Gaurav's Blog

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More Writing This Year

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It has almost been a year since I wrote something. For the most part, I have been too busy to share something. Since the past one year, I have been working on HBase at Facebook, which is the backbone of Facebook Messages, and many other important services at Facebook. Also, I’ve moved to Mountain View, California, and I absolutely love the surroundings.

I have been trying my hand at different things, like learning some ML, Go, trying to learn how to play an Electric Guitar, and other things. One thing I want to follow this year would be to continue doing new things, and keep sharing my experiences.

Finally, I have also ditched WordPress in favor of Octopress, a Markdown-style blogging framework built on top of Jekyll. What this means is, I just need to worry about the content, which I can write in simple Markdown format. Octopress generates a completely static website for me to use. I don’t have to setup the Apache-MySQL monstrosity to serve a simple blog.

However, the transition isn’t very smooth.

  • I had to get my posts from WordPress into a Markdown format. For this, I used exitwp.
  • I had to copy the images I had uploaded to my WP setup to my Octopress sources directory, and manually change the image tags to point to the right location in all the markdown files.
  • For LaTeX, I am using MathJax with Octopress. I have only lost two things in this transition:
  • Obviously, I lost the ability to receive comments natively, and lost the older comments on my posts. This is fine by me, since I don’t receive too many comments anyways. I will enable Disqus on the blog for future comments.
  • Also, WP has this ridiculous URL scheme for posts, which is something like, where XYZ is a number, while Octopress has a more sensible, :year/:month/:date/:title scheme. Google had indexed my blog according to the older scheme and now, and anybody who has linked to a specific blog post, will now be redirected to the main page. In short, its not pleasant.

However, the big win is that it is super-easy for me to write posts and host a blog. Earlier, this blog was put up on a free shared hosting site, and it was very clumsy to manage my blog. And as of the time of writing this post, I am hosting multiple blogs on a very lightweight VPS, and as long as I don’t get DDoS-ed, this machine is more than capable of hosting several such static-only blogs. Because, after all, how hard is it to serve static HTML :)

I have a lot to share about what I learnt in the last year, so keep looking :)