This page lists the tech that makes this blog possible.
How I write posts
I’ve tried everything, and keep coming back to this legendary editor. I’m still learning new things with it even after a decade. NERDTree is still my favourite plugin.
Wait, Emacs too? Yes! I fell in love with org-mode as a cross-platform alternative to nvALT for managing notes, research, tasks, and snippets of text; and have starting finding more uses for it. I should probably choose a single editor one day, but for now I’m enjoying both.
- Kensington Orbit Trackball
The only trackball mouse I’ve found with a scroll wheel. Once you use a trackball, you never want to go back to inferior pointing devices.
- Git for version control
- Michael Franks
I’m often writing while listening to my favourite singer/songwriter of all time. His over half a century career include albums for every mood and time of day. Incidently, I wrote all but two of his albums on Wikipedia.
- Coffee shops
If there’s an environment more conducive to positive thought and writing, I don’t want to know.
What runs the site
The world’s easiest cloud. It’s written and maintained by people who actually answer the phone, and care about the details. It’s designed for wholesale infrastructure and white-labelling, but ping the sales guys and I’m sure they could hook you up. Disclosure, I’m one of the engineers!
This is the Porsche of static site generators; it’s difficult to handle at times with Go’s inscrutable templating, but it’s the only one around that can handle 7,000+ posts without taking the heat death of several universes to render.
It’s still my preferred server operating system since trying it in high school. It’s fast, Unixy, and has the best OpenZFS integration for snapshotting, updates, optimisation, and data integrity. I use cloud instances with jails to keep things secure and easy to update.
The fast, simple to configure web server and reverse proxy. Thanks to the maintainers of the nginx-devel FreeBSD port.
- Let’s Encrypt
I bought HTTPS certs in the past, but this makes the process so simple. It can also now handle subdomains with little fuss.
All the site configuration, package installs and updates are carried out with Ansible playbooks.
- Bourne shell scripts
These are the glue for everything else, for podcast pages, encoding audio, scaling Retina™ images, uploading generated assets, and other tasks. No bashisms.
What used to run the site
- Hand-coded HTML, 1998–04
This was a general-interest site before a blog, and was written with Notepad back in my Windows days. Some may have also been prototyped in Frontpage back in the day too. I kinda miss it.
- Perl CGI scripts, 2004–05
I wrote my first site engine while learning Perl at a job between high school and university. It used CGI, but fortunately it was so obscure and rarely visited it didn’t spawn too many threads!
- RapidWeaver, 2005
An intriguing and pleasant Mac application that generated static pages, but I soon ran into limitations with updating sites from different places. Thesedays you could probably use a Dropbox-like service.
- Blosxom, 2005
Another short-lived CMS before making the jump to WordPress. I loved how simple its file structure was, and being written in Perl was a plus.
- WordPress, 2006–13
This was the Mack Daddy of blogging software for years, before it lost its focus becoming a general-purpose CMS. Radio UserLand was on the way out by 2006, and I couldn’t afford Movable Type. It served me well for many years depite it’s shortcomings.
- Jekyll, 2013–15
I still think Liquid is the nicest templating system I’ve used, but alas Jekyll simply couldn’t handle thousands of posts well. I recommend it wholeheartedly for other use cases.