Blogging workflow

Manton Reece:

You might think because I created Micro.blog that I have a perfectly simple blogging workflow that will work for everyone, all the time. Nope. I use a variety of different apps depending on what I’m trying to do:

  • If I’m posting a quick microblog post and know what I want to say, I type it into the Micro.blog app for Mac.
  • If I’m posting a single photo, I use Micro.blog on my iPhone.
  • If I’m posting a bunch of photos like this post from Toronto, I use Sunlit to write a little something for each day.
  • If I’m writing a longer post and have it all in my head, so I know I will post it very soon, I type it directly into MarsEdit and publish it to Micro.blog from there.
  • If I’m writing a post and I’m not totally sure where it’s going, or when I’m going to post it, I type it into Ulysses. This is the majority of my posts. Then I copy it out as Markdown and paste it into Micro.blog.

And this only scratches the surface. There’s Wavelength for podcasts, and some people prefer apps like Icro, Gluon, Dialog, Quill, or automation via Shortcuts. This is why we link third-party apps from the posting screen in Micro.blog.

One of the things I’m most proud of with Micro.blog is that the API supports standards so you can use a variety of different apps for posting. There are so many different types of blogs out there, there shouldn’t just be one way to post.

Micro.blog is always a platform I love because of the openness to third party apps.

Also, it’s refreshing to know that Manton, the creator of micro.blog, also hops between several blogging apps. I don’t feel as bad for writing and posting things from a plethora of apps.

I Have an iPad Again

Thanks to Best Buy having an incredible deal yesterday I went ahead and added the iPad back into my life. I bought a 128GB 10.2” iPad and I am very happy with the decision.

The 10.2” isn’t exactly the super-powerful 12.9” iPad Pro I once had, but that was when I was using my iPad as my main computer. Back then, I wanted a machine that was top of the line. Now, as my setup and needs have changed I think that the regular iPad is a perfect fit for me. I say that knowing it is basically the 10.5” iPad Pro I once had. Aside from some cheaper speakers and screen, both the size and specs are practically the same. Hell, even the Smart Keyboard is the same size as the one I had for the 10.5” iPad.

The Smart Keyboard is exactly as I remember it from when I had the 10.5” and it works just as well for me. I was concerned I was going to find it cramped or too small for me as I was so used to the full sized keyboard on the MacBook Pro. Alas, that wasn’t anything I should have worried about. In fact, I write faster and more consistently on this Smart Keyboard than I do on the mechanical keyboard Keychron K2.

This iPad isn’t my main machine, but it can absolutely be an ultra-portable option for when I am on the go or don’t want to travel light. In fact, I have left my laptop at home when I have gone out to write or do work because this iPad suits all the needs I have for a typical day-to-day operations. That said, I am sure there will be times—like there were for me in the past—where I just felt like a MacBook would be a better solution for a problem than the iPad.

This isn’t me saying that I am going back to the “iPad-only lifestyle.” In fact, one of the big reasons I got this iPad was because I wanted something that was compatible with Sidecar.

So far, I have tried Sidecar exactly once in the past 24 hours and it was very seamless. I can’t wait to use my iPad as a second monitor when I am doing things at my desk like podcasting or working on a long post for the blog. Having that extra screen real estate is going to help me when I really need it.

It is encouraging to me to see things like Sidecar work out of the box with Catalina. I am also thrilled to see this type of synergy between the iPad and Mac, where it isn’t just macOS and iOS (or iPadOS) working together but it is also the hardware.

Finally, I am elated to be able to use Siri Shortcuts on something bigger than my iPhone 11 Pro. It was nightmarish to use just my iPhone to make and edit shortcuts. I love Shortcuts and I love the team behind that app, but the user experience on the phone is less than optimal. I have dived back into Shortcuts with this iPad and it has allowed me to play around with automation on iOS again. A someone who hasn’t played around much with the additions and changes iPadOS brought with Shortcuts it has been quite a lot of fun to learn and play with this app.

Overall, I am excited to see what having an iPad again will be like in this post iOS 13 world. I am sure I will have more thoughts on the iPad as time goes on, but for now I am going to play around with it some more and see what this thing is really capable of.

ShiftCam Multi-Lens Case for the iPhone 11 Series

From their IndieGogo campaign:

The ShiftCam Multi-Lens Case is a compact, integrated multi-lens iPhone case, now available for the iPhone 11 & 11 Pro, that switches lenses in fractions of a second — adding unparalleled versatility and quality to your iPhone 11 & 11 Pro cameras.

This case looks super bulky but I think it would be a great option for those occasions you plan to take lots of photos or go somewhere.

I am backer #83 on this and I intend to try the hell out of this once I get in a month or two. Until then. I will be drooling over the photos on their IndieGoGo.

Keep Moving Forward

I know this is cheesy, but I think a lot about this scene from the movie Rocky Balboa. I mainly think about it when I am in a rut and can’t think of anything to say or do creatively. I tell myself that all I need to do is keep moving forward and a solution will rise from the ashes. That isn’t always the case though.

Sometimes I need a long hiatus or just a changes of topic. I have done both to an extent here on my own website and it has helped a little. Those, to me, are the exceptions to the rule. A much larger part of my problem lies with these lulls of writing and posting because I don’t write consistently.

Consistency has always been difficult for me, as anyone that has been a reader of this blog can probably tell. That is partially why I decided to take place in Blogvember. I want to get better at being consistent, and writing everyday for me has always been a goal I wanted to achieve.

Now that I already missed a day this month I feel somewhat defeated but I also know that the reason I didn’t write was because it was one of the 2 half-days I get to see my wife in a given week1. So I am more than happy to put my family in front of my creative process and with that I have zero regrets. This isn’t to say every time I don’t write it is because I am putting more important things first, I catch myself in YouTube rabbit holes all the time and I kick myself for it a lot.

I am not sure if this post has a real “point” or not but I think that sometimes I just need to sit down and write even when I am not sure what I have to say. I used to think that when I didn’t know what to say meant that I shouldn’t bother writing. Without a topic what was the point? I couldn’t be more wrong about this if I tried.

The thing I realize now is that my brain, like pretty much anyone who writes, needs time to warm up and get the engine going. For some it takes a few minutes others say that their first hour of writing isn’t good and it is just useless.

I think I am somewhere in the middle of those two. When I do write I make it a point to never go back and edit my mistakes or mistypings the first go around. I just want to trudge on and write until I feel the thought I had is gone and on to the page. Which I guess is where I am now with this post.

My point is that even though I may have missed a post yesterday and I didn’t keep my streak alive, I am going to keep moving forward.

  1. Long story short on that, we work different hours and I work 90 miles away from home.

You Choose

Brent Simmons:

Here’s the thing: there are good blogs to read. Some old ones are gone, but new good ones are created all the time.

And there are good RSS readers which you can use instead of (or in addition) to Twitter and Facebook.

And — most importantly — nothing is stopping you from writing joyfully and creatively for the web! You can entertain, you can have fun, you can push the boundaries of the form, if you want to. Or you can just write about cats as you develop your voice. Whatever you want!

Chris Hannah:

I agree, all you have to do is join in.

There is a reason I come back to blogging time and time again. Even after bouts of mental health issues and life events getting in the way I come back because it’s mine.

I own this website and the things written on here and I enjoy the self expression that goes into it for me. It is therapy, art, entertainment, and craft all joined together in a beautiful ball of dough.

Today is the day I quit the iPad

Greg Morris:

I have tried really hard to carry on as long as possible but iOS 13 has made me realise I cant continue any longer. I’m afraid friends, today was the day the end finally arrived, I’ve ditched an iPad altogether.

During my time working on the iPad I always needed a Mac around to podcast and edit things properly – you know do real work. It was pretty few and far between and during this time the iPad got better and better. Adding in a better keyboard, a pencil to write and Draw as well as constantly improving the OS. My reliance on Shortcuts (then Workflow) and third party apps started to dwindle and iOS become a powerhouse – at least for a while.

Then iOS13 arrived. I cant point to one specific event or one particular bug, but iOS13 has been like death by a million paper cuts.

I hate to say it but iOS 13 feels like a regression for iPad power users. I’m sure the people at Apple meant well but in hindsight it’s clear that they bit off too much than they could chew.

Here’s hoping iOS 14 is akin to iOS 12 and it’s sole purpose is for fixing bugs and improving the features already in place. It also wouldn’t hurt if they made good on their promises with iCloud.

I Need to Use My Task Manager More, but I’m not Sure How

As I said recently I have decided to start things off with a clean slate. My task manager, calendar, email, notes system, etc. have all been wiped clean for a fresh start.

I stated in my article that I was going to use Todoist as my task manager, then I decided on Things 3 on my podcast instead, but now I think that my issue isn’t what the app I use is, it is instead how I am using my task manager.

For me, what’s necessary is to go a higher level and really consider what it is I want out of a task manager and figure out what to use to match those things.

That’s obviously much easier said than done but I think I have a few questions in place to help me get things started.

  1. What is it you want to prioritize in your life?
  2. What do you currently track in your task manager?
  3. What are your pain points in a task manager currently?
  4. Aside from task app features what do you want in a task manager?

I am not sure if these are the best questions to ask myself. Hell, I’m not even sure this is the best angle to take things. That said, as someone who has very little in order with their life at the present moment, it’s a start

So, here are my answers to those questions asked:

  1. Family, Hobbies, Career, and Work in that order.
  2. Day-to-day things to do, but even then I rarely open the app to see what I have on there.
  3. I don’t check my app regularly, and I don’t do much after capturing.
  4. I want something that can compartmentalize things when I need to but also be able to open everything to me for an easy review process.

For now, I think I need to figure out what to do to have my tasks in my face regularly so that I can capture quickly, clarify regularly, and organize things instead of just being on a list without any semblance of when things are do or what is more important than others.

I’m Blogging Daily During November

Shawn Blanc:

Starting today — Friday, November 1 — I’ll be writing and publishing something every day for the whole month of November.

Though, instead of writing a novel in a month, I will be simply be focused on publishing something — anything — every single day. From photos, links to interesting things, articles, reviews, etc.

And apparently this is a thing.

I’ve already heard from several other readers who will be writing and creating daily this month as well. Which is awesome! And my friends CJ and Om are also both doing the same thing.

I also have been thinking about doing this as well, so I guess if Shawn is doing this I am going to do it too.

Unprofessional Blogger

Chris J Wilson via gabz:

About 10 years ago, I wanted to be a professional blogger. Now I’m happy to be an unprofessional blogger. Well, most of the time at least.

I thought I wanted the exciting lifestyle of making money from work anywhere I wanted. I saw these people “doing nothing” (spoiler, they were doing a lot more than what I saw) and thought that looked great. Free products to review, working in my [pajamas], travel whenever I wanted.

But pursuing that “dream” did something to me.

When I sought to be a professional blogger, I ended up focusing on tactics and topics which didn’t really interest me. I focused on topics that would help my search engine position with 800+ word articles for topics that could be addressed in 350 words at most.

[…]

As an unprofessional blogger, I can - write about what I want, when I want

  • not write when I don’t want to (and not apologize!)
  • try out something stupid and fail (but have fun)
  • make grammar and spelling mistakes (and thank kind souls who point them out while deliberately annoying pretentious pedants)
  • make a mess of my website as I change the design

A Slab of Glass 33: A Clean Slate

Jeff has a surprise, Chris forgets the names of some services, and they both have thoughts on Jeff’s latest blog post. Finally, they both have feelings on the Apple October Event, or lack thereof.

Show Notes

Download MP3

The Art of the Draft

Andy Nicolaides Writing for The Dent:

One of the main things keeping me from posting more, I think, is that I have a bad habit of only ever writing a post / article in one sitting. I can’t remember a time I’ve ever just started writing a bit and then come back to add a bit over a few days. The fact I don’t come back to a piece is probably fairly evident in the quality of my posts, unfortunately.

While doing a post from start to finish each time seemed like it would be a better way of getting more posts out, it’s ended up with me just thinking I don’t have enough time to finish anything of substance right now so I don’t even start.

[…]

Right now, I should have a handful of draft posts somewhere where I can keep adding points as I go along before compiling them into a final post at some point. Instead I have a bunch of emails sitting in my inbox, with Reminders entries attached to them. The closest I get to drafting things right now is writing some posts in my head while I drift off at night.

[…]

I need to stop thinking that I have no spare time to write or podcast, and start making better use of whatever time I do have.


I couldn’t agree more with this. I have found the best way my for me to write consistently is to have a lot of different plates spinning at once for my blog. If I’m not feeling one post, I’ll just move to another for the time being.

Clean Slate

When I was setting up my iPhone 11 Pro, I decided to set it up as a new phone. I wanted to install only the apps I needed. I wanted to remove the cruft and stuff I thought I needed. I do it every year I get a new iPhone, and it’s always satisfying to see a significant percentage less of crap on my phone than the previous one.

This is what caused me to completely wipe out my entire task management system, notes system, read later system, and even caused me to reset my Mac to factory settings. I did a complete reset on how I manage my life and work, and I have some thoughts.

Why I did this

I got to this point because of jumping between task managers as if it was my job. One week I would be in Omnifocus, the next Todoist, and then I would try out Things 3, and often repeat the cycle. Each time I made a switch to another task manager that meant moving all of my tasks over to the next app. I never called for task bankruptcy, I mearly just switched banks.

The iPhone set-up wasn’t the only reason I did this. That said, seeing me do it on my iPhone and the feeling I got from that is what drove me into action.

The main reason I did this was because I had a lot of cruft, crumbs, leftovers, or whatever synonym for undesirable crap you want to call it. I had physical notebooks, lists in Reminders, Bear, and Drafts for my notes. I also had tasks in Omnifocus 3, Things 3, and Todoist. It was a schmorgesborg of tasks, ideas, and thoughts that had no semblance or organization to it. I wanted to finally just declare bankruptcy, nuke everything and pave a new way for me to organize my life.

What I Want to Accomplish

When it comes to making this decision, it shouldn’t be made lightly. In fact, it rarely should be made at all. I am almost positive I missed a very important thing in one of my task managers that will eventually come back to haunt me. That said, I have already bulldozed my past tasks and notes and am now starting anew.

So here is my list of goals and accomplishments I want to hit in this experiment.

  • Have a clear idea of where my tasks, ideas, and notes will start (capture)
  • Have a clear system in place to process, clarify, and organize my tasks/notes/ideas.
  • Have a simple, easy to understand organizational system in place for all the tasks.
  • Know when to put events into a calendar and what app of choice to use.
  • Define and Setup a reading list system that works.
  • Create a habit to keep my finger on the pulse of my tasks throughout the day.
  • Maintain a weekly review that has a meaningful impact on my life.

My Plan

In order to make this happen I need to plan things out. For me, I know that the thing I need most right now is a task manager. I need to capture everything happening in my life and then process them accordingly.

When it came to picking a task manager I wanted something that would be easy for me to use day-to-day. I also wanted something simple enough to handle but robust enough to grow with. Because of that I chose Todoist. I am not saying that Todoist is going to be the reason I get my life together, it is nearly the material of my canvas I will be painting on. Pick an app that works best for you. Up next is calendar.

For my calendaring app I chose Fantastical 2, which to me was an easy choice as I have been a user of that app on both Mac and iOS for some time now. The bigger decision for me was whether to use Google or iCloud for the calendar service. For me, I decided that if I am going to use Todoist, I may as well use Google Calendar so if I just have a web browser I can get access to my main tasks and calendar no matter what.

Any app usually is fine on a Mac when it comes to calendars, but the tricky thing about Calendars is the system. I know I need to make a list of calendars and figure out my plans for this. So my calendar is also being scrapped as well.

The Timeline

I don’t like timelines, or deadlines, or anything telling me to get something done by a certain time. That said, I know that there should be a sense of urgency when it comes to getting a task manager setup. So for that I plan to get this setup and at least have a skeleton setup by November 11th. That gives me 4 weeks to get things together and work out some of the finer things as well.

I plan to keep posting about this as I progress but expect a much more involved post shortly after this deadline I set myself.

Newseum is Closing

Newseum:

After more than 11 years and nearly 10 million visitors, the Newseum will close on Dec. 31, 2019. Thank you to everyone who has visited, especially the members, donors and Founding Partners whose support made it all possible.

We know visitors love the Newseum (don’t take our word for it; read the TripAdvisor reviews for yourself), but it has struggled financially for a number of years and continuing to operate in our current location has proven unsustainable. In January 2019, we announced an agreement to sell the Newseum building on historic Pennsylvania Avenue to Johns Hopkins University, a premier academic institution, which will use the facility for its D.C.-based graduate programs.

The Freedom Forum, creator and primary funder of the Newseum, remains committed to continuing its mission to champion the five freedoms of the First Amendment and to increase public awareness about the importance of a free and fair press. These educational efforts are needed now more than ever and that critical work will continue online and through public programs in Washington, D.C., and around the country.

Teta Alim and Melissa Howell at WTOP:
The Newseum near the National Mall is closing its doors at the end of the year, the museum announced Tuesday.

The closure comes after more than 11 years and nearly 10 million visitors. The Newseum said in a statement that due to yearslong financial issues, continuing to operate at 555 Pennsylvania Ave. Northwest “has proven unsustainable.”

[…]
The museum’s creator and primary funder, The Freedom Forum, “remains committed to continuing its mission to champion the five freedoms of the First Amendment and to increase public awareness about the importance of a free and fair press,” museum officials said in the statement.

“These educational efforts are needed now more than ever and that critical work will continue online and through public programs in Washington, D.C., and around the country.”

I can’t help but find this very metaphorical of our country today in regards to how short-term many think with the past.

BBEdit 13: It Sucks a Little

Bicycle for Your Mind:

BBEdit is the pre-eminent text editor on macOS. I have owned a registered version of the product since version 5. It is one of those instant updates for me. I hear about a new release and I instantly update. I did the same thing on this version. I won’t ever again.

There are some very solid points in this post.

As someone who was considering buying BBEdit and trying it out, these points of frustration were the catalyst for me to decide not to.

iPadOS 13: EVERYTHING You Need To Know

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-vISTePKSk

Chris did an amazing job with this video, and I couldn’t think of a better time to share this than now as iPadOS 13 is released for all iPad users. I don’t even own and iPad and I watched this from beginning to end multiple times over.

The Toolbox Fallacy

I have been thinking a lot about this video and just how true it rings for me and many other creators.

If I had (x) then I could do (y). That is a mantra I have said to myself for years over many different things. Thoughts like “If I had a camera I could take good photos” or “if I had more time I could write more.” These are all fallacies, and for some I have proof.

For instance, because of the wonderful Timing App I can look intro great detail how I use my time. Here’s how I spent my time on Monday September 16th, 2019.

As you can see, I spent a ton of time just watching YouTube videos instead of something productive. Like reading articles or writing, or doing literally anything productive.

If you watch YouTube as a means of entertainment and enjoy it that’s great. For me though it is a way to procrastinate and put off the important yet scary things. For me it’s writing. Every time I prepare to write I still get butterflies in my stomach. I get afraid that what I have to say isn’t good enough, even though I haven’t said anything at all yet.

In order for me to combat this I needed to make the time to sit down and write. It’s still something I am working on but I try every morning to write for at least 30 minutes. Some days that works and on other days it isn’t possible for me to do that. But instead of just making up things I “need” I took a look at this time tracking data and really took it in. I added YouTube to my list of blocked domains. Instead, I download the videos I want to watch and only watch them during my lunch break at work. It’s a start, but it eliminates the possibility of diving deep into a YouTube rabbit hole.

One of the things I have done to combat this Toolbox Fallacy was to start this new photo everyday challenge for myself. I decided to make photography something I get back into because it is a lot of fun for me. So I decided to flip my Toolbox Fallacy. Instead of “I just need a good camera, so I can start taking photos” I turn it into an iPhone photography challenge. I turned the limitations on myself into innovation.

In fact, I’ve been having a lot of fun pushing my iPhone to its limits. In fact, I finally got a photo that I am really excited about.

if you find yourself in a “Toolbox Fallacy” look at what you’re saying that you “need” and see if there’s a way for you to turn that limitation into innovation. It might not always work, but for me it has allowed me to turn a barrier into a doorway.

One Year Shot on iPhone

[caption id=“attachment_1354” align=“aligncenter” width=“225”]Dexter Portrait Shot on iPhone X August 9th, 2019 Dexter the cat. Shot on iPhone X[/caption]

This is the photo that made me want to take more creative pictures on my iPhone. Previously, I rarely had fun with my iPhone and snapped photos on it. Partly because I didn’t want to be “that person” always taking photos, and partly because I thought iPhone photos weren’t “that good.”

The photo is a portrait of one of my cats, Dexter. It’s still one of my favorite photos I’ve taken on my iPhone. I snapped it on my iPhone X, the phone I have currently, on August 9th this year.

The iPhone is a Camera

Fast-forward one month and Apple announces the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro. The number one feature that they touted, like every year they have a new iPhone event, was the cameras.

What surprised me this year compared to years previous was my interest and investment I had about the new cameras. I think Phil Schiller said it best when he called it “computational photography mad science.” Something about those photos they showed from professionals the films shot on iPhone kept me on the edge of my computer chair. It was honestly the most fun I have had in a while with an Apple Keynote.

Upon reading more about the new iPhone 11 Pro I began to get excited about what I can do with my iPhone’s camera system. Shortly thereafter that I saw a number of photos being shot on the new iPhone 11s. One that blew me away early on was Austin Mann’s iPhone 11 Pro Camera Review.

My New Shot on iPhone Project

All of this excitement has made me want to do something to bring photography, specifically iPhone photography, into my life.

So for the next year beginning today I will be posting one photo a day on my Instagram. I will also have a weekly roundup here on the blog if you don’t want to follow me on Instagram. I will say, that I may post more than one photo a day on Instagram. For that reason, I suggest you follow me there if you want everything.

As I sit eagerly awaiting for my new iPhone 11 Pro I’m excited to start this new journey into taking more photos with my phone. I can’t wait to share them with you all both here on the blog and on my Instagram.

watchOS 6: The BirchTree Review

Matt Birchler’s watchOS 6 review is absolutely stellar. If you use the Apple Watch and plan on updating to the latest OS give it a read.

Pocket Casts Now Available for Free

Morgan Wynn writing for Pocket Casts:

Starting today, podcast fans all over the world can download Pocket Casts for free. Known for its beautiful design and robust set of controls, Pocket Casts is making the entirety of its existing features available at no charge. Power users looking for even more customization can upgrade to Pocket Casts Plus for $0.99 per month ($10/year). With these changes, we are now more closely aligned with the open-access model of our public media ownership.

[…]

Pocket Casts Plus, for those power listeners looking for even more control, offers:

  • Desktop apps including macOS, Windows and Web apps
  • Cloud storage for creators and listeners who want to use Pocket Casts for all of their audio and video files
  • Exclusive app icons and themes

Listeners who currently use the iOS or Android mobile app will not experience any changes. All existing features, plus the new functionality, is available in the latest update. Those who previously purchased Pocket Casts’ desktop app will receive three free years of Pocket Casts Plus.

Three years seems extraordinarily generous to me, but I’m not complaining. Honestly I am very happy to see Pocket Casts make the transition to a subscription model. The pricing is perfect as well, $1 a month or $10 a year; well worth the price if you prefer Pocket Casts to the other options out there.

Hell, I don’t even use their apps but I am going to throw them a few bucks anyway.

MarsEdit Custom Formatting Macros

I have been only using my Mac for a little while now, and one thing that I love about the Mac is MarsEdit. This is by far my favorite app when it comes to blogging. It is dead easy to setup, and you have full control on your posts and pages without needing to use the WordPress web app. You can make pages, local drafts, and of course blog posts for your site all within MarsEdit.

One thing I didn’t realize about MarsEdit until I saw it in a recent release notes page is custom macros for formatting, and that changed my blogging game for the better.

Moving to WordPress.com

I have long said that the open web is something I feel strongly about, and that in order for you to truly own something on the internet it has to be on your personal website. You can’t expect companies like Twitter, Facebook, Medium, or other big name social media platforms to care about that stuff. They should, but we all know that it is in their best nature to keep that stuff in their home turf and make it as difficult as possible to get it elsewhere. 

To save time, my argument for the open web boils down to this: Would you rather have all of your work in the hands of someone else, or in your own hands?

What’s in a name?

Andy Nicolaides writing for The Dent:

One of the big questions I asked myself before moving my blog from Wordpress to Micro.Blog recently was ‘what would I call it?’ The name The Dent was kindly offered up to me by Zac Cichy after I tweeted about wanting to find some kind of identity to my tech blogging. The fact I didn’t come up with it myself frees me to say that I, personally, think it’s a pretty great name. While the name could mean many things, the six colour header and quote mark it as clearly Apple / Tech related.

The other alternative was to use AndyNicolaides.com, which I still own, but am not currently using. The unfortunate thing about this is my name is a bit of a mess and it would never stick in people’s minds for long, and if it did they’d soon forget how to spell it. It goes without saying that if you can’t spell a domain name, you certainly wont be going there very much.

[…]
My issue, which is completely on me, don’t get me wrong, is that I feel I’ve painted myself into a bit of a corner with the name The Dent. While I have a love for technology, I don’t always want to talk or think about it. I feel that the name of this blog gives off a certain expectation, however. This feeling has held me back from posting more often, and of varying topics.

As someone who did make the decision to move from Rocket Panda to my own name, I think that if you feel like the name is blocking you from expressing yourself completely then change it to something else. I will say that you shouldn’t do this unless you truly are convinced the name isn’t “you” anymore. Rocket Panda was a one off name I came up with in the shower and liked it because it meant nothing, but over time I felt it to be a very weird website to explain to people and what the name had to do with it.

I changed my domain and not a single person seemed to notice or care. Maybe that is because not many people read this, but it was nice to not get so much flack for changing the name of my site.

Bye-Bye iPad

Update: A couple of people have asked if me not having an iPad means the end of A Slab of Glass, it is not. Christopher and I both have talked about the podcast being more than just about the iPad, and we have been making strides to do that over the past few months. So no, A Slab of Glass isn’t going anywhere.


After about 2 months of it collecting dust, I decided it was time to say goodbye to my iPad Pro and consequently the iPad Lifestyle. There are a couple of reasons for this, but I will stick with the one that is worth talking about: I simply don’t use an iPad anymore for my work.

No, this isn’t a “you can’t get real work done on an iPad” article. I have gotten real work done on an iPad for years and loved it, but due to some changes in my life the iPad isn’t the best tool for the job anymore. Here’s why.

Impostor Syndrome

Brent Simmons writing for inessential:

There’s no developer bit in anyone’s DNA. I don’t have that bit — nobody does. There’s no such thing, and there’s no collection of genes that make you a real developer, either.

You don’t have to have a CS degree. (I didn’t even own a computer when I was in college. And I didn’t graduate.)

If you’re working on an app, you’re a developer. Period. Even if it’s not a stand-alone app; even if it’s some scripts. You’re solving a problem on a computer with logic and code — that makes you a developer. That’s all it takes!

Impostor syndrome goes away eventually. You just forget about it. The fastest way to get past it is probably to help other people.

It’s okay to admit that you have it. It’s been many years, but I had it too. :)

If you were to replace this for blogging this is what it would look like:

There’s no writer bit in anyone’s DNA. I don’t have that bit — nobody does. There’s no such thing, and there’s no collection of genes that make you a real writer, either.

You don’t have to have an English degree.

If you’re working on a blog, you’re a blogger. Period. Even if it’s not on your own domain (though, you should really own your site if you do anything online). You’re sharing your thoughts online for others to read — that makes you a blogger. That’s all it takes!

Impostor syndrome goes away eventually. You just forget about it. The fastest way to get past it is probably to help other people.

It’s okay to admit that you have it. It’s been many years, but I had it too. :)

This is me, and I am sure others reading this also agree.

I have been dealing with a lot of things offline lately–which is why I haven’t been posting at all–that’s partly due to imposter syndrome. I get married in a few days, to my beautiful fiancé. The person that has helped me with all of my mental health issue the better part of a decade now. Afterwords, I hope to keep the imposter syndrome part of what’s holding me back at bay.

Until then, if anyone wants to get in touch with me you can do so here on micro.blog or via email at Jeff[at]rocketpanda[dot]net.

How to Hide Categories on Micro.blog Arabica Theme

After moving to micro.blog I thought I had fixed my issue of hiding posts from a specific category. However, after looking at my site earlier today I noticed that there were a number of posts showing up repeatedly on my site. I thought it might be due to the code I put in the index.html. After removing the custom index.html I checked my site again and it fixed the problem of repeat posts showing up but it also left me back to square one.

After some digging and help from people at the Hugo discourse and the micro.blog Slack I managed to get it to work properly, with a very easy fix. Here’s what I did.

First I want to show you the code from the index.html for the Arabica theme (the theme I use) to show you the changes I made.

Old Code:


{{ define "main" }}
    <main class="content" role="main">
    {{ $paginator := .Paginate (where .Pages "Type" "post") }}
    <div class="extra-pagination">
      {{ partial "pagination.html" . }}
    </div>
        {{ range $paginator.Pages }}
      {{ .Render "summary" }}
        {{ end }}
    {{ partial "pagination.html" . }}
    </main>
{{ end }}

New Code:


{{ define "main" }}
    <main class="content" role="main">
{{ $paginator := .Paginate .Site.Taxonomies.categories.main 5 }}
    <div class="extra-pagination">
      {{ partial "pagination.html" . }}
    </div>
        {{ range $paginator.Pages }}
      {{ .Render "summary" }}
        {{ end }}
    {{ partial "pagination.html" . }}
    </main>
{{ end }}

As you can see I replaced the code in Line 3 of the default Index.html to:

{{ $paginator := .Paginate .Site.Taxonomies.categories.main 5 }}

which only shows posts in the category of “main”. You can replace “main” with whatever category you want though. This code is meant to show only one specific category you set. You can do something different if you want to show 2 categories.

You will also see that there is a number 5 at the end of that line of code, which means to show only 5 posts per page. For me, I post articles so infrequently that I want to limit the amount of posts it loads so that when people visit my site it can load in a relatively short period of time. Again, you can remove this if you want, or change the number of posts to whatever you want.

I hope this helps for anyone looking to use micro.blog. I thank those who offered me help with this and hope that this post can be shared to others also looking to make similar changes to their micro.blog website.