Unconscious Inertia

meta

My plan to update twice a week has, clearly, not borne fruit.

One big—essential, even—part of being a technically-oriented person who is trying to write is consciously ignoring all that technical stuff, because it’s solely a distraction. It’s incredibly easy to get bogged down in the weeds of getting the production pipeline exactly right in each jot and tittle. It’s like a car mechanic spending so much time trying to get optimum performance out of his engine that he never actually, y’know, drives anywhere. So on the one hand, switching from Technology A to Technology B for this blog has little value if it means posts don’t get published.

On the other hand, part of the reason I haven’t been writing posts anyway is because of my dissatisfaction at dealing with Technology A. It’s nice to have an application I can just put words in and hit Publish, but the price for that is a certain lack of flexibility and frustration (and also some bugs).

So, last weekend, I experimented with a Technology B, which would be greatly more flexible—but importantly also comes with some good defaults so I don’t have to reïnvent the wheel on everything. (When I first began this project, I considered writing my own blog software. I am strictly speaking capable of this, but decided against it, as, again, it would leave me no time to actually write posts.) In particular, I looked at how much of a pain it would be to lift-and-shift existing content. It turns out that, though a bit of manual work, it is not that difficult or time-consuming: essentially, copy-and-paste. This means I can easily and with a clear conscience continue to write in Technology A until Technology B is fully set up and running.

So:

  • Look for changes in the website coming Real Soon Now.
  • Those of you reading via email subscription can ignore all the above, because that’s handled separately, and in a way that it doesn’t even matter what is used to generate the site.
  • Not that anybody cares, but Technology A is WriteFreely and Technology B is Nikola.

#100DaysToOffload #meta #software

I upgraded the software this blog runs on to the latest version. After resolving one self-imposed hiccup (I accidentally downloaded the arm64 package rather than the amd64 one my hardware needs—reading carefully is important) everything seems to be working the same, except I get a dark mode now.

#meta

One of the things I've wanted to do for a long while is to write more.

I've had a blog or at least some sort of website for nearly a quarter of a century, but I've never been good about writing regularly. So I took a good look at myself and what I've been doing to try to figure out what the road blocks were for me. Some of them I can't do much about (time) or what changes I'm making won't pay dividends until later (energy), but one of the problems was that writing a blog post was just too fussy a process; it was a geek's process:

  1. Clone the git repository (if it's not already on this machine)
  2. Create a new post in Org syntax, often having to look something up
  3. Generate the static site in dev mode, and spin up a local webserver to make sure things look right
  4. Generate the static site again, this time in prod mode
  5. Copy the files to the webserver, either making sure the webserver has my SSH key for this computer, or else looking up the password in my vault
  6. Check the public site, nearly invariably find a typo or other thing to fix, go back to step 3

Don't get me wrong: I loved it. I had control over every step of the process, a process I had designed. But at the end of the day, it was clearly a roadblock. I spent so much time fiddling, I never got anything done. And when I thought about writing, sometimes, a lot of times, it just seemed like too much work.

So I've moved this blog to use WriteFreely, which it turns out, I can set up in an an hour, and then—write.

#meta #writefreely