Elon Musk – speaking of the worst… "He is not a great innovator. He is not a genius. He is not taking the human species anywhere in particular. He’s boring. Even his faults are boring! Musk is a very ordinary man. A con man; a fraudster. Worst of all, a government contractor."
5 February 2024
6, 5, etc. Just to end my long January, a quick wrap up of the projects I dropped, put on hold, or just plain didn't get up to. For now.
Six — I did do. A blog roll. Is RSS still a thing? Sure. What about OPML? OPM what you ask? As part of moving this site over to Pelican I re-jigged this site's footer & added a blog roll. I can't remember if I had one back in the day, I don't think so, I think they always sounded too much like bog roll to my infantile ear. Now I'm just going with it. The blogs & tech sites I read more or less regularly are on there, in a list suitable for any feed reader.
Five — I put on hold. It was a ham radio logger that I started on Linux, then decided I didn't need on the Mac. I'm using RUMlog at the moment & it's working well enough. If I bump up against any limitations I can't live with or when (not if) I escape back to Linux, I'll dust this off.
Four — was moving off AWS. Or at least mostly off AWS, mostly to have some Linux servers to play on. Off AWS that's cheaper, but still not as cheap as only having this static site to pay for. It'll happen soon, just not yet.
Three — was self-hosting a fediverse instance again. I wax & wane on that. Maybe I'll do it & not use it as my main instance, that would probably work. Again, some time soon, I'm not in any hurry. My local experiments so far with GoToSocial, & resigned blog posts from the developers of Akkoma (which is what I ran last time) & Takahe all left me cold.
Two & one — were both fediverse experiments, both bots. Both of which I didn't get up to even thinking about much, but as I type this at least one of them feels like a bad idea, so is unlikely to ever see the light of day.
So what did I do? I streamlined my development platforms (10), moved off a Linux box that I got to gift to one of my kids (9), moved some infrastructure onto Open Tofu (8), moved this site onto Pelican (7), & added a blog roll to it (6). Not bad for a lazy month off.
5 February 2024
7. Time, what even is it? I extended January for the purposes of this project by a few days to finish a bit more of what I started. Today it's out with the old & in with the new. Zine, the static site generator that I had used to make this site is gone, & with it the last Ruby code I had running in production anywhere.
I'm a little unhappy about Ruby, but not unhappy with how far I got with the January thing, these are all side projects to make my life easier during the rest of the year after all, & every little bit helps.
It's always hard to know if there's anyone out in the void I shout into with this blog. Occasionally I throw out code into the void. I hope that's sometimes been useful to some of you. I certainly plan to keep on doing that.
RubyGems provides download numbers for gems. I don't know how skewed by mirrors & bots of various kinds those numbers are, but supposedly quite a few people downloaded, & who knows, maybe sometimes also even used Zine. Zine had 24,506 downloads when I last looked. Twenty-four thousand downloads, & one day short of seven years' service. Thank you, all of you. It was fun, & it has been an honour.
It's time to call it a day now though. From buying the Pickaxe book back in 2000, in a bookshop that's long since closed down, to now in an altogether different city, it's been a wild ride. Completely unprofitable, but still, usually fun. It's a different world now, & I'm a different guy.
Any way, the code's still there. I might come back to it, who knows, I've changed my mind before.
But for now: In with the new. I've been playing around with Python alternatives to Zine, after messing around with a few I landed on Pelican, the Python equivalent of Jekyll in terms of static site generator market share I suppose. Apart from a langauge change, which is not nothing, I have a blog I don't have to think about the inner workings of quite so often. I also looked at using Flask – Python's Sinatra, more or less – which is good, & I might use that in future for something, along with Frozen Flask, which is less good. I'll be avoiding that one.
Pelican does have a neat plugin feature that I do plan on exploring. Otherwise it's mostly ok, there are sockets errors & its not quite YAML front matter is annoying, but neither feels fatal.
I even got to waste a few days & make myself look like an idiot in the process. All part of the fun. Turns out PyCharm de-escapes things like ampersands before displaying them in the editor for some reason, & Safari does the same thing when showing the source of a page. Why? I spent a weekend & lodged a bogus bug report looking for why ampersands weren't being escaped by Pelican when all the code made it look like they should have been. (Hint: they were.) Persistence is part of the art of programming, for certain.
I'll publish the config & theme for the site once they've been battle tested & they've been cleaned up a bit. For now, welcome Pelican. Welcome, Python. So long Ruby, I barely knew you.