M6TTL, 50 Hex, Delta 400, Rodinal Stand

Plainscape: M6TTL, 50 Hex, Delta 400, Rodinal Stand

Over the weekend I upgraded to WordPress 2.7, the third time I’ve upgraded over the life of this blog, and the easiest to date. The last time I did this it was days of futzing with the databases, themes, plugins, etc etc etc. This one went smooth, almost disappointingly so; I was done before I finished my first beer.

Despite WP 2.7 many improvements, this upgrade was one was motivated less by a desire for the thing itself, and more because it was a dependency for something else entirely, in this case a twitter plugin, Twitter Tools, which wouldn’t run under my old WP install. I’ve been looking at twitter for a while now, but I’ve been struggling with how to integrate it into this blog. Twitter Tools promises easy integration between the two. We shall see if it can deliver.

The upgrade also seemed the perfect opportunity to address some of the shortcomings of the old site theme, which was specifically designed to display pictures, and as the content on this site broadens, that design was showing its weaknesses. This new theme, Plainscape, is more of a generalist, and, as the name implies, it’s plainer, which suits my mood at the moment. If nothing else, the name suits where I’m living. There’s still some tweaking to be done, but this is about what I expect things to look like for the near future. If you miss the old site theme, it lives on over at stills v2.

On the broader subject of upgrades, I’ve been reading with interest Paul Butzi’s recent posts on this topic – here and here. Like Paul, I’ve been avoiding upgrades, and not just upgrades to this blog. I’ve been using the same scanner for at least four years, or is it five; the occasional grinding noise has me worried. My Photoshop is still at CS, not CS2, not CS 3, just plain old CS. My computer is a three year old laptop that over heats if I try to use iTunes and PS at the same time. By most accounts, some upgrades are in order, but I delay. For all the problems with this setup, I like know it’s quirks. When it breaks, it’s usually in a way that it’s broken before, which means little time spent researching solutions, which means more time doing the interesting parts of photography. For me that means more time playing with developers and getting to know my lenses.

That’s the dilemma of upgrades, that tension between the time it takes to keep something old and busted running and the time it takes to get the new thing going. If the time it takes to keep the old and busted running is less than the the sum of the time to get the new thing going and the time saved by improved features of the new thing, you don’t upgrade. Of course, in the long run, it doesn’t look good for the old and busted, hence the new WP install. For the moment though, as far as the rest of the infrastructure goes, I think the calculus runs in favor of my old and busted stuff. There just haven’t been that many improvements in film scanners, running iTunes while I work in PS is really just a luxury, and from what I’ve seen of newer versions of PS, I don’t think they are designing new features for B&W photographers. Until something breaks with finality, I’m going to try to keep this old junk running.

8 Replies to “Upgrades”

  1. You seem to have developed an effective surround to the picture: white as a background is very difficult and I was quite surprised to see black go.

  2. John, I like black as a background, but since many, many readers are viewing this site through a feed reader, the background of which I have no control over, it seemed time to let the black go.

  3. Matt, I, too, prefer a darker background, but I’ll adapt. How does WordPress work? Is there a database that sits on your IP host and a client that runs on your home computer? Do you access it through your web browser? I’m kinda ignorant in this area (Just one of many) and I’m curious why you chose to go that way instead of, say, using TypePad or something.

  4. Chris, yeah, WP is database driven. There’s no client. Everything is web based, either through the browser or FTP. I’ve been using wordpress for so long, it would take a lot to get me to switch, but I initially chose it over things like typepad because WP was/is free.

  5. I went to the WordPress web site and poked around. When you say you ‘upgraded’ do you mean the ‘style’ or ‘template’? Does the date reside on their server, then? Been experimenting myself with the idea of a blog and I’m investigating the options. The choices seem all over the place. I’m one of these people who says ‘okay, so if X is free and Y is not, what is it that makes people choose Y? Thanks for all your help, by the way, you continue to be an inspiration, and your images continue to be wonderful.

  6. ‘When you say you ‘upgraded’ do you mean the ’style’ or ‘template’?’

    In this case, it means upgrading the template and the actual word press engine, which in really just means downloading the files, copying them up to my website and then running the upgrade script. Updating the template – or style, if you prefer – is another download from the web, do a little editing, and then upload back up to my own website.

    WordPress has two modes, they host the data or you host the data with the hosting provider of your choice. I do the latter, with godaddy.com as my hosting provider. One of the nice things about this as opposed to something like blogger is that any problems that come up, I can usually fix myself, as opposed to waiting for tech service to fix them. You do have to know something about the tech behind it though, although not as much as you used to.

    Feel free to drop me an email at matt at 1point4photography.com if you have other questions.

  7. […] say that there weren’t any other upgrades in our near future, but whenever I say no upgrades, I seem to have to take it back shortly. If nothing else, at least now I can listen to iTunes while […]

  8. […] say that there weren’t any other upgrades in our near future, but whenever I say no upgrades, I seem to have to take it back shortly. If nothing else, at least now I can listen to iTunes while […]

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