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!


Elaine Fine said...

Hi Michael! With new resolve I am spending more time in the blogosphere (and less--or actually no time--on Facebook, which is not only unsavory these days, but unhealthy for me emotionally). Has it been 11 years already of MMusing? Where has the time gone?

I'm glad you have been keeping the blogospherial faith. I dipped into the notation group on Facebook and found it to be a huge lot of grandstanding. I'm happy to use my eye and personal sense of balance when it comes to notation. I use the Gould book occasionally, but I hate to say that I find it far less useful than I though it would be.

Fond greetings from a fellow traveler in the long-term musical blogosphere!


Thanks, Elaine. So good to hear from you, and as it happened I was recently delighted to see that your blog is still going strong. I know you've contemplated stopping.

I was reading a comment thread (in which you appeared) from 2007 on the old Soho the Dog blog last night and felt so nostalgic reading informed dialogue in which people disagreed but treated each other respectfully. Much harder to find that now - I wish that old blogosphere community would return, but I don't think it will.

I will say that, for whatever reason, I have a few people which whom I have absolutely wonderful discussions that go on for hundreds of words on Facebook and, in spite of all of its problems, I couldn't imagine leaving it right now. These discussions are with people who live many states or even oceans away, so I'm thankful Facebook provides that platform.

Twitter has become really depressing - I actually post genuinely interesting things there pretty regularly and more than not get absolutely zero responses, whereas positively inane things get passed around breathlessly. Used to be different and invigorating in the early days, but it's just depressing now.

There is TONS of grandstanding on the notation group and way too many circular discussions, but I've learned some stuff there.


...on another note, I just learned last week that the Digg Reader feed I've used for many years to keep track of blogs is being discontinued on March 26! (Google Reader quit on me some years back.) Admittedly, I had gotten out of the habit of following that feed closely, which is one reason I hadn't noticed your blog activity picking up. Will have to look for something else and see if I can find a way to keep the blogging community more on my radar.