Trying out Commento

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been looking around for a replacement to Disqus for handling the comments on my blog. It’s a tricky thing to manage because I’ve got a bit archive of comments that I want to preserve. The system obviously needs to handle this static site, but also enable commenters to comment easily, without needing an account if they don’t want to create one. I ended up coming across Commento, which seemed to fulfil all of those conditions.

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Keeping track with Fathom

For much of the time that I’ve had a blog, I’ve kept a vague eye on its visitor numbers in one way or another. I’ve used a variety of different tracking methods from the no-longer-supported Mint, to Matomo (formerly Piwik), and the usual Google Analytics that everyone uses. I’ve always favoured simpler web analytics, as my needs are very simple, but those have been increasingly difficult to find. Since it opened to beta testers, I have been using Fathom Analytics, and I have been really happy with how it works.

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Hugo photoblog

I’ve had an itch for a while to create my own photoblog site. Flickr is convenient, but it doesn’t feel like your own site, and you can’t style it the way you would like. I’ve tried other photo hosting options, but they have the same kinds of issues. Lately I’ve wanted to host my own stuff in my own way, using — as far as possible — simple frameworks that I understand and can maintain. I have been working on it for a while, but I’ve finally got my Hugo-based static photoblog setup to a presentable state, and made it public. Here’s how it works.

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Using Hugo

As I wrote about earlier, I’ve just finished moving this blog from Pelican to Hugo. I was so impressed with Hugo after setting up Slipstream to use it, that I fancied trying it here as well. Not that there’s really anything wrong with Pelican — it’s a great system, with a lot of flexibility. It’s just that Hugo has two big advantages, the first of which is particularly useful to me, as I’ve got such a large site: speed.

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RSS feed change

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I’m going to write more about it later, but I wanted to quickly post about a change to this site. I’ve switched to using Hugo to run this site, and in the process decided it might be time to rationalise my feed address. For various historical reasons1, the old address for the feed was very convoluted. I resisted changing it (even though it no longer made sense), because I’ve found that doing anything with feeds is fraught with confusion and difficulty.

Anyway, it’s time for me to bite the bullet and just change it. This may well break things. More than likely you’ll also end up with notifications of new items in your feed or duplicate items, or any number of other configuration horrors. I’m truly sorry about that, but I just don’t know how to avoid it. The new main feed address is this one, but there are also now individual feeds for each tag, if you’d like to follow a particular topic. The URLs for those can be found by clicking the RSS feed icon at the bottom of the tag page you’d like to follow.

More later!

Slipstream Mark Whatever

It seems like only yesterday that I was converting my neglected Slipstream snippets blog to a Wordpress installation. I originally did it so that I could use IFTTT to provide some of the content automatically by pulling in stuff I had posted elsewhere (like Flickr, Pinboard and so on). That was a good idea, and it worked reasonably well, but two things became apparent quite quickly:

  1. I am really bad about keeping Wordpress updated, and with all the hackers out there trying to spam Wordpress sites, that’s a dangerous game to play. I hadn’t yet been targeted, but my feeling was that it was only a matter of time. You should be able to hit a button in the Wordpress dashboard to update, but due to my particular set up, that wasn’t working and it had to be done manually, which is to say, never1.
  2. I was never really happy with the styling. Ideally, I wanted to format each of the types of post differently depending on the content. I’m sure if I was better at modifying Wordpress templates, I could have accomplished it, but that was beyond my abilities.

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iPad to Pelican

You may remember that I wrote about a month ago about my Hazel workflow to enable me to publish blog posts from my iPad. That has been working well for me, but it was — by my own admission — a rather gaffer-taped together solution. One minor problem was that I my iMac isn’t awake all the time, just most of the time. So the publishing workflow is most vulnerable when I’m away from home (and I most need it), and my iMac is likely to be asleep.

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iPad to Pelican Update

As an update to this post, it predictably didn’t quite work the way it was supposed to. It fell at the building hurdle, but I think I’ve fixed the paths now, so this should work. Fingers crossed!

Publishing from iPad

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If everything goes to plan, this post should appear on this blog, after having been written and auto-published from my iPad. I realised that I could use Dropbox and Hazel to write on any Dropbox connected device and get my home iMac to automatically build the site using Pelican and rsync it to my Linode server. It works like this: I write the post on my iPhone or iPad using any Dropbox-enabled notes application (I happen to like WriteUp), saving the article in a Dropbox folder called Drafts.

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