Hjertnes.blog

Jekyll Workflow.

October 28, 2014

This is a post, about how my Jekyll blog setup is, like I promised. There is also sections about how I post, from both iOS and OS X. Why I chose static and Jekyll. And also some information about who I think a static blog is for.

My reason for changing is quite simple, I wanted a workflow for posting to my site from both OS X and iOS that didn’t involve copy-pasting, or required me to go for a dynamic system like WordPress.

Why Static? {#why-static}

Why someone should go for a static blog is quite simple. A static site is the simplest of simple, when it comes to the server. The only thing your web server have to do is to deliver static files.

I generate the files once, every time I update my site, and then I’m set, until something are updated.

There are in my eyes two very good reasons for going static. You don’t have to think much about security --- like you have to with dynamic content management systems. And your site can handle more or less anything even on the cheapest of cheap hosting alternatives.

Why Jekyll? {#why-jekyll}

Well, Jekyll was the one I liked best. I tried to implement my site in more or less every popular static (hybrid) system out there. Jekyll is fast and it took me two hours to make everything work, and another few to get a usable design.

That’s a fraction of the time, compared to all of the other alternatives I tried.

General information. {#general-information.}

The central piece in how my site is managed is Git. I currently store my repo at bitbucket, but you could store it on Github, or anywhere you want. Everything is stored in that Git repo; except for the generated HTML files, they are excluded to avoid 99% of merge conflicts. This is because I generate the site on the server, and on my mac when I test stuff.

In other words: I use Git to sync stuff.

Server setup. {#server-setup.}

The server setup couldn’t be simpler. I have the git repo there. And I use Nginx to serve the generated files from Jekyll. My system is 100% automated. I have a small shell script that run in cron, every 15 minutes. It does three things.

  1. It adds, and commits and pushes any changes in the repo on the server back to bitbucket.

  2. It pulls any changes on bitbucket back to the server.

  3. It re-generstes the site.

This makes it possible for me to change something or the site in three ways: — Change it directly on the server — Send it over ftp — Or make the changes in the git repo and just push it.

How to update from iOS {#how-to-update-from-ios}

One of my goals this time was that it had to b simple for me to post from iOS. The great thing about a VPS, is that this is very simple. I’m set as long as I can place a file on bitbucket or the server.

There are three apps on my iOS devices that makes this easier.

The core in all of this is Editorial. It’s a great editor that can be extended to do more or less anything. And I found a cool workflow that I managed to change to let me transfer new files over ftp.

Panic released their great ftp client for iOS a few weeks ago. And it solves a simple problem for me, and that is to make minor edits, or delete stuff, from my Jekyll site on iOS.

They also updated their ssh client for iOS at the same time. Prompt, let’s me log into the server and preform simple tasks like restarting stuff or re-generating the site, if or when I have to.

How to update from OS X {#how-to-update-from-os-x}

Doing stuff from OS X is very simple. I just edit or add files to the Jekyll repo, and push the changes to bitbucket. And let the shell script magic to the rest.

Conclusion {#conclusion}

Jekyll, and the similar systems aren’t from anyone. But I think it might be for you, if you are the kind of person that love working with the terminal. It is simple to deploy stuff; everything you need to do is to make sure your markdown files are in the right folder.

Two things:

  1. Make sure you get a VPS, so you can generate your site on the server, if you ever need to post from your iOS devices.

  2. Get the apps and scripts working before you need them.

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Spaces in Yosemite.

October 27, 2014

Spaces was my favourite feature introduced in OS X 10.5 Leopard. This is a feature that you will find in most Window Managers and Desktop Environments, if not all for X Windows. In other words: all old Linux and Unix users know what they are.

The problem with Spaces, Workspaces or whatever you call them is not power users. The problem is make it understandable and approachable for regular users.

The version that shipped with 10.5, was more or less the same as what I had in Linux many years before, then Apple started to really improve on the idea with 10.7. But I think it is now, with 10.10 that they finally cracked it.

The big change is of course to combine Maximise and Full Screen, in the same green button. It makes the whole idea of spaces more approachable for most people. Not because it is better, or anything; it isn’t. But it makes it impossible for any OS X user to avoid it.

Spaces and full screen apps is powerful features; but they shouldn’t be considered power user features; they should be something everyone uses.

I hope 2014 will be the year people finally started to use them. They are one of the best ways be more productive on a smaller screen. It’s not as good as having a larger screen, or multiple screens; but it is almost as good.

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BBEdit 11

October 26, 2014

BBEdit and TextMate used to be the two text editors on OS X; like Vim and Emacs for hard core unix geeks1. I was a TextMate user for a very long time, more or less constantly from 2006 until today. TextMate was by the way the reason I bought my first Mac.

TextMate isn’t what it used to be. It became Open Source. And I have been looking for a better supported editor for a while now. And I have tried BBEdit many times. And I’m not the biggest fan. But I think I’ll give it a real test this time.

There are things from TextMate that I miss, but BBEdit is way better than TextMate 2. It’s supported and polished.

The good thing about BBEdit is that it just works. But it is kind of weird. I can’t decide if it’s just weird, or if it is better solutions to problems.

I’ll write another post, when I decide what to do. My current options is Vim or BBEdit.

Links {#links}

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  • Vim is the best one. ↩

    Headphones.

    October 25, 2014

    Marco did his headphone review earlier this year. This post is about headphones, but it isn’t a review. It’s just a post about what I look for in the different kinds of headphones I own.

    I have owned so many headphones, of different brands, types and shapes over the years that I don’t have any idea about how many. But I did end up with a system about six years ago, that have worked very well.

    My current system consists of two different headphones; one expensive pair, and one “disposable” pair. The thing I mean by disposable is that it is a pair of headphones that I use every day, and just buy something new when they break. While the nice pair have always been something where I would repair them, if they break.

    The two headphones have two different purposes as well. The nice one is what I use while flying, taking the bus, working at home or the office; in other words, they are something I use for longer periods. While the disposable is the thing I walk around with outside.

    I almost forgot. The reason I decided to have two pairs is related to two different reason. The first is that I have never found any pair of headphones that can take the combination of being used every day for many hours, and all the rain where I live.

    I wanted something good enough to use for when I was walking outside, but I also wanted something more comfortable to use at home, inside and while traveling.

    My current go to disposable option is the Apple EarPods. They are good enough; comfortable, lasts for a reasonable amount of time; and have a handy remote and microphone. They aren’t the cheapest. But you get a lot of value for $29.

    I have used my current nice pair of headphones for a very long time. I think I bought them in June 2011. It is the Bose QuietComfort 15. They were expensive. The current price on Amazon in $299. Bose headphones aren’t the best, if you just look at the sound quality. These are the reasons I went for them in 2011

    1. Excellent active noise reduction. Very useful in offices and while traveling.

    2. You can replace the cushions or the cable yourself, without any hassel.

    3. I think they are very comfortable.

    First of all, buy the QC25, if you are going to buy them today. It’s the new model.

    Secondly. The second point in my list is very important to me. I’m not going to buy any expensive set of headphones where I can’t do simple things like replacing cushions or cables without a service manual. I have done both, once, and it took less than a minute to replace each. And they are the two things that often break.

    If you are like me, a person that listen to music, audio books or podcasts all the time, consider to have two different pairs of headphones. Especially if you have some of my problems. I guess I could have used the Bose set all the time, without it breaking. But I think it’s cheaper to buy a couple of EarPods per year, than to replace cushions and cables a lot on my QC15.

    Some people are always looking for the one perfect thing. I always start to see if one thing is the correct, when I have problems finding that magical one thing. This is how I ended up with two headphones, instead of just one. There was a time when I had three.

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    Jekyll!

    October 21, 2014

    I’m back on Jekyll, once again. There are things I don’t like about Jekyll, and every other content management system out there. But Jekyll is the one that makes the one thing I really care about very easy: publishing words.

    My reason for going back to Squarespace earlier this year, was to publish from iOS. Since then, we have gained access to iOS 8, and apps like Transmit. This makes it not only possible, but also easy to manage a Jekyll site from iOS. I use Editorial to post, Transmit to manage the files and Prompt if I need to fix something on the server.

    The biggest change this time is how I host it. The last time I looked into it, I went for a regular web host option. It worked okay. But, I couldn’t regenerate the site anywhere except for on my MacBook. I spent a few days looking for a cheap VPS last week, and I found out that Lindoe had a $10 a month option. Which is more or less the same as Squarespace.

    Jekyll, and other static web site engines are simple by design, and a good fit for geeks and hackers. But it’s not the best for everyone. I love to be able to have everything in markdown and git. And have a script to regenerate or update my site.

    Some people prefer to use a web interface or app; I prefer to save a file in a folder, or ftp it somewhere and let a script take care of the rest.

    I’ll get back to my complete Jekyll setup some other time.

    Links {#links}

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    OS X, FaceTime and phone calls.

    October 20, 2014

    Yosemite is here. And a lot of people love the idea of getting phone calls and sms available on their iPhone’s, Mac’s and iPad’s; while I cringe.

    If there is one thing that drive me nuts about FaceTime, it have to be the fact that all my Apple devices makes noise every time I get a FaceTime call. And I expect it will get a lot worse, with the posibility of sms and celluar call forwarding.

    Some people believe that opting in is the best way, while others think opting out is better. I don’t give a fuck either way. But the thing that drive me nuts is stuff that are stealing my attention.

    I would love to see a screen every time I upgrade OS X, with a list of everything, and let me disable everything I don’t need or want.

    Let’s get back to phone calls and FaceTime. My problem with call forwarding and FaceTime is not that it is possible, my main issue with it is that I only have the option between disabling it or enabling it. There is now way for me to just say, only accept calls on my mac, when the FaceTime app is open.

    I’m probably a edge case, and yes I have disabled all of it, on everything except my phone.

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    Budget apps.

    October 19, 2014

    Budgets is probably the worlds most boring thing, but still very important. The reason I think so is to be aware of how much money you spend, and / or what you spend your money on.

    There are two different budgeting apps out there that I have used. And like. I have tested a lot of them.

    They are two very different apps. My favourite is Left to spend.

    YNAB is probably the best one. And I think I’ll get back into using it later in my life. It’s a complete system, with apps for OS X, iPhone and iPad. You also get access to a lot of cool training materials.

    This is a typical budget apps. You add your income, the different expenses, and divide your money across them. And then you start adding the stuff you spend money on.

    While Left to spend is different. The basic principle is that you look at all the money you have after paying standard bills, like rent, electricity and stuff like that. And divide it by 30. That’s the amount you can spend every day.

    You just add money you spend it the app. It’s a great way to keep track of how much you spend. It is my favourite app for keeping track of how much I spend.

    If you want to get a little bit more control over your finances, check out one of them. Left to spend it a great place to start. And YNAB is great for when you want to get serious.

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    Squarespace 7 – after using it.

    October 12, 2014

    The last time I posted about this, was a few hours after Squarespace announced version 7. I haven’t had the opportunity to test it, at all, then. But I have been playing with it for a few hours — over a few days now. And I love it.

    Squarespace 6 was one huge, and impressive update. But the admin interface was always a little bit too weird and messy for my taste.

    They are fixing it in version 7. It’s in beta right now.

    This is what I love about version 7 this far:

    • The new menu system in the admin interface is simpler, cleaner, makes more sense and is easier to navigate.

    • You don’t have to leave the admin interface to work with the site layout.

    This is what I don’t like:

    • I can’t edit or write blog post in full screen. This was possible before LayoutEngine 2.

    Squarespace 7 is not the same kind of update that 6 was. But this is the kind of update that every Squarespace user will love. Not a huge amount of new stuff. But a lot of improvements, that some of us have been asking for, for a very long time.

    Squarespace 7

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    Squarespace 7

    October 07, 2014

    Squarespace

    Today, we’re thrilled to announce Squarespace 7, our largest update in two years. Squarespace 7 features a completely redesigned website manager interface, a deep integration with Getty Images, a cover page builder, an integration with Gmail and Google Apps for Work, 15 new category-specific designs, and much more.

    Squarespace 7 is the result of a year-long effort to refine the simplicity of our platform while retaining its power. The biggest change you’ll notice is in our interface; you can now make live edits in your website without switching back and forth between preview mode and your Website Manager, and we’ve annotated every editable element on your site to make everything easier than ever. We’ve also reorganized our menus to create a more intuitive experience overall.

    There aren’t many news that are more exciting for me than major updates to the Squarespace platform. One exception might be iOS and OS X releases. I can’t wait to get access to the beta.

    (#blog)

    iPhone screen sizes.

    October 07, 2014

    I have been trying to write something sensible about what I think about phone sizes for a while now.

    My favourite size up until now is the original one, 3.5 inches. That was the size that had the perfect balance between screen real estate, and easy of one handed use.

    It was easy to have a safe grip, without feeling it was flipping over. And it was easy to reach anything on the screen.

    I have used my iPhone 5s since May now, and I have gotten used to the larger screen, but I don’t think it gives me much benefit. And my 4s still feels better.

    The main problem with the 4.0 inch screens from Apple is that they just made it taller. It kind of makes sense, but I’m not a fan. It just feels too tall, and it’s not that comfortable to hold.

    I like the iPhone 6 screen size better than the 5s. It is more balanced. But it is far from as nice to use with one hand. There are one thing I really like about it, and that is how much better it is to thumb type with two hands in portrait orientation.

    The 6 plus is a category of devices I have never understood. And I don’t like them. I like to have two devices, one that is smaller, but powerful. And a iPad or iPad mini when I want a larger screen. I get why some people prefer to have one device, instead of two. It’s too big to be a usable phone for me.

    I really hope that Apple will keep updating the 4.0 screen size moving forward. There should be room for three sizes in the cell phone market. One 3.5/4.0 inc model, one large and one ridiculous. I know people that like 5.5 inch phones, and I know people that used to buy the 17″ MacBooks.

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