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I'm back... again

Returning to the world of blogging.

terminator im back

That’s right, my personal blog is back… again (technically).

It’s been a little over 2 years (yes, two years! o_O) since that 14th of March, 2011, when I took down all my blogs and websites, closed my social media accounts, and temporarily removed myself from the Internet world. Such a decision wasn’t made from one moment to the next, but I had been considering it for several months.

Blogging is something that came to my life suddenly (I had no prior interest in websites until some classmates made a blog and I got curious), and though it was something I came to like, it also became part of an overload of after-school activities I was already dealing with and which resulted in not performing in my studies as well as I wished. Eventually I realized I needed to start removing distractions here and there in order to focus, and the blogs were near the top of the list. Around March I enrolled in a new course and I decided that this was the signal I had been waiting for.

After a few months disconnected from those previous activities, during which I cleared my mind and rethought my priorities, I began to return little by little to some of them, but I preferred to wait a while longer before returning to blogging. I wasn’t ready for it yet, and there was also some maintenance I had been performing to them while they were online and that I wasn’t willing to resume.

As if fate supported my idea, in August the worst imaginable thing happened when I lost the domain by accidentally letting it expire due to a confusion with my then registrar (some local company I used only because I could buy domains without card) and it passed into the hands of a spammer. I knew he wasn’t going to give it back except for an absurdly high price (which I had no way to pay), so I crossed my fingers hoping that the next year he either would choose not to renew it or would forget to.

On May 15, 2012, fourteen months after the blog closed, it would be a year since the U2 concert I attended at the Azteca Stadium. It was an extraordinary espectacle and I never came to write a post about it at the time due to not having the blogs back then, so I thought the anniversary was a good opportunity. I then set up a new blog on a default WordPress installation using my other domain (manuelfte.com) and wrote an article announcing my return (which is why now I say that I returned again). However, bad luck meant that at that time I was in final exams, which prevented me from writing the story, and I took down that short-living blog too.

In June, with my lost domain’s expiration date close, I made a backorder to Name.com so that I’d automatically buy it if the spammer didn’t renew it, and in October fortunately he let it expire and I got it back; but I was still wondering whether to restore the blog or not.

Finally, a few months ago, the fact that I had so many things I wanted to write and nowhere to write them began to overwhelm me, so I concluded that it was time to return. In order to avoid the complications of the maintenance work, I considered that perhaps it would be a good idea to set up the blog on WordPress.com, a platform that I always claimed to hate because of how limited it is but that in this case could free me of a lot of load, so in April I bought the update to use it with my own domain, imported the posts, and began the task of trying to adjust it to my needs. Fortunately, I regretted it just in time. Those three months were enough for me to confirm that WordPress.com is a piece of rubbish even bigger than I thought. No effort-saving could excuse such limitations (I’ve published a more complete analysis in WordPress.com vs. self-hosted WordPress: pros and cons), so I installed a copy of WordPress locally and got down to work.

One of the original goals for my return was to prepare a new theme of my own for the blog written from scratch, since I previously used some half-baked Frankenstein I created by mixing Twenty Ten with parts of Hybrid News, and I also wanted to give the place an identity of its own. However, I haven’t yet mastered WordPress at that level, so I had to limit myself to looking for some fancy theme, and after several hours browsing I found this one, the BoldR Lite, which I liked because it’s responsive (which was an essential requirement), and in general I like how it looks, and after a few small modifications it was on point.

Once that was resolved, the main task followed, which was to import the articles and comments. After successive migrations, deletions and experiments, I had that information scattered in the original Blogger blog (since that was the platform where this blog started), two installations of self-hosted WordPress, the WordPress.com blog, and even some in Google Reader’s cache and Feedburner’s email subscription, so I had to do some sorcery to piece all of them together in a single XML file and import them into this blog. Now, with the exception of a few articles and comments that have gone forever to /dev/null, they’re all gathered here.

Finally, it was a matter of reviewing my old list of plugins to reinstall the ones I’d keep and replace those that have been abandoned with updated ones, adjust the settings appropriately, write the two relaunch articles, buy a new hosting, upload everything, and finally I’m ready to re-share ideas on my blog.

Not much else to say except “let’s blog!”

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