As they used to say back in ’93 — Watch this space for NEW CONTENT…
Seriously, though. Later today. PROMISE!
Actually, I’ve been working hard trying to clean up 10 years of accumulated infrastructure neglect — and virtual cobwebs — I’d forgotten how different the online streaming world was in 2005, before the ‘sudden’ shift to HTML5 a few years ago. (Don’t even start me on corporate-rivalry-driven web politics.)
[Actually, many of you will likely want to quit reading now — I suggest the random post link or the post shuffle in the sidebar (or footer on mobile) as an alternative — as the rest of the post deals with the trials and tribulations of the last decade of web dev uncertainties, shifting standards, and uncomfortable trade-offs as they affected AYoS. But stay tuned for my next post — where I tackle the Great Lesson I learned from plowing through a decade of impromptu acoustic recordings: Basically, I really need to work on my ‘singing’ — and it probably wouldn’t hurt to hold my guitar playing to the higher standards I’m capable of but was too lazy to worry about in the past. I’m so sick of my sloppy playing and tuneless singing. Ten years of it. LOL.]
And then there was my switch from the grotty old Blogger platform to the far more powerful and modern WordPress. [The pre-conversion ‘archives’ still exist on Blogger and can be arrived at by using some links, like the info links in the old (but still extant) Flash-based AYoS Highlights Player.]
Turns out (OK, I was well aware) that there were hundreds of (make that probably over a thousand) old play and download links that were very much Web 1.1 — structures from a decade ago (and more) when it was assumed that most people would need to download music files, stream them via the old .m3u pointer file system, or have Flash on their computers to enable the use of a more sophisticated, in-page Flash-based player.
Nowadays, modern browsers can play mp3’s and some other media files natively — which meant that all the download links in my blog had, without me doing anything, become ‘play in blank page’ links — unfortunately they still said ‘download’ on them, undoubtedly leading to much confusion but probably little hilarity. Meanwhile, my interim solution of embedded players that would toggle between Flash or HTML5 playback became less and less workable.
What to do? Go through 400 posts checking for outmoded links, dead links, bad content. One. Page. At. A. Time. Being a coder, I’d considered various programmatic scenarios — but there were enough different situations, enough idiosyncrasies, that I figured I would still be developing multiple algorithms by the time HTML6 comes along. I plunged ahead.
Thousands of links later… I think all (OK, most of) the bad links are gone.
There are probably still some problem links to full/produced versions on the old Soundclick (not Soundcloud, which came later) that had become my free music-distro point after the shutdown of the old Mp3.com in the first years of the new millennium. But I did update many of those. Still, I suspect there are a number of such links that now refer old file system URL’s — because the nice folks at Soundclick changed their link system under me, breaking old links — and they did it twice. LOL. Needless to say, I haven’t added anything to Soundclick in close to a decade.
Wait?!? Where’s the big makeover? Some small changes, sure, but largely things look the same. What gives? — you may ask…
I actually DID make some big changes, quite a few of them, trying this one and that… and… I hated them all. But I did rearrange the menu, add a link directly back to the first post on Sept 22, 2005, a link to my ‘old’ one man band, one blue nine, glue it to the top of the page so it’s always available (in full browsers — your mileage will vary on mobiles — please report any trainwrecks!)
Since AYoS has, effectively, been on three different platforms in its decade of existence, I’m afraid I was slow to make use of some of the better features of the WordPress content management system it now runs on but I’ve been working — and the work goes on — to take better advantage of WP’s superior taxonomy features. Within the next week or so, all 400+ posts should be more or less properly tagged and categorized. When that is complete, for instance, you’ll be able to click on the title of any song in a tag list and get a full list of the posts tagged with that song — and, of course, that will work with any tag, so if you click on ‘breakup’ in a tags list, you’ll see all the posts so-tagged.
Also in the ongoing work sector: I’ve been going through the posts (starting at ‘back’ and ‘front’ and moving toward the great, gray middle) and removing confusing download/play/radio links (that mostly used decade-old streaming systems used by the sort of standalone media players seldom used these days of browser-built-ins) and replacing them with HTML5 in-page playbars. (If you have a really old computer/browser that doesn’t support HTML5, they should display as URLs so you can still download the file and play it ‘locally.’)
Of course, some stuff didn’t need fixing — though I tried, anyway, in some cases, usually to disastrous results. So you’ll still find the randomized Post / Song shuffle thumbnails which some have found to be a good way to explore AYoS — and, of course, the ‘random post’ feature is still on the main menu as well.
Another holdover — at least for those who have Flash on their systems — is the in-page or pop-out AYoS player. In standalone, pop-out mode (perfect when you want to browse with interrupting the music), you’ll see links to sort the master playlist in different fashions (newest, oldest, highlights, alphabetical). [You may have to enable pop-ups for the site to use it in pop-out mode. We don’t have outside advertising on the site, so you should be safe from unwanted popups while here.] While the player covers much of the first ten years of AYoS, at this time there’s no plan to add later content to it (much of which is in the form of videos, anyway).
Day 4 of the countdown to the 10 Year Anniversary of my songwriter blog, A Year of Songs on the Fall Equinox, Sept. 23…