Writing on Pepys’ Diary

It’s Samuel Pepys’ Weblog!

I've just launched my new site, Pepys' Diary. Every day, starting 1st January, I'll be posting a new entry from the diary in a familiar weblog format. I'm looking forward to reading it myself, and I thought this would be a good way to have lots of people read it with me (that means you). Pepys' personal life was interesting enough and there are also bigger events to look forward to, such as the restoration of Charles II, the Great Fire of London and the Plague. If you have any comments on it so far, do let me know. So, tell your friends and start reading on Wednesday!

In Pepys' Diary on 26 December 2002. 10 comments. Permalink

Movable Type is watching me…

I decided the people and places footnotes at Pepys' Diary needed space for annotations, just like the diary entries have. Some of the Victorian footnotes are less than useful. Previously, those pages were constructed using PHP, but I had the idea of using a second Movable Type weblog to store them. Then, each footnote could have its own comments and trackbacks. After I got my head round using MT as a content management tool for entries that aren't date-based, it was nice and easy.

Once the new pages were live, I just had to change the links in the first diary entry to point to the new MT-generated footnotes. As that entry rebuilt I realised it was pinging each of the pages it was linked to... my brain clicked slowly... each footnote page would now have a trackback link to this diary entry... this would happen every time I linked to a footnote from a diary entry. Now, thanks to Moveable Type and its auto-trackback mechanism, every item in the footnotes would automatically list links to the entries in which the item appears! This was something I'd thought of doing when first developing the site and gave up as too much manual labour. I'm stunned that something so incredibly useful has happened almost accidentally. Now I'm understanding why trackback is useful, and I'm in awe.

It's going to get, hm, interesting after a few thousand entries and trackbacks, but we'll see how it goes...

In Movable Type, Pepys' Diary on 28 December 2002. 7 comments. Permalink

It’s all gone a bit Warchalking

When I built the Pepys' Diary site, I assumed it'd be the usual thing... Lots of very welcome "ooh, that's nice"s from friends, maybe a scattering of links from other weblogs not too socially distant from the Haddock circle, and then little else. That's what happened to the much neglected (on my part) Byliner for example. I thought I'd be lucky to get that to be honest, especially given the site went public at the end of Christmas Day; not the best time to launch something...


In Pepys' Diary on 2 January 2003. 1 comment. Permalink

More Pepys and me

To continue from where we left off, on Friday Pepys' Diary was Slashdotted, which is nice although doesn't hold nearly the same thrill, cachet or fear it once would.

Later that day I recorded an interview for NPR's All Things Considered show, which is now online. I'm not quite sure why old media is more exciting than new, but it's wonderful. Going into Broadcasting House, into a room packed with strange electronics and a handful of BBC engineers, into a tiny room with two microphones was thrilling. One engineer explained that, "this is going via Bush House and onto Washington," which seems a technological marvel even when I'm picking up email from a computer in California every day. And talking through a microphone to Americans in a studio in the US seems far more space-age than my daily transatlantic online communications. I've always found radio somehow more magical than any other medium; the internet, TV, movies, CDs don't seem a patch on a voice coming out of the little box in the kitchen.

But all this is beside the point. The point is, I don't hate my own voice, which is a relief.

In Pepys' Diary, Personal on 5 January 2003. 1 comment. Permalink

Interview on BBC Radio London Tuesday lunchtime

Apologies for posting exactly the same thing here and on the About Pepys' Diary weblog, but... On Tuesday 21st January at around 1.40pm GMT I

In Pepys' Diary on 20 January 2003. 2 comments. Permalink

Pepys Diary traffic statistics

If you're as fascinated by the spread of memes as I am you might find my brief report on Pepys' Diary's traffic stats and linkage interesting.

In Pepys' Diary on 9 February 2003. 1 comment. Permalink

Someone’s having fun…

Back in 1660 Pepys has just landed in Den Haag in the Netherlands. Knowing nothing about the diaries before I started the project, it's been interesting to read the ship's slow journey down the Thames and over to the Continent, and now Pepys' experience of a foreign country. A nice change from the familiar streets of London. The diary's also currently full of news about the reinstatement of the monarchy in the shape of King Charles II.

In Pepys' Diary on 15 May 2003. Permalink

Getting there, slowly…

Six months in and only 3,000 or so days left to go with Pepys' Diary. At current rates we'll have 85,333 comments posted to the site by the end!

In Pepys' Diary on 1 July 2003. Permalink

Looking as cheerful as any man could do…

I've heard a rumour that some people don't read Pepys' Diary every day. I know, it's hard to credit. If this is the case they'll be missing a few days that, while much of 17th century London is surprisingly familiar, make one realise how far society's progressed. A few traitors are being hung, drawn and quartered, with their various bodily bits displayed prominently on London's gates for all to see...


In Pepys' Diary on 16 October 2003. Permalink

TrackBack problems at Pepys’ Diary

Over the past year I've been having big problems with TrackBack over at Pepys' Diary, due to the huge number of pings sent from diary entries to items in the Background Info section (for more on how it works, read 'Movable Type is Watching Me'). I posted a description of the problem to the Movable Type Support Forum, but here it is in case that disappears over time:


In Movable Type, Pepys' Diary on 14 January 2004. Permalink

Pepys TrackBack: fixing the problems and a new layout

Because of the problem I had with TrackBacks at Pepys' Diary which I mentioned in my previous post I've had to do a lot of fixing.


In Movable Type, Pepys' Diary on 14 January 2004. 2 comments. Permalink

A new year’s resolution for you

If you’re stuck for a new year’s resolution may I be so bold as to point you at Pepys’ Diary where you can set yourself the gentle task of reading a new diary entry from 1665 every day. Yes, it’s my own site but I don’t think I’ve been doing too much self-promotion on this front over the five years the site’s been running.


In Pepys' Diary on 31 December 2007. Permalink

Completely different things

Pepys’ Diary has been getting a bit of press recently, mostly due to its inclusion in Ultimate Blogs: Masterworks from the Wild Web by Sarah Boxer (Amazon US, UK).


In Pepys' Diary, Personal on 20 February 2008. 3 comments. Permalink

Twittering betimes

I feel bad for Samuel Pepys. OK, so he’s only been on Twitter for a few weeks but it isn’t right that I have twice as many followers as he has. There he is, working hard, sending men to war, talking to the King, flirting (and more) with ladies other than his wife, and only 204 people are interested. So, given he’s three hundred years off from being able to appeal for himself, consider this a plea on his behalf for more Twitter friends.


In Pepys' Diary on 3 June 2009. 3 comments. Permalink

Time to follow Samuel Pepys

If you already get Samuel Pepys’ twitters then you should close this window or hit the back button now. If you read his daily diary but don’t get his twitters, I’ll just say this: now might be the time to start. Now you can leave this page too. That’s all I’m saying. There are SPOILERS ahead and there’s no need for you to read them.


In Pepys' Diary on 1 September 2009. 3 comments. Permalink

Publishing with old dates in Movable Type

Jon Udell recently posted about trying to get a WordPress.com blog working well with content that has historical dates. This reminded me that I’ve been meaning to write up how I got Movable Type working well with the 17th century dates of The Diary of Samuel Pepys.


In Movable Type, Pepys' Diary on 9 July 2010. Permalink

Proper, big, exciting

I was on telly earlier this evening, on this episode of The One Show on BBC One. I’ve sneakily put the segment I was in on YouTube (ssshhh, no one will know!). I start about 40 seconds in:


In Pepys' Diary on 13 January 2011. 5 comments. Permalink

Pepys’ Diary data available to play with

A bit of a cross-post, but I assume there are plenty of people who read this site who don’t follow The Diary of Samuel Pepys closely, but still might be interested. Hello geeks! I’ve just made loads of the data behind the site available in JSON format, in the hope some people feel like exploring it.


In Pepys' Diary on 22 January 2011. Permalink

Embarrassingly pimping

On Friday I spoke at The Story about The Diary of Samuel Pepys. I really enjoyed giving my presentation but even aside from that, it was a fantastic day — the other speakers were amazingly, consistently, interesting and delivered their thoughts well. A life where I get to spend a Friday at events like that can’t be a bad one.


In Pepys' Diary on 20 February 2011. 1 comment. Permalink

My talk about Samuel Pepys’ diary as an online story

I’ve given a talk about The Diary of Samuel Pepys three times in recent months, and the most recent event, SkillSwap Seeking Stories, has uploaded an audio recording of my talk. I’ve also put up the slides I used that evening, so you can try recreating the talk in the comfort of your own chair…


In Pepys' Diary on 13 April 2011. Permalink

Pepys’ Diary starting again

My nine-year-five-month project of posting Samuel Pepys’ diary entries, day-by-day, finished in May 2012. As 2013 gets going, the whole thing is rolling back to the start and beginning again.


In Pepys' Diary on 2 January 2013. Permalink

Decades-long projects

As I wrote last week the Diary of Samuel Pepys project has kicked off again for another almost-decade of daily publishing. What’s wrong with me? Or, more practically, what did I think about when starting a ten-year project all over again?


In Movable Type, Pepys' Diary, Web Development on 7 January 2013. Permalink