with access to the document.
“This is reminiscent of the warnings and intelligence we were getting in the summer of 2001,” the official told ABCNews.com.
Perhaps adding some credibility to the report, or at least to the general ability of our intelligence services to get stuff like this right, apparently we had intelligence two weeks ago that “airport infrastructure or aircraft” in Glasgow might be targeted.
Also, while American officials aren’t speaking on-the-record about this alleged intelligence of a summer terror threat, “officials in Germany have publicly warned that the country could face a major attack this summer, also comparing the situation to the pre-9/11 summer of 2001.”
Becky has a question: “After re-reading What to Expect When You’re Expecting for the 400th time, I decided it’s probably time for me to invest in a couple of different pregnancy/breastfeeding/caring-for-baby books. Of course, the problem is, when I go to Borders or Barnes and Noble and take a peek at their selection, I really can’t tell what’s good and what’s crap. So, I ask you, my darling internet audience, what baby books did you like and why? Was there a book you just think every preggo or father-to-be should have?’
“Dude, I just had this dream with Skeet Ulrich and a cougar. And Skeet Ulrich was trying to kill me.” –me (transcribed by Becky)
One of the many issues raised by the fact that Becky and I are expecting a child — approximately #1,746 on the list — is the future of this blog. How will I find the time to keep blogging? How often will I update the blog? How will I pay for its continued upkeep?
It’s that last question that I want to focus on for a moment, because it’s really the crucial point in the rest of this discussion. At the moment, I’m shelling out roughly $260 per month for a dedicated server. My dedicated-server buddies Jay, Joe and Brian help me cover some of that total, but I’m still paying about $150 out of pocket — and moreover, for long-term budgeting purposes, it’s necessary for me to set aside enough to cover the whole $260 (since I’m the only one contractually obligated to pay). That means, as I look at our annual budget, I see more than $3,000 going down the drain to pay for the server space that this site lives on. With travel plans in the making, student-loan debts about to come due, and a baby on the way, that $3,000 looms awfully large. Huge, in fact.
Moreover, even putting aside the raw impact of that dollar figure on the rest of our budget, the reality of starting work and starting a family makes the cost seem, well, less worth it. Because the fact is, the blog is inevitably going to diminish somewhat as a priority in my life. That’s not to say I won’t still blog — of course I will. I don’t think I could give up blogging if I wanted to. I’d need a 12-step program, and I doubt even that would work. :) But I’ll spend less time blogging, and focus less energy on my blog’s upkeep. That’s just the reality of what lies ahead. And so while spending $260/month might have made some degree of sense when I was devoting a huge chunk of my (ample) free time to this project, it makes far less sense when I’ll have considerably less free time, and will be devoting considerably less of it to the blog.
Anyway, my first inclination, as I started thinking about this, was to lash out against the necessity of hosting my blog on a dedicated server at all. I’ve never really understood why it’s necessary, considering I “only” average 2,000-ish visits per day. Shouldn’t dedicated servers be necessary only for huge blogs like InstaPundit and Daily Kos? Shouldn’t I be able to host my site on a shared server? Yet experience after experience, with one host after another, makes clear that my blog inevitably taxes a shared server, or even a semi-dedicated server, to the breaking point. I think it’s the combination of the traffic levels with the sheer size of my WordPress database that does it. I may not be one of the blogosphere’s most popular bloggers, but I’m one of its most prolific, and as a result, there is just an absolute ton of stuff in my database for all those MySQL queries to sort through. But that’s just a theory. In any event, whatever the reason, the reality appears to be that I can’t reliably downgrade to a shared or semi-dedicated server without fear of provoking server crises like I’ve had in the past. I might be okay for a while, but a handful of Instalanches — nevermind Katrina Redux, or heaven forbid, a Drudgelanche — and I’d be right back to square one again, scrambling to keep my site online without frying my host’s servers and zapping their other customers. And frankly, I’m so over dealing with that crap.
So, if my blog can’t exist in its current form without being on a dedicated server, and I don’t want to continue paying for a dedicated server, that would seem to leave me with but one choice: fundamentally change the blog’s current form.
This is what I’m thinking. If I stop using WordPress (which runs on, and publishes to, the BrendanLoy.com server) to run my blog, and switch over to one of the big bloggy services like Blogger (on Blogspot) or TypePad, the majority of my traffic — including virtually all of the highly volatile day-to-day traffic that comes with Instalanches and the like — would no longer tax the BrendanLoy.com server. It would instead tax Blogspot’s or TypePad’s servers, which are obviously designed to handle such things much better than any server I could pay for. That would leave the BrendanLoy.com server to handle my photo galleries and miscellaneous static pages (and my old blog archives, but more on that in a second). The overall effect, I think, would be to lessen the load on the BrendanLoy.com server enough that I could downgrade to a shared-server plan (and put that $3,000 toward diapers instead of the dedicated server).
But what about my old blog archives — i.e., this post and everything before it, going back more than five years to April 2002? Would I migrate them over to Blogspot/TypePad, or would I leave them here, severing them from the newly “downgraded” blog? Alas, while it kills me to say it, the answer is obvious: I leave the old posts on the BrendanLoy.com server, archived for historical reference (with comments turned off), and start totally anew. Between the difficulty of exporting from WordPress into a “lesser” service, the importance of maintaining stable links (i.e., not “breaking” five years’ worth of internally and externally linked URLs), and the necessity of making the “new” blog manageable, I think that’s how it would have to be, if I go this route.
So, you’d have my currently active blog in one place — at, say, brendanloy.blogspot.com, for example — and all my other stuff, including my old blog archives, in another place. Of course, there are lots of tricks I could do to make the back-and-forth between these two digital realms as seamless as possible. But the important thing from my perspective is that the bulk of my traffic, and server load, would be handled by Blogspot (or TypePad, or whomever) rather than my server. The huge, honking downside? As of some arbitrary date, Irish Trojan’s Blog 1.0 would abruptly end, and Irish Trojan’s Blog 2.0 would abruptly begin. Searching, categorization, archiving, etc. would all be totally separate between the “old” and the “new.”
I don’t like that, but I’m not sure I have a choice.
And maybe, just maybe, it presents an opportunity. Maybe it wouldn’t simply be “Irish Trojan’s Blog 2.0.” Maybe this is a chance to do some “rebranding,” if you will, and maybe now is the perfect time for it. I’m done being a student, I’m entering the working world, and I’m about to have a kid. At some level, I’ll always be an “Irish Trojan,” but is that really going to be my defining characteristic going forward? Certainly not as much as it has been from 2004 (when the blog first got that name) through 2007. So in other words, maybe instead of separating my blog into Part 1 and Part 2 but otherwise pretending it’s the same blog (just with a technological line of demarcation drawn arbitrarily down the middle), maybe it’s time to actually… you know… start a new blog. Cut the cord on the old one, leave it online in archived form, refer back to it now and then, but: start anew, with a new title, new features, a new outlook.
Well, not a totally new outlook. I mean, I’m still me. :) My blog will always reflect that. And that’s a good thing, I think. But I think maybe the time is coming to retire the “Irish Trojan’s Blog” and move on to something slightly different. Something “rebranded.” I’m not quite sure what that means, or what the new “brand” would be (though I definitely think Jay’s “ABLY NERD ON” has some promise). I don’t know how different the “new” would be from the “old,” really. I don’t know how different I’d want it to be. But I think this is an idea worth considering.
There’s another way in which the “downgrade” idea makes sense, too. I mentioned before that having a baby, starting a job, etc., means that my blog will be de-prioritized somewhat. Well, maintaining a blog that’s hosted on my own server, via server-side software, inevitably means spending a fair amount of time dealing with technical issues relating to the blog’s upkeep. By contrast, hosting it on someone else’s server, via someone else’s software, takes a lot of the technical stuff out of my hands and makes things more streamlined. I’m a user instead of an administrator, basically. In the past, I didn’t like that — I wanted to be as hands-on as possible, with endless options. That’s why I upgraded to WordPress in the first place! But the operative motto going forward might be “simplify, simplify, simplify.” If I’m going to have less time to blog, doesn’t it make sense to spend a greater percentage of what blogging time I do have on actual blogging instead of on technical back-end stuff?
I dunno. I’m still thinking this through, brainstorming about possibilities, trying to imagine what will work best. That’s why I’m posting it here — because my readers usually have some pretty clever ideas, so I figured I’d solicit your input and see what you think. Feel free to comment and make suggestions about any stage of the thought process I’ve just outlined. Do you think you’ve got a better solution to the dedicated-server dilemma? An alternative to splitting the blog in two? A suggestion about “rebranding”? Let’s hear it. As a
billionaire presidential candidate — no, no, the other billionaire presidential candidate — once said, “I’m all ears.”
P.S. I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that this is the second time I’ve pondered the future of the blog in a post titled “The future, Conan?” — and, in so doing, predicted a reduction in my blogging activity because of impending life changes. The first time around, in April 2004, I wrote:
Of course, there will inevitably be some changes to my blog once law school begins. First and foremost, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m sure I will be updating it quite a bit less frequently, out of sheer necessity. (This is going to be tough, since the November election is barely two months after I start, but I will have to restrain myself somehow in order to get my damn work done.) Also, although IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll still be rooting like hell for the Trojans, the USC-related postings may take something of a hit, in order to avoid totally alienating Trojan-hating Domers.
I was, of course, wrong on both counts: if anything, I blogged more about USC once I got to ND, as I discovered the impish glee of being an Irish Trojan (and, yes, alienating the haters); and the overall frequency of my blogging increased during law school. In fact, it more than doubled. From April 2002-August 2004, I blogged 3,287 posts, or 113 per month. From September 2004-May 2007, I blogged 8,446 posts, or 256 per month.
This time, though, I’m pretty sure I won’t be wrong. No way am I going to be averaging 8-10 blog posts per day while clerking (and, ultimately, lawyering) and being a father. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. Perhaps the guestbloggers — whose help I originally enlisted precisely because of the anticipated, never-realized dropoff in my own blogging frequency during law school — will take on a bigger role. Or perhaps the whole blog will just become a bit less “hyperactive.” Probably a little of both. But what’s certain, for real this time, is that I’ll be spending less time on the blog. After all, as much as I love y’all, I’m pretty sure I’m going to love little Baby Loy more. :)
In 1992, Pat Buchanan famously declared, in prime-time at the Republican National Convention, that “there is religious war going on in this country.” Buchanan’s firebrand speech so alienated moderate voters that it severely hurt George H.W. Bush’s re-election campaign. Not coincidentally, it was the last true moment of unscripted drama in the history of American national political conventions (well, unless you count the f***ing balloons failing to fall at the 2004 DNC). Ever since Buchanan’s speech, every damn thing has been so thoroughly vetted and scripted, conventions have becoming mind-numbingly dull.
But I’m going off on a tangent now. My point is this: Pat Buchanan was right. Or rather, he was ahead of his time. I’m telling you, there is a religious war going on in this country, and it’s time to make peace. This post is my humble attempt to propose a cease-fire in this escalating conflict.
I speak, of course, of the Ichthys War.
Anyone who pays attention to the back bumpers of the cars in front of them knows exactly what I’m talking about (though some may know the conflict by its alternative name: the War of the Jesus Fish). The conflict has been raging for years now, and it’s beginning to spiral out of control.
It all started with Christian drivers putting small metal ornamental representations of the Ichthys, a symbol of Jesus, on their car bumpers. That seemed innocent and inoffensive enough, kind of like Notre Dame fans putting the “ND” monogramn (or Leprechaun) on their cars… though in some cases, ND fans show more religiosity than those in the Ichthys crowd… but I digress.
But then, for some unknown reason (possibly related to a cloud of smug), certain drivers who believe in evolution felt the need to co-opt the Ichthys for their own purposes. These
godless atheistic hedonists Darwinists rebutted the Ichthys — or “Jesus fish,” as they call it — with the Darwin fish:
It didn’t end there, of course. Next came a rebuttal to the rebuttal, showing a “TRUTH” fish eating the “DARWIN” fish. (I have yet to see a “BEAUTY” fish eating the “TRUTH” fish, though I think that would be fitting.) Or sometimes, it’s an Ichthys with “JESUS” inside (which, um, seems a bit redundant) eating the “DARWIN” fish. Other times, it’s just a regular old Ichthys doing the eating. Regardless, Darwin gets eaten, and those damn hippies are shown what’s what. Ornamentally speaking.
All of which is rather goofy and ridiculous and annoying in its own right. But recently, the whole thing has gotten totally out of hand. In the last month, I’ve seen…
• An Ichthys with the letters “IXOYE” inside, which is a mistranslation of the Greek “ÃŽâ„¢ÃŽÂ§ÃŽËœÃŽÂ¥ÃŽÂ£.”
• A “Darwin fish” with dog-like ears, and instead of “DARWIN” inside, it says “DOGWIN.”
• An Ichthys with the word “BUDDHA” inside.
Anyway, I’ve decided it’s high time someone tried to bring an end to this ridiculous conflict. So I hereby beseech all parties to listen to reason. Darwinists, the Ichthys is about Jesus; it has nothing to do with the Book of Genesis, so it has no relevance to the evolution-creation debate. Find your own damn symbol. Christians, the original Ichthys was fine, but putting “JESUS” (or a Greek mistranslation) inside it just makes you look silly, and having the Ichthys eat “DARWIN” is the car-ornament equivalent of “feeding the trolls.” It just encourages them!
As for everyone else… Buddhists (and members of other religions), again, get your own damn symbol! The Ichthys has nothing to do with Buddha. Put a little fat man on your bumpers or something, but leave the fish out of it, okay? And… uh… Dogwin? WTF??
Seriously. You all need to just stop.
Why, just why in the world would anyone pay over retail price for an iPhone? Seriously. I decided to check out the eBay listings for the iPhone, and there are tons of them listed for sale, in lots from one to eight phones.
I also decided to check the Apple website, to check on availability of iPhones at the various Apple Stores across the nation. There were only a handful of stores nationwide that didn’t have them. All together, I counted 24 stores nationwide that were currently sold out. Of that number 18 were in California. The rest were in Las Vegas, Miami, Atlantic City, and Austin, Plano, and Southlake, Texas. Of those stores that were sold out, there were available phones in separate LA, Miami, and Austin stores.
So why, I ask you, would anyone in their right mind pay between $800.00-$5,000.00 each, when they could get them for $499/$599? Some folks clearly don’t get this whole supply/demand thing. Guess they thought it was another Playstation 3 or something.
UPDATE Apparently the Knoxville Apple Store (or someone claiming to be the Knoxville Apple Store) is putting all of the “scalpers-to-be” in their place on Knoxville Craigslist.
UPDATE by David K.
Then there is this nut-job who is hoping someone will opt for his $30,000-$50,000 auction for an iPhone including personally delivering it to your door within 16 hours of the auction ending. Um. Yeah. Anyone think that paying 50x the cost of it is worth getting one within 16 hours when there are still Apple Stores with them in stock and people selling it for overnight service to you for under $1000 if you really want to have it? Yeah me neither.