The Fresh Fusion Podcast will return December 9. I apologize for the unplanned hiatus. An unexpected work emergency, coupled with some minor health problems, has set me back this past month. But the show must go on! See you soon and keep your spirits high! The best has yet to come.
Stay in the Loop
Look, I get it. You already subscribe to too many newsletters. So much to keep up with. But guess what? I only send out a newsletter once a week. And if you‘re feeling curious, peruse the Creator Class archive. You might find something that resonates with you! It’s a great way to stay current with what I’m publishing, and newsletter recipients always get some extra insight just for them. So what are you waiting for? Let’s roll!
I’ve been thinking a lot about nostalgia lately. As an artist, to a certain extent you don’t want to lean on nostalgia. It feels lazy. You should always be pushing the envelope, trying to be edgy and provocative. Original in some sense.
But nostalgia can be a worthy muse if you let it. The moment you cross over from old & tired to retro & vibrant isn’t always easy to pin down, but it’s absolutely real. And to master the subtle art of the throwback, the revival, the clever pastiche…well, there’s nothing lazy about that. #creativity
Fun fact: this is the first post I’ve made in quite some time using a CMS (Content Management System).
But wait! you say. Your #website is built with Bridgetown. Are you saying Bridgetown now has its own CMS?
Well, I could tell you, but then I’m afraid I’d have to kill you. 😎
A brief bit of context here: I’ve built a number of CMSes over the many years I’ve been a web developer—several just in the era of Jekyll. Because of that prior experience, I have deeply resisted building a CMS for Bridgetown because I know how incredibly “easy” it seems at first and how incredibly hard it actually is in practice.
But I think I may have finally cracked this nut, and it has less to do with building a CMS per se and more to do with building a platform and a toolkit which lets developers build themselves a CMS. That’s all I can say for now. Stay tuned. 😄
Over the years, I’ve settled on Bear as my note-taking Mac/iOS app of choice for most “brain dumps” / “draft posts” / “future content ideas” purposes due to its understated minimalist design, excellent Markdown support, easy tagging, and rock-solid sync between all my Apple devices. (I also use Craft, but that’s reserved more for “knowledge base” information like technical solutions, saved bookmarks, and other resources.) Most of the recent content on this blog, my newsletter, and my podcast all start life as #writing in Bear.
But don’t I feel like a dummy today! I only just learned that Bear features easy wiki-style links to other notes. Discovering this gave me a brilliant idea: I should create a Bear Home Page for housing an up-to-date presentation of my most relevant notes in a freeform setting. (To be clear on terminology, I don’t mean a “homepage on the web”…I’m talking about a special note in Bear that’s pinned to the top for easy access.)
So that’s exactly what I’m working on today. By defining headings and sections, adding lists, linking to specific notes I want to focus on in the near-term, adding additional context, etc., I can create a living document which is easy to navigate and review.
I realize that for the note-taking/wiki-obsessed people out there, this may seem like a well, d’oh! moment, but I’ve never been terribly successful at managing my notes. Good at taking them, not so good at reviewing them. I’m hopeful this new “home page” will really help me stay focused in the new year. What do you think?
All right, this took me way too long to fix, but I’ve taken a page right out of Dave Winer’s playbook (recent nudges here) and changed my feed output so “titleless” posts (like this one) are truly titleless. Any feed reader these days worth its salt should work with that just fine. Now I just need to get in the habit of microblogging more often here, rather than on Mastodon! (Even though I love Mastodon…) #website #writing
No (Open Web) Regrets
I regret a lot of things.
I regret spending so much time contributing content to corporate social media. I regret expending my limited creative and financial resources all in the service of Big Tech.
But you know what I don’t regret?
Publishing content on my own #website. Yes, right here. And in other places I inhabit on the internet. And even on sites that no longer exist, because thank you Wayback Machine.
It makes me think that, huh, perhaps I should spending more time publishing content in places I “own”. Even if my website is technically hosted on a service I don’t control, the content 100% belongs to me, and I can take it with me anywhere I want because Cool URIs don’t change.
Maybe the #openweb would be in better shape if more people valued personal domain names as much as they value other things in life. I’m coming to realize jaredwhite.com is one of the most prized possessions in life.
The Blog as Publishing Hub
Blog: short for Web-log. A personalized record of content you post on the web.
Web: a shortening of World-Wide Web. A global network of hypertext documents all linking to each other.
So then, why is it rare to find anyone actually doing this with their blog? 🤔
There’s a term in IndieWeb circles called Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere (or POSSE). It sort of captures an aspect of that idea…basically you use your own blog to publish thoughts, link commentary, photos, videos, newsletters, etc., and then disseminate that content out to other services (YouTube, Twitter, mailing lists, your own RSS feed, etc.)
I tried POSSE in a previous incarnation of this site. I ended up not liking it. It doesn’t capture the workflows I instinctively prefer on a regular basis, nor how I wish the #openweb really functioned.
What I want to do is the exact opposite! IndieWeb also provides a term for this: Publish Elsewhere, Syndicate (to your) Own Site (or PESOS). They don’t recommend it, and the wiki page enumerates some of the reasons why. But I have come to realize I prefer PESOS for a lot of the content I produce, because it’s generally way easier and the UX is way better.
- I like “microblogging” on Twitter. [11-2022 update: er, not anymore! 🤪]
- I like posting videos on YouTube.
- I like writing newsletter issues in ConvertKit.
- I like uploading podcast episodes to Buzzsprout. (I don’t for this site, but I do use it for the Fullstack Ruby podcast.)
- I like posting photos on…well, certainly not Instagram any more. 😂 Glass is pretty rad, but I haven’t determined if I want to reserve it for the “fancy” photos I take with my “fancy” camera, or simply give up and flood it with on-the-go iPhone snaps.
- I like releasing music on Bandcamp. (Honestly, I don’t know of any indie musician who doesn’t use Bandcamp at this point!)
So the question then becomes: how do I post all this content elsewhere, then transparently pull in links and import content back to my own #website? Of course on a technical level, it means I’ll be writing lots of Ruby plugins for Bridgetown, the software I use to build my website. But I’m always musing on workflows that can be easily applied to the industry of blogging as a whole. I haven’t seen much evidence anyone’s truly cracked this nut. Also admittedly, dragging your own content in kicking and screaming from third-party silos is often less than straightforward (hence the notion of POSSE), because they have a vested interest not to let you feature your own content on your own website. (YouTube remains sort of a weird outlier here because they make it easy to embed videos anywhere, and youtube-dl is certainly a thing.)
Still, I’m motivated to figure this stuff out. I’ll let you know how it goes! ☺️
From iPhone mini to iPhone Pro
I’ve been rocking the iPhone mini lifestyle since the 12 series debuted. I love my mini. I love that form factor. And I’m sad to see it go.
Nevertheless, time marches one and new iPhone models come out packed with new features. And the list of new features in the #iPhone 14 Pro is impressive indeed.
- Dynamic Island (I always hated the notch. Byeeee!)
- Always-On Display
- 48MP Main Camera
- Deep Purple
OK, maybe that last one isn’t a “feature”, but I definitely love this color. I got to hold one at my local #Apple store and generally see the Dynamic Island at work, and it’s fantastic. It’s what the design should have been from the beginning. Farewell notch…hopefully forever.
I’ve heard some grumblings about the overall lack of progress in the standard iPhone lineup this year, and I get that. But for me it’s not an issue, because there’s no way I would ever upgrade from an iPhone mini to one of the standard iPhones. If I’m forced to leave the world of the mini behind, I’m going #iPhonePro. No question about it.
The Perfect Length for a Blog Post Is…
…nobody knows. 😄
I literally searched DuckDuckGo for “what is the perfect blog post length?” and got a wide variety of different answers all on the first page. I suppose it entirely depends on the genre, the author, and the audience. In other words, perfection will be forever illusory.
So I took a look at what I’d written so far throughout the year, and for short “thought” posts like this, the average seems to be around 300 words. For longer article-style posts, the average seems to be around 900.
Rather than leave it random chance, I’m going to try an experiment to see if I can keep the length of short posts a little bit shorter—say around 200 words—so that I’m more motivated to write and publish them, and conversely strive to ensure essays clock in at no less than 1000 words.
This is all part of my renewed push to design a more disciplined and appealing workflow for blogging. You’d think I would have figured this stuff out by now! 😂 (Always more to learn…)
The iPad Desktop
The one thing which has been so frustrating lately about iPadOS isn’t how far away the “pro” experience of #Apple #iPadPro is from what you get with a Mac. It’s how close it is. Tantalizingly close. You plug a modern iPad into a display, keyboard, and mouse, and if you squint a bunch and don’t try to accomplish too much all at once, you can kinda sorta see a powerful desktop OS at work. The “death by a thousand paper cuts” is what makes this experience so frustrating.
The word on the street (aka Mark Gurman’s latest reporting) is that Apple will be rolling out an advanced set of multitasking features for iPadOS at #WWDC, including an interface which will “let users resize app windows and offer new ways for users to handle multiple apps at once.” No mention of proper external display support, but it feels like that must be a given if you have a new windowing system.
Look, I’m not trying to replace my Mac. I love my Mac. The M1 Mac mini is an impressive desktop at an affordable price. However, I also want to be able to “KVM switch” myself over to an iPad desktop and enjoy everything about that experience as well. Because there are some tasks I really do prefer to perform in iPadOS vs. macOS. Why can’t I have my cake and eat it too? Hopefully Apple will soon have an affirmative answer to that question when it comes to the iPad.