Welcome to Mark’s Blog, Cantabits…

…the latest incarnation of my blog. It is very much a continuation of my old blog, but hopefully with some improvements. Below are some related questions that you may want the answers to. I hope that you find this blog interesting and/or of some use.

Various improvements (e.g. theming, plugins, etc.) will come in time.

Cantawhat?

Cantabits has four intended roots/meanings. Cantab refers to members of the University of Cambridge, residents of Cambridge and the suffix indicating a degree from the University of Cambridge. Bits refers to the nature of blog posts (bits – fragments, some might say – of information on the Internet). Bits also refers to the literal nature of these posts and my knowledge, experience and pursuit of computer science. Finally, and slightly accidentally, cantabit is the third-person singular future active indicative of canto which, deriving all of the way back from Proto-Indo-European, is the Latin verb “to sing”. This reflects my knowledge, experience and pursuit of music and music technology, recently culminating in a project, dissertation and Android application investigating and demonstrating ad-hoc acoustic networking between phones.

Why did I give the blog a name, rather than just call it Mark’s Blog (like the previous incarnation)? The idea occurred to me when planning the details of what was going to happen to my older blog. Essentially, it is a much better idea to leave my blog where it is which, unfortunately, means that I can’t reuse g400.co.uk/blog.

Is anything going to be different?

The name (see the question above for more information).

Now that WordPress is taking care of the hard work, hopefully there will be richer content in posts and more frequent posts. Comments will probably have to be approved by me and I hope to integrate things like my public Twitter account into the blog in a less separate way.

The subjects covered by the blog will not be changed significantly (the website of the month will stay, for example), and will continue to drift with my interests (and the interests of the admins). On the subject of admins, I’m happy to re-add any of the old admins but will not do so by default as there’s probably some overhead to that and they haven’t posted in a long time.

Of course, unlike my old blog, this one will not necessarily have valid XHTML, CSS or RSS. But I’m sure you’ll get over that.

Why a new blog?

Two reasons.

Writing your own blog software as well as posting to and maintaining the blog contents itself is very time-consuming when you’re doing it in addition to work, school or university, and life. Consequently the first reason is time. While I did have the time to write the code powering my old blog, I concentrated on university work at university and am now devoting all of my coding time and effort to my job.

Writing a comments system around simple but unusual blog software and then replacing that software with your own, keeping the same comments system, does not lead to well-designed software. All of this was also done in languages I had no prior experience of. Consequently the second reason is the need for the code powering my old blog to be refactored in order to significantly change the design and add features, to keep it up-to-date.

5 thoughts on “Welcome to Mark’s Blog, Cantabits…

    • Quick lists (rather than comprehensive ones) follow.
      Pros: can be hosted on own server, flexible (supports a wide range of plugins and themes), has many free plugins and themes, popular (support likely to continue for quite some time and posts are likely to be importable to future equivalents), can be very quick and easy to use (even when posting rich content), supports features that make management easier (such as comment approval) likely to be kept compatible with all major browsers, can be administered from a mobile device (Android has an app, from which I approved your comment), is likely to be patched against security flaws, is free and likely to remain so.
      Cons: Not self-written, writing plugins and themes of my own is likely to be more complex than for simpler software, no validity guarantees (XHTML, RSS, CSS), is likely to have security flaws searched for and found, probably uses more of the resources available for g400.co.uk than everything else that exists there put together due to complexity.

    • Apparently it has Gravatar support too. I didn’t think much else came close to looking this good, being this easy to use, and having so much functionality that I don’t even have to think or know about. 🙂
      (I’m expecting that to turn into an appropriate emoticon – even my blog had that feature).

  1. Hi, Mark–

    I like the way you write! I got a Google alert from one of your posts and just read that you are from Cambridge. I am sort of seeing someone from that part of the world! Anyway, I noticed that you have a website of the month feature. I’d love to submit my site WeareverTheWeather.com for your consideration. It’s a recommendation engine for women that shows them what to wear based on the weather forecast of any location. I invite you to try it (although you may not want to shop any of it for yourself!). Let me know what you think.

    Thanks!
    Renae

    • Thanks! Nice. 🙂 I’ll have a look at that – I’m sure my girlfriend will be able to help with trying it out and generating feedback. 🙂

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