HGL is four years old. It's time for an upgrade. As I make changes to the site, I think about how this site has changed me.

2014 Upgrade

It's here. After over a year of procrastinating I finally hit the trigger. Along the way I finally figured out one of the main reasons I procrastinate: perfectionism. I figure if I can't do something perfectly, it's not even worth doing. If I had kept to that path, I wouldn't be writing this. I forced myself to stop while I was working and think about whether or not it was really worth it to do what I was doing. To ask whether it's really truly completely necessary. Much of the time it wasn't. I let good enough be good enough. And I can always add things to the site later.

Of course I fully anticipate errors and issues. Let me know if you see anything really serious. I had some server issues with Dreamhost. I'm tempted to run on my own server even if that means I'd spend even more time on the backend with the site vs. actually writing content.

It's funny how this site changed my life. When I made it I was seriously underemployed and chronically bored. My work's site ran on Drupal (it's a content management system), so I was learning it, but there wasn't much work to do on that site at the time. The New York Times was writing an article about the paleo diet I'd been interviewed for, so I thought it was about the right time to start a web presence. And building this site, which uses Drupal, allowed me to really understand building a full-featured website from start to finish. The skills I built doing this set me up pretty well to work in the web industry and I built up a small business. Not long after I was offered a pretty good full-time job.

While I still work in tech, I no longer work in Drupal, so my skills in this arena were a little rusty. Upgrading this site forced me to confront mistakes from my past, in both my view of food and in web development. That was hard. But it was good to know that I've improved. And I'm pretty happy to see that Drupal itself has improved and upgrading from version 6 to 7 isn't the nightmare that upgrading from 5 to 6 was. And the features available in Drupal's command line tool Drush continue to be more and more useful. Design-wise, well, I'm not a designer, but I wanted the site to be pretty readable on mobile devices, which have exploded in popularity since 2010.

Food-wise I'm not sure the world has improved since I started this site. I guess I have grown less tolerant of errors made in the name of promoting diets having seen how they spread and cause damage. Of course such errors are common in non-fiction, but diet books aren't just exploring a topic, they are telling people how to live their lives. When I was re-doing the books section of this site I couldn't think of many diet books I could recommend.

So this site pushed me into two worlds: tech and diet. I had my opportunities to take the latter path too. And as time goes by, I am more and more glad I did not take it. It is a path where many compromises to integrity are demanded. It can seem deceptively like "doing what you love." I mean I love food. But to succeed as a diet guru of sort you end up spending more time marketing than researching or writing about food.

I guess though I just spent hours and hours on the backend of this site. At point I wasn't sure I enjoyed it very much. Of course compromises are everywhere, but in tech I don't exactly lose much sleep knowing I launched this site with some database tables not formatted in the optimal way, though it certainly nags me while I'm working. I do feel obligated though to contribute back to the open source software community and in the process of the upgrade I submitted a few patches here and there and plan to contribute some of the work to some projects. After I go on vacation this week. So I'm hoping there won't be any major bugs while I'm gone.

I guess this site pushed me into another world too, which is writing. That's why this site is still here. Because through it, I realized I enjoyed writing about food and food science. So even though some of those old posts about diet irk me, I am reminded that they had a purpose. I've kept them up, but added a disclaimer to the top of all of the older ones.

Now that I'm done (mostly I hope) with this, I can do some more writing.