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Jack Baty

A weblog by Jack Baty

I am completely unable to decide whether or not to keep smaller, microblog-type posts (like this one) in my main blog or to use Micro.blog or similar tool.

Everything is gorgeous and I am lost – Track Changes

Drew Bell:

Lately, though, I’ve often found myself halfway through a poorly-considered post before realizing I was devoting reading time to a hack job. We’ve developed a sense of the signifiers of thoughtfully-assembled web sites in the last decade, but these days it’s all a wash of 21px #333 Georgia.

I do appreciate nice, readable typography, but dammit can’t we have fun any more? When choosing a template for jack.baty.net I wanted something unique and fun but ended up with a simple, readable, basic layout. I guess for now this hack job remains part of the problem.

I just want everyone to start blogging again

Would you all please just start a blog? I don’t care which platform you choose. Pick one and publish. Cross-post or don’t. Implement Webmentions or don’t. Allow comments or don’t. Tweak the design to within an inch of its life or don’t. Publish long posts or short, it doesn’t matter.

Just please write stuff and publish it and provide an RSS/Atom/JSON feed so I can easily keep up with it. It’s pretty easy.

I shouldn’t need Twitter or Facebook for this stuff.

 

The Places I Can Write

People make fun of me for having too many blogs. I don’t blame them. I just like to try things. I love a Saturday morning with nothing going on other than installing some new app and running with it. It’s fun!

The trouble begins when I say to myself, “That’s it, this is where I’m writing from now on!” Of course that never lasts, and I look flighty and a little foolish. I no longer believe myself when I say those things. I’m never going to be the guy who’s been using the same platform in the same place for years, and that’s ok.

I’ve created sort of a mess of things, but I may just need to live with it. Here are the places I can currently publish, not including social media:

 

It’s pretty obvious that this is too much. I’m not sure what to do about it so I’m leaving it alone for now. Eventually I hope to consolidate things a bit and archive and shut down the places I never plan to use.

The simplest thing that could possibly work

I always begin by following the advice I first read on the XP portion of Ward Cunningham’s wiki, and that is, “Do the simplest thing that could possibly work

Good intentions give way to analysis which gives way to changing my mind about what every word in that quote actually means.

So here I am with another blog. It’s WordPress, and it’s using a very basic theme, and there’s only been a tiny bit of customization done.

I have been labeling things as “experiments” so that I don’t feel badly about changing my mind later. So let’s call this new blog an experiment to see how I’m feeling these days about WordPress vs Static, etc. etc.

Some days I want to play on the command line and make fun scripts and other days I just want to type stuff and hit “Publish”. Today is one of those latter days.

Decline and return of indie blogs – Manton Reece

Manton Reece:

The solution isn’t fewer link blogs, but more of them. By taking microblogging back from Twitter, we create a natural place for traditional blogs to grow. Indie microblogging is the gateway drug for long-form content.

I’d love for this to be true, but I wonder if it is. If short-form blogging was the gateway drug to long-form blogging, wouldn’t Twitter have already lead the way? I’m rooting for the Indieweb, but not sure we’ll ever be able to pull ourselves out of the situation we’ve created.

(The irony of this being a link post isn’t lost on me)

Static site publishing is still (mostly) a pain

I love that static websites can just sit somewhere behind a simple web server and always just work. They’re fast and secure. However, I’m beginning to think that for certain sites, blogs for example, the joy of easy hosting loses out to the pain of publishing.

I know, “But it’s just a folder full of text files!” I get it, baty.net is currently a folder full of about 3000 markdown files. Still, in order to publish something I have to create a new markdown file in a particular folder, named in a particular way, in a particular format. I have scripts that help, but I tire of tinkering with scripts instead of just writing stuff and clicking “Post”.

There are some decent solutions to the problem of publishing static sites. I think Blot.im does a great job of taking the pain out of publishing text files. 1999.io is basically a nice front end to a rendered static blog. Siteleaf looks nice. And so on.

But you know what works pretty well for managing and publishing an active blog? WordPress. We are supposed to hate WordPress (oh no, there’s a database!), but if I were going to start a new site/blog and planned to publish frequently, especially if posting a lot of images, without too much fuss, I’d probably go with WordPress. In fact I probably will.

I’m no longer cross-posting

I’m beginning to feel like cross-posting everywhere is rude to readers in many cases. Who wants to see the same content everywhere they turn? My followers on Twitter and Facebook don’t overlap much, so most people see my stuff only once.

On the other hand, the type of content that is useful differs on each platform, so sending everything everywhere may not be wanted.

Plus, does everything that comes out of my head really need to be seen by everyone, automatically? I don’t think so. I should probably just get over myself and hand-post only the things I think might be welcome or that I’m particularly fond of, in a format suitable to each platform.