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December 29, 2003

A New Year, A New Format

Late December is a great time of year. All the last minute panic shopping is done, the presents have all been opened and are being enjoyed, and all you have to do is eat more mint chocolate bark and hors d'oeurves while making plans for your New Year's Eve. If you're lucky, you get to do all this in the comfort of your own home. With my extended nuclear family, Christmas is often a time of travel for us. Although this year we managed to really cut down on the amount of driving we've had to do (and spread what driving we did have to do over a longer period) we still some recreational travel to look forward to straddling New Year's. Thus, I must post this early, as I'll be away from my computer for a number of days.

For 2004, Not From Toronto is going to have a new face or two. Long-time readers will remember the fiasco I had trying to publish this column with Blogger. After weeks of beating my head against an uncooperative wall, I simply abandoned the petulant blogging system and went back to my roots: basic HTML. Ever since, Not From Toronto has been brought to you by plain old HTML and some nested frames, providing the magical appearance of one unchanging link that miraculously provides new content each week. I've enjoyed this system simply because I retain publishing power, while at the same time providing a fairly robust and good-looking column week to week with a minimum of effort on my part.

The old saying goes, "All good things must come to an end," but in some cases they end to allow something even better to take its place. In the case of Not From Toronto, this will be the last article available at this URL as my home-brew HTML casserole. There are now two better systems in place that will be responsible for publishing my weekly morsels.

The first one is the new re-launched Gordie.ca running Gemsites v1.0, a custom-made PHP-based system that superficially resembles the online nerdvana Slashdot.org. Not From Toronto will now appear at Gordie.ca as one of my journal entries. Once again, I keep publishing power, but an even better system will now manage archiving, RSS feeds, and all that other fun techie stuff that I'll likely never bother to learn myself. What's more, my Gordie.ca journal will contain other interesting snippets from throughout the week, which means you can get your weekly Not From Toronto fix and more! I will be an active participant at Gordie.ca, so watch for my unique brand of overwhelming pervasiveness.

The second channel through which you can get your Not From Toronto fix will be at a new, easy-to-remember http://www.warpfish.com/nft. Once again I'll be going back to honest-to-goodness blogging software, but this time it will be courtesy of an installation of Greymatter, which will be entirely controlled by and administered myself, unlike the centralized Blogger. Of course, this means that I'm also responsible for setting up the templates, which has yet to be finalized. Truth be told, I've barely managed to do anything with it thus far, simply due to a lack of time. However, as Greymatter will update the templates as I go, I have decided to soldier on with what I have, and properly format everything as I go.

Thus, 2004 will be a year of significant renewal not only for Gordie.ca, but Not From Toronto as well. Heading into my 3rd year of writing, I hope to keep honing my writing skills, better serve my audience, gain a few more readers, and through the awesome power of the comment system at Gordie.ca, interact with and glean feedback from my readers as I've not been able to do before.

I'm actually really excited about being able to get direct feedback from my readers. Up to this point, feedback about Not From Toronto has been quite sparse. Other than friends and family that I know read this column regularly I've had only two spontaneous e-mails from readers. Thankfully, writing is in and of itself almost reward enough for doing this. A couple Gordie.ca t-shirts and two e-mails from readers have kept be going thus far, so I am nearly giddy in anticipation of being able to interact with my readers easily. Oh, this year's going to be fun.

Speaking of the New Year, I already know what my resolution is going to be. Three years ago I gave up eating doughnuts. Two years ago I gave up French fries. Last year I gave up fried potato chips, corn chips, and the like. This year, it's carbonated pop. Slowly I'm eliminating the worst of the recreational foods that my body just really doesn't need, and so far it's sticking fairly well. I'm under no delusion that this will make me a fit and healthy man, but it will at least help me focus on healthier alternatives to snacking. And no, I will likely never give up chocolate.

Here's wishing you a belated Merry Christmas/Hanukah/Kwanza, and a Happy New Year. Enjoy the mid-holiday lull, and I'll see you next year.

mr.ska
nft@myrealbox.com