1% Complete

Today marks the tenth year I've been blogging with a self-hosted solution1, and this usually means that a person will look back over their posts to compare and contrast what was then versus what is now. I won't really do that aside from saying this personal project has come a long way since 2006, when it was running on a modified Synology DS-106j NAS that could just barely handle WordPress. Instead I plan on using this opportunity to look forward towards some of the goals I have for my writing, as well as the publishing tool that, quite literally, powers every web service I've worked on in the last eighteen months2.

The Notebook — Where Ideas Come to Life

Long-Form Writing

One of my goals for the near future is to return to some long-form writing. This was something I enjoyed doing for TheCarbonBlog, back when I was trying to encourage people to look at the various pros and cons of certain technologies such as fracking, carbon sequestration, and whatnot. The articles I wrote for that site in 2008 and 2009 often failed to reach their target audience because I was writing for the wrong people. Rather than attract readers who wanted to know more about the technologies, the site was inundated with activsts who meant well but were already mostly aware of the subject. Since then I've come to write longer pieces for various news sites around the web on topics such as distance education and how technology fails teachers, but I'd really like to build a larger audience here on this site with what I hope will be well-written pieces on the subject of positive growth. Yesterday I wrote a short article on how China could be smartly positioning themselves in space as a colony's one-stop resource shop, and I'd like to write similar stories that focus on the direction humanity may travel … so long as all the pieces align. Despite the craziness that we see in the news every day, I maintain a positive outlook that we will overcome our problems to tackle the grander ones in the coming generations.

Longer articles tend to take more time to write, though, so I don't want to limit myself to only long-form writing. Instead I'll set a goal to publish two articles a month, on the 1st and 15th, to start. If there is interest, then I will slowly increase the number of articles. There are no plans to put these behind a paywall, though. My writing isn't that good.

Growing 10Centuries

With this being my blog's 10th anniversary, one could argue that 10Centuries is 1% into its goal to be online for a thousand years. Unfortunately, 10C is just 5 years old, so this number is a little optimistic. That said, the project that is near and dear to my heart is seeing some interesting feature expansion in the near future that should make for an interesting service for people who are tired of being treated as a product rather than as a person.

A preliminary version of the ToDo lists have been out for a little more than a month now and soon we'll see the release of Notes, the first step towards an Evernote replacement that will allow a person to keep everything in a single location. In August I started tackling the concept of Notes as unstructured groups of structured data and this has allowed me to approach the problem in a way different from many note-taking tools. A lot of solutions will look at a note as a text file, but it's really nothing of the sort. A blog post is a text file. A transcript is a text file. A note, however, is not nearly so elegant, and people needn't be confined into thinking of notes as rigid objects. 10C will let people do things a little differently.

Another feature I'm hoping to roll out before the new year is Photos. Pardon the boring product names, but it's really for the better. Coming up with snazzy names is a senseless waste of mental processing power, just like searching for the perfect URL. I'd much rather invest the time into building the product than naming it. While the code might have various coffee-related code names, the actual product is very simply named. This also gets around the problem of trademarks, as you can't claim to own a plural that has been part of the language longer than anybody on this planet has been alive.

So by the start of — or early into — 2017 10Centuries will have:

  • Blogging
  • Social
  • Podcasting
  • ToDo
  • Notes
  • Photos

Also, come February or March, I expect to have saved enough to afford the services of a local web developer who has kindly offered to help out with a new interface for the account administration pages. Fully responsive and much more aligned with how people actually use web applications, the new UI should make it much easier for people to use all of the service's features from their browser. To make the system even better, a number of people are currently working on building native applications for a number of platforms that will give others the ability to use the 10Centuries platform in a more natural, more nuanced fashion.

It's an exciting time, to say the least.

  1. I did have a Live Blog, or whatever it was Microsoft called their service around 2004, but it was a terrible site full of poorly-written posts that had no place online. Mushy stuff with lots of pictures of my ex and I doing things around Vancouver. Nobody needs to read about that :P

  2. One of the reasons 10Centuries has been developed so quickly is because I have two other forms of the same code base that are actively developed for other purposes. One is a Learning Management System, and the other is a hyper-local music distribution service. Improvements to the underlying system elsewhere eventually makes it to the other projects so that everybody can benefit.