Back in 2013, a slew of new top-level domains became available, and I pounced on
a number of them, thinking it’d be good to make a shorter domain my own. My
favorite was theory.pm. In the early years of Just a Theory, I wrote mostly
about Perl and related topics like Bricolage. I thought naming a Perl blog
like a Perl module would be appropriate. By that time I wrote a lot about
Postgres, and didn’t want to mix topics. So alongside theory.pm, I also
launched theory.so — as in “stored objects”. Both used a new static design
built on Octopress hosted on GitHub Pages.
Unfortunately, by this time I wrote very little about Perl anymore. I wrote more
on Postgres and Sqitch, but had to shut down theory.so when the domain
registration became too expensive. I merged it into theory.pm, but it never felt
right to post about Postgres a “Perl blog”. I wrote a few link posts about
security and privacy, topics I’ve been thinking about quite a lot, but it still
felt…off. My last post to theory.pm was nearly two years ago.
I’ve posted little personal writing, either: no politics, photos, travelogues,
essays, or anything else. I let Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook fill
Lately, though, I’ve had the itch to write my own site again, both to think
through technical and cultural issues in the technology business, but also to
reclaim a personal space on the net. The recent privacy challenges for the
big social media companies finally drove me from their easy embrace back onto
the open web. But where to put down my hypertext roots?
My friends, Just a Theory returns
In retrospect, I now realize that my original domain name was just right. It’s,
me, just me, but not topic limited. I can post whatever I want, without
constraints imposed by attention-limited domains. I decided to rehabilitate it.
Of course I could no longer use the old design. Inspired by the likes of
Slashdot, it was boxy, crowded, and 2004-era ugly. I took a few weeks,
imported the theory.pm posts into a new Hugo-powered site, and revamped the
design from there. I took on the arduous task to import all the original Just a
Theory posts, cleaning up typos and fixing images.
The result is the revamped site you now see in your browser. Or perhaps in your
RSS reader (The old URLs should have redirected you here). The result is
something far better than any of the previous sites:
- The design emphasizes readability above all. I’ve made it as clean and
attractive as I can. The design is my own, and likely full of flaws; don’t
hesitate to holler if you spot anything that doesn’t look right.
at all. I’ll never host ads, so I don’t need all the weight of ad-tech. The
site is 100% HTML and CSS and nothing else. Only the custom fonts,
Source Sans Pro and Source Code Pro, add to the bandwidth.
- No comments. I’m serious about shedding the baggage. Wading through comment
spam wastes valuable writing and family time, while the comment services
comments, but if you really want to talk to me, hit me up on
Twitter or drop me an email (
david at this domain).
- The imported historical posts have no comments, either, but you can still
browse the old design if you need to see them. Each migrated post
links to the original, as well.
- History. Previously, it was impossible to find stuff on Just a Theory. The
new design borrows a page from kottke.org to provide links to all the
tags, and all tag pages are paginated — as is the home page. Plus, the
Archives lists every post and link post on the site, nice and friendly to
- Speaking of tags, each has its own RSS feed. If you’re only interested in a
particular subject, you can just subscribe its feed. I will never create
topic-specific sites again; tagging is so much easier.
- Identity. Yes, this is really Just a Theory, and you can tell because the
TLS certificate proves it. Thanks to CloudFront and Let’s Encrypt for
making it a cinch.
- Scaling. It’s unlikely Just a Theory will be Fireballed again anytime
soon, but since I’m using CloudFront for TLS already, this is a no-brainer.
Just a Theory should be served from somewhere reasonable close to you.
I plan to write a fair bit over the next few months. I’ve been thinking a lot
about security, privacy, and the impact of data privacy regulations like the
GDPR on data rights and the technology business in general. I’m happy to once
again have a place to write on such topics. I expect to make social posts too,
to share what’s going on with friends and family. Before long, I expect to also
make photoblog-style posts and perhaps integrate micro-blogging posts.
Let’s find out if I’m as good as my word.