Nuketown Reignited

The redesigned Nuketown is here. After months of work — nearly a year if I’m honest — the latest iteration of the ol’thermonuclear burg is online.

It features a host of new content, including:

Jumping to WordPress

After years of being powered by Drupal, the new Nuketown has WordPress under the hood. Why make the jump to WordPress? Time. As a 40-something geek dad, most of my discretionary time is taken up by family and work. I can’t afford to spend the precious free time I have mucking about with dump Drupal upgrades or fighting the content management system (CMS) when I want to upload a new podcast.

WordPress is easy to use, maintain, and extend. I needed my site to work with me, not constantly fight me with barely-beta functionality that loves to throw database errors during upgrades.

So I migrated from Drupal to WordPress. The heavy lifting was handled by a script, but after the migration I spent weeks going through each story, purging anything that was too ancient or broken to be useful, and tweaking what remained. Heck, as part of this project I fixed content broken in the initial migration from my homegrown CMS to Drupal (remember to escape those special characters correctly boys and girls!). What you’ll find on the site today is likely better than it’s ever been before.

Writing with the Lights Off

While I completed the migration, I also wrote. There’s updated content in every major category, although I’m still working on getting some of those categories really current (like Music and Audio). Longtime fans of the site will notice that the Hoaxes section is gone. The content is still there, but I’m struggling to make it relevant. Writing about hoaxes and urban legends used to be fun, but in today’s world of “fake news”, trying to keep up with the Internet’s falsehoods is exhausting.

The new site makes podcasting easier, which allowed me to resume Nuketown Radio Active after a multi-year hiatus. I’m still figuring out a production schedule for that — I’d love to do it at least once a month, but I need to find and the defend the time to do so (my favorite time to record, Monday nights, has been subsumed by Boy Scouts).

Conversation Reinvigorated

Perhaps the best part of the site is the comments. Comments were pain on the old Drupal site, as Mollum — Drupal’s house anti-spam module — did a terrible job of protecting the site. Akismet, WordPress’s solution, is much better, and I’m hoping the decrease in spam will lead to an increase in good conversations. Sadly, the old Drupal comments didn’t make the leap to WordPress. Moving them would simply have been too much work.

In a major move forward, the entire site is now secure, so all the web traffic to and from the site is encrypted. That means that writers and editors can now safely login to the site without worrying about their passwords getting sniffed by nefarious interlopers. Encrypting web traffic has been the standard at my day job for years; it’s nice that the cobbler’s kid now has shoes as well.

The Future is Thermonuclear

There’s still work to be done. Extraneous posts are appearing in the podcast feed; apparently PowerPress decided that to turn links to other people’s MP3s into podcast episodes. Radio Active’s listing in iTunes was removed long ago, presumably because new episodes were not forthcoming. I’ll need to rebuild that. There are still the occasional formatting oddities that need to be cleaned up, I need to suss out the latest changes to AdSense, and outdated feature pages that need love, but it’s all manageable.

The key thing is the site is live … and the project is complete. It feels good to be back home, and I’m looking forward to getting back to writing on a regular basis.

What do you think of the new site? Leave a comment or email me at nuketown@gmail.com.

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The Castle Bravo thermonuclear bomb explosion. Credit: NOAA.

 

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