John has a nice picture of the dead Windows screen at Cambridge station. It’s been like that for ages. Here’s a picture I took more than two months ago using my phone. It wasn’t the first time I’d seen it then, and it still hasn’t been fixed:
My friend Tim Glauert jokes that they need three displays so they can display “Departures”, “Arrivals” and “Please press Ctrl-Alt Del”. This is why Newnham Research is going to do so well…
Well, I’ve done it! Regular readers will notice that, after nearly 4 years, Status-Q has a new look. Actually, this is temporary and there’s lots of tweaking to be done yet. It’ll soon look a bit more like its old self.
But the underlying reason for it is that Status-Q is no longer produced using the Radio Userland software package, but with the very nice new web-based WordPress. Setting up and running WordPress was easy. Importing all my old posts and trying to make sure that all my old URLs still worked was rather more challenging. I’ve been writing up the process on the WordPress wiki in the hope that it may be of use to future pilgrims following the same trail.
So why the change? Well, Radio Userland was a wonderful program in many ways. As a combination of scripting engine, database, webserver, outliner, RSS viewer with a nice front-end, it was pretty revolutionary in its day and you could do some very cute things with it. It also had the advantage that you could write as much as you liked while disconnected and then upstream to your server when you were next online. All very cool.
However, when it went wrong, which it seemed to do from time to time for absolutely no reason, it was a devil of a thing to debug. The documentation was impossible to find, the scripting language and error messages often rather unhelpful, and since Dave Winer departed from Userland Software there doesn’t seem to have been much active development on it. And I could count the times that working offline has been important to me on the fingers of, well, no hands.
So I’ve been meaning to move to something else for some time, but the task of converting my past posts and keeping my URLs intact seemed pretty daunting. I’d looked at doing it with Movable Type and it appeared that a lot of manual editing would be involved. When Radio died again just over a week ago, though, it gave me the incentive to go and find out just how difficult it would be with WordPress, and the answer was, with a bit of hacking, not too hard at all. So here I am! Let’s see how it goes…