• The more I read about how mastodon works, the happier I am that I ended up being so curious about the publishing options in iA Writer that I had to check out micro.blog about 1.5 years ago.

    Don't get me wrong: It's great that people are checking out mastodon. It lets me follow them on micro.blog. But moderation and all the other social aspects of running a social network (even if it's "just" a timeline of blogs) are what's hard.

    Many people that are leaving Twitter right now (or at least create a mastodon account on the side, for the time after Twitter finally implodes) end up on mastodon.social, the biggest mastodon instance there is. When I scrolled through their explore timeline I was surprised to find a post by fellow corgi lover and micro.blogger Hollie Butler (@hollie) that urged people to find a better instance, because mastodon.social has had a bad moderation for a long time.

    In the replies to this post a user asked: Can I move my content over to a new (e.g. better moderated) instance? The answer is no. You can move the people you follow, but not your content, it seems.

    With micro.blog this combination of problems doesn't really exist. On the one hand they have and enforce community guidelines that protect the community against hate speech, harassment and so on. Community manager Jean MacDonald (@jean) does an excellent job as far as I can tell. So there is no reason to move. Micro.blog is just a blog hoster with a social timeline component.

    On the other hand exporting your data is easy enough, too. Even if there would be a reason at some point to move: I do own all my content and it's not useless content, because a micro.blog is just a blog and so the content I'd export are just blog posts.

    The point is: At the moment micro.blog seems like the ideal place that is not twitter, but has moderation figured out (and still lets you connect to mastodon users). I feel like I'm in good hands with them. If you're willing to fiddle, you can connect your own blog for free, or you could pay them 5$ a month and have everything set up for you. Connect a domain and you really truly own your content, even in the case you feel the need to move away, since the permalinks point to your domain not micro.blog's (I'm not claiming the moving blog hosters is easy, but it's possible…).

  • In an effort to make my blog perform better - lots of images means slow load times - I have updated all my images to use this somewhat undocumented micro.blog feature that resizes images:

    Micro.blog offers an endpoint to resize uploaded images. Once you upload the image, if you do [micro.blog/photos/](https://micro.blog/photos/#)##x/, but replace ### with the pixel width you want, followed by the full URL to the image, you’ll show an image with that width. For example, if I wanted the image at [json.blog/foo.jpg](https://json.blog/foo.jpg) to be 480px wide, I could use <img src=“https://micro.blog/photos/480x/[json.blog/foo.jpg](https://json.blog/foo.jpg)”>.

    @jsonbecker in the Micro.Blog Forums

    This first page load still takes a long while, since my home page weighs in at about 25 mb of mostly image data. But it's a start.

  • Taking a break from microcasting

    I recently published a post about my microcasts and I‘m now writing this to tell you I’m going to microcast less. Less frequent and less scheduled. This is even weirder because I just created an intricate shortcut that automatically publishes a post with the right episode title and number without having to look up any of those details, which streamlined the entire process a lot.

    But I have noticed that I‘m not as much in the mood at the moment to record my thoughts in this way. The early riser project, for example, was a great McGuffin to get me out of bed, but since I have changed my approach to waking up, it has become less important to me. I don‘t want to record these little episodes for the ramblings alone.

    Being a big fan of podcasts like Back To Work and Cortex, I thought I could do a microcast about my work and how I approach it, but I have noticed that I would like to write about these things, not only talk about them extemporaenously. LeadDev is also the microcast for which the ratio of recorded/published episodes is the worst: I take this as an indicator of my wanting to express myself more carefully than I can while walking the dog and having to observe the environment.

    À propos the dog: I created my first microcast, the PuppyCast, because I wanted to have a record of the challenges and joys of raising a puppy. I wanted to look (DailyDoogo, which I will not abandon, btw.) and listen back to this important time in my life. But I think that this project has run its course: I don‘t feel the need to publish this every week anymore. It‘s not like nothing changes or that there is nothing to report dog-wise, but it all comes down to the need to simplify and de-schedule my life. And I have episodes for the first six months, which seems like a good place to stop.

    Seasons change. And this is how I feel about my microcasting: Right now I‘d much rather write than talk. Looking at my blog I mostly see noise that was produced hastily to satisfy a self-imposed schedule. I will let this stuff go, for now.

  • Short Posts With Titles

    One kind of blog post that I really like is a short post with a title. One or two paragraphs about a topic (almost any topic really) is a great length for me. A title makes sure that it’s going to be a somewhat framed thought.

    A short post with a title can contain a picture or two to illustrate what’s going on. It could have links or a video embed. I would really like to write more posts of this kind myself.

  • Adventures with Hugo: Configure Hugo's Native Syntax Highlighting On Micro.Blog

    If you are one of the brave people that uses Hugo Version 0.91 and wants to take advantage of Hugo’s native syntax highlighting capabilities on a light theme (like the default theme in this example), you might be surprised:

    As you can see… you can’t really see much.

    Thankfully this can be changed, by changing the configuration for syntax highlighting. But in order to do that you have to know the following:

    [@matti](https://micro.blog/matti) interesting … so much is still a blackbox for me. I just tinker until I get results. My two favorite finds are the config directory (which take precedent ahead of the json files) and the assets directory (with which you can build Javascript and Sass files from templates).

    You have to know about the precedence because for some reason, changing the config.json in your theme won’t do the trick. This is how it works:

    Get A Functioning Custom “New-Plugin-Style”-Default-Theme For Your Blog

    EDIT 18.02.2022: The following is not up to date anymore. Plugin-Themes now behave much more convenient: Just install the theme, activate for your blog, create a custom theme and only add config/_default/markup.json template.

    First of all make sure you are on the Hugo version 0.91 (dropdown in the Design screen, remember to save) and install the default theme as a plugin (Plug-ins screen). Then go to Design again and click on “Edit Custom Themes”, on the next screen click on the default theme and duplicate it with the button in the next screen. You should now be back in the custom themes overview list. Click Design in the sidebar once more and choose your custom theme, save. Click “Edit Custom Themes” again and then on your copy of the Default theme.[^1]

    Change Configuration

    You should now be inside your custom theme screen. Click on “New Template”. You will be presented wie the template editor and theme preview split view.

    Name the template config/_default/markup.json and set its contents to:

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    {
        "highlight": {
          "anchorLineNos": false,
          "codeFences": true,
          "guessSyntax": false,
          "hl_Lines": "",
          "lineAnchors": "",
          "lineNoStart": 1,
          "lineNos": true,
          "lineNumbersInTable": true,
          "noClasses": true,
          "style": "monokailight",
          "tabWidth": 4
        }
    }
    
    

    This is basically the default config from the Hugo documentation, except that for style we use monokailight instead of monokay. Click “Update Template”, your site should be rebuilding as indicated by the spinner. When Hugo is done, syntax highlighting should now be working as intended and the code be legible.

    Example:

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    {{ define "main" }}
    <div class="home h-feed">
      <ul class="post-list">
      {{ $paginator := .Paginate (where (where .Site.RegularPages.ByDate.Reverse "Type" "post") "Params.title" "!=" nil   ) (index .Site.Params "archive-paginate" | default 25) }}
      {{ range $paginator.Pages  }}
          <li class="h-entry">
    			<h1><a href="{{ .Permalink }}">{{ .Title }}</a></h1>
    
            <a href="{{ .Permalink }}" class="u-url"><span class="post-meta"><time class="dt-published" datetime="{{ .Date.Format "2006-01-02 15:04:05 -0700" }}">{{ .Date.Format "Jan 2, 2006" }}</time></span></a>
    
            <div class="e-content">
             	{{ .Content }}
            </div>
          </li>
        {{ end }}
      </ul>
    
      <p class="rss-subscribe">subscribe <a href="{{ "feed.xml" | absURL }}">via RSS</a></p>
    
    </div>
    {{ end }}
    

    [^1]: I’m not sure if this is all necessary or even the right way to go about it. It seems pretty involved and I don’t even know how you would migrate your customizations in an easy way if you happen to have used the old style of choosing a theme… but this way works, that much I could prove.

  • Able To Post Again

    My playing around with custom themes led to errors in the building of my site. Haven’t been able to post at all because of this for five days or so.

    I published two bigger posts:

    Uff. What a relief to be able to post again (now for real).

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