Volt, considering moving away from WordPress

Ah, new things and directions….

  • Someone on IRC this morning mentioned Volt.ws, a messaging client available for Windows, MacOS, and Linux. It’s really tiny. It’s also missing a lot of functionality still, but it can connect to Slack… and it’s tiny. It still doesn’t support Slack private messages, but once it gets those (which should be in February 2019) it might be my preferred Slack client, over Slack’s own and Franz… because Slack’s client is awful on system resources and Franz is worse, despite being a better client.
  • I have been trying to figure out ways to move on from WordPress. It’s not really WordPress’ fault… I want Asciidoctor support, for one thing, and I’m rather disheartened at relying on an application written in PHP. But the alternatives require more time than I have right now, and I’m really not thinking I could personally design a good user interface if I wrote my own software. I’ve considered Jekyll and Hugo, but I’d really want to work out the comments mechanism before moving on. Plus, I am used to running software live; a static site feels odd.
  • I wonder how many programming advances have been created in an attempt to simply avoid boredom on the part of the programmer.
  • I’ve been considering trying to echo these things on Medium just to see what the differences in exposure would be.

Outrage on Social Media articles; State of the Union

Things I’m thinking about, after switching back to a list-based list of thoughts because Gutenberg headers annoy me:

  • Gutenberg headers annoy me. I’m thinking of switching back to my comfortable editing process where I’m not constantly griping about my editor. It’s a flow thing.
  • Good article from Medium, paywalled (so if you don’t have a Medium account that you pay for – it’s $5/month – you may have to open this in a private window): The Power of Not Retweeting. Both the article and the subject are recommended. It’s very easy to be outraged by something that lacks context, and the context might make all the difference in how you actually react – but by the time you get context, it’s too late, you’ve committed your reaction to history and told all your friends.
  • Another excellent Medium article, this time from the New York Times’ Medium account: This Is Your Brain Off Facebook. It’s a little ironic that the NYT published this, given how manipulative they are for their readers… but the king of manipulation is still CNN in my opinion. Those guys should be ashamed. Their editors should be doubly ashamed.
  • I did not watch the State of the Union, but having people tell me that I shouldn’t watch it as a form of protest annoyed me and tempted me to endure the farce anyway. I want our politicians to love country over party, and that’s… not what we have right now.
  • Why didn’t I want to watch the State of the Union? Lots of reasons:
    • It’s Trump. His mode of speaking annoys me greatly. His inability to stay on topic annoys me. His stupid self-propping annoys me. I used to think George W. Bush wasn’t a particularly effective speaker because he always seemed to be searching for words – and now I find that I’d far prefer a President who actually searched for the right words to one who blathers out whatever foolish crap crosses his brain at any given time.
    • Do I need another reason? Oh, yeah.
    • The endless politicization of everything, and the seeming need to turn everything into a protest. I’m all for protesting police brutality, but sometimes a football game (or a State of the Union address) is … just a football game, and the protests don’t really make a difference besides signalling.
    • Circling back: I don’t trust Trump… or his opponents. They both lie. They both choose truths based on what plays to their bases. What’s funny is that Trump told us what he’d do in his campaign… and he’s actually held to that pretty strongly, for better or for worse. That’s somewhat commendable. His political opponents are changing their long-held opinions on lots of things just so they can oppose Trump – I’ve said before that he should just start echoing their campaign positions just to force them to change stances.
    • This is a lot less relevant of a list than I thought it might be.
    • Every State of the Union I’ve ever watched has bored me! There, there’s my best reason right there.

Super Bowl, Commercials, Gutenberg Headings

Okay, I’m going to try the header format thing again, because it’s something new and different (for me) in WordPress’ Medium-style editor. But here are the things I’m thinking about:

The Super Bowl

I tried to think of a cute pun for the title, but “The Super Bah” was dumb. I came up with others, but that’s still the best of them, and it’s not any good.

The Super Bowl, Part II

You let us down, Jared. I kept thinking you were a University of Georgia graduate too (just like Todd Gurley, the stud running back who was underused during the game).

Why did I think you were a Georgia QB? Because you kinda sucked on the biggest stage football has. You killed your team, Jared. You killed your team.

The only saving grace for the Rams was that the refs rather clearly wanted the Patriots to win, with a runner being called “defenseless” after he caught the ball, to preserve a drive when the Rams’ impressive defense got a critical and impressive stop.

I enjoy defensive battles… but this was a battle of a good defense against a good offense (when New England had the ball) and a good defense against an overmatched toddler (when Los Angeles had the ball.)

I wish the refs hadn’t given the Rams the win against New Orleans.

(After rereading this section, I sound a lot angrier than I actually am – I was neutral about the game, and thought mostly that Jared Goff was outmatched, as he apparently was. I’m okay with the Patriots winning; they earned it. The Rams defense was stellar. The offense was… less than stellar.)

Best Commercial

The best commercial of the night was a local one, for Michael and Sons, an HVAC company local to the Virginia area.

It had two football players (kids, like pre-teens), with one “tackling” the other – pretty gently, it was like they told him to push the other one down – and, after the tackle, a thrown ball hits the tackler in the backside. The ref then waves “incomplete pass!” — just like the Saints/Rams refs, except with a parody.

We’re not normally Michael and Sons customers – not only was our home built with a different HVAC company, but we actually know the owner of yet another HVAC company – but dang, that commercial was so on point that we talked about switching.

Hopefully a video will show up online of that commercial (and hopefully I remember to look for it so I can link to it.)

The ASMR commercial was the other notable commercial. Apparently people were creeped out by it. I don’t know – I found it fascinating, mostly because I didn’t recognize the ASMR aspect of it until later. But it was for a … beer, I think, so maybe as a commercial it was intriguing but not all that effective, because I might switch HVAC companies but I am not drinking that beer.

Gutenberg

Now that I’ve used the heading stuff in WordPress’ editor, my first impression is that I do not like it. I’ve been trying to give this editor a spin for a while, to give it a fair shake… and while it has some nice features (pasting a URL over selected text converts it to a link!) it’s mostly annoying

Open Source Blog Software

I keep wanting to move away from WordPress, because I’ve been using it forever and I keep thinking there’s a Platonic ideal that isn’t WordPress.

However, most of them are in PHP – violating the Platonic ideal – and the ones that remain are either static site generators (Jekyll, Hugo) or node.js implementations (ghost), or things that are documented really inconsistently (typo/publify). I thought about roller, but…

Busy, new music, Getting Things Done, data import

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here. I’ve been busy. But now that I’m here…

  • I’m still not thrilled with the Gutenberg editor. It’s okay, but I just don’t care for it.
  • I’ve been working on music, and that’s been eating what time I have left after work and family, so I haven’t been writing much. This is a problem; the whole point behind these is that I should be able to fire them off pretty quickly and easily. It’s a brittle process.
  • A friend suggested Todoist, over Agenda. Will have to try it again. There are tons of GTD-like to-do applications, and all of them so far get it slightly wrong for me… or maybe I’m not integrating them well enough yet. Agenda’s pretty good but Mac-only. Until I’ve purged every other OS from my work environment, that’s… ungood. (And I’m not going to purge every other OS from my work environment.)
  • Running a giant data import is great, until you realize you’ve done it wrong but you’re already a long time into a giant, days-long process.

Blogging, getting wordpress running properly on Ubuntu

Things I’m thinking and feeling:

  • I really don’t “blog” all that much. I record, I guess, and that’s sort of a “web log,” but I really don’t expose much of my innermost feelings – it’s like observations with a mirror in the way. I’ve always been that way when I write. Always.
  • Today I’m going to try something different.
  • I feel horribly sad today. Not really empty, not really morose, just… not even tired, but mournful, and I don’t even really know what it is I’m mourning. Maybe it’s memory, all the memories I feel like I could have had but don’t, maybe it’s the memories I do have but shouldn’t. Maybe I’m mourning the fact that I don’t know if I’m what I should be. But today, Me, I’m down. I’m not feeling bad, I’m just down.
  • I finally fixed some problems with my WordPress installation. When I upgraded to Ubuntu 18.04 on my server, apparently some PHP plugins didn’t get installed/migrated/somethinged – I went to a page on installing the LEMP stack on Ubuntu, installed the system dependencies, and lo and behold, things started working better again. Annoying, because this stuff’s been broken for a long time. Now if WordPress would only track the same hits that I see in access logs…
  • After a long dry spell, I’ve been writing poetry again. This is a good thing, but as usual my poetry is inspired by my mood, which is not a good thing. Oh, well. Maybe some of it will be worth publishing.
  • I also finally have been grinding my way through some new-ish music. Hurray.
  • I wonder if CNN – or any other news source, really – would be improved if you removed all the adjectives and subsidiary clauses. Some important information would get lost, but honestly? Most of the adjectives and subordinate clauses are used by the “journalists” to insert their opinions into the news, to sanitize it for the tribe most likely to read that particular bit… or enrage the tribe for which the bit isn’t targeted.

Flit, Trump’s Address on 19 Jan, Elite: Dangerous

Things that are crossing my path lately:

  • Flit, in context of “Python Packages and You.” Python packaging is not a strength of mine.
  • I hate to say it, but the Democrats’ rejection of Trump’s offer to open negotiations about the government now look kinda stupid, based on their oppositions. They’re saying that a three year suspension of some of the deportations and other such hot-button issues … basically, getting the things they wanted was not enough. They’re idiots. Sure, he is one, too… but the whole three year delay for the application of law gives Congress three years to fix the law, which is what Trump said they should do when he said he was going to resume deportations in the first place! In other words, from me to them: Congress, do your flippin’ jobs. If Congress wasn’t relying on executive power to do what Congress was meant to do, a lot of this mess would have gone away, but they keep digging in their heels and saying “no.”
  • The worst thing about Elite: Dangerous is how long it takes to get into a gaming session. The best thing about Elite:Dangerous is “pretty much everything else.”
  • I just realized I can select a region in WordPress’ editor, and then paste a URL – and the region is converted to an HTTP anchor automagically. Now that is useful.
  • Few things are both more and less amusing than watching someone stomp about, screaming “I am not a prima donna!”

Big Time!, Politics and Empathy, Football

Things I am observing myself thinking about:

  • I can’t listen to Peter Gabriel’s “Big Time” these days without thinking that it’s something like Donald Trump’s theme song.
  • I’ve hit a wall in exercising. Need more motivation. Need to push harder. (Oddly enough, my annoyance at having hit a wall was motivating.)
  • I think a lot of the United States’ political dysfunction is rooted in the ability of either side to say “I see your point.” What we need is both sides to be able to say that – and for them to attempt to say it, and for them to say it willingly.
  • It’s not just politics – in programming forums you see a lot of “I know more than you, therefore you’re an idiot” responses. Someone may know more than someone else, but that kind of response is unnecessary, regardless of truth – and the conclusion of idiocy is stupid.
  • I have seen a ton of interceptions made over the last few years where a fairly easily catchable ball bounces off of the receiver’s hands and into a defender’s arms. I think it’s time we blame this on the receiver instead of the QB; the QB threw the ball well!
  • Yes, I Could Care Less” is a fascinating read for one like me. There’s a balance between being correct and being readable, especially in context.
  • I’m still unimpressed by WordPress’ Gutenberg editor.

Places, football, Facebook

Things I have learned recently, I think:

  • Every so often, you figure out that you are exactly where you are supposed to be at this particular time. That can be reassuring or frightening, I suppose, depending on your outlook.
  • College football this year has been boring. Sure, I’m affected by not having a pony in the race (FSU missed out on bowl eligibility for the first time in close to four decades) but the quality of the bowls themselves hasn’t been that great: questionable officiating, a number of blowouts and games where the winners were easily predictable, and so forth. I don’t remember watching a single game that I’ve really enjoyed, apart from watching it with my wife and my son – that part’s been great. But I’m glad the bowls are over except for the championship. One more to go… and this one (Alabama vs. Clemson) gives me hope that it’s a competition.
  • I used one of the spray can dusters this morning on the MacBook Pro; it’s running more quietly, woohoo! — but I can’t get the taste of the residue off of my lips. No, I didn’t spray it at myself; it’s just in the air. Bleugh.
  • Yes, I deactivated my Facebook account and no, nothing’s wrong. It just takes too much time and attention away from other things.
  • I still don’t care for the Gutenberg editor in WordPress. What I’d really like is AsciiDoctor for WordPress… but I don’t know PHP, don’t want to learn PHP, and the available plugins for it are kinda eh, as far as I can tell. The last updates for the AsciiDoc plugins for WordPress are three years old… not a good sign.

Python docs, more on wget

Things I have learned today:

  • Python has a lot of modules that are documented well enough to make you cry. Other modules are documented so poorly that it will make you cry. Why am I using GNU parallel? Because creating a bounded threadpool in Python, a task that seems like it should be pretty straightforward, was documented so confusingly for me that I just ended up using the command line instead.
  • wget is a surprisingly easy way to hammer your CPU; run eighteen simultaneous processes and watch the CPU bleed. Great fun for all! (If you can’t guess: parallel is being used to fix this.)
  • I will be fascinated when I learn Gutenberg well enough to leverage it. It’s supposed to be like Medium’s editor, and I suppose it is; I don’t like Medium’s editor either.
  • The best and worst thing about programs to allow you to play Solitaire is how easy it is to play a new game; you end up not valuing a given hand, because if it gets difficult… redeal. That means you lose some hands you could win (“eh, too hard”) and means that you also don’t really value winning as much as you used to, because you can play so many hands so quickly.
  • I find no irony or contradiction in appreciating the Avett Brothers alongside Rush and Yes and Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin and Weather Report, but I expect others to be surprised at my choices in music. I think other people think I am easily pigeonholed, and maybe I am, but not along the lines of music genres… I think.
  • I ache when my friends ache. Sometimes I wish I did not, but I think the world would be much, much sadder for me if I couldn’t share others’ pain.
  • GNU parallel uses perl. This is amusing. It works; it’s great; it’s still amusing.
  • I like jokes that don’t have victims, generally speaking, but I have no problem using a few specific people as the targets of jokes… Paul Finebaum comes to mind. Give us a rest, Paul. We know you like the SEC.
  • Other people whose voices I could do without: Stephen A. Smith; Sean Hannity; Tucker Carlson. By the way, Tucker, not that you’ll ever read this, but…
  • YES, diversity is a good thing, and while we can argue about specific granularity and I have no problem conceding that there has to be a certain amount of homogeneity in value systems, only a total moron would dare argue seriously that cultural diversity, in and of itself, is a Bad Thing. Shut up, you knob. I appreciate that you use a cannon where a scalpel is better suited, and I hope you know that this is what you’re doing (and therefore you’re being obtuse on purpose) but every now and then it’s good to remember that nuance is A Thing To Use.
  • I decided I was going to try to publish one of these a day, and that streak lasted for ONE DAY.

GNU Parallel, wget, Avett Brothers

Things I have learned today:

  • GNU Parallel is actually pretty nice. It will take some time to get used to how it applies the command line and interpolates the actual command to run, but the documentation is pretty thorough and my needs as of right now are pretty light.
  • That said, parallel --bibtex is annoying… and necessary. (Otherwise it demands you cite parallel in your … paper. Which I’m not producing.)
  • wget is much, much, much faster with the -nv option than without.
  • My middle son can appreciate the Avett Brothers‘ talent, but doesn’t really care for them much. No hard feelings, kid.
  • I don’t care for WordPress’ Gutenberg editor much yet.