Hardscrabble 🍫

By Max Jacobson

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Ten years of Hardscrabble

November 6, 2023

This website launched ten years ago today.

It’s a little hard to define the exact birthday of the blog. There are a handful of posts in the archive that are older than ten years, but those ones were originally published on older iterations of my blog that weren’t called Hardscrabble, so I don’t count that. There’s the post announcing that the blog is now powered by Jekyll and open source, which is still a few weeks away from its ten year anniversary, but I’ve done a little archaeology, and I’ll point to this commit on November 6, 2013 at 10:41pm as the canonical moment. In that commit, I added the CNAME file that tells GitHub Pages that the site will be served from www.hardscrabble.net.

Incidentally, this site is still powered by Jekyll and open source and hosted by GitHub Pages. Jekyll and GitHub Pages have both iterated steadily over the years. I feel sort of like I’ve been getting away with something to have this reliable, simple free hosting service. There have been times I’ve been tempted to move the hosting elsewhere but it’s never become necessary.

Here’s a screenshot of what the site looked like in February 2014, from the internet archive:

screenshot of a very plain homepage

(I tried to check out an old version of the source code and boot it up but it proved a bit challenging. If I were a more committed nostalgist I’d probably try to make a docker image with the older dependencies, like Ruby 2.0.0, but this will have to do for now)

This has never been the most beautiful website and the design has not evolved very much. I kept the dashed lines and that shade of green for links. I changed the background color.

Before Hardscrabble, I bounced around between a bunch of different blogs and blogging tools, including WordPress, Tumblr, Octopress, Calepin, Livejournal, Facebook Notes. Maybe some others. I remember my friend Corey would poke gentle fun at me for this restlessness. I remember when I started Hardscrabble I wanted to stick with it if only to prove him wrong. I’ll have to ask.

Thanks for reading.

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