Unlike my other blogging sites, Expeditionr is the one place that tends to leave technology in the dust. To be more specific, the topics of conversation at Expeditionr tend to focus more on mechanics and mud than on database applications and web design (welcome to my alter ego). But on occasion, despite my efforts to keep these worlds apart, I find the two areas unexpectedly overlapping in a Venn diagram like fashion. The last 10 months or so have been fairly occupying between work and software projects, so I haven’t had a lot of extra time to detail and document here at Expeditionr. Like the content, software updates to the site have also been lacking, potentially exposing the site to exploitation. Luckily, a recent reduction in life’s pace allowed me to return to writing, albeit on a limited basis. The extra time also allowed me to update the site software and various software modules behind the scenes. Now that things are a bit more caught up around here, I’m able to return to my regularly scheduled content updates. Or at least that’s the plan for the moment.
Over the course of the last week or so, you may have noticed some new content cropping up on the main page. Several of these articles were well overdue considering the legwork behind the content was completed months ago. But these recent additions are more instructional and not necessarily timeline-specific, so hopefully these procedures will see their usefulness in good time. One of the most recent articles covers dis-assembly and re-assembly of the Hutchinson Rock Monster split rim beadlocks, while the other details the creation and installation of canvas door inserts for Metal Tech’s tube doors. If you visit the site regularly, these latest articles should reside immediately below this entry. However, if your entry point for the Expeditionr site updates is Facebook, your experience will be slightly different.
Once again, Expeditionr finds itself creeping into the world of web and software. The most recent updates to Facebook fan pages have left content (and this content owner) in a state of confusion and disarray. Content was formerly displayed in a simple row by row format, placing any newly-published content at the top of the page. Facebook designers have now developed a vertical “timeline” format that attempts to group your content visually, by date of creation. While both formats utilize a reverse chronological methodology to display an author’s updates, this new layout does not display ALL of the author’s content by default. You now have the option of viewing just highlights, or content based on individual years or months. With the option of displaying based on chronology, likes, or photos, you can also narrow your results further, filtering by friend activity, posts by page or posts by others. I’m sure it makes perfect sense to the designers, but it’s left this author a bit bewildered because it appears that more than half of my content has just disappeared into the ether. I tried a number of different options but failed to locate anything published prior to March of 2010.
As an application developer myself, I love to get creative and try things that others have only imagined. I have no doubt that someone on the Facebook development team thought this was a great idea – a newfangled visual approach to chronological data display. Great, I get it. But if the focus is truly on the timeline, then how about giving authors the ability to choose which content gets displayed or modify the publish or creation date of the content. This would allow publishers like myself, to keep content in sync with content stored at a sister site or other alternate location. As it currently stands, I have no choice but to re-publish the content that went missing, and in doing so, potentially confuse the viewers. It will remain synchronized here at Expeditionr, but those visitors who get their updates through Facebook stand a chance of being unexpectedly re-exposed to content that was published in 2009 or 2010. While I don’t personally have a problem with readers reviewing the older content here at Expeditionr (I encourage it actually), I’d rather avoid republished old content as though it were new. All it does it leave the audience perplexed as to why I’ve apparently lost my mind.
In the end, in order to ensure that all the previous content was available via Facebook, I opted to republish the articles. So my apologies up front for subjecting you (via Facebook) to previously published content. If anyone discovers duplicate entries for Expeditionr on Facebook, please let me know how you managed to find the older content. As it stands right now, with sites like Twitter and Facebook continually changing, I’m left with only two choices: 1) go with the flow of software development or 2) forgo any further usage of alternative publishing sites. Since a good portion of my visitors arrive from Facebook and Twitter, I’ll continue to roll with the software developers and do my best to keep in time with the drum of never-ending application updates.