New Blog Powered by Octopress and AWS

I’ve been happily using tumblr as my personal blog for quite some time, even when they were going through all their reliability problems. Before then I had hosted on Wordpress.com. Wordpress was great, but I liked that tumblr just had a simpler UI for posting. One of the great things about tumblr is I can use Markdown to write my blog posts, and I’ve found myself using markdown more and more, even in emails!

Since I’ve been shifting over to doing more cloud things I’ve been looking for an excuse to play in the cloud (both private and public). It began when I started to read more about Octopress, which is a clever way to generate a static blog. I decided that even though I was happy with hosted solutions that I’d like to do things manually for a while. Octopress was fun to set up and play with, and I liked that instead of having my blog content in a database it’s just a bunch of plain text markdown files, making backup a cinch. Then I ran into this blogpost by Jerome Bernard explaining on how to use s3cmd to just send the static files to an s3 bucket, which Amazon happily serves for you. After I set that up I modified Octopress to use the Ubuntu font and colors, as well as modify it a little bit. It’s pretty well put together and has integration for Disqus, G+, and Twitter. The final touch was adding StackAd so I could run some community advertisements.

So instead of playing with a VPS or having a t1.micro running all the time just to serve a blog, I can just dump it in S3 and be good to go. He also has a post on how to set it up with Amazon CloudFront. Of course I don’t need a CDN for my blog, but it looks like something fun to mess with on the side.

I picked up a domain while I was at it (jorgecastro.org). So am I coming full circle by moving from Tumblr and it’s nice web based interface to a bunch of text files, vim, rake, and s3cmd? It does feel fun to do things a bit more manually, but at the same time I like that I’m learning something new.

Thanks to James Gifford for his help with setting up Ruby on my Ubuntu machine, and as Aq says “Everything old is new again”.

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