Rebuilding My Blog
July 20, 2023, 3:27 p.m.

Here I am enduring my fourth (and worst) bout of COVID-19, my brain barely functioning at all, and I've decided to restart my blog.

Some years ago, I decided I wanted to build a blog from scratch. I built it using Python with Django, and it worked well enough for me. Maintaining it and building out features was a relaxing hobby for me, and my occasional posts were a neat outlet for those thoughts that didn't fit well on social media.

Over time, as I moved my hosting around and changed things on a whim, I rebuilt the blog a few times — once in Go! — but never really got back to blogging properly. I'd lost interest, and for the last few years my domain just had a barebones holding page at its index.

Now I've decided to bring it back, while coughing, sweating, and barely being able to think. A couple of weeks ago, while supporting a bug report I'd filed with an open source project, I got that itch to write code again. After writing a few toy scripts to reorganise my music library and script some AVIF management tools (more on that in a bit), I realised that I missed coding as a relaxing hobby activity.

So here I am, once again writing a blog. It's barebones, once again reimplemented in Python and Django, but I hope it's a decent basis from which to start. My intent is to build out a sort of hybrid blog and photography website. Blog posts will look like this, mostly text with one or more images embedded. I'll also have 'album' or 'gallery' posts for sharing the photographs I make.

I intend for every image I post to be mine and to be freely consumable and usable. In fact, unless otherwise stated, every photograph of mine that I post here will be considered CC-BY — free to use for whatever you like so long as I'm attributed as the creator (a link to my domain will suffice). I don't shoot professionally and I've never sought to make money from my photography, but I've really loved it when my work has been used by others in the past.

One of the things I'm enjoying working with at the moment is the AVIF image format, which every photograph I post here will be encoded as. Every browser supports AVIF, and it's very efficient to work with. The header image to this post is likely to be the worst quality picture I ever post, as I've lost the original RAW and so converted this ~165KiB AVIF from its 11MiB JPG. In general, working from my RAW files, a JPG exports at around 15-18MiB at original resolution and 95% quality. AVIFs exported at 85% quality (which, by eye, I consider roughly equivalent in quality to those JPGs) come out at about 7-8MiB.

That header image is possibly apt to post. I don't think I had COVID-19 at the time, but I took it in the heart of the pandemic during one of the lockdowns. I'm primarily a street photographer, not at all used to shooting portraits or anything other than street scenes, but the pandemic imposed constraints on all of us. That was my pretentious portrait of me at work, writing with a Lamy 2000 by candlelight and wine, a snapshot of how I was at that time. I don't write with pens much anymore, but that vision of me writing with wine in dim light might still capture me — albeit just focused on simple blogging and blog-building for the time being, and absent the wine until I'm over COVID-19.

As for blog-building, I'll build out features over time, with nothing hugely surprising in mind. Categories, tags, albums et cetera, all navigable by some side panel browser thing. As for what I'll blog about, I'm not hugely sure I can constrain it. My politics, my views on tech, the things I'm building, the work I do, the photographs I make, and anything else that comes to mind are all likely candidates.

For now though, just random thoughts as I build things out.