This is my personal reminder the work I put into this site is about owning my voice and words, and to find the time to reduce the friction to do so. Also, to share that experience so that others can do the same.
This is my personal reminder the work I put into this site is about owning my voice and words, and to find the time to reduce the friction to do so. Also, to share that experience so that others can do the same.
Only usable by developers. About as accessible as improv Klingon slam poetry to anybody else.
However, if I want to build any readership (isn’t that a part of blogging, sharing your thoughts with others?) I can’t be mixing in posts about forays into Python with posts about cooking vegetables sous-vide. Sure, there might be a readership that is interested in both topics as I am, but not enough to say “screw it.” So as I continue to work towards a true indieweb, I’m pivoting a bit in my approach and will use this as domain, now 11 years old, as my base identifier and central clearing house. I’ve acquired several domains, 2 of which will be good to split the topics. Those too will be static Jekyll built sites, with links from this site to new posts.
Certainly this is more me thinking out loud and putting it out there, as I intend for this domain to be, but my goal is to continue to do such here, rather than bottle up my thoughts in my head.
My basic workflow currently is serving the page from GitHub pages, however I’m using Travis CI to build the site and publish to master branch1 , there by bypassing the restrictions of gh-pages (specifically, their need for using –safe mode and not up-to-date version of Jekyll). Currently my use case would probably work within their parameters, however I had already started using 3.x and at the time of writing GitHub is using 2.x.
More importantly to me, I want to be able to blog from my phone. It something that I feel has limited me in sharing interesting items I come across as well as stopping me from making time to put thoughts down as they come. I had originally wrote up some thoughts on using iOS and Jekyll, but later came across a better workflow2.
Finally, there are still some wonkiness around, I’m sure my Atom feed is broken and am not sure how to redirect that yet using GitHub. I doubt I had many subscribers, so if you stumble on this and previously read my random posts, you may need to update while I investigate options. Certainly there are some styling issues that I want to address as well as some under the hood improvements.
Extensive Googling finally led me to Zappier. Similar to IFTTT, they have a Github/Dropbox workflow that allows you to send a pull request to Github when a new file is added to a directory in Dropbox. And while if I was simply using Github pages to host a Jekyll site, that would be the end to a simple solution.
However, I still want to host my own data on my own VPS (more on that later). Enter Jekyll Hook, which, while not seemingly for the faint of heart, allows one to run their own “Github Pages” on their own server.
So, while all untested at this point, on paper it seems I can have a dedicated Dropbox folder synced with an iOS editor that when a markdown file is saved to it, Zapier will attempt to send a pull request and merge it to a Github hosted repo of my blog [footnote, possibly need to have iOS app to approve pull request but option is in the recipe for the workflow. I assume it will work save for any previous files by same name causing a merge conflict]. From that, the Jekyll Hook script/solution will fire and rebuild the the site, all without leaving the convenience of my iOS device.
Potential magic I tell you.
I’ve had enough of maybe-later, of I’m too busy right now, of after I’m done with this. I’ll be publishing anything I think others will benefit from. Ten non-perfect pieces are better than zero wannabe-perfect ones.
Perhaps from where I’m sitting, it won’t always be what I think others might benefit from, rather a benefit to me. Be it saving a snippet of code for posterity (which could benefit others), reflecting on a moment or just sharing thoughts about a band. Anything to have it centralized and outside the walls of Facebook, Twitter and the like.
Here’s to kicking 2014 off on the right foot.
For reference, I’ve been running on Habari since September 2008, never looking back.
You have a blog. When writing for this web log, you are blogging, “I think I’m going to blog about the movie we saw last night”, I blogged about how I built the best mouse trap. You can call yourself a blogger. A blog however is not each individual entry or post you write. Please do not tell me you wrote 3 blogs last night. You can tell me you blogged 3 articles, or you wrote 3 entries for your blog, but you did not write 3 blogs. Do not tweet “my new blog” and link to an entry. When I see “new blog” I’m expecting a completely new site from the one you already have.
Now, I don’t claim to be a grammar nazi or even have the best grammar. But this is less about grammar and more about semantics and something that simply gets my goat. Feel free to contradict or refute my position. I’m all ears. Also, I came across a great blog post sometime back, on the history of weblogs you may find interesting.
First, I’m not a developer of software. I make websites. I use Twitter. A lot sometimes. I have found the reaction to Twitter’s curious announcement in the change in their terms of service interesting. Granted, most reactions I have read are from developer types, so it may be biased. The sentiment could be summed up in a tweet I saw today, “Twitter: from #dickbar to #dickmove”. That basically Twitter added a new “feature” in their most recent mobile app that absolutely no one liked and users were abuzz with suggestions for other clients. Rather than listen to these users (granted, they did release a minor update that apparently mitigates to a degree the trending bar, coined by Gruber the dickbar) they simply decided to post to a mailing list telling developers to not plan on being able to create alternate clients. Poor timing? Possibly. They very well could have been planning this announcement for some time. Still seems odd.
But what if they had challenged themselves internally? “We are going to make such a kick ass experience for the desktop, mobile and web, users won’t bother with these imitators.” They could have looked at who was doing great things with the iPhone and the desktop and simply hired them to make their product better. Listened to their users to see what features these other clients were offering and make them better. Isn’t that what free-market competition should be all about? Not, “hey, thanks for helping build up our user base, now go screw yourselves.”
Ultimately, Twitter really reminded me that I don’t pay for it, so I can’t really bitch about it, and should remember my goal of Less Twitter, more me..
Every 9 months or so, I get these grand ambitions to resurrect the blog, but my grandiose visions overwhelm the realities of my daily life, and they never transpire. That’s not to say that I don’t still love food, that I don’t every day in my current profession as a guy who makes and manages web sites (do they still call it webmaster?) use my experiences as a chef, both in the work place dealing with people and changing focus at the drop of a dime, as well as the art itself. It’s ephemeral, here today, gone in 20 minutes, a delicate balance between art and science.
The epiphany is, keep it simple stupid. It may not surprise 4 of you 6 that I read weekly the Miami Herald, NY Times, Chicago Tribune, LA Times food sections as well as our local über cool food writer Jeff Houck. Not to mention the many tweets and links that come through my streams weekly. I often want to share these, with a short anecdote, or comment.
My question to the 3 of you still reading this? I should probably not push these to my regular Twitter account, right? I should just tell folks about the re-positioning once it’s done, and let them subscribe to the feed. Possibly create a new Twitter account to push those updates to those who prefer to use Twitter instead of Atom feeds for updates? Should I link directly to the source article, ala Gruber, or simply link in the post with my anecdote ala Kottke?
And full disclaimer, I do have advertising on that site, that despite it’s languishing in purgatory, pays for a significant amount of my hosting costs. That has nothing to do with my desire to kick start the site however, but just want to be clear, ads will continue on the site.
However, lately I’ve been feeling more and more my microblogging platform of choice, Twitter, was becoming increasingly ephemeral. I was conditioning myself to minimize my thoughts due to some arbitrary constraint. Not to mention, I didn’t have my own reference point. Sure, I use
Instapaper & Pinboard, but I did not have a chronological reference to what I was thinking and feeling. Not to mention a real reference point of meaningful information I felt important to file away for posterity.
So today launches a new direction for Michael B, one where I do not question if I can get my point across in a finite set of characters, if my use of UTF-8 character encoding will translate to other platforms. Where I can come back a year later and the data will be mine, easily reached, in a database of my own management. No worries if I post a picture if someone will sell it, if my words will be broadcast to ears to which I’ll never know.
I don’t mean to say I will not be verbose (which I am) or that I’ve mastered some modern day Strunk & White, rather I will not feel confined. And to which I will feel free.
Also, I will genuinely get back to the root of why I fell in love with publishing on the web, and hopefully make some, albeit small, mark on the face of web publishing.
This is just but the first iteration of the new site. I hope to integrate some of the third-party services that I previously shared on this domain, and still feel an important way of expressing fully who I am, but I needed to make the move now, and fill in the important pieces as I move forward once again.
I’m quite happy this is
(not valid due to old content) HTML 5 with generous dashes of CSS 3. I hope to expand on both and as I learned my first go around with self-publishing on the web – learning is doing. (Update: I was going to switch the videos to the experimental Youtube HTML5 embed code, however unfortunately the videos had been taken down. I also found additional typos in the same post. The home page is now currently valid HTML5)
My most recent excursion in a single note taking solution was EverNote. Certainly versatile, perhaps too so, and it never felt like the right fit. It was just too something. I wanted a no frills solution that I could easily access my notes from my desktop, laptop and on the go (currently using an iPhone). Certainly EverNote fits that bill, but again, too cumbersome and too busy.
A little while ago, I stumbled on a Habari plugin, SimplyNoted, which interfaced with an iPhone app SimpleNote. Quite an elegant little app/plugin, I could take notes on my phone and be able to pull them up in a Habari Silo, and turn them into a blog post, etc. Nice, but my iPhone isn’t the only place I take notes or want to do a brain dump. So it’s lingered on the second page of my phone, starring at me, taunting me to use it. Then the other day, the always with a great idea Merlin Mann, resurrecting his invaluable 43folders website, posted a screenshot and short post about his workflow.
Wait, did I just read about something syncing with SimpleNote? Sure enough, Merlin was espousing the virtues of an app he’d been using, and how it now syncs with SimpleNote. Notational Velocity is a no frills, desktop application (is there a mobile, I didn’t look) that snycs with SimpleNote, quietly saving behind the scenes,with plenty of keyboard shortcuts but no fluff. It gets out of the way and makes it easy to just jot notes, brain dump, or I’m sure in the hands of someone like Merlin, far, far more. But for this simple guy, it was the missing link to being able to have an app on my Macs that did all the things that SimpleNote could do.
So far in two days of using it, it’s been more usable than any other system I’ve tried. I was able to bang out some thoughts before bed on my laptop, both gather links for this post as well as some outlined thoughts (yeah, this was actually thought out), as well as some ideas for some work I had to do today. I was able to grab those notes when I hit the desktop this morning without doing anything, add to them, and then pick them back up on the laptop later in the day to finish up the writing I needed to do for my new job. After dinner, I was able to then login to the admin of the blog, start a new post, open the SimplyNoted silo, and bang, all of my links and notes were there to write a post. I can’t count how many events I’ve been to the past year that I took notes at either in EverNote or with TiddlyWiki, but never got around to copying them over to writing a post. I look forward to this being the missing link between thinking about blogging, and blogging. Time will tell.
One idea I had was to see if I’d do more food blogging by simply posting them to this site first, without migrating the old content, but if I were to succeed in my experiment, I’d find myself in a similar predicament in that I’d have no way to migrate back to the food blog, not to mention I’d potentially be penalizing myself in regards to search engine stuff.
The primary obstacle is how to migrate the content. I highly doubt my code-fu would allow me to write a Habari-to-Habari importer by myself, though I’ve not even looked at any of the importers. I’m not as worried about comments, so I’ve got some too-ashamed-to-disclose hacks I’m contemplating to overcome the importing dilemma. If anyone wants to help with this goal, I’ll contribute as much as I can to making a formal Habari migration plugin.
Once I were to overcome that obstacle, the goal then would be to design a magazine-ish style theme that would allow for sections based on tags. As I find myself blogging more and more about the iPhone, I’ve been concerned that it might turn off the few readers I have. Building on the tag based sections would also allow me to better offer tag based feeds—though I don’t know if it’s possible to create a feed by excluding a tag ;-). I’m sure I could easily redirect the feed from the cooking site to a /atom/tag/food (or what ever the structure is).
So I’m hoping that one of the 25 odd subscriber/readers might have an opinion on such a move in both how it might effect me search engine wise, and what your opinion would be on having such a diverse amount of content.
Holy cow, I can even post from the Flickr silo!
This kinds blows my mind. Certainly not a primary mode of blogging, but to be able to take a photo with the camera, upload to Flickr, then write a blog post is kinda amazing.
Edit (not via iPhone) To be clear, my amazement isn’t in the iPhone, rather, in the quality of design and code of Habari that it just works, even in the mobile Safari browser.
I’ve been trying to blog more, but tend to write these long diatribes, which smack against the conventions of online writing that I’ve read. I used to tell myself that I blogged for my own benefit, and that I didn’t care if anyone read it, but I’m fooling myself. Every time I write something, I find myself checking stats and looking for comments, so obviously I do care. To that end I am also looking to tailor my blogging style to cater to easier digestion, regular readership and the potential for a discussion to ensue.
I have a few references (actually, Bleacher Report has quite a bit of good reference, be it sports related or not), but am looking for more. Do you have any quality references for online writing?
Update – I’ve found a few links that have some good information.
I’ll update this list as I find additional resources.
And ch-ching was heard in the land. And the (not citizen) journalists heard it, and it got them pecking into their Blackberries and laptops.
And then the writers and designers, ashamed at rubbing shoulders with common humanity, discovered the 140-character Tweet and the Tumblr post. No stink of commerce, no business model, nothing that could even charitably be called content, and best of all, no effort. Peck, peck, send.
I discovered “blogging” and the culture surrounding it just before what I assume is the time when “…(not citizen) journalists heard it…”. It was an exciting discovery, which ultimately lead me to the career I (usually) enjoy now. And as much I probably contribute to the not citizen “pecking at their Blackberries and laptops”, and as much as Twitter has long lost the purity of “not having a stink of commerce”, I personally enjoy the freedom of 140 character rants, without any concern whether anyone is reading them or not. I use Twitter solely because there’s a certain cathartic release in firing off something like “trying to explain browser differences on form styling is like swimming in 3 day old mashed potatoes”.
Anyway, that wasn’t the original intent of this post. Rather, there really is another reason I enjoy Twitter. It’s a compelling way to get a glimpse into the lives of people that you’ve crossed paths with and whom you find interesting or share common interests with, but haven’t had the opportunity to really get to know.
Then something like today happens. I’d been away from technology the last twenty four hours, and wanted a light hearted way of catching up with what was going on in the world, and the web in particular. Plus, there’s always a few good laughs along the way (see @hotdogsladies).
Then this tweet came across Twitterific. First, I’ve not really ever met either Chris or Sean. Chris I began following after he began following me at blogOrlando3. I wasn’t even sure who he was until the brief encounter we had at the after party. (Chris was the lucky guy handing out the drink tickets. Everyone’s best friend for at least 5 minutes.) Afterward I realized that he helped Josh Hallet with the the conference. I, like many people, truly enjoyed blogOrlando, the vibe surrounding it, and felt anyone who put that together or were involved I’d like to eventually get to know. So I follow several people that were at blogOrlando, including Chris, Josh, and Jeremy.
Sean I first encountered in the Habari IRC channel when he came along looking for help with getting some patches committed so he could fix the s9y importer and migrate his blog to Habari. Always excited for a new user/community member, I committed his patches, and soon noticed him hanging around the channel. Long story short, Sean is now part of the PMC of Habari, and can commit his own damn patches now ;-).
My point? I guess after writing this I don’t have something profound to say. I’d just never seen a correspondence between Chris or Sean on Twitter in the time I’ve been following both. Certainly I don’t know either well enough to know if they actually have met, which wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for two developers (who also share a love of great beer, another reason I enjoy their tweets) to have met.
But it gave me one of those smiles and six degrees of separation moments.
Oh, did I mention it gave me a smile after a couple of shit weeks?
I’ve previously discussed what it is about the community that gives me that warm fuzzy feeling, and that continues to be the case as the project grows. It’s especially enriching to see new community members contributing.
Thanks to everyone who helped make this release possible.
For a little more info about the new release, I’ll let one of the newer community members, Michael Harris, outline some of the big changes.
I’m very excited about where this project is going, and can only imagine where it will be a year from now.
This release has many bug fixes and features added, for both the coder and user. Personally, I contributed a fair amount of work on documentation, including my continued work on the manual, as well as getting my coding hands dirty a bit working on the first steps to overhaul the admin interface.
Participating in this community has been one of the few bright spots in my otherwise gloomy year, and I’d like to personally thank all of those who participate. I’ve also expanded my “tech” knowledge, specifically in relation to using more of the CLI and subversion. I actually managed to move a repository the other night from my local machine to a new repository on my Media Temple server that they provide. I’ve now even ventured into using macports to set up my old laptop to be a better mobile development environment, as MAMP for Panther doesn’t support PHP 5.2 (but that’s for a future post).
Suffice to say, I’m looking forward to the Habari community growing, and great things to come. Even if you aren’t ready to switch blog platforms, I’d highly suggest downloading and checking it out, and by all means, keep abreast of development. It’s a fun and inviting community, with a lot of excitement for what it’s future holds.
Also stay tuned for a soon to be updated version of Mzingimy Habari theme framework, to leverage some of the new features available to themes.
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is open to anyone, though they have a caveat that if server load gets too high, they’ll shut down registration again. I hadn’t really paid attention to it, though I’ve seen it mentioned, but the concept is sound. How often do you leave comments on a blog, and then forget where, and wonder if there was a follow up? Happens to me all the time. I keep tabs on several RSS feeds that a general in nature, and will drop a comment on a strangers blog often, only to fade from my memory. Not anymore, if CoComments works as advertised. You are given a simple bookmarklet to use before you formally submit a comment. You then can keep track of the comments via their site, or better yet, your RSS feed. In addition, you’ll see a box in my sidebar, so visitors can see where I’m visiting and commenting. Another way of building community, in my oh, so humble opinion. Though, I’ve yet to see it in action, I’ve seen it on another’s blog. And I doubt it will take long before I put it in action. So go register if interested, ‘cause it could be like Google Analytics, and close with no notice.