Some Updates on my Blog and Process
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At the risk of being too meta (I don't want too much of my writing to be about writing, or too much of the content of my website to be about the process of having a website) I figured I'd write a post about my website update. To my long time fans you may notice a slight update to the site.
For instance the updates page is gone. I think setting a personal goal to make a visible change at least once a day was a pretty good one to get started but now that I've punted for so long it was slightly embarrassing to have up. And if my goal is to produce more interesting writing, art and animations for the site a daily update loop is probably a little too tight for me to manage. In the new year my resolution is to upload at least one thing I'm proud of every month. I also intend to iterate the css and polish of the site. I think the most important thing on that front is to improve the mobile experience.
Another thing that's changed is the index page where my blogs are listed. You may need to type CTRL+F5 to force the browser to reload cached css (that's another thing I need to fix as I polish up the site). Hopefully you'll find the new blog styling a little more attractive. But the more important change is the implementation of blog summaries. So now its easy for me to procedurally add summaries under the titles on the index page. Note the index page is completely procedurally generated from metadata on my blogs I store separately. You can see how in my github. Which used to be linked on the updates page I just removed. No matter you can find it here. To be honest the whole endeavor was sort of an exercise in Yak shaving. I don't think I'll ever actually write enough that I'll end up ahead on time verse the counterfactual universe where I did it all by hand all the time. But maybe by reducing my personal friction to uploading I'll end up doing it more frequently. Which is sort of a goal of mine. I guess worse than being a premature optimization is that it's probably just a bad partial reimplementation of angular. And maybe writing some quick python scripts to preprocess my html is faster than learning angular. But as I make more and more that time analysis gets worse and worse for me. And if I really do go hard on building out my website and eventually do become a competent web developer it will probably be easier to get a job if I know the frameworks the cool kids are using. Anyway, I don't know why I'm having an existential meltdown in this paragraph. It's my website and I can develop it in the horrible, ad hoc, baroque, simultaneously over and under engineered way I like.
Anyone, I guess its just those three changes: the removal of the updates page (one fourth of my site!), a style change to my index and descriptions added to the index. It felt like more when I started writing this post because there have actually been more behind the scenes changes which aren't very important to you the reader but feel pretty good on my end. I'll list them here to let you in on some of the yaks I've been shaving.
- I reorganized by github so that the live directory and my draft directory are no longer version controlled. Now in my personal_site directory there are three subdirectories: src which describes my website and has all the scripts for maintaining it, live where the actual website lives synced to AWS and drafts where I have a much of scraps of writing I may someday flesh out. I know what you're thinking. Based on the quality of what is on the site, what could I NOT be posting? Shocking, I know.
- I've got vim snippets working now and let me tell you there a game changer. Actually I've only used them so far for html and latex tags. But just from a joy of typing perspective they've already paid off. I presume I'll find more uses for them as I type but abbrev already covers a lot of their potential use cases. For instance I have bc abbreviated to because so I just have to type those two letters to get the whole word. Amazing right? Another important vim change I've made is actually using the split feature instead of alt tabbing all the time and rebinding jk to escape insert mode. I don't know why I spent my whole life straining for esc.
- I looked up best practices for writing github commits and realized that I've been doing it horribly wrong. I should know better but its been a while since I've used version control or worked on code with other people.
- I also got a new Roccat mechanical keyboard and boy does it make my fingers fly. It looks really nice next to my Amazon basics mouse. (I swear I'm not sponsored by Amazon ... but I'm trying to be) This is another thing that on some level may never really pay off. But I think it makes the act of typing considerably faster. And judging by typeracer benchmarks it seems to improve my WPM by about 10. Which objectively isn't the bottleneck on my blog or mathematical production. But it feels good.
I feel like most of my life I've been too hesitant to invest in my tools and skills. I've been focused on the present task and no one really cares what sequence of keys I press to produce externally visible writing. I guess this last month I've swung the other way. I've improved my vim and software producing practices pretty considerably. Hopefully it'll pay dividends and bleed into my literary and artistic productions. I'm skeptical that it'll actually measurably change my observable output. But I also feel really good about all the changes I've made. Thanks for reading!