07 Jan 2017, 21:15

Blogging is scary

You may have noticed that there’s not too much content here recently. At best, I have one article that’s in draft state and nothing else. Maybe some ideas for articles, but that’s about it right now. According to the last item here, the last piece published was 7-8 months ago. So, 2 articles per year is not exactly a great number.

The truth is that I’m afraid.

Blogging - like other forms of writing and expression - is very personal. You’re putting something out there with the hopes that others will a.) see it, and b.) like it. So, not only do you have a chance to fail, but you have a chance to fail twice. People can not even take the time to see it, or they can see it and find all of the flaws in it and let you know. And in the wonderful world of comments, they can let you know in the most delightful ways.

Side note: I have no plans to allow comments. Despite my idealism, I’m very disheartened by the current state of Internet commentary. I’m not sure how to deal with the fact that it gives a megaphone to the lowest of the low that doesn’t even people others should exist. I’m not going to be a part of that here.

I’m not too worried about the first failure. I’d like to make some joke about “Schrodinger’s anonymous: it’s both read an unread until you actually write it so people can choose to read it or not” but can’t say if that’s really accurate. What is accurate is that if I don’t write it, then I’ll fail to be read by default.

It’s the latter that is more a problem for me. I don’t like to be wrong. I don’t like to write something and have it there forever that I was wrong. It’s like that hastily written 3AM tweet that someone caught a screen cap of, or that’s already on the Internet Archive (which is a very good thing to have in this world) and you can’t simply dismiss it as if it never existed.

I have ego. It is fragile.

This has an easy fix - just make sure that everything I every do is perfect. See, easy.

No, it’s not a single thing that will fix this. Sometimes, it is taking the time and being maticulous with what I have expressed. Sometimes, it is going ahead thinking it’s right and not seeing what’s wrong. Sometimes, it is looking back and being willing to admit it was wrong. Sometimes, it is as simple as putting it out there and saying:

Here. I did this thing. It's got these good parts, and it's got these bad
parts. Does anyone else see anything that's good or bad with it?

But, as with other areas that I’m just really good at procrastinating, it’s about saying “let me start here, and then just keep starting.” I accept that I will fail at times, and that I will not want to. And that’s okay. I just can’t do that all of the time.

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear--not absence of fear. Except
a creature be part coward, it is not a compliment to say he is brave; it is
merely a loose misapplication of the word.
     - Twain, "Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar"s

19 May 2016, 20:30

I should know better...

Always keep a backup. That’s the motto, right? And that was mistake number 1.

Mistake number 2 was an rm -rf on the wrong thing. Knifes are sharp. Cut away, and stay in school.

On the plus side, the only major loss which was covered elsewhere was this blog. And I did have a “copy” of that in the S3 bucket. So… all I had to do was pull it back, reverse engineer it, use it as a comparison and pull stuff back in.

hugo lessons learned

  • It worked! Static site generators - I use Hugo - are nice for a lot reasons… this just cements that in my mind. So reproducible.
  • It’s been a while since I setup a site from scratch. Not that that’s a whole lot to it, but this time it just felt smoother. Not sure that it was my familiarity, or if it’s a bit more mature. Either way, pretty smooth.
  • When rebuilding this way - you gotta refrain from making all those fixes that you want to: no fixing typo - even small ones (e.g. whitespace cleanup); not fixing the input even if there’s a bug you worked around that is now fixed; no fixing broken links on remote sites that have bitrotted out; no fixing the tags/categories that have grown organically. All fixes make the static build not match and that breaks the rebuild down.
  • Unicode is hard - copying and pasting and seeing differences between editors over time all lead to unicode charaters (accented ‘, “, etc) sneaking in. This make it hard to compare because some are interpreted and some aren’t. I got into a consistent pattern “matching forward” until one post was completely the opposite, so trying to fix it was counter to what was supposed to happen. Sigh.
  • Line lengths are hard. When writing the blog article, I was trying to keep a line length limit to make it readable. However, HTML is honey badger - it doesn’t care. So copying stuff back and forth after it’s browser rendered - just isn’t fun.
  • Daylights Savings time makes guessing timestamps hard. Hugo renders without timestamp, and I didn’t feel like looking it up for every post, so I guessed. Should probably fix that (though, it doesn’t actually matter with how it’s rendered…).
  • Remember to clean up your public directory on occassion. If you change out templates or other static files… they don’t necessarily go away. Probably should remove public and rebuild regularly (like… every push).

So - you can do. It wasn’t too bad. Actually was pretty good. But given that I only have 25 posts, it wasn’t onerous. If there were more, I really would have done it a bit more automatically (probably should have with 25, but… eh…).

personal reminders

Kinda got 4 big things out of this one:

  1. Yea, (well past) time to get a backup on the laptop. Got one on the desktop machine, but most of the items on the laptop are tied to some service and backed up there… but not everything.
  2. I really should proof read my writing. I’m not good about this, and looking back over stuff, I really should be. I do sometimes do a quick once through on the writing, but most of the time, it comes out more raw than that. So… something to work on there.
  3. 2015 was not a pretty year. I didn’t write anything last year, and on top of that, some of the ones I thought I wrote last year are actually 2 years old. I know work was a bit demanding last year, but I’m still realizing how much it took out of me.
  4. Related to #3: I have a bunch ideas, a smaller number get written down, and an even smaller get something real put to them. I’d like to get a higher conversion ratio there.