Well, it's now been nearly two weeks away from my weblog, with the combo of vacation and a busy follow-up week. I've intended on posting here later this week, but nothing came to mind, so it just didn't seem right to force it yet. Today, I feel as though there are several tidbits to mention that would be a good way to roll back into daily postings once again.
Rest & Evaluation
While I was trying to drum up ideas for weblog posts on Thursday, I realized how out of the loop I've gotten in just a 2 weeks. I've stopped visiting most of my daily sites, and now I feel out of the loop.
But you know what, at first it felt like I was "behind" but now, after some thought, I like this feeling. In some ways I feel as though I have a chance to decide what to continue doing, which sites to keep reading — a second chance to evaluate my time and energy choices.
Moveable Type 3
Today I learned about Moveable Type version 3.0 from a post at Mashby.com. It seems there are big changes in the licensing and pricing of 3. From what I can tell, Six Apart is becoming more controlling of MT, which they certainly have a right to do.
There is now more emphasis on paid users (good for Six Apart) as free modes are now limited to a single user and 3 weblogs. In fact the personal license is identical to the free, except for support and some other tidbits. For some users who had enjoyed the unlimited author/weblog of past MT versions, this seems to be quite a shocking and potentially pricey change.
Should be interesting to see if the new licensing and pricing restrictiveness will push old MT users elsewhere, or to stick with older versions of MT. I'm guessing that for most people (like me), the single author / 3 weblog limit is just dandy. My gut says that folks to have many author/weblog instances are the exceptions rather than the rule.
Not sure what will happen on this weblog, since I just have one MT installation that's hosted by my company, MakaluMedia. I'm mostly happy with MT 2 — other than the scourge that is commentspam. If the commentspam continues to get worse, maybe MT 3 is a next logical step. But for now, 2.X seems to work just fine.
Dark Star Safari
The book I bought at Paul Theroux's Milwaukee appearance, is excellent, as I expected. It's a treat to read his descriptions of places and characters in Africa, just as I'd read about South America, China, India or the Mediterranean in his past travelogues.
!! Spoiler Alert !!
However, I can sense a much more personal view and reflection in Dark Star Safari, since Paul spent several years in Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer and then teacher. In general he's very disappointed to see that Africa in general and Malawi in particular are no better off 40 years after his time there. In fact, Theroux's impression is that Africa may be far worse after 40 years of charity work and donations from other countries.
I'm at about the 75% mark of the book now, and by this time Paul has concluded that Africa's problems must be taken over by Africans — that the charities which are intending to help Africa are in reality turning Africans into beggars, living for chartiy and forgetting how to do things themselves. Meanwhile, he observes that those who leave Africa for education elsewhere (in Europe or the US) seem to seldom return.
I could really sense Theroux's despondency in the chapters about Malawi, where he lived, because the school where he taught had nearly fallen apart. Houses were in ruins, the books of the library had been stolen and nobody knew who he was or why the school had been founded. There was a real sense of despair in those chapters... a sense from his descriptions of anger and pain at seeing something he and many others had worked so hard for, forgotten and having no impact.
!! End Spoiler Alert !!
Anyway, I don't want to give away the entire book here, but I can say that I am thoroughly enjoying the read. It's funny, interesting, challenging and sobering to hear the account of a traveller crossing Africa the hard way.
So, I'm back to blogging. It was a good break (they always are) and now I'm ready to roll once again. Thanks for all the emails of kind support while I was away. :-)
Have a great weekend!