Rebuilding the candler blog

A little over a year ago I stopped being able to update the candler blog. The reasons are boring, a combination of my web host shutting down, my CMS not being actively developed and Ruby growing increasingly difficult to work with on macOS. I’m not a programmer, so once these roadblocks cropped up I had no recourse. I decided to just leave the site up and hope I could figure it out one day.

For the most part, I didn’t get much of an urge to write here. I maintain various little journals for myself, so I could scratch the itch of getting thoughts out of my head pretty easily. Publishing those thoughts stopped being a priority.

Then Twitter got a new owner.

Watching its demise play out reminded me not only of the friends, opportunities and experiences that weird little site brought into my life along the way, but also the nature of web publishing in general. Having started the candler blog in 2009, I always thought of myself as someone who came to blogging late. And yet, all these years later, I feel like I got in just under the wire on the web’s greatest moment.

For years, the web has slowly been slipping away. This was made clearer to me as I started trying to sort out the technical issues on my site. In 2012, when I moved the site off of Wordpress and started statically building it with Octopress, there was no shortage of information to help a non-programmer along in getting up and running. Heck, I was even able to contribute to the project by blogging about my own modifications. Trying to solve my problems this time around, I found far less help available out on the web. I don’t think it’s because people are any less free with their helpful posts, it’s just that the community of people willing to do so has shrunk.

I’ve been noticing for years what an incredible loss it is that the blogging community has withered away. One example that constantly frustrates me is camera, or really any, product reviews. As an avid photographer, I’m always wanting to learn about new gear and how it works. Almost all camera and lens reviews have moved to YouTube, which is nice to have sometimes, but more often than not it’s the reviewer staring at the camera reading their review. I want to skim for the information that’s relevant to me, I want to look at photos without a backing track. And yes, I want to read.

Finally it occurred to me that I am part of the problem. Who am I to complain about missing blogging when I don’t even maintain my site anymore? The web is nothing without people contributing to it. The web has no reason to exist without my voice and yours.

Eventually I figured out how to move my Octopress site into Hugo. I went with one of the more popular themes, Paper, because I don’t need this place to feel custom built quite yet. I just need it to work. I expect much to be broken around here. That’s okay.

So what’s there to write about? What can you, the reader, expect to see on the candler blog as it heads toward its 14th year? For as long as I can remember, my Twitter bio has read “I write about movies and tech and wherever the twain meet.” Let’s go with that again. That should cover enough ground for a bit.

Welcome back.