I’m amazed how I was super motivated to do this site last night. I do like it, and I much prefer having a static generated site than anything else. Now it feels like a bit of a slog to do the remaining parts. I’m now in that 20% which is going to take 80% of the time! I should make a list of the things I want to complete or figure out:
Figure out all the CSS elements and how I add them. e.g. markdown, or includes, or get jekyll to render them
That is quite a big one… 😅 Main ones:
Full width images
Code and syntax highlighting
Install syntax highlighting - either jeykll or js plugins
Add comments (maybe use utterances on github?) and hide them with <details> section
Change header links on main page. Either remove underline or some fancy ::before thing.
Those are probably the essentials or the first round to sort out. Other stuff I’m thinking of:
Do I keep using journal.txt? It's simple to enter stuff and I don't have to remember anything. I've hacked the page titles so I ignore them. If I want to do anything further then might need to go. VS Code and Prose.io are the obvious other things to investigate, with plugins/configs etc.
I’d sort of forgotten about this. Thought I’d try writing in it with prose. See how that experience is. The site needs some theming and CSS work badly but until I decide on this is the way to go then I won’t put in the effort.
I’d also wondered about running VS Code web version on my server and editing a static site via that. I suspect there’s a lot of helper plugins or even some shell scripts I could write that I could access from the web. Would make things easy on pretty much all devices. Not sure how it would look on mobile though. I should make my work wiki and get using that. I don’t have to wait for the new year before doing so. Then faff about with this or other sites later. Maybe I’ll read the hugo docs and compare what’s easier/harder and use that as my basis for blog.
I still like dokuwiki’s private vs. public settings within the app without having to have multiple areas. I’m actually thinking tiddlywiki will be better for work and dokuwiki for home? Maybe that’s just an excuse to use everything.
Also found out that prose has features for editing jekyll blogs…I should test this out…
It’s almost the 30th now…but I have managed to setup a reasonable site based on jekyll, the journal.txt generator. There’s a few things I still want to change with the style. Not sure if I want pagination or just limited number of posts. Also don’t like the link CSS for headlines. Need to figure out all my syntax stuff and how I add it into posts. Maybe setup prose as well. VS code is okay but not sure I like it that much for editing this file.
Once that’s done, I should do the static pages, and then consider if I want longer blog post section as well. Oh and a search bar.
I like editing this text file to add stuff. It’s very easy and I don’t need to remember much. Trying to test out github actions to automate building the posts from this file without me having to do it - means I can use other computers or web editors a lot easier without having to have ruby installed.
Like usual I didn’t read the manual, I just googled it and copied and pasted things and guessed what changed I have to make. When I push this when I’ll see if it really worked.
I’ve found a theme I quite like, although I could just build up this page from scratch. There’s not much I want:
All posts’ content on the main page
Paginated by maybe a week? 7 posts
A small menu somewhere with links to about, books, stuff, elsewhere, etc.
Maybe a feed, but I think that’s easy with including a setting.
An archives page of every day by month in a long list
The one thing I’m not sure about is ruby. I don’t know it. I don’t know jekyll. Jekyll doesn’t seem that hard but now that I seem to be going along the lines of making it all myself, should I really be using it? It’s nice with Github pages as I literally have to do nothing. This journal.txt gem is mostly what I want, although I’m tempted to make my own, so that I can change things slightly. I’m sure there must be similar scripts in python or something else that people have made. It would be quite a nice thing to make - although seems ridiculous to make my own blog generator…
The best sales this Black Friday are always VPS! Lowendbox and lowendtalk have the best deals. The problem is there’s so many it’s hard to know what to get. Often things are limited availability so you have to commit before seeing what else there is. Last few years I’ve bought from inception hosting, they’ve always been reliable and decent, so tempted to upgrade my current VPS to their latest €15/year VPS and be done with it. I’d get more storage and bandwidth for the same price. If I buy it now, it gives me a little bit of time to transfer my services across before the existing one shuts down.
I want to buy the Elder Scrolls: Skyrim for Nintendo Switch. It’s on sale but I don’t know why I want to. It’s a 10 year old game, I already own the game on PC, and it’s still not exactly cheap given it’s so old. If it sells, of course they’re going to try and get the most money they can for it. It does come with the DLCs and maybe it’s been improved since the original in terms of bugs and whatever. Like most gaming these days, I have fond memories of playing games but I actually find them boring to play. I know I shouldn’t buy it, yet I still keep thinking about it. I suppose once this week is over the sale will end and I’ll move on to something else.
Using macOS again
I’ve been critical of Apple and macOS in the past, and I’ve not used a Mac in years. That changed recently and now I have a Mac and am using macOS. The more I use it, the more I appreciate the details in it. Everything is unified in a much tighter and nicer way than Windows or Linux. I think GNOME or KDE on Linux does a decent job of it, or if you live entirely within emacs, but as a mainstream desktop OS, macOS is enjoyable. I do have some Windows/Linux-isms to unlearn or perhaps is macOS-isms to learn.
Finder is a bit odd - why can’t I press enter to open a directory? It actually is an outline, and pressing ⌘ Command + ↓ Down Arrow navigates to the level below. There’s probably other stuff but I’ve forgotten it or looked it up. Using ⌘+C/V for copy and paste is going to be the biggest complaint from the family if I setup the main computer to be the Mac. Yes they can learn, but they don’t use the computer enough to appreciate everything else to understand why they should learn.
The integration obviously goes a long way if you’re in the Apple ecosystem. So it makes so much sense to use the stock apps too. Which is something else I now appreciate. Stock apps - that are good and useful! Windows what do you offer? A few things but nowhere near as good. Of course Linux has the upper hand in terms of available software (of course much of it runs on other OSs too) but there’s not always the integration.
Anyway, I’m enjoying it and no, it’s not all open source, but whatever. 🤷🏼♂️
The new (to me) Mac mini arrived, 2012 i7 model. Also came with a 23” Apple Cinema Display. Which is cool but it gets boiling and only one input is annoying with multiple computers. Not sure what I’ll do with that. Coming back to macOS after ~7 years takes a bit of getting used to. There’s a lot to setup and I feel like a lot of tricks to learn.
I do like all these new Cosina Voigtländer vintage design lenses they’re coming out with. I feel like I should get at least one Leica lens but the quality, performance and price of the CVs it’s hard to justify Leica.
Had two rolls of Kentmere 400 developed. One at box speed, and one pushed two stops. At box speeds its quite a grainy film stock, I’ll have to dig out some HP5 photos to compare but seems similar to that. What was interesting was at ISO 1600 the grain appeared no worse! Certainly on casual viewing, probably there are some differences at 100%. So whilst I wasn’t that excited about it at 400, I’m very impressed with it at 1600. Could be a good B&W stock for the winter months when I’m even looking for 1600 whilst outside! These photos were from a few weeks ago where I was kicking myself from being poorly organised. However, even with the disorganisation the photos turned out really well. Although I’m not sure I’ve had a film photos that (as long as it was in focus) that I didn’t love.
I’m always a sucker for new static site generators. This one,📜Scroll, I found today was interesting. Mostly the layout, of which an interesting demonstration is this trees site. A bigger site is here. Maybe it’s a little overwhelming…
What has been a more interesting discovery is Gitpod. It’s a container-based development platform, provisioning dev environments, even running code and previewing the output in the same window. Think I need to watch the screencast series to really understand what can be done. It appears you can get all the fun of VS Code (and even open the gitpod project in you local VS Code instance) and a server to run it on just from pre-pending gitpod.io/# to your Github (or Gitlab/bitbucket) URL.
This could be a nice way to manage a static site generator, or a personal plain text log system. It’s all on the same environment, you can access it anywhere with a browser - so no worrying about mobile devices, syncing between computers or any of that. Everything is backed up on github. VS Code does allow you to do all this already, however, you now get a server to run things on too. There’s so many things you can do with this.
Must be some limit to the free service…the pricing page gives you 50 hours/month.
If I’m honest, this is the office setup I aspire to.
Turns out using Apple’s dictation button on the keyboard, which is present in every app you type in, is a pretty nice way to add voice dictation to anything whatsoever! I like how it goes back and adjusts its transcript (to make it better/correct) when you speak more. It’s also interesting that sometimes I don’t correct it as it’s written what I’ve said slightly better
Oracle’s free VM tiers are nice, but I worry they are too good to be true and will disappear…like how google cloud’s free vms (well free ipv4) disappeared. You can still get a free VM from Google Cloud but no ipv4. Which isn’t *thatmuch of a big deal as you can use cloudflare’s proxy to get around it but it’s just another thing and that might not be useful for everything.
I remembered a really good article about something today that I know I’d “saved” for later. Now that I want to find it I don’t remember where I saved it. Or if I did in fact save it directly or save the route I took to find it. I think I found it via a comment on reddit, or maybe it was a comment on a blog…hmm…
A deal for a mATX motherboard almost sucked me into buying a new computer. Mine is old, 3rd gen Ivy Bridge CPU, but it still functions just fine. I still sort of want a Mac, but I also like Linux and value for money. For a while I was very pro-open source software, particularly Operating Systems. I still am but I still use Windows on my main machine. I have decided that when (if) we redo the kitchen, I’ll get an iMac as a family computer. It’s the ideal device for a family area.
Enjoyed some good fireworks this bonfire weekend. I think this year’s was our most efficient ever. Literally as we found ourselves a good spot to stand, the fireworks started.
I tried taking some photos in the dark with the X-T2, and pushed the ISO to 12,800. On the camera’s LCD they looked okay, less so on the monitor. I should print one out and see how it looks. Thought about the monochrom cameras being ideal for this situation. Then remembered the prices.
Kids don’t know how easy they have it these days with SSL from Let’s encrypt. One line sudo certbot --nginx -d your_domain and it does everything for you. Even edits your nginx config where it finds the domain to add all the SSL certs and recommended settings to secure a strong rating. I remember when startssl (I think) began offering one free SSL cert per year. You’d have to go through various hoops to prove yourself and then download the certification, upload it to your server and then figure out all the settings. There was a gist somewhere that had recommended settings and generating your own dhparam key and everything. Now just install nginx and certbot and away you go. Scores an A on SSL Labs.
If you’re after a new VPS this month then wait until black friday/cyber monday and have a look on lowendtalk, always lots of great deals (in fact too many). I’ve picked up great VPSs over the years for ~$15/year that have all run perfectly for my self-hosted sites. Inception hosting is one of my favourites, Virmach have been good too. I’m looking for a new photo gallery hosting site to upgrade my $4/yr OpenVZ VPS special 😅
Playing around with PhotoFloat again, and I do like static gen websites. It’s python2 but still makes a nice site. I currently use Piwigo for gallery website, which is a great piece of software, but has lots of features I don’t really care about. However, their hosted service with unlimited storage is nice for big photo collections.
I sold my Fujifilm X100F after not using it for a long time. Now I want to use it.
Surely the solution to this ”tools for thought” problem is emacs? It’s been looking for a good editor for ages. I’m not sure importing opml files into other tools really helps any more than just adding a search function to the rendered html. These other tools have a benefit due to the additional meta data the user adds - e.g. linking, tags, filters, queries, macros, etc. I suppose these unlinked references might be of use, but dumping a whole heap of data into the tool, then looking at all those unlinked references would be a bit overwhelming. If you want to replace its editor, then drummer needs to support the extra stuff. I love blogging with drummer but logseq’s editor has a lot of nice features I wish drummer had…Now I want to try logseq again and see where it’s got to…
I think that I shall never envision An op unlovely as division. An op whose answer must be guessed And then, through multiply, assessed; An op for which we dearly pay, In cycles wasted every day. Division code is often hairy; Long division’s downright scary. The proofs can overtax your brain, The ceiling and floor may drive you insane. Good code to divide takes a Knuthian hero, But even God can’t divide by zero!
Been watching some videos on Rocketbook, this seems like it could be what I’m after to help with my challenge. If nothing else it’s a cheap experiment. In fact, they offer printable templates to try out first - so free!
I (re)remembered the Advent of Code. That’ll be another good intention that I’ll never furfill.
The longevity of physical notebooks, and their content
The other day I was tidying my office. The clutter had slowly grown and it had become too annoying. I also had a bunch of things to do that I was putting off, like scanning some letters, storing boxes of (yet more) stuff I’d bought as well as just the tidy up itself. I had a stack of notebooks, a mix of Leuchturms, moleskins, random brands, but all about A5 size. I use these every day at work to track my weekly and daily to-dos, notes from meetings and general paper scratchpad for calcs or ideas. This stack probably went back to about 2018. What was I going to do with them?
I probably spent a good 20 minutes just flicking through the pages - this is something I love about physical notebooks. The ease of rediscovery of previous entries. I’ve not found a digital equivalent that’s quite so enjoyable. The “on this day” feature that many photo and journal apps have is nice but it’s just that day. There’s sometimes open a random entry or but the flicking through large time ranges and just having things jump out is much better.
* Although if I’m honest, whilst it’s nice to do, it tends not to yield anything other than a brief moment reminiscing about that particularly entry. It’s definitely not a good way to manage work or organise important information.
At work, I always have my notebook with me. It’s very quick to capture anything, I also think it’s perceived as less rude than taking out a laptop. Pretty much as everyone thinks you’re not paying attention whilst writing notes on it. Now of course I shouldn’t care what other people think, but sometimes it isn’t appropriate to take out a laptop. I also have a nice routine of weekly planning, and daily planning in my notebook. That’s worked well for me for several years now and I shouldn’t really change that.
The bulk of entries are transient, stuff that needed to be done that week, meetings about it, updates, which whilst important at the time, the information tends to become meaningless over time. However, within it are useful items - what did I accomplish, updates and records of long running projects, and good reference information that I’ve captured. It is this information that I’m wondering about.
I’ve managed to get into a good habit of summarising my weekly achievements and capturing that in a private Tiddlywiki file. The habit is not entirely mine as my boss asks for the updates each week so that makes me do it, I suppose the putting it into TW is mine. I think there’s more improvements I can do in TW to make the information more convenient but generally it’s good enough. I have to do this summary as part of my work, so it gets done.
The obvious solution to saving this other important information is to extract it from the notebooks and into something more permanent, and probably something digital for longer term storage and searching. Maybe Tiddlywiki as it’s a pretty nice application, very customisible and has a good long term viability. The problem is getting the data into it. It’s going to take more time to do it, and time is always limited. There’s probably a whole host of systems and methods and I’m sure I can spend many hours figuring out systems and tools and maybe even buying stuff. In fact, I’m sure I’ll convince myself that buying stuff is the right solution - ranging from eye-watering eink notebooks like reMarkable or Supernotes, to more reasonable rocketbooks. I’m just not sure if they really solve the problem or just give me the feeling that I’m solving it. I don’t really need to buy anything, but I suppose the arguement would be that if it saves me time then that’s the value it brings.
* Anyway I suppose thoughts and review of those products are beyond what I started off typing about.
Whilst I think about the future, I looked at all the notebooks and decided just to recycle them. They probably have useful information in them but it’s too late now.
Doesn’t this just make you want to run tmux and vim. what url?
You can also make projects (think Kanban board) on your Github profile, for sharing stuff you’re up to, or anything you want! It’s also integrated with Github workflows
Here’s a fun podcast episode from JS Party where they talk about the hardware and software they use. A lot of macs and vim! One Omnifocus user. Website has links to everything if you don’t want to listen. Brian (who works at Github) has amazing examples of Github automation and making the most of actions, Github’s GraphQL, and special repos. Interesting stuff to dig into. If you have a dotfiles repo, then codespaces (a VM with VS Code) will automatically pull it in!
46 years ago, HM The Queen officially inaugurates the massive Forties field in the North Sea.
I feel like iOS 15’s display of the number of Safari tabs I have open on my phone is a constant judgement of me.
Jailbreaking a kindle
Spent last night jailbreaking my older Kindle Paperwhite. This was kicked off by my desire to be able to pull out my highlights in a more automated manner on books that aren’t purchased from Amazon - which is quite a lot more me. I’d found KOReader online and this appeared to have some automation potential with Joplin syncing, Calibre syncing or even just a SSH server on it.
The jailbreaking is very easy, and you just follow a series of steps from the forums. It installs KUAL (Kindle Unified App Launcher), this adds a button/book that you can launch from the normal Amazon system. You keep all the same Amazon library, store, options as well which is nice. Seems like you have to be wary of OTA upgrades from Amazon which can break your jailbreak. There’s some workarounds but looks like newer firmware is making it harder and harder. My kindle is quite old and I don’t think it’ll get any more firmware updates. They recommend putting it into Airplane mode when you don’t need the internet.
* Airplane mode defeats my purpose of remotely pulling the highlights…
I played about with KO Reader last night, instead of reading, and it has lots of features and customisations which are nice. I probably won’t use many of them so not sure for me if it’s worth it.
* Being able to rotating to landscape is a nice feature though. Again, probably won’t use it.
I think I’m just going to use my Tiddlywiki to capture my notes, so the Joplin sync is probably too complex. Calibre might be a good way to go. I don’t currently have it on my server, but probably not hard. I’ve never invested much time into Calibre, other than to covert epubs to mobi for kindle. However, it would be a nice way to organise my books. If I took my kindle with me, then the news feature would be good too. I think I read somewhere I can sync highlights with Calibre and then look at them there. Not sure if that’s helpful or not. I can open it and copy and paste but it adds formatting I don’t want even when copied as plain text. I wonder if the server version gives access to the highlights.
* It does mean they’re all in one place. I’m sure someone else on the internet has solved this problem.
Then there’s SSH. Basically could script my server to download the highlights from the kindle automatically. Not sure if SSH is only running when the kindle is on or when asleep too. This is probably the best way if I’m going to automate syncing of highlights. However, I don’t just want a copy, process and file away system as I’ll never use it. Some interaction for reviewing the highlights, editing, picking, adding other notes etc. is important. It also risks spending more time automating a tiny part of it versus reviewing. I think it’s between this and Calibre.
I did end up quitting KO Reader and going back to normal kindle to keep reading my book (as the place is saved). KO Reader was just the first thing I tried and maybe it’s not what I want. I should have a look at the other plugins and see what else can be done.
The jailbreaking is a bit of a faff, and makes me think a Kobo might be better from the start. I used to jailbreak my iPhone back in the day and installed lots of things and always did the dance during iOS updates. When I had Android phones I’d install custom ROMs and root them. In the end it was too much hassle and I have better things to do.
I don’t want to lose sight of actually reading books.