Fixing this blog a little

There are three issues I have with this blog, and given that it's a new year I'm resolving to fix them.

  1. The layout doesn't do anything for me
  2. The publishing workflow isn't optimal
  3. The writing doesn't happen as often as it should

Layout, maybe with actual minimalism

When I say the layout doesn't do anything for me, I mean I'm not getting any grand advantage from it, so why not... remove it? I'm also getting inspired by this talk by Pinboard wizard Maciej Cegłowski, and by extenstion some Motherfucking Website and this apparently Better Motherfucking Website. They're great.

So with the desire of avoiding ChickenShit Minimalism, I took a quick audit of what makes this blog tick. For reference, this is just a theme for Pelican I grabbed from the theme repo with some small alterations. Here is everything that makes up the page:

  • Text content, and some occasional images.
  • Little bit of css & html magic, pretty minimal.
  • Bootstrap, not necessarily the lightest thing ever
  • JQuery, which I think is only in there because it's required by bootstrap?
  • A couple of fonts, which aren't particularly fantastic anyway
  • JS for Disqus comments. This is a static blog, so there's not a clean path for self-hosting comments.

Firefox weighs it in at 408.97KB, and acrually that's a shorter list than I figured, all easily solvable. I'll leave Disqus in, not that it's used much, but bootstrap / jsuqery / fonts can probably go, and I'll model on something close to Better Motherfucking Website.

...flow like you flow

"Whatever it is in you that lets you flow like you flow, it ain't in me no more." -Cutty

A slightly bigger problem is the creation system I'm using - pelican, and the fact I don't have it set up on my machine in an optimal way. At the moment I've got pelican running in a VM sitting on my desktop, and the process is something along the lines of:

  • Write post in a text editor on some machine somewhere
  • Copy images into the folder
  • Copy/paste the image filenames with some boilerplate into the post (an auto resized thumbnail with a link to the full image, which could be a little more automated)
  • Go to my desktop machine, boot up VirtualBox, pop up a terminal, and enter the python virtualenv that contains all the Pelican dependencies
  • Test that nothing broke on the local copy using pelican's built-in server
  • Tell pelican to upload

Part of the problem today has been that to save on duplicate files I have on occasion used symbolic links from the virtual machine to images on a shared folder on the host machine. Not ideal when a bunch of things get moved around...

But not all of my Windows machines have Python installed, and I'm not sure if all the dependencies are going to play nice on Windows... Fortunately they do all have vagrant / virtualbox. So a path of least resistence might be to create a quick vagrant config emulating my current linux image. I'll give Windows a chance first as it's what I'm usually developing on (at least for now) so I'll see how that goes as a start.

The writing doesn't happen as often as it should

That's on me. I think part of the problem is I need to write shorter missives. I have a dozen quite long posts sitting in my drafts folder desperately requiring some editing. So that's a workflow issue for me to sort in how big a chunk I try to bite off at a time.

(I was going to write more here, but that would seem self defeating...)

Also: Happy New Year everybody.