{ "version": "https://jsonfeed.org/version/1", "title": "Matthew Graybosch", "description": "I'm Matthew Graybosch, author of the Starbreaker saga, full-stack developer, and metalhead with delusions of erudition. This is my website.", "home_page_url": "https://www.matthewgraybosch.com/", "feed_url": "https://www.matthewgraybosch.com/feed.json", "author": { "name": "Matthew Graybosch"}, "items": [ { "id": "https://www.matthewgraybosch.com/blog/your-dog-will-never-be-this-cute", "url": "https://www.matthewgraybosch.com/blog/your-dog-will-never-be-this-cute/", "title": "Your Dog Will Never Be This Cute", "content_html": "\n\n

You’ve got to admit it. That’s a good cat. Even if he is just claiming that guy as his person.

\n", "summary": "You’ve got to admit it. That’s a good cat. Even if he is just claiming that guy as his person.", "image": "https://i.imgur.com/nNF3QcM.gif", "date_published": "2017-09-20T22:28:00-04:00", "date_modified": "2017-09-20T22:28:00-04:00", "author": { "name": "Matthew Graybosch"}, "tags": []},{ "id": "https://www.matthewgraybosch.com/blog/best-of-persona-series-soundtrack", "url": "https://www.matthewgraybosch.com/blog/best-of-persona-series-soundtrack/", "title": "Best of Persona Series Soundtrack", "content_html": "\n\n

Nice to see that Fandom Collective included “Deadline”, the boss theme from the original PSX release of the first Persona title.

\n", "summary": "Nice to see that Fandom Collective included “Deadline”, the boss theme from the original PSX release of the first Persona title.", "image": "https://www.matthewgraybosch.com/assets/images/original/author-nyc.jpg", "date_published": "2017-09-17T02:01:00-04:00", "date_modified": "2017-09-17T02:01:00-04:00", "author": { "name": "Matthew Graybosch"}, "tags": []},{ "id": "https://www.matthewgraybosch.com/blog/zerohedge-a-startling-anecdote-about-online-ad-spending-from-restoration-hardware", "url": "https://www.matthewgraybosch.com/blog/zerohedge-a-startling-anecdote-about-online-ad-spending-from-restoration-hardware/", "title": "A Startling Anecdote About Online Ad Spending From Restoration Hardware", "content_html": "\n\n

Here’s some evidence that most online advertising is completely worthless.

\n\n
\n

Moeller also touched on the two most common complaints about digital advertising scams: advertisers are paying for ads that are viewed and clicked on by bots, not humans; and ads are placed by thousands of automated “ad exchanges” that are out of control of the advertiser on sites and pages that don’t match the advertiser’s products.

\n
\n\n

I’m happy to say that I’m part of the problem, because I use ad blockers. You should, too.

\n", "summary": "Here’s some evidence that most online advertising is completely worthless.", "image": "https://www.matthewgraybosch.com/assets/images/original/author-nyc.jpg", "date_published": "2017-09-17T01:33:00-04:00", "date_modified": "2017-09-17T01:33:00-04:00", "author": { "name": "Matthew Graybosch"}, "tags": []},{ "id": "https://www.matthewgraybosch.com/blog/whats-up-with-me-this-week-small-dark-lines", "url": "https://www.matthewgraybosch.com/blog/whats-up-with-me-this-week-small-dark-lines/", "title": "What’s Up With Me This Week/Small Dark Lines", "content_html": "\n\n

I’m going to have to buy the new Threshold album, Legends of the Shires, because I’ve got their single “Small Dark Lines” stuck in my head. It’s such a perfect song for my Starbreaker setting.

\n\n
\n

There are small dark lines on my heart tonight
\nFrom all those times that I crossed the line
\nHallmark scars that were left behind
\nMemories never fade
\nI know I should never be forgiven
\nGiven all the little lies I’m living
\nSo I suffer those lines as a warning sign
\nThat never goes away

\n
\n\n

Here’s the video.

\n\n\n\n

My wife is going to Washington, DC with her girlfriends this weekend, so I’ve got the house to myself. I think I’ll take the time to rip some albums and get a dedicated Starbreaker website going at starbreakersaga.com.

\n\n

Once that’s up, I can begin serializing Without Bloodshed Remastered, a second edition that I started yesterday in preparation for writing the sequel.

\n\n

Here’s a taste…

\n\n
\n

The house reflected its owner, mostly white with crimson accents. The door opened, revealing its mistress. She held a sword in one hand, and clasped a black woolen overcoat closed over her nightgown with the other. Though sleep still tinged her voice, her displeasure was evident as she glared at him with eyes that betrayed her demonic ancestry to those who recognized the scarlet gaze of a demifiend. “You. What have you done to Christabel?”

\n
\n\n

I still haven’t decided on a title for the next Starbreaker novel, but I’m thinking one of the following:

\n\n\n\n

If you have a preference, I’d love to hear it. Hopefully the comment form below will work.

\n", "summary": "I’m going to have to buy the new Threshold album, Legends of the Shires, because I’ve got their single “Small Dark Lines” stuck in my head. It’s such a perfect song for my Starbreaker setting.", "image": "https://www.matthewgraybosch.com/assets/images/original/author-nyc.jpg", "date_published": "2017-09-15T19:15:03-04:00", "date_modified": "2017-09-15T19:15:03-04:00", "author": { "name": "Matthew Graybosch"}, "tags": ["Threshold","Legends of the Shires","Small Dark Lines","single","video","Starbreaker Next","Without Bloodshed Remastered","comments"]},{ "id": "https://www.matthewgraybosch.com/blog/smartphones-vs-personal-computers", "url": "https://www.matthewgraybosch.com/blog/smartphones-vs-personal-computers/", "title": "Smartphones vs Personal Computers", "content_html": "\n\n

I think that expanding the capabilities of mobile phones until they became handheld computers was a mistake. Instead, I think we should have worked on miniaturizing general purpose PCs until we had handheld computers with touch screens that ran VOIP apps on our choice of operating system (Windows, Linux, *BSD, or OSX) and could be plugged into a docking station via USB for desktop work.

\n\n

There’s no technological reason we can’t. And there’s no shortage of blog posts explaining how to use a smartphone as a desktop computer. However, they all suffer from some crippling limitations:

\n\n\n\n

The Raspberry Pi solves the problems I listed above, but has its own drawbacks. While touchscreens for the Pi are available, they come in sizes that make the Pi unsuitable for use as a smartphone. Nor does the Pi connect to mobile phone networks by default; its wireless connectivity is based on the 802.11 wifi standards.

\n", "summary": "I think that expanding the capabilities of mobile phones until they became handheld computers was a mistake. Instead, I think we should have worked on miniaturizing general purpose PCs until we had handheld computers with touch screens that ran VOIP apps on our choice of operating system (Windows, Linux, *BSD, or OSX) and could be plugged into a docking station via USB for desktop work.", "image": "https://www.matthewgraybosch.com/assets/images/original/author-nyc.jpg", "date_published": "2017-09-13T10:29:00-04:00", "date_modified": "2017-09-13T10:29:00-04:00", "author": { "name": "Matthew Graybosch"}, "tags": ["hardware","smartphone","PC","raspberry pi"]},{ "id": "https://www.matthewgraybosch.com/blog/notes-for-a-consistent-devuan-ascii-configuration-across-multiple-machines", "url": "https://www.matthewgraybosch.com/blog/notes-for-a-consistent-devuan-ascii-configuration-across-multiple-machines/", "title": "Notes for a Consistent Devuan Ascii Configuration Across Multiple Machines", "content_html": "\n\n

It may sound like a First World Problem, but I’ve got three computers on which I prefer to run some kind of GNU/Linux, and I’ve hard a hard time keeping a consistent configuration on all three.

\n\n

Also, I’m never going to get any writing done if I don’t layoff the distro-hopping. I decided to go with Devuan GNU/Linux, a distribution that forked from Debian after the majority of Debian’s developers decided to replace SysVinit with systemd. It looked like a solid distro with the old-school Unix feel I prefer, so I decided to go with it on all of my computers:

\n\n\n\n

After downloading the DVD ISO image and following the installation instructions, I compiled the following notes to ensure that I would have a reasonably consistent environment whether I was using thagirion in my home office, desdinova in my living room, or imaginos on the road.

\n\n

Upgrade to Testing

\n\n
    \n
  1. Open the sources list file.
  2. \n
\n\n
sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list
\n\n
    \n
  1. \n

    Replace contents with the following.
    \n deb http://us.mirror.devuan.org/merged/ ascii main non-free contrib

    \n
  2. \n
  3. \n

    Execute the following commands in order.

    \n
  4. \n
\n\n
sudo apt-get update\nsudo apt-get upgrade\nsudo apt-get autoremove\nsudo apt-get dist-upgrade\nsudo apt-get autoremove\nsudo shutdown -r now
\n\n

Install fonts, themes, and additional software

\n\n

Let’s add some stuff I’m going to need, and some extras for desktop customization.

\n\n
sudo apt-get install fonts-firacode fonts-noto \\\nfonts-ebgaramond chameleon-cursor-theme murrine-themes \\\nfaenza-icon-theme intel-microcode emacs git build-essential \\\nruby ruby-dev libxss1 quodlibet gimp gimp-help-en \\\nopenbox lxappearance rxvt-unicode pandoc neofetch \\\nredshift-gtk abcde quodlibet imagemagick jpegoptim \\\nvim flac claws-mail claws-mail-doc claws-mail-tools \\\nclaws-mail-plugins hexchat hexchat-plugins hexchat-otr \\\nttf-mscorefonts-installer zlib1g-dev \\\napt-transport-https checkinstall
\n\n

Performance Improvements

\n\n

I should also install the Liquorix kernel and add the following tweaks.

\n\n
sudo tee -a /etc/sysctl.d/99-sysctl.conf <<-EOF\nvm.swappiness=1\nvm.vfs_cache_pressure=50\nEOF
\n\n

…and…

\n\n
sudo tee -a /etc/sysctl.d/99-sysctl.conf <<-EOF\nvm.dirty_background_bytes=16777216\nvm.dirty_bytes=50331648\nEOF
\n\n

For all machines, crack open /etc/fstab and set all ext4 partitions to use the noatime option for improved performance.

\n\n

Wifi

\n\n

For laptops with built-in Intel wifi adapters (imaginos and desdinova), also run sudo apt-get install firmware-iwlwifi.

\n\n

Afterward, add “iwlwifi” to /etc/modules and reboot.

\n\n

imaginos and desdinova would probably also benefit from TLP: sudo apt-get install tlp.

\n\n

For thagirion, my Lenovo M92p desktop, I need the current Realtek 802.11ac (rtl8812au) kernel driver. Clone it from Github, build with make, then install using sudo checkinstall.

\n\n

Once it’s installed, add “8812au” to /etc/modules and reboot. NOTE: The 8812au driver must be rebuilt and re-installed after every kernel upgrade.

\n\n

Improved font rendering

\n\n

In each user’s home directory, create a .fonts.conf file containing the following.

\n\n
<?xml version='1.0'?>\n<!DOCTYPE fontconfig SYSTEM 'fonts.dtd'>\n<fontconfig>\n <match target=\"font\">\n  <edit mode=\"assign\" name=\"rgba\">\n   <const>rgb</const>\n  </edit>\n </match>\n <match target=\"font\">\n  <edit mode=\"assign\" name=\"hinting\">\n   <bool>true</bool>\n  </edit>\n </match>\n <match target=\"font\">\n  <edit mode=\"assign\" name=\"hintstyle\">\n   <const>hintslight</const>\n  </edit>\n </match>\n <match target=\"font\">\n  <edit mode=\"assign\" name=\"antialias\">\n   <bool>true</bool>\n  </edit>\n </match>\n  <match target=\"font\">\n  <edit mode=\"assign\" name=\"lcdfilter\">\n    <const>lcddefault</const>\n  </edit>\n  </match>\n</fontconfig>
\n\n

Improving Firefox

\n\n

Gonna install some add-ons to make Firefox suck less.

\n\n

Add-ons for All Machines

\n\n\n\n

That’s right. I block ads. If that bothers you, I suggest you reevaluate your life choices.

\n\n

Add-ons for Firefox on thagirion\n

\n\n\n\n

NoSquint Plus allows me to set a default zoom level for all tabs/windows in Firefox. On a big screen I prefer to zoom to at least 120%, and it’s annoying to do so on a per-tab basis.

\n\n

I need Custom Style Script to make Mastodon suck less. Once it’s installed, add the following CSS for https://octodon.social/web/getting-started.

\n\n
.drawer {\n  width:512px !important;\n}\n\n.column {\n  width: 512px !important;\n}
\n\n

Now Mastodon looks good on the ultra-wide screen I’ve got hooked up to thagirion.

\n\n

Set up Jekyll

\n\n

Execute the following command: sudo gem install bundler jekyll

\n\n

Clone Repositories from Github

\n\n

Let’s get the default Spacemacs config.

\n\n
cd ~\ngit clone https://github.com/syl20bnr/spacemacs ~/.emacs.d
\n\n

Time to pull down my stuff.

\n\n
cd ~/Documents\ngit clone https://github.com/matthewgraybosch/matthewgraybosch.com.git\ngit clone https://github.com/matthewgraybosch/starbreakersaga.com.git\ngit clone https://github.com/matthewgraybosch/work.git\ngit clone https://github.com/matthewgraybosch/orgmode.git\ngit clone https://github.com/matthewgraybosch/commentaries.git\ngit clone https://github.com/matthewgraybosch/starbreaker-xorg-themes.git\ngit clone https://github.com/matthewgraybosch/jekyll-blog-posts.git\ngit clone https://github.com/matthewgraybosch/starbreaker.git
\n\n

Getting the Latest GNU Emacs

\n\n

I thought I could get away with using Spacemacs using Emacs 24.5.1, which is is available in Devuan’s Ascii repository, but the initial configuration barfed. That left me with a choice: try pulling only Emacs and its dependencies out of the unstable Ceres repository, a wholesale switch to Ceres, or building from source.

\n\n

I decided to build from source. After grabbing the latest tarball from the GNU Project FTP site, I had some prep work to do.

\n\n

First, I created a ~/custom directory for use as an install destination.

\n\n

Next, I edited my ~/.profile and added $HOME/custom/bin to the beginning of my $PATH variable to ensure that my custom version of Emacs would take precedence.

\n\n

After that, I extracted my Emacs source tarball, switched to the Emacs source directory, and ran the provided ./configure script. Autoconf reported missing library dependencies, so I installed them until Autoconf stopped bitching. The resulting package list is as follows:

\n\n
sudo apt-get install libxpm-dev libxpm4 libgif-dev \\\nlibgif7 libtiff5-dev libtiff5 libtinfo5 libtinfo-dev \\\nlibncurses5 libncurses5-dev libmagickcore-dev libmagic1 \\\nlibmagic-dev libgtk-3-0 libgtk-3-dev
\n\n

Once I had installed these packages, Autoconf spat out a Makefile. I ran it again like so:

\n\n
./configure --prefix=/home/demifiend/custom\nmake\nmake install
\n\n

Once I had logged out and logged back in, I was rocking a current Emacs. :metal:

\n", "summary": "It may sound like a First World Problem, but I’ve got three computers on which I prefer to run some kind of GNU/Linux, and I’ve hard a hard time keeping a consistent configuration on all three.", "image": "https://www.matthewgraybosch.com/assets/images/original/thagirion-devuan-ascii-xfce-4.12_2017-09-12_15-55-20.jpg", "date_published": "2017-09-11T19:45:31-04:00", "date_modified": "2017-09-11T19:45:31-04:00", "author": { "name": "Matthew Graybosch"}, "tags": ["Devuan","Ascii","XFCE","configuration","optimization","installation","Linux","GNU/Linux"]},{ "id": "https://www.matthewgraybosch.com/blog/whats-up-with-me-this-week", "url": "https://www.matthewgraybosch.com/blog/whats-up-with-me-this-week/", "title": "What’s Up With Me This Week", "content_html": "\n\n

Here’s a little update on what’s going on in my life. I might do make this a weekly thing.

\n\n

And Then There Were Three

\n\n

My wife and I got stuck with a kitten. Some asshole just dumped him in my parents’ front yard, and they couldn’t keep him. He’s a little gray tabby fur baby with white paws, a white belly, neck and chin, and a white-tipped tail. He’s completely fearless, and you can hear him purring from across the house if it’s quiet, so we call him Purrseus (or sometimes just Percy).

\n\n

Unfortunately, our older cats—Smudge (5) and Virgil (8)—aren’t especially pleased to have a new bitty buddy chasing them around and trying to play with them, though Smudge is closer to accepting Percy than Virgil. Then again, Virgil’s just a big pussy; you’d think a 20 pound barn cat wouldn’t be afraid of a kitten who’s barely six weeks old, but whatever.

\n\n

If they don’t chill the hell out and learn to get along with the little guy by the end of the month, we’ll take Purrseus to a local no-kill shelter with a check for a couple hundred bucks to help pay for him to get neutered and vaccinated.

\n\n

Free Agency

\n\n

I’ve also gotten confirmation that all rights to my first novel, Without Bloodshed and the mainline Starbreaker saga have reverted back to me. The novel’s still available from Curiosity Quills Press on Amazon, as is Silent Clarion, but I’ve got to decide what I want to do with my first novel. I’m thinking of making it available online as a web serial and revising it.

\n\n

It’s too bad I’ve got a face made for radio and a voice made for print, because otherwise it might be worth my while to record a series of video readings.

\n\n

I’m also thinking of writing subsequent Starbreaker novels as web serials, though I won’t serialize Silent Clarion online because that novel’s still under contract.

\n\n

Reading

\n\n

I went on a bit of a binge this week, reading the first five Monster Hunter novels by Larry Correia at a pace of about one a day. I’m a little ambivalent about giving the guy my money because of his involvement with Sad Puppies, but at least he’s not Vox Day or Orson Scott Card.

\n\n

Now I’m back to R. Scott Bakker’s The Warrior Prophet and E. R. Eddison’s The Worm Ourobouros. I really should just focus on one of them and power through.

\n\n

Heavy Metal

\n\n

I bought copies of Echoes of the Aftermath by The Murder of My Sweet and Apex by Unleash the Archers. Of the two, Echoes has gotten more play; I’ve been in the mood for more melodic music this week rather than power metal, but Apex is an excellent album in its own right.

\n\n

Here’s a video of “Personal Hell” by TMoMS and “The General of the Dark Army” by UtA.

\n\n

Netflix and Chill

\n\n

If you’re looking for a solid sci-fi B movie, you could do far worse than What Happened to Monday starring Noomi Rapace. Ms. Rapace plays seven fraternal twin sisters who must share a common identity in a dystopian future Europe that enforces a One Child policy with greater zeal than China ever did. She’d make a great Elisabeth Bathory in a Starbreaker adaptation.

\n\n

Also look for Willem Dafoe in a supporting role and Glenn Close as a Well-Intentioned Extremist.

\n\n

Adulting

\n\n

I also finally got automatic mortgage payments set up; I wasn’t able to do it at first because the mortgage broker wasn’t equipped to take payments by any means other than a check in the mail, but they sold the mortgage to a corporation that realizes that it’s the 21st century. So now, on the seventh of every month, I make the required payment of a little over a grand plus an extra hundred to pay down the principal faster.

\n", "summary": "Here’s a little update on what’s going on in my life. I might do make this a weekly thing.", "image": "https://www.matthewgraybosch.com/assets/images/original/author-nyc.jpg", "date_published": "2017-09-08T07:34:58-04:00", "date_modified": "2017-09-08T07:34:58-04:00", "author": { "name": "Matthew Graybosch"}, "tags": ["life","update"]},{ "id": "https://www.matthewgraybosch.com/blog/building-my-site-part-2-methods-and-tools", "url": "https://www.matthewgraybosch.com/blog/building-my-site-part-2-methods-and-tools/", "title": "Building My Site, Part 2: Methods and Tools", "content_html": "\n\n

Welcome to the second of a series of articles in which I explain how I designed and built this site and why I made the choices I did.

\n\n

It’s going to get a bit technical, but while I’ll try to explain everything in the plainest possible English, some grounding in web design and development would be useful. Rather than cover the basics, I recommend spending some time in the “Learn Web Development” section of the Mozilla Developer Network.

\n\n

Some exposure to Unix/Linux and shell scripting might also be useful. If you aren’t familiar, try linuxcommand.org.

\n\n

While subsequent articles will explain the internals of this site in detail using source code listings. You can also access all of the code for my website on GitHub.

\n\n

You can read previous installments below.

\n\n\n\n

Methods to the Madness

\n\n

After deciding what I wanted my website to accomplish and how I wanted it to work, I had to decide how I would go about building my website and what tools I would use. I’ll cover tools later, but first I want to discuss five general approaches to building a website.

\n\n\n\n

I’d say these approaches are ranked in order of how badly they suck, with the worst at the top, but all of these options suck for different reasons. I’m just putting “Using a Static Site Generator” last because it’s the one I chose.

\n\n

Building a Static Website Entirely by Hand

\n\n

The first approach is how we used to do things. You build every page by hand, writing the content as raw HTML, and linking pages together manually. Then you upload the whole thing to a web host.

\n\n

This approach still has a couple of advantages:

\n\n\n\n

However, this approach also has a few severe downsides.

\n\n\n\n

I used to do this. I’ll go back to scrubbing toilets for a living before I ever do this again.

\n\n

Be a Digital Sharecropper

\n\n

This is what most people do these days, and the world wide web is worse for it.

\n\n

If you create a free account on platforms like Blogger, WordPress.com, Tumblr, or Medium and use that as your primary web presence, then congratulations. You are a digital sharecropper. Why is this bad? I’ll give the explanation its own paragraph and make it bold.

\n\n

You’re busting your hump to make somebody else’s platform more valuable, and you aren’t even getting a paycheck out of it.

\n\n

If you post original content on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, etc, you’re also a digital sharecropper.

\n\n

There’s only one advantage to this approach:

\n\n\n\n

The downsides are legion. Here’s a short list.

\n\n\n\n

You should not post original content on platforms you don’t own unless you are a paying customer. The more often you do so, the more of a sucker you are.

\n\n

This isn’t an option for me, and I feel so strongly about this that the only social networking account I still have is Google+, and I only use that to share posts from this site and to interact with old acquaintances.

\n\n

Oh, and there’s my Medium account, but that particular content farm is a subject for another rant.

\n\n

Let’s just say that if Ev Williams wants me to click “Write a Story” instead of “Import a Story”, he can damn well put me on his payroll as a staff writer;—which will probably happen the first Tuesday after Ragnarok.

\n\n

Rent Access and Space on Somebody Else’s CMS

\n\n

What’s the difference between a free WordPress.com blog and going with WordPress.com’s “Personal” plan at $4/month?

\n\n\n\n

Paying for service has all of the advantages of being a digital sharecropper and building your web presence on somebody else’s platform “for free”, without most of the downsides. If you’re a paying WordPress.com customer, you can still get kicked off if you violate their terms of service, so make sure you read and conform to them.

\n\n

Install, Customize, and Maintain a Content Management System

\n\n

Some content management systems (CMS) like the aforementioned WordPress aren’t just services; they’re also open-source software packages that you can install on a server or virtual machine of your own, on a virtual machine you’re renting from a hosting provider, or on shared hosting.

\n\n

It’s not without advantages.

\n\n\n\n

This option also has some severe downsides.

\n\n\n\n

Write Your Own CMS

\n\n

This is out of the question. I might have the programming chops, but I only reinvent the wheel when I’m getting paid to do so.

\n\n

Using a Static Site Generator

\n\n

Now we’re talking. A static site generator is software you run on your local computer to convert templates and content files into a complete website made of nothing but static HTML files and any stylesheets, image assets, multimedia, and client-side code you care to layer on top.

\n\n

Here are the advantages as I understand them:

\n\n\n\n

I don’t mind the disadvantages, but you should be aware of them.

\n\n\n\n

A Choice of Tools

\n\n

Given the choices above, I choose to stick with static websites. The question is how to go about it? The first step is to decide what tools I’ll use to build my site.

\n\n

Jekyll is the obvious choice due to its popularity and integration into GitHub. Hell, if I didn’t mind the limitations involved I could host my site for free on Github Pages. Since I’m familiar with Jekyll and have already built the site, I figure I’ll stick with it. :)

\n\n

If you’re starting from scratch, you don’t have to use Jekyll just because I do. You could also use tools like Hugo, Pelican, Middleman, Metalsmith or even Gatsby—but I don’t recommend Gatsby unless you like dicking around with React.

\n\n

However, Jekyll alone isn’t enough. It can’t compress or resize images for me. For that I need tools like ImageMagick and jpegoptim. I need git for version control, rsync for deployment, and shell scripts to link everything together. And if I want to have my site automatically built and deployed when I commit changes and push them to Github, I need a continuous integration service like Travis CI.

\n\n

It’s pretty complicated, but I’ll explain everything in future posts.

\n\n

Additional Resources

\n\n

Here are some more articles explaining the advantages and disadvantages of going static, with an emphasis on Jekyll.

\n\n\n\n

Next Post…

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In Building My Site, Part 3, I’ll discuss my Jekyll setup.

\n", "summary": "Welcome to the second of a series of articles in which I explain how I designed and built this site and why I made the choices I did.", "image": "https://www.matthewgraybosch.com/assets/images/original/emacs-editing-matthewgrayboschdotcom.jpg", "date_published": "2017-09-06T13:34:58-04:00", "date_modified": "2017-09-06T13:34:58-04:00", "author": { "name": "Matthew Graybosch"}, "tags": ["web design","web development","howto","tutorial","Jekyll","HTML","CSS","static blog","series"]},{ "id": "https://www.matthewgraybosch.com/blog/dont-worry-im-still-here", "url": "https://www.matthewgraybosch.com/blog/dont-worry-im-still-here/", "title": "Don’t Worry. I’m Still Here.", "content_html": "\n\n

If you’re looking for me on certain popular social networks and can’t find me, don’t panic. There’s a reason for that.

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I’ve just deactivated my accounts on the following corporate-owned social media shitholes:

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I’ve outright nuked my accounts on these shitholes:

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I’m tempted to nuke my Google+ account, but I figure Google will finish the job of killing off G+ in a year or two. :)

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In any case, you’ll always be able to find me here on my website. Better still, on select posts you’ll be able to leave messages and comments.

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Why did I deactivate and delete these accounts? My reasons were pretty simple. I did it because I damn well could. I did it because I wanted to. I did it because I was tired of being a digital sharecropper and getting nothing in return.

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And I did it because I’m not good at social media, and don’t particularly like it. I used to do reasonably well on Google+, and I still do reasonably well on Reddit, so I’m keeping those accounts. The rest just aren’t worth my time, and never have been. I’m just cutting my losses.

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As for Medium: If Ev Williams wants me to write for his content farm, he can damn well put me on his payroll as a staff writer. Paying five bucks a month might have been reasonable if I was only reading Medium, and if Medium was worth reading, but anybody who asks writers to pay instead of paying writers is a scam.

\n", "summary": "If you’re looking for me on certain popular social networks and can’t find me, don’t panic. There’s a reason for that.", "image": "https://www.matthewgraybosch.com/assets/images/original/operation-crossroads-baker-edit.jpg", "date_published": "2017-08-26T21:38:53-04:00", "date_modified": "2017-08-26T21:38:53-04:00", "author": { "name": "Matthew Graybosch"}, "tags": ["social media","Facebook","Twitter","Instagram","Quora","Ello","LinkedIn","nuking accounts","good riddance","Medium"]},{ "id": "https://www.matthewgraybosch.com/blog/building-my-site-part-1-introduction-inspiration-and-design-goals", "url": "https://www.matthewgraybosch.com/blog/building-my-site-part-1-introduction-inspiration-and-design-goals/", "title": "Building My Site, Part 1: Introduction, Inspiration, and Design Goals", "content_html": "\n\n

Welcome to the first of a series of articles in which I explain how I designed and built this site and why I made the choices I did.

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It’s going to get a bit technical, but while I’ll try to explain everything in the plainest possible English, some grounding in web design and development would be useful. Rather than cover the basics, I recommend spending some time in the “Learn Web Development” section of the Mozilla Developer Network.

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Some exposure to Unix/Linux and shell scripting might also be useful. If you aren’t familiar, try linuxcommand.org.

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While subsequent articles will explain the internals of this site in detail using source code listings. You can also access all of the code for my website on GitHub.

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Introduction

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Every writer needs a website, preferably one named yournamehere.com, and preferably with a blog. The easy way to do this is to hire somebody who put together such a site and set it up for you. They’ll probably use WordPress and might even make it look fancy by changing the theme and incorporating artwork related to your books.

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However, I’m not just a writer. I’m also a software developer, and a self-taught one at that. While I could do what most writers do and hire some web shop to set up and manage a WordPress install for me, that’s not my style.

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Because I’m both a writer and a developer, the best way to create a website that fully expresses who I am is to build it myself. I don’t mean setting up and running WordPress myself, though I’ve done that in the past and found it unsatisfying.

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No, if my website is to represent me on the Internet, I want to build it myself and by hand. That way, I can build it my way.

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Design Goals

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It’s one thing to say, “I want to build my own website, and I want it built my way”, but that’s a general statement. The specifics are a bit harder, but it didn’t take me too long to decide upon the following design goals.

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I have reasons for each of these goals. As a developer who often works in the web space, I’ve worked with experts like Natalie Patrice Tucker who impressed upon me the importance of accessibility.

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Since I’m a writer, it seems self-evident that my site should be text-oriented, and treat images and video as supplementary material. I want it to look clean and elegant with vibrant colors and good typography so that people find it memorable and enjoy reading it.

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I want it to load and render quickly on all devices and platforms because I don’t think anybody should be excluded from the web—not even those poor bastards who are still using IE 6.

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Likewise, I remember what it was like to surf the web on a 56K dial-up connection. Web pages keep getting bigger because designers and developers go nuts with images, video, fonts, and other cruft—I think this is unsustainable and unfair to viewers.

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I could go on, but I think you get the picture. Since I’m determined to do this, I want to do it right.

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Inspirations

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I’m not designing my site in a vacuum, even if I did build it with no help save from my cat Smudge. I had some help courtesy of a few sites that inspired me.

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motherfuckingwebsite.com is an excellent (and hilarious) reminder that almost all problems with web design and development are self-inflicted. Websites exist for one purpose: to convey textual information, and you can do that using nothing but valid HTML. You don’t need CSS or JavaScript at all.

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bettermotherfuckingwebsite.com builds upon the foundation laid by that other motherfucker and shows you how big a difference a little CSS can make if you know what you’re doing.

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CSS Zen Garden shows what disparate designers can do to differentiate a site using only CSS. The HTML remains the same, but add a different stylesheet and you get a completely different site.

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Matt Gemmell’s blog is an example of reader-centric blog design. There’s almost nothing on any page of that site that isn’t essential to the experience—aside from the ad for Gemmell’s latest novel at the top of the page.

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You can read his 2013 article, “Designing Blogs for Readers”, for a detailed explanation of why most of the cruft you see on blogs is cruft. According to Matt Gemmell, your blog doesn’t need comments or social media buttons.

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Additional Resources

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Dan Luu on Web Bloat explains how web bloat negatively impacts people with slow connections.

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Idle Words / Talks / Website Obesity provides explanations as to why most webpages are such grotesque lardasses and how designers and developers can carve off some of the dead weight that’s turning the web into Cable TV v2.0.

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Next Post…

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In Building My Site, Part 2, I’ll discuss the general tools I used to build my website.

\n", "summary": "Welcome to the first of a series of articles in which I explain how I designed and built this site and why I made the choices I did.", "image": "https://www.matthewgraybosch.com/assets/images/original/emacs-editing-matthewgrayboschdotcom.jpg", "date_published": "2017-08-25T13:34:58-04:00", "date_modified": "2017-08-25T13:34:58-04:00", "author": { "name": "Matthew Graybosch"}, "tags": ["web design","web development","howto","tutorial","Jekyll","HTML","CSS","static blog","series"]}] }