Saturday, February 24, 2018

Turning it up to eleven...

Today my blog turns 11. I decided yesterday that a good way to celebrate would be to rebuild, from the ground up, one of my favorite and most distinctive blog features: MM's Magical Multimedia Musing Machine. I was surprised to look back and discover that I debuted this random media generator way back in May of 2007 when I'd only been blogging a little over three months. Though I'd begun the blog thinking it would mostly be a writing journal, the use of audio, video, and graphic creations had already became central to my mission as I realized the possibilities of an online platform. This has led to the development of all sorts of multimedia authoring skills, an increased interest in composition and arranging, and a wide variety of adventures in coding and web design.

The original Musing Machine was designed in a pretty clunky manner, as I barely knew anything about JavaScript. Basically, each new possible destination was created as its own blog page; each "spin" of the wheel picked a different random page. This meant there was no way to do any sort of global editing of these pages, and it also meant that as various ways of embedding multimedia became obsolete, I'd have to track down every single offending page. Ugh.

However, the biggest problem was that the mechanism to operate the machine was located in the blog margin, and I realized recently that Blogger doesn't even show those margins to most mobile users - which is how most people consume web content now. Creating a new setup doesn't completely solve that problem, but it should mean that once one lands on a random page, the option to spin again is right there. You can still use the old version on mobile by choosing to view the "web version" of my archives site, but each time it's activated, your device will likely bring you back to a mobile view where the machine is not visible.

Anyway, that's all pretty boring and I only have about an hour left on this blogiversary, so just a couple more comments.

This new version is truly brand new and still very much a work-in-progress. It has more than 300 destinations loaded in (probably including a few dead ends I missed), but there are more to add and the look is quite barebones for now.

But the important thing is that this is a really fun way to dive into eleven years worth of material. If you've followed me much at all, you'd know that the idea of a random method of discovery appeals very much to my love for finding surprising connections. There are definitely lots of quirky landing spots as well as some that I believe are genuinely inspired, but I see the quirky stuff as just as essential to my work as the more polished stuff. Wherever you land, you'll have the option of clicking over to the original blog post where more context is provided about what I had in mind.

So, take it for a spin. If you don't like where you land, you can just hit the little red button in the upper right and try again. Happy hunting!

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