For a newsletter designed around a 30-minute time limit, I’ve sure put a lot of time into ensuring it has a good home on the open Web.
That’s right. After a couple of months in the wilderness, MidRange now has a web home that makes it easy to access every issue.
The hard part about this process was probably not building the page itself, but managing the old content and distributing it to a new CMS (Craft CMS, just like Tedium). Part of the reason for that was that Revue didn’t have an RSS feed or easy export functionality, meaning I had to do more than 200 posts by hand, converting them all into Markdown.
(The new MidRange has an RSS feed, in case you’d like to use it, though I’m still tweaking it.)
I also had to re-create a number of taken-for-granted features on a new CMS. The hardest feature to recreate, by far, was tweet embeds, which had to be rebuilt for email, but I did it, and they even look good.
But it was worthwhile, in part because MidRange has evolved past its initial goal was a way to simply offer a more experimental feed of its own, and is now a way to encourage me to stay a little closer to the day’s deadlines and other timing factors.
I built it around a platform to leverage platform effects, but then ultimately decided that I preferred the platform effects in my owned parts of the digital universe. (I may decide at some point to distribute it in other places.)
But there was a lot of copying and pasting involved—more than 200 posts worth! Lots of copy that had to be reformatted, and images that needed to be re-uploaded. Processes like these can be annoying, but they’re also useful manual processes that can help clear the mind and create just enough space to build new ideas and new ways of thinking.
So yes, this took a while, but it was time well spent. I got to look through a lot of old content, sort of get a feel for takes that have aged well, some that predicted debates in broader tech culture, and a few others that lost their cultural currency almost immediately, and others that offered a strong opportunity at self-reflection.
In a way, this was kind of like sorting through my junk drawer, hoping to better sort my pens. It offers a journey through all the battles the pens previously fought. But now that my pens are properly sorted, hopefully I’ll be able to write better pieces with more agility over time.
The hard part is sorting the pens. The easy part is the freedom and flexibility the extra time enables. Pen sorters of the world, unite.
Time limit given ⏲: 30 minutes
Time left on clock ⏲: 2 minutes, 39 seconds