On Standards and Switching from Gmail to FastMail.FM

This summer, I finally followed through on a couple of experiments I’ve had nagging at the back of my head for a while:

  1. Seeing if I can tolerably get by on standard IMAP email hosting after 9 years on Gmail, just to know if it’s a viable alternative in some kind of hypothetical doomsday scenario
  2. Moving my blog – the one place where I’m not a CMS/blog developer, but a writer – from a traditional server to one of the more modern “app-as-a-hosted-service” platforms.  ZekeWeeks.com is now hosted on WordPress.com Business – I’m just at the start of this experiment after a few years of “not good enough” attempts on various managed WordPress services, and will write about it later if anything interesting comes up. 🙂

Even though I was interested in seeing the current state of email outside a proprietary host, I approached that experiment with skepticism and low expectations. And I certainly didn’t expect it to turn out like it did! 
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My #WP10 Story

WordPress is 10 years old today.

I started making websites a few years earlier, but WordPress did something for me that all the HTML framesets, <table>-based layouts, and animated GIFs of the 1990s didn’t: it helped me find my voice.

I encountered blogging in high school. This was when LiveJournal and Xanga were hot, and many of my classmates read each other’s long form posts and left regular comments which sometimes ended up essay-length themselves. (I must admit feeling like an old codger when I reminisce about the rich engagement we had in “my day” compared to the signal-to-noise ratio in today’s knee-jerk status updates.)

I had been a tech geek long before I started blogging, and WordPress wasn’t my first blogging software. But WordPress did give me a completely new perspective on my passion for technology. At its core, it was software that removed the technical complexities from the writing process, providing me with an environment to explore my thoughts and share them with people who were important to me. And that led me to my own passion for technology: tools which aren’t just interesting for their own sake, but tools which enable all kinds of people to speak their voice in a more effective manner than was possible before.

I’m staggered to think of my life since those early days of exploring my own voice with this personal blog. Somehow along the way, I started helping other people and nonprofits use WordPress as well. I got a tech-related degree in college, but since graduating, I’ve paid my bills with open-source publishing software like WordPress and Drupal, and discovered a life where each exciting challenge creates opportunity for everyone involved. What started as a hobby in school has turned into a real pursuit of passion.

The best technologies are the ones which are powered by, and in turn serve to empower, great people.

Photos: Mickey Hart Band, Winter 2013

I must admit having low expectations initially, but in the last year, I’ve now been to five Mickey Hart Band shows. Live music has been a big part of my life forever, but it’s rare that a current band excites me this much.

This week, I went to two MHB shows at the Fox Theatre in Boulder and the Oriental Theater in Denver. They were excellent as always; it was also the first time to a show with my new camera, a Sony NEX-6. Concerts are some of the only events for which I take lots of photos, and I have a long history of struggling to get the right settings to capture good photos in a terrible lighting situation. I used these shows as an opportunity to acquaint myself with the new camera, and see how much quality I get compared to my old point-and-shoot cameras. The results are decent, but perhaps the biggest thing this shoot taught me was that I need to get a lens with a much wider aperture so I can shoot at higher speeds.