Back to WordPress

Last August I outlined some new rules for myself when it comes to blogging and they have worked well. The only thing outlined which I haven’t adhered to is “no categories” — there’s just too much differently themed content on this site to make it sane to navigate without them.

The “no categories” rule fell into the “get out of your own way” bucket. I’ve reached a point where I need add a sister rule, the “get out of my way” rule, the contents of which would read something like: “If you think about writing a post then remember some pain-point in the process which makes you reluctant to do so, get rid of the pain-point”. For me, that pain-point has become Jekyll.

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New about page

I finally took some time this weekend to sit down and write an about page for this site. As part of my continued push for this site to tell a complete story—to document both the personal and professional ups and downs, I forced myself to break out of the boilerplate 3 line about page I’ve some to expect on personal websites:

Hello, my name’s NAME. I work at COMPANY in CITY as a JOB TITLE. Formerly at OLDCOMAPNY and OLDCOMPANY2. Feel free to get in touch.

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On importing my old writing

I’ve been going back and forth with myself on this for what feels like an age. When I came back to having everything associated with this domain, including my writing, I started afresh.

The question I’ve been going back and forth on is whether or not I should import my old writing. Having started afresh, I feel like the site no longer tells the full story. Whether we like it or not we are a culmination of the events of our past, and whilst there are posts I’ve written in the past that I regret publishing and/or no longer agree with, redacting or deleting them isn’t going to change the fact that once upon a time I put them out into the world with my name next to them. Doing that feels like I’m being deceitful—first and foremostly to myself.

All that to say that I have now imported all the old posts from casualnotebook.com and all the posts I could find from the first version of elliotekj.com as they were originally published.

Now serving over HTTPS and HTTP2

Every so often I check to see if GitHub have added a way to serve websites hosted on GitHub Pages with a custom domain over HTTPS rather than HTTP. Whilst clicking around to that end last night, I found that the answer is still no. I did stumble upon a service called Netlify however.

As this site uses Jekyll plugins I can’t push directly to my username.github.io repo, it needs to be built first. To avoid having to do that manually, I setup a whole song and dance on Wercker that turned out to be more hassle than it was worth.

Netlify is, in short, a one-stop-shop for static sites. The features that attracted me to it were the Git integration—all I need to do is push a post to the repo and it’ll handle the rest (including building the site despite it using plugins, taking Wercker out of the mix), the free SSL certificates via Let’s Encrypt and the HTTP2 support. A global CDN, and fast DNS aren’t features to shake a stick at either, but GitHub pages has those covered too.

The setup was quick and easy: I pointed Netlify at the site’s repo, it detected that the generation engine was Jekyll, automatically setup a box, built it and served a preview. From there, I just removed the two A records that pointed at GitHub and added one that points to Netlify, added my custom domain in the admin and waited for the lot to propagate. Once it had, SSL was a click away and only one more click was needed to force TLS connections.

If your site’s repo is public on GitHub then Netlify gives you all this functionality on the house. From the few hours I’ve spent with it, I’d highly recommend it as an alternative to GitHub Pages.

Some New Rules

From the outside, if anyone were to look, it would seem like my usage of social media over the past few years has declined quite a bit. However, that’s not the case.

My sharing has certainly declined but, thought I don’t measure it, I feel like my time spent on Twitter, Reddit and to a lesser extent Facebook has more or less remained the same.

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