Technology

Old Blog Migration

As I’ve written about previously, I’ve maintained1 a number of websites or blogs over the years. After some fiddling over the past few days I have finally copied/migrated posts from two previous blogs “adventures in suburbia” (2006-2008) and “inelegant sufficiency” (2010-2011) to this site. They have been set up with their own categories (Adventures in Suburbia and Inelegant Sufficiency) but their old tags or categories have been combined with the tags of the more recent content.

There and back again

This blog began a little over two years ago. In that time it has been created/managed/manifested firstly by Hugo, then by Wordpress, then by HTMLy, and now back to Hugo. I worked out that my first round with Hugo was 9 months (May 2017 to Feb 2018), then 7 months on Wordpress (Mar to Sep 2018) and 8 months in HTMLy (Oct 2018 to May 2019). Why change? I have different thoughts about ease of use, aesthetics, flat file vs database and ease of access/update.

Installing Debian with Openbox

Over recent weeks I’ve been fiddling to install Debian running Openbox on a few computers. The reason is that I have three notebooks including a 32-bit machine that is probably 10+ years old, a 64-bit machine that would be around the same and even my everyday machine is closing in on 7 years. I had been running Manjaro on these machines but Manjaro dropped official support for 32 bit machines a number of months ago.

Free Accounting Software

A quick plug for a piece of software I’ve been using for the last couple of months to record our church’s finances. The package is Manager. It handles GST calculations and reports, seems OK for small, manual payrolls, is free, works on multiple platforms and seems to conform to standard accounting principles. It also has a very active forum and many guides have been written for common tasks. Overall it will fit the bill for monitoring our church finances and produces a range of Profit and Loss and Balance Sheet reports.

jrnl

In my continuing albeit sporadic pursuit of plain-text tools for completing tasks, I came across a tool called jrnl which is a command-line journaling program. It is written in Python and is cross platform. I have installed it on both my home linux machine and work win 7 machine. It’s pretty minimalist but allows one line journals to be entered from a command line, or they can be edited in a standard text editor.

My Mechanical Friend

Around a year ago (?) one of my daughters bought a mechanical keyboard. I’d never given much thought to keyboards but had gone through a few over the years. The first computer I used that wasn’t a dumb terminal hanging off a mainframe was an IBM XT. It came with the very solid keyboard complete with key clicks. You knew when a key had been pressed. My early home computers (mid 1990s through to early 2000s) were also desktops with, presumably, sturdy keyboards, but I can’t remember what they were like.

i3wm

I’ve been spending a little time recently looking at different Windows Managers (WM) for my linux-based notebook running the Manjaro distribution. My usual approach had been to run some form of standard Desktop Environment (DE) such at Cinnamon, Gnome 2 or 3, XFCE or LXDE. But for some reason I was drawn to check out some different windows managers. To my non-geek mind, a desktop environment provides the whole package in terms of screen functionality and access whereas a window manager looks after the administration and placement of windows or apps on a screen.

New blog name – hypothetically

I had a thought this morning – not always a good thing – that if I were creating a website where the purpose was to present Biblical truth regularly, then it would be hard to go past the name “Bible Butcher: Fresh Meat Daily!” Perhaps it is a good thing that I’m not creating such a website, otherwise biblebutcher.com may have been registered.

Vim, with vigour

Around a month ago I decided that it would be a good idea to begin to learn and use Vim as my primary text editor. Prior to that I had used Notepad++ on Windows-based machines and either Mousepad or Leafpad on my Linux-based machines. Vim (pronounced, not surprisingly to rhyme with “him”) is an updated, improved version of a program called Vi (pronounced, somewhat surprisingly as “vee-eye”). Vim stands for Vi-improved.

Time for a change …

… of Linux distro. I wrote about my history of Linux Distros here. At the time I indicated I was using Ubuntu 16.04 with the Gnome 3 desktop. That was true (and technically is at the moment), but it won’t be for long. I find frequent issues with my current setup. Nautilus (the file manager) simply refuses to start when I first fire up the machine three times out of four.

Joomla

At work we have a website that uses Joomla. The site administrator has left the organisation so the site’s administration is falling to me. I haven’t had much to do with Joomla (or the work website) in the past. I had looked Joomla briefly (along with WordPress, Drupal, Hugo, Grav and Jekyll) last year when considering what sort of engine could best drive the great beast egeiro.net. As a result, I’ve had to spend time installing/running/checking/modifying/learning Joomla over recent weeks.

Wikis revisited

Last year I posted some brief ponderings about a few different wikis. At the time I was intent on getting to grips with TiddlyWiki. I began doing that and used it within my employment for around 5 or 6 weeks. During that time I migrated my previous notes into TiddlyWiki and began using it to take notes during meetings and to record a range of tasks and activities. Shortly after that, however, I came across what was, for me, was a major hurdle.

Excerpts rather than full posts

I really like the simplicity yet elegance of Anders Noren’s WordPress themes. Currently I’m using Hemingway. The only change I make is to show excerpts rather than full posts on the front and summary pages. This is easily done by editing the theme file directly. The change needed is to access Appearance – Editor in the admin panel, select file content.php and change line 65 (which may change) from <?php the_content(); ?

From Hugo to WordPress

When I first began this blog in May 2017 I wanted to avoid heavy CMS’ like WordPress, Joomla etc. I instead wanted a flat file system and chose Hugo. I still like the idea or the philosophy behind a flat file approach, but my setup meant I could only update posts from one machine. I think this was somewhat limiting so I reconsidered my platform. After fiddling with Joomla, I have instead gone for WordPress.

todo.txt

My search for productivity tools that suit my platforms (linux @ home, windows @ work) and work philosophy (KISS, plain text preferred for transportability, not being locked into a particular tool or suite) continues. I’m now using TiddlyWiki for general notes - one wiki file for home stuff and another wiki file for work stuff. I use minimal formatting in the tiddlers, but try to make good use of tags so I can track/trace ideas.

TiddlyWiki

Over the years I’ve searched for, tried, stopped using, used again, reconsidered, stopped using, considered some more on note-taking/recording/filing systems. Generally I’ve opted for computer-based systems but have also tried paper-based methods. The list is probably not complete, and in no particular order: Treepad Zim GTD Bullet Journalling CherryTree DIY Planner Written to do lists Online to do lists Spreadsheets with to do lists Pocket notebooks - cheap ones from the supermarket that only collect info, not retain it.

fenced kanban

A few months ago I read a brief article on a local news website about personal kanban and how it can help organise aspects of our lives. I’d only ever heard of kanban within the context of manufacturing environments so was intrigued enough to read the article, buy the book and eventually read the book. As a result I have recently begun to implement personal kanban without my work context. The book, Personal Kanban, is by Jim Benson and Tonianne deMaria Barry and was interesting, engaging and funny.

Personal Finance programs

As I’ve mentioned previously, we got our first “personal computer” back in 1995. It came with an array of pretty amazing software (or so I thought at the time) including Encarta, MS Money and MS Works. Being fairly keen to put these software workhorses to the plough, I loaded up MS Money and proceeded to track our personal finances using it. The excitement grew thin after a while so MS Money was shelved.

barefoot notes

I’ve been running this site for a couple of months now and wanted to implement some form of footnoting. When I write, I tend to include a lot of text in parentheses (just like this) as they indicate a side thought. An alternative way of rendering that side thought is via a footnote1 I’d come across a site also created in Hugo by But She’s a Girl which had quite elegant footnotes.

Bromeliad ex-collection

In my last post I spoke about some hobbies (ie. interests) I have had over the decades. One such interest was bromeliads. I had a collection of around 30 different species of broms from around 6 to 8 different genera. The genera included Aechmea, Vriesia, Tillandsia, Billbergia, Cryptanthus, Neoregelia and Nidularium. Many of my broms were identified species, but some were mongrels or unidentified. Here’s a selection of the now ex-collection1:

Linux distros

Over the years I’ve tried many different distributions (distros) of Linux, running a variety of Desktop Environments. I bought my first desktop computer back in 1995. It was extortionately expensive for what you got. Around $3,000 if I recall correctly. It came with Win 3.1 (soon upgraded to Win 95), 8MB of memory (yep, you read that right), a 540MB hard drive (yep, again), a 3 1⁄2 inch floppy drive and not much else.

darktable resources

In my previous post I was extolling some of the benefits of darktable such as cross-plarform (Linux/Mac preferred), fast operation, comprehensive processing, etc. I also indicated there is plenty of online support to fasttrack understanding the software. Here are just a few resources I’ve started with: Robert Hutton’s youtube tutorials are an excellent start! Cambridge in Colour has a straightforward summary of digital image workflow. Jim McCormick has a nice summarised darktable workflow.

Hugo

After a bit of testing, fiddling and pondering I’ve decided to opt for Hugo as my CMS. It’s flat file, a single executable, multi-platform (which only needs to cover GNU-Linux and Windows in my stable), lightweight, well documented and has a swag of themes. We’re ready to roll…

A History of Websites

Over the years I’ve created and maintained a number of websites and/or blogs. The first was created in the free space offered by my then dial-up ISP. It was called “The Lounge Room” and comprised of a collection of anecdotes and stories I’d read. It was all hand-coded html. My second site was another hand-coded html site called “Sandprints in my Mind”. It was my first attempt at what some might call a blog.