Ironically, after posting about “Blogging Friction”, I took a break from blogging at all for awhile.
When it came time that there was something I wanted to post about again, things didn’t work.
Yet again, things had changed on GitHub and GitHub Pages. First GitHub stopped allowing access via passwords. You had to move to SSH access. Then, for GitHub Pages, you had to add “Deploy Tokens”, another kind of SSH token.
Let’s face it. I’m an infrequent blogger. But I’m not an infrequent writer. So why does the (vast) majority of what I write never make it onto the blog?
The answer is friction. And why is that? Here is my process.
Think of something that I want to write down so I remember it. Realize that what I’ve written might be useful to someone else too. (It could happen!) Look at what I have to do in order to get my thoughts from my editor to the blog.
It’s been a bit of a slog, but things should be up and running again. The transition was a bit harder than expected.
Here are some things you should know:
The site is generated by the Hugo static site generator. The site uses a trivial modification of the very pleasant Blackburn theme. There are still some kinks I want to work out, but it is very useful overall. The repository for the site is on GitHub here and is generated from the information in the repository here.
As noted in yesterday’s blog, I’m making a sweep through my previous posts trying to fix links that have broken over the years. This is in preparation for switching to another blogging platform.
I find that the rot even creeps into the README.md files in my own code repositories. Many of them refer back to descriptions of the repositories posted to no longer existing versions of the blog.
I’ll fix those as soon as I can.
Every once in awhile, I change blogging platforms. Recently I have been working on a switch to Hugo. Whenever I go through this exercise, I religiously check for broken links. There are always plenty.
Most of the time, when broken links are found, I can find a replacement. Sometimes not though. Sometimes something is just gone. No new address. No record in the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. Just gone.
I know I’m contributing to this myself by changing hosts and blogging platforms.
As part of the work of transferring old blog posts from other systems (mostly WordPress) to Hexo, I hit a bump when trying to use images in the new posts.
There are basically two recommended ways to access images in Hexo.
Put a new sub-directory, say images in your Hexo source directory. Put your images in your new directory. In your posts, use the usual Markdown method of linking to images, that is something like !
First light with a new blogging platform.
My hosting vendors have been playing games with me. They offer terrific prices to new customers to start using them. But the loyal folks who have been using them for years get nothing – except maybe a price increase. Not cool.
So, I’m looking into hosting my blog for free on GitHub Pages. It even provides HTTPS out of the box. No configuring certificates or any of that stuff.
The Caddy server is a relatively new, easy-to-use server written in the Go programming language. It is very buzzword compliant. But, the nicest thing about it, in my opinion, is that it sets up SSL/TLS (Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security) certificates automatically from Let’s Encrypt to let you serve a site with HTTPS by default. The project is open source and the certificates are free.
Of course, WordPress is a very popular blogging platform. Caddy provides some guidance on getting WordPress up and running on the server. However, it wasn’t enough for me. Here’s some step-by-step guidance on how I got it working on some of my own self-hosted sites.
As you may have guessed, I like to fiddle with things until they seem to be just perfect. One of those fiddly things is font pairing. (Changed them just today as a matter of fact.) I can never seem to get the perfect pairing of headline and body fonts.
In order to get a little more professional perspective, I follow the TypeWolf blog. Jeremiah Shoaf is a great design resource. I have even spent actual money to buy his “The Definitive Guide to Free Fonts”, which he updates monthly.
The observant among you may have noticed a small change in the blog. It’s that little lock symbol next to the URL for the post. That means the blog is being served on HTTPS instead of plain ol’ HTTP.
Ever since hearing about it, I’ve had mixed feelings about the push to HTTPS. Of course, it will provide some benefit in terms of security. But if Google weights its search results based on whether or not a site supports it, access to some early web sites may be lost.
tldr; This long post contains my impressions of setting up and using the 1999.io blogging platform on a remote Ubuntu server.
Blogging is a great thing. It lets anybody say what they want to whatever audience is interested. It’s relatively simple for anyone to set up. (Me setting up this blog for example.) But it’s not dead simple. Particularly if you want to self-host your site rather than putting it on someone else’s machine, for example WordPress.
Over the past few years, a lot of blogs or news articles have been written that are lists of items related to a larger topic, like “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” or “10 Things You Didn’t Know about this Big Star” and so on.
I generally dislike these for three reasons.
Lack of Speed. A lot of these articles are set up such that you have to load a sequence of pages to read each of the items.
The “Lou the Luddite” blog was originally created as a self-hosted WordPress blog. But this blog was always a bit problematic for some reason. At first, I couldn’t get automatic WordPress updates to work. Then I found EasyEngine, which did the install for me and got things running. But it’s just a big black box of a script. I don’t know all of the details of what it does. That isn’t something I’m really comfortable with.
I’ve been using Disqus to take care of the comments on this site. As of today, that is over.
The reason is simple. Tracking. They plan to build very detailed user profiles based on the comments that people leave around the net. I didn’t know, but they were spying on the people who comment on my stuff. Without telling anyone.
Some of you may have noticed that this blog disappeared again for awhile. It was on purpose this time.
As I noted in an earlier post, getting WordPress to work on this host has been a bit of a chore. I got tired of doing updates and installs of plugins and such manually. It was not particularly hard, just tiresome.
And then some warnings about particularly nasty XSS bugs appeared. At that time, I took the blog offline until I had some time to deal with things.
Now, I love WordPress. It’s easy to use and easy to administer. Except when it isn’t.
I run multiple sites on multiple servers. For the most part, they are trouble free. Except one site. This site. (Update 16 Aug 2017: This was referring to my site on CloudAtCost.)
You see, I can’t seem to load plugins or new themes or updates for some reason.
I run the same OS (Ubuntu 14.
For a change, this is not a rant; this is an homage.
Twenty years ago last week, Dave Winer started what later came to be called blogging. Dave’s remembrance of the event kind of rambles a bit, but that is his right. That’s what he gave us. Everyone now has the ability to say whatever they want and be read by whomever is interested. At a time when it seems that oppression of many sorts is winning, blogs are a strong statement of freedom.
(Note: This is the introductory post to a blog that was merged into this one. The original no longer exists.)
Welcome to my new blog.
This is just a place for me to vent about problems with technology. Despite the name of the blog, I’m a technologist myself. I’ve spent decades developing medical technology. It’s likely that every reader in the States (and probably beyond) has been touched by technology I have worked on.