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Dhryland is back on the air!

WordPress? Check. Windows Live Writer? Check. It’s taken me several years to figure out that that’s really all that I’ve needed to run this site. The XOOPS framework that I set my site up on five or so years ago was simply too much – I didn’t need a forum, didn’t need all the modules that went along with it – and when I finally installed the WordPress XOOPS addon and posted more to it in a few weeks that I had done to the rest of the site in several years it became quite evident that my main problems were time and motivation. Incredibly, just the idea of logging into my own site to post something in the News area was annoyingly tedious. I have been updating a blog for my young son for a while and Windows Live Writer proved to be exactly the easy-to-use method for my wife and I to do this. I used to love building and fiddling, but my entire life outside of the net seems to be building and fiddling with stuff and Dhryland took a distant second place to my career and family life. Thus, no updates. Site was too complicated. I had laughed at the idea behind “Twitter” when I first heard of it but they honestly picked up on the right concept – not everyone has the time to sit and type and code and inject images and retype and link ad infinitum. While I’m not twittering per se, WordPress is the happy medium I’ll be using for fresh information going forward. If I need to bolt stuff on later, so be it. But right now I’m planning on keeping it plain and simple.

So, I think it’s time to reflect on what I had originally intended to do with Dhryland. The site started in November 1998. The first several years of the site saw me updating a single, mighty page of software “finds” using MS Frontpage, and later Macromedia Dreamweaver. All I wanted to do was show my colleagues at work (and secretly, the world at large) the cool software that you could find out there on the net. My hobby for years had been to trawl the net, pull down programs of all different flavors and purposes, and test them against each other to see which ones ruled and which ones sucked.  Was that weird? Some people collect coins, others collect fish. I collected archivers, editors and other tools. Working in software support, many of the guys I used to work with recognized my obvious talent and eventually I started to get emails or desk visits from people asking me “Which is the best program to..?” or “What’s the best way to..?”. I put Dhryland together when I became somewhat overloaded with these requests – being bugged by family, friends and workmates isn’t exactly a situation that any reasonably competent tech hasn’t encountered before, right? My solution was to put together a page that I could throw people to which would answer their questions. Over time the site became like prayer beads to me.. find, test, review, post, wash, rinse, repeat, month after month with my eyes practically rolled back into my head until the original page (here for posterity) wound up being a burgeoning mess of uncategorized information that became of very little use to anyone.

I had tacked my site on as a subdomain of my wife’s site until a good friend of mine, "64 Tony M", asked me why I didn’t own ‘dhryland.com’. When I told him it was because I couldn’t be bothered, he went ahead and just registered it for me back in ‘04. I took over domain ownership from him and it’s been that way ever since.

The first thing I did was install the XOOPS framework, which is a multifunctional content management system. I shot for the skies, with plenty of grandiose plans to build a software reference site that millions would flock to. Didn’t happen, of course. Nobody really looked at the site except me and a couple of friends. Everything just stagnated over the years as I treated it as a combination of a personal blog as well as a software review site.

And that’s it. Dhryland went nowhere fast, and it went there even faster when wifey popped out a kid and life took on that all-new-meaning that you hear people mention from time to time. So I’m dressing the site down. Yeah, it’ll be a combination of a personal blog and a software review site. I’m still going to cheer and lament about things – software, technology, people and just… stuff in general. I have the categories all worked out, but there’s no longer a grandiose plan in play. If I don’t wind up updating the site in THIS incarnation, I’ll just keep dhryland.com for email and switch the page to a static image of a gauntleted fist poking out of a butt and have done with it. We shall see. In the meantime, link up your RSS readers and stay tuned. I do have stuff to say, hopefully WordPress will help me say it to you all.