Me on the CBS Early Show

I Amtrakked my way to a quaint little Dutch trading post over the weekend to do another bit for the CBS Early Show. Check ‘er out…I’m there to talk about my ideas about back-to-school tech for high schoolers:

Ach, it was a four-minute segment, I had about six minutes’ worth of stuff to say, and it really showed. Well, nobody died. I did kick the water cooler in the dugout afterward, metaphorically-speaking, but on the four-hour train rode home I replayed it in my head and decided that though it wasn’t my finest hour on national television, it wasn’t as bad as I was making it out to be. So I stopped writing personal letters of apology to the American viewing public after just 113 (from Aaban, Abrahaim G. through Aaban, Amos W.).

The important thing is that with this appearance, I’ve scored the Hat Trick: three segments on the Early Show in as many months. This means that I now feel like I can consider myself part of the CBS Family. And if, just before leaving the TV studio of a family member, you can’t fill your backpack with all of the Cokes from the minifridge in their green room…I ask you, just whose green room minifridge can you steal from?

I freely (and manfully) admit that the lamp was a bad impulse and I fully intend to return it if they ever invite me back.

First Tech & Creative Decision…

…Is “What do I want Ihnatko.com to point to?”

Hard to know. Right now, you hit that URL and it takes you right to this beta blog. But maybe it’s better if the top URL were more of a rolling answer to the question “Who the hell is this Ihnatko guy, and why does he insist that he’s ‘internationally-beloved’?” Because regular visitors will either subscribe to the RSS feed or bookmark the blog’s subdirectory, while first-timers (the ones who’d need a “welcome” page the most) are more likely to knock on the front door.

Assuming, of course, I want to use Ihnatko.com to begin with. One of the reasons why I built my previous site under cwob.com was because I wasn’t sure if I could count on people spelling my name correctly. Later, it became a bit of a boon because when I appear on podcasts it’s easier to say “CWOB.COM” than to spell out a name of Carpathian Russian origin.

The technical part is that you can’t just click a button in WordPress and stash it to another directory. There’s some server-fiddling to be done, followed by file-fiddling and preference-fiddling.

Another solution would be to keep things as they are, continue to hand out CWOB.com as the front door to my webstuff, and merely include a link to Ihnatko.com as my blog.

Hmm. Blank canvases truly are fickle mistresses, are they not?

Soya Lechthinin (an emulsifier)

Well, let’s just break in this new WordPress blog. Observe as I make blogging history by writing this sort of thing without invoking one of the (hang on, let me count ’em up) seven different phrases that normally must be invoked under such circumstances.

First off, you’re to be commended for reading this post. It shows a very unusual level of intelligence and problem-solving skills. If there were more people like you, it would be safe to walk the streets at night. My theory here is that statistically-speaking there’d be more people like you on the writing staff of “Family Guy” and thus fewer people would be crushed to death by defenestrated TV sets while taking the dog out for a wee.

No, no, I mean it. I’m not publicising this new site at all, which means that if you’re here and reading this, then either (a) it’s about a year from today and you decided to go back and read this entire blog all the way back to the very beginning, or (b) it’s about thirty seconds after I’ve clicked the “Publish” button and you just up and decided to see what would happen if you plugged “ihnatko” into your browser’s address field.

And even then, you wouldn’t have found this place unless you’d actually typed it correctly. I was twelve before I could do that, and I had the benefit of parents who refused to feed me for days if I ever got it wrong. So seriously, dude: kudos.

So why the secrecy? Because as I write this, the blog is still in its “skunk works” stage. This is my first WordPress blog and I frankly know little of what I’m doing. Metaphorically speaking, I want to go public when I start clinical trials on a miraculous new pill that prevents nine forms of cancer while rendering ladies’ legs self-shaving. I will “accidentally” allow people to discover it when all I have are computer models that look extremely promising.

But right now, my lab is a warehouse filled with nothing but hundreds upon hundreds of cages filled with baby ducks, suffering all kinds of inhumane and sickening horrors. This is not a time in the project when you want kids with video cameras sticking their noses in, you know?

It’s an interesting moment, really. I am among the most knowledgeable and experienced bloggers in the country. But I am also among the very least knowledgeable and experienced. I’ve been blogging since 1995, long before the word “blog” had even been coined and lonnnng before there were any tools for building and editing the things. So I had to write my own app from the ground up…and every time a new resource or technology or standard came down the pike — like RSS syndication — I had to learn about how the thing worked and then write new functions to support it.

Excellent. Spiffy. Damned impressive, right?

Be impressed, dammit. You kids today! Do you realize that when I was your age, my computer was made from twigs and dried animal skins? I’ve been alive forever, and I wrote the very first blog! I put the words and the HTML togeth…

Okay. Now you’ve got me quoting Barry (f***ing) Manilow lyrics, dammit.

(Manilow. “I Write The Songs.” “Copacabana”? Christ almighty. Forget I brought it up.)

The point is that when most people learned how to blog, they learned using awesome and mature tools, like MovableType and WordPress. Six months after building my blog, I had figured out how to convert text into HTML and upload it to a server. When an average high-schooler has accrued six months of stick time with WordPress, he or she is pretty much capable of designing and deploying the online edition of a regional newspaper.

My total hands-on experience in building a WordPress blog? Er, I’m nearly done writing my first post. Impressed?

No, me neither. But I’m excited to be learning.

In a future post I’ll discuss the grand history of YellowText, my first (and to date, only other) blog. As you can see, there’s really nothing about that blog that would make you think that it there’s anything unique about it. It does its job rather well; so well that I’ll probably open-source it at some point.

But my jealousy of WordPress blogs has transitioned from cartoon-like insincerity to wistful sadness to its current state, in which I realize that I must now either move to WordPress or set fire to every blog that uses it. If I went with the latter option, I’d be yet another 3 to 5 years behind state-of-the-art blogging technology by the time I was released from prison. Transitioning to WordPress is admittedly a more conservative play, but in my defense there’s also a lot less driving involved.

Anyway. I won’t do anything to prevent people from discovering and reading (and even commenting in) this blog. I intend to keep posting about my newbie WordPress experiences, both to keep my own head straight and maybe be a lamp unto the feet of future pilgrims.

But do me a favor? Don’t you go publicising this thing. I haven’t decided on a final template or layout, the masthead is only a rough draft, and once again if PeTA ever finds out what I did to that poor pig while trying to figure out if a static front page could be used to heal second-degree sunburn, man alive, that’ll be quite a setback for this project.

For now — and this is a moment of great ceremony, for I shall surely be writing this often in the coming days until I get bored and forget about this entire project forever — push the button, Frank.