Happy birthday, durham.io

Well, OK, the actual domain name was registered in May, but my first post was made exactly one year ago today.

Trivia about durham.io:

  • durham.io is a hosted wordpress.com weblog.
  • I pay roughly $200/year to operate this site. Half of that is for the sweet Indian Ocean domain name, the other half is for wordpress.com’s hosting fees.
  • I make roughly $0/year in revenue from this site, resulting in an annual profit of about -$200
  • I know I could save money in a variety of ways, but I’m too lazy to change anything right now

Fun facts about my workflow:

  • RSS is where it’s at. I shove the regional subreddits, Duke Today, The Chronicle, WRAL, The Herald Sun, TheDurhamNewsDotCom, Indy Week, WUNC, local blogs, twitter accounts, and all the other stuff into my installation of Tiny Tiny RSS. This gives me a huge stream of data to deal with.
  • An average day results in about 100 posts from all of these outlets.
  • I take time to read maybe 5 articles a day.
  • I seldom read articles right when they come in. Instead, throughout the day I sift through the unread list in TTRSS, skipping over all the stuff that’s clearly not of interest while “starring” interesting articles to read at my leisure.
  • I really don’t like the wordpress editor, since it often mangles formatting and is generally frustrating to use. I compose short articles in-line, but for longer posts (like DNO&E) I create a git repository and manually edit html files with vim. This isn’t ideal either, since I then must copy/paste from vim into the WP plantext editor, but it’s much more consistent for me.
  • Speaking of DNO&E, those posts take a surprising amount of time. Due to this fact I find them the least fun to actually write, but the feedback suggests that they are among the most popular which encourages me to keep doing them.
  • My DNO&E-specific workflow is:
    • Wait until I think “boy, I should probably do a DNO&E before this list gets overwhelming”
    • Get distracted, and procrastinate for a week or so.
    • Go back and actually look at my list of starred items. Realize that it has become overwhelming.
    • Procrastinate for another week or so.
    • Now, go back and open every single starred item in reverse chronological order (reverse chronological order is useful because often the later articles on topics provide the most relevant information), writing a summary of each one before moving on to the next.
    • Next, I re-order, combine, and edit the list until it reaches “perfection.”
    • To wit: I typically try to put the most “important” items near the top of the list. I try to put weird / strange items throughout the list. For the rest, it ends up in mostly chronological order.
    • I then try to come up with a clever “X edition” title and some kind of intro / outtro text.
  • I like the ability to “schedule” posts with wordpress. There’s no telling when I’ll write a post – often late at night, over the weekend, etc – but I mostly want posts to appear in the morning during business hours, since I figure that’s when people like to slack off on the Internet most. Unless I feel like I’m running behind, or I have something I just want to get out ASAP, I’ll schedule posts to appear the next morning.
  • I say it all the time, but I really do love the Herald-Sun. Not only do I love it in earnest for actually covering Durham news, but I also love how just plain weird it can be at times. I honestly wonder whether some of their articles (see: UNC Student burglar, armed with knife, damages cheese ) are written by robots.
  • As the site has gotten more popular, I’ve started feeling that I should keep posting frequently so people don’t give up and stop checking in. I aim for three posts a week, which obviously doesn’t always happen.
  • I don’t write much about the rest of NC any more, mostly because I don’t think that’s why you guys come to the site, but also because I don’t have much to say right now. I might go back to state-level stories that particularly interest me, but right now Durham is really front and center.
  • And in case you’re wondering: yes, writing stuff for this weblog still amuses me, so you should expect for me to sick around for a while.

So, that’s year number one under my belt! I’ve had a lot of fun writing stuff for this site, and I really hope you guys are enjoying it. I’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to leave any feedback in the comments section or hit me up on Twitter.

One thought on “Happy birthday, durham.io

  1. Glad to read that blogging for this site still amuses you and that you’re not planning on going anywhere anytime soon. This site is the main staple on my table for learning what’s going on around here. Thanks for all the time and effort.

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