It is now two weeks since I pulled my old website off the internet for the good of the internet. (Not just to avoid anyone stumbling across my ramblings, but because my server got hacked and was redirecting visitors to… well, wherever someone else wanted to. Given that I don't know who that 'someone else' is, other than that they are the sort of person who hacks into other people's websites and messes about with them, I don't really trust them too much. Hence taking the site offline.)
This post is a rambling explanation about why the old site is going to be staying offline for the forseeable future.
Its also the first time I've managed to find both the time and the energy to sit down and try to get the old site cleaned up, working again, and back online so that I can start moving something like ten years worth of blog posts over to this new site. (Again, not because the internet is worse off without it – somerandomnerd.com going offline is hardly like _why vanishing – just because ten years of 'stuff' feels like a shame to just watch vanish into the ether.)
So… before I can even start on fixing things, I have to deal with the fact that my old hosting moved back in December. Which shouldn't be a big deal, except it means that when I try to SSH into my server, my computer sees that somerandomnerd.com isn't where somerandomnerd.com used to be, panics, and refuses to let me connect in case the site has been hacked. (Which, of course, it has – but as far as I can tell, this detail is actually unrelated.) I know enough about SSH and RSA to know how to tell my computer to be ultra-safe and not let me connect when something strange is going on, but not enough to know how to tell the same computer that I understand that something looks strange, but that it isn't so strange that I don't want to let it connect.
(This kind of thing is exactly why I don't want to look after my own server any more.)
So, I need to try to either figure out how to make my computer forget about the paranoid security settings I set up a while ago for this particular server, or for every server I've connected to, knowing that at some point I'll want to connect to one of them again and have to jump through a similar bunch of hoops. Which sounds like creating a new headache for the sake of taking my mind off the existing headache…
Instead, I'm going to try a different approach. Given that all of the old content that I want is sitting in a database, I'm going to try to just dump the database and sift through it for the stuff that I want to keep. I have no idea how much work that is going to be to make it actually work properly (by "properly", I mean "every single post makes it back online, with all the old links still pointing to the same content, images and links still working etc. etc.)
With it being ten years since I started putting stuff onto servers on the internet, that feels like a big job. (Or more accurately, a very large number of little jobs, many of which have a bunch of other little jobs nested within them.)
The new 'first problem' is that both Safari and Chrome are still being ultra-paranoid about my web domain – meaning that trying to access web-based tools gives me repeated 'This site is unsafe' warnings, breaking functionality of web apps – so while I can get into my databse, I can't easily download the contents of it.
Except... this turns out to be a database with almost half a million entries in it. Some of these will be relevant to the 400 or so blog posts, notes and links that I've posted. Most of them will be utter rubbish (including spam comments, spammy user accounts, unfinished draft posts from several years ago.)
So… rebuilding the old site feels like something that would take time and energy that might be better spent elsewhere. Its not something that I'm definitely not going to do (I'm particularly aware that the longer I leave it, the harder it will get.) But rather than this being something I'm going to do as soon as I have the time to look at it (ie. tonight), its something I'm going to do when I get around to it. Which, given that I have a lot of things that I want to get around to (including two children to raise, a bunch of iTunes U videos to watch, a new GTA game coming out this year to play, a new guitar that hasn't had nearly as much attention as I would like, a job to do and a bunch of commitments that will probably extend outside of the 9 to 5, Monday to Friday)… lets just say that digging through a bunch of code and databases is sitting fairly low down on my 'to do' list – some way beneath 'write some new stuff.' So although there are a couple of bits and pieces that I do want to pull out and put back online, I'll probably end up rewriting them and bringing them up to date rather than effectively necroposting my own blog.
So… Goodbye SomeRandomNerd.com. For the most part, it was fun. Except for all of the admin stuff that I don't have to do anymore…