Plans for 2015

With 2014 winding down, I’m starting to think of projects to undertake in the new year.

I always have a project or two in the works. I rarely mention them to anyone, through innate (and/or overdeveloped) reticence or just to avoid explanations when I give up on one of them. But this time – I have the notion to announce my projects, to publish a list & post updates throughout the year.

So, the 2015 projects:

Take a picture every day.

I tried this once before, but gave up after only a few months. I never could remember to get out the camera – i.e., the phone – during the day, when I was out in the world; and posting a year’s worth of netbook webcam shots just seemed pointless.

But now I have a better camera – aka, the iPhone 5 – and believe I’m a bit more mindful of it than I used to be. So I think I can manage a full series of 365 photos in 2015. (Using YardCam stills – taken automatically, every five minutes, dawn to dusk – would be cheating, but I’m sure a few will creep in from time to time. Don’t judge me.)

I might also have theme days within the photo project: Saturdays are for pictures of Jake and/or Sam, Mondays are for out-in-the-world pictures, that sort of thing.

Write more.

I enjoy writing. I wish I were better at it.

I want to be one of those keen-eyed observers of the human condition, dispensing wit & wisdom through the medium of WordPress.

Alas, that’s not who I am. But I could improve my writing, with a little effort & practice. (More honestly: considerable effort & practice. Or prodigious. Or more time & energy than one person could possibly hope to muster, absent illegal chemical stimulants.)

Finish the YardCam.

Finish? What does that mean? There’s no finish line for this project, no list of required features, no customers waiting with checkbooks open & pens in hand. It’s just an excuse to collect some data, write some code & learn some new things.

The YardCam will never be finished. But It would be nice if it were a little less unfinished.

Replace Flickr.

I’ve had a Flickr account for most of a decade. I still upload the occasional photo, when I remember, but mostly it’s dormant. Flickr itself is mostly dormant, slowly sinking into the trackless swamp that is Yahoo.

I don’t believe that Flickr has a future. (I don’t believe that Yahoo has a future. Its continued existence is deeply perplexing to me.) I’ve toyed with alternatives – SmugMug, Instagram – but it seems that Flickr is like democracy: the worst possible choice, except for all the others.

For 2015, I am resolved to stop paying for Flickr. It’s not worth $25/year. I’ll keep my account – as an “ad-supported” free account – but only until I can find a better place to keep my pictures.

Replace NewsBlur.

I used Google Reader, until Google lost interest; then I switched to NewsBlur. I use it, but I don’t like it very much. Its UI is wonky, its social-networking features just get me into futile arguments with strangers, and its global-shared-stories list has some serious data-hygiene problems.

It’s not worth $25/year, but the free version is too restricted to be useful. I must find a replacement. Feedly looked nice, but costs even more than NewsBlur. The search goes on.

Replace Pinboard.

For years, I failed to understand that services like Delicious (where I started) and Pinboard (where I am now) aren’t replacements for the in-browser bookmarks list; nor even some kind of browser- / platform-independent bookmark synchronization service; no, they’re specialized blogging tools.

The bookmarks I use – the sites I visit daily – belong in the browser (where synchronization across devices has matured sufficiently as to be invisible; it just works, and I don’t have to think about it).

That’s how I want to use Pinboard in the new year: as a linkblog, currently-reading list, etc. Or I might abandon Pinboard for some other service. (Candidates? I have none. I haven’t even begun looking.)

Replace WordPress.

I’ve been using WordPress since (at least) 2009, but never have liked it all that much. It’s a vast, sprawling, all-singing, all-dancing, all-things-to-all-people, Publishing Platform.

It has six or eight kitchen sinks, built right in. I don’t need even one.

I want something simpler. On the admin side, something focused on writing, and less concerned with customization, themes, site analytics, media libraries, etc., etc.

I may want to post images here, from time to time, but that doesn’t mean I want to keep them here.

I tried Ghost a few times, on the late, un-lamented pzrbot.net (which is gone; don’t waste your time looking for it, ok?). It has potential, but the thought of migrating 5,966 posts (not counting this one) from WordPress to Ghost just makes me tired.

Maybe there’s some automated way to do that…? Is there an html-to-Markdown converter?

Prognosis

January 1st is a completely arbitrary line to draw across the calendar. (For most of history, it wasn’t even the start of the new year – that happened in mid-March.) No day is any more apt than another for undertaking new projects – or any less.

Still, there’s an irrational appeal to starting fresh on 1/1. Perhaps the 2015 projects – all of them – will pick up a bit of a boost from that. We’ll see.