fuzzy notepad

Tagged: meta

[blog] Fair warning: minor restructuring ahead

I started using Tumblr some time ago to publish sporadic shorter writing, as a way to combat the feeling that everything I wrote in this “real blog” had to be long and semi-formal. The short writing more or less migrated to Twitter, but Tumblr remained for some community-specific griping. When I started learning to draw, it was an obvious place to stick my doodles as well.

But Tumblr is a frustrating platform that I’ve never found myself particularly enjoying. Plus, it seems a shame to have this amazing domain hack and only use it for one kind of thing.

So I’m going to try expanding the purview of my tiny platform. Pelican isn’t quite designed for this, but I’m going to turn its concept of “categories” into more like content types, whatever that ends up meaning. “Blog” is now its own category; I’ve put all my old posts in it and will put other long-form writing in it in the future. (I also cleaned up the tags I use, merged the old categories into tags, and hid single-use tags from the sidebar.)

I haven’t decided exactly what else will go here yet. Posting art is an obvious start, and I might even backfill all my doodles since I started drawing in January. I might write some shorter and more “disposable” things. I might write short updates on particular projects. I might post tons of cat photos, and backfill those too. I might try keeping a “dev journal”, where every single day I write a quick paragraph or two about what I did.

I mention this mainly as a heads up to any techies who’re following via the feed. If you want to see anything and everything I publish, it’ll all be in the same global Atom feed, so you don’t need to do anything. If you only want to follow my blog, there should be a new feed just for blog posts. Every category gets its own feed, so you can also mix and match as you please, once I get some other categories started.

Are you excited? I’m excited.

[blog] Comment policy

I’m still dealing with cretins’ comments on my PHP post, two years later. I’ve always made an effort to never delete or ban any of them, in the interest of allowing discussion and all that jazz.

But let me tell you, it is fucking exhausting reading all that and I am tired of it. And I just realized I wrote a sassy post about Mozilla.

So the comment policy is thus:

Keep your fucking vitriol to your own blog.

Disagree with me all you want. In fact, I encourage it! I love to know when I’m wrong, and arguing over things is how I figure out why I think them in the first place.

But this space is mine, and I even said long ago that the comments are really optional. The important stuff here is what I say, not what you say. If what you say is clearly only intended to be destructive, it and you are gone. I’ve had enough.

[blog] Issues

I love tinkering with things, but in the absence of external stimuli (like, “it’s my job”), I’m pretty bad at finishing things. Instead I gradually accrete a ball of projects, todo lists, XXX comments, half-written blog posts, and mental notes-to-self. Eventually the mental load becomes overwhelming and I freak out at how many recreational things I “have” to do.

So I spent much of last weekend trying to alleviate this, by dumping various todo files and the contents of my head and tabs that have been open for months and half of my Workflowy into issue trackers. I know, duh, but I always get out of the habit of using them, and then it seems like more effort to get back into the habit than to just jot down or remember one more thing. Maybe this time it’ll stick. I have far more brain to be dumped, but what’s left is generally more detailed planning that won’t come into focus until I sit down to seriously work on the corresponding project. The real test will be whether I keep filing tickets as they come to mind. And actually, like, assign them to myself. And do them! Whoa.

I’m also making an effort to make my code more accessible to anyone who wants to contribute to it; I’ve been using git and GitHub for ages and attracted a couple pull requests, but I’m pretty lax about even build documentation. I wrote a few READMEs to alleviate this, and will be writing some more as I touch repositories that lack them.

Oh, if you give half a crap about what I hack, I’ve thrown together a projects page listing some of the things I’ve started attempting to build. Or you could just look at my GitHub, really. Feel free to contribute, or tell me how I’m making it hard to contribute.

And I totally cut down on the number of distinct categories I was using for this blog, so when I start posting more than once a month, categories will be useful for sifting through posts!

[blog] Once more, with feeling

Let’s try this again.

Blogofile was a cool experiment, but unfortunately it’s been effectively abandoned. It’s not bad, but it has a lot of warts that add friction to blogging, and I need all the non-friction I can get.

So this is powered by Octopress. It’s a Ruby thing wrapped around Jekyll, which I guess is GitHub’s wiki engine or something, and I strongly suspect that Blogofile took a lot of inspiration from it.

It’s still the same basic idea: static generation, Markdown, templates, Disqus, etc. But it’s a bit more fully-featured from the get-go, has some shortcuts that make it harder for me to avoid writing thoughts down, and does the deployment for me.

This default theme ain’t bad, either. Rather not have the exact same blog as dozens of other nerds, but it’s a start.

[blog] Something new

Do you remember LiveJournal in its heyday? It was glorious. Built like a hacker’s hobby project, with all manner of little hidden treasures. Multiple avatars that use keywords so you can swap them out retroactively. A threaded comment system that still defies most competition. Site-wide banning, originally available only via a text-only admin console. A DSL for styling your blog thing however you want! It introduced OpenID; it was probably one of the first sites to really embrace RSS.

Now, though, none of this is particularly impressive. LiveJournal is far from being the only kid in town, and since it was sold to an already increasingly-irrelevant Six Apart and then some obscure Russian media company, it’s fairly well stagnated. More effort is spent on micro-promotions than actual functionality. LiveJournal is now optionally a client for Twitter and Facebook, rather than standing on equal footing as with OpenID or (gasp!) being the server. LJ’s own OpenID server support is some of the weakest I can name. LJ ran out of good ideas long ago, and now it’s just running on inertia.

A sad tale, sure. But on a more personal note, LJ is just not fun for me to use any more. I’m a hacker, and I like fiddling with things, and LJ just feels like a huge wall between my content and the world. I really just want to write some text and broadcast it to all who wish to read it.

And so, I depart LJ to do exactly that. This blog is stored in git, formatted as Markdown, and built into mere static pages by a few small Python scripts.

The comments, alas, are powered by Disqus. I apologize profusely for this, to those of you who would actually care. I thought long and hard about this, but ultimately I came to the realization that my blog is about things I want to say, not so much what others say in response, and so it shouldn’t really matter what the commenting mechanism looks like. If you don’t want to allow the necessary JavaScript but you really have something to say, you can always be old-school and email me.

Now, then. I’ve spent far too long just nitpicking the design of this thing (which I intend to finish up and apply to veekun proper, eventually). Let’s see if this legitimately makes me more interested in blogging.