A little while ago I did a series of monthly posts sharing some links. I liked it a lot, but I think it made the blog feed a little cluttered. Therefore, I’m going to be collecting links here. I’ll group them chronologically to maintain a sense of time. The blog posts will remain up, but I’m going to be replicating the contents here. I’ve also moved my blog roll here.
These are the places I like to go and read things on the web. Some of these people I know personally while others are internet strangers whose blogs I read. None of them asked to be on this blogroll. Also it should go without saying that I don’t endorse everything these people may say or do. I read the blogs because they produce slightly more content I like than not.
- Ana Rodrigues
- Angelika Strohmayer
- Anna Havron (mostly Analog Office)
- Brett & Kate McKay
- Charlie Owen
- Colin Walker
- Drew Devault
- Heydon Pickering
- Jeff Huang
- Kimberly Hirsh
- Libera Folio
- Max Böck
- Maggie Appleton
- Mike Dent
- Phil Lord
- Robert Nielson
- Rosie Bellini
- Ruben Schade
- Scott Nesbitt (mostly The Plaintext Project)
These links are English only, there is a different set of Esperanto links on the Esperanto version of this page.
- Getting the Function Keys of a Keychron Working on Linux – I got a Keychron mechanical keyboard a little while ago and have always been astounded at how difficult it was to get the function keys working; they’re stuck as media keys regardless of whether you use the
fnkey or not! Keychron’s Linux support offering basically amounts to “Join the Facebook group”… not ideal! Instead, Do Hoang provides this lovely, brief, and clear tutorial to help you diagnose and fix it. Separately, there also exists this Github repo from @andymor, but this requires a systemd init system.
- Cameron’s World – words can’t quite capture how this makes me feel. This is a love letter to the web of old, where scrolling down is akin to a stroll through the past. It’s wonderful. For any 90s kids out there who remember the old web; this is well worth a few mins of your time.
- Glen Howerton’s Dennis Reynolds Is the Best TV Performance of the 21st Century – I wholeheartedly agree with the premise of this article and it’s also well-written and interesting. I really enjoy Always Sunny although I tend to watch it in bursts and I’m way behind. Everyone’s performance is always top-notch, but Denniss Reynolds is such a compelling character and I think Glen Howerton has really created an iconic character with his performance.
- How to build and install i3-gaps on Debian – I’m use i3-gaps and Debian (actually Devuan), so this was useful to me. i3-gaps has recently been merged into upstream i3, so I’m expecting that the next major release of Debian includes this version in the repos. Until then, this might be useful to others and to myself as reference.
- Vim Keybindings Everywhere the Ultimate List – I’ve been using vim for around a year now (maybe closer to 18 months?), and I’ve thusfar resisted the urge to put “vim keys” on everything. I’ve also been using the arrow keys to navigate in vim when the standard jumping between words and searching doesn’t cut it. I will concede, however, that I have occasionally found myself using h, j, k, and l relatively often lately. Perhaps it’s time to take the step to use these ‘properly’, and perhaps having vim keys available in other keyboard-driven tools is the way to do it.
About as bad as last month’s link dump.
- The Teacher Crush – A nicely paced, reflective, and interesting read about a young woman’s experience at her High School while harbouring a romantic/sexual attraction to her teacher. Nothing untoward occurs, and it’s really an interesting piece about an underrepresented part of a young woman’s experience growing up.
- Analyzing multi-gigabyte JSON files locally – I enjoyed this one for two reasons. I work with JSON a lot for my job and I prefer to do my computing locally rather than rely on the cloud. This made a nice professional interest piece.
- The Age of Average – This one was both fascinating and a little horrifying. It started off strong with the analysis of the visual design of spaces in the age of international travel and AirBnB and continued into avenues I’d not even considered, like the design of cars and buildings.
- Surf Demystified – while I am absolutely not falling for the suckless meme; I am interested in a keyboard-driven browser workflow. Surf is also visually appealing to me as it’s just a web frame and navigation is handled via dmenu. Suckless software is woefully under-documented either consciously or as a by-product of what I believe they think is meritocracy and a focus on the code. So this guide was interesting to actually understand how to get Surf up and running.
- There’s no such thing as a tree – Biology both fascinates me and terrifies me because it is not my specialism. This is an interesting dive into how there’s no single phylogenetic definition of a tree, but trees themselves definitly exist. It touches on convergent evolution as well as serving as a fascinating example that just because we privilege one system of knowledge and classification now, this does not render all other systems of knowledge and classification as backwards or inherently inferior.
- Unified hosts file with base extensions – I found this while hunting around for Adblocking on Surf. I’ve never particularly used my hosts file before, and it was interesting to see how it’s used for adblocking without the need for plugins. I may give this a whirl at some point on a machine when I have the headspace to deal with any fallout of me doing it wrong.
- Inverted Computer Culture – A really fascinating thought experiment and one that set me off on a permacomputing rabbithole for a few days.
- Carl Braun on Communicating Like a Grown-Up – I am often very skeptical of articles with things like “Do X like a grown-up”, but I think I like this. Full disclosure, I’ve only read this once and I’m still digesting. I liked the examples and at first glance it seems like it’s coming from a positive place, though. Might be worth another read or so.
- A retrospective look at Mac OS X Snow Leopard – I no longer advocate using OS X or macOS but Snow Leopard sits in the cosy and nostalgic part of my brain. It was interesting looking at this from the perspective of the author who, as far as I can tell, has consistently used Apple’s operating system through the years. Several lines in the article fit into a broader picture I’m seeing emerging around people being generally unhappy with some of the design decisions Apple are taking around newer versions of macOS.
- helloSystem – I’m including this as I was reminded of it when linking the previous article. helloSystem is a FreeBSD-based operating system which is designed to visually emulate a macOS system and provide a consistent and “user-friendly” experience. According to their github page, some of the motivations listed for why macOS no longer fulfills their needs are things I’ve seen discussed around the blogosphere and form part of the emerging picture around opinions of macOS. I’ll watch helloSystem with interest, as my curiosity and interest in BSD systems continues to grow slowly.
This is going to be a bit of a big links dump, because I’ve accrued a bunch of them.
- Literature Clock – a delightful little web application that tells you the time via an extract from a book which features that time.
- Creating a Hugo theme from scratch – A fairly plain-english tutorial for creating a Hugo theme, this helped me wrap my brain around Hugo theming.
- Proxitok instance list – a list of Proxitok instances. Proxitok is an alternative, privacy-respecting, frontend for TikTok. It’s allowed me to ‘subscribe’ to several TikTok users without needing an account on the app.
- Why Rings of Power’s Middle Earth Feels Flat – I have no intention of watching Rings of Power, or much franchised-media at all, any time soon but it was interesting to read this analysis.
- Converting my PhD Thesis to HTML – this was an interesting read from me because I had taken an alternative approach by writing my thesis entirely in Markdown from a relatively early stage. It’s nice that people have different approaches. It did make me nostalgic for LaTeX, though. Some day I might do a follow-up for the Markdown Thesis PhD journey.
- A New Old Idea – A really nice collection of thoughts on permacomputing.
- What’s in a PR statement, the LastPass breach explained – this made me feel nice and cosy and smug for using pass.
- Never Enough? Why ADHD brains crave stimulation – since my diagnosis of ADHD Combined Type in 2021, I’ve been doing the odd bit of reading about my brain chemistry. This was a very enlightening and accessible read.
- Non-Violent Communication – in brief – my colleague Michael produced a brilliant overview of Non-Violent Communication. I’m yet to form an opinion on the NVC movement/framework as a whole, as I imagine it doesn’t take into account the ways in which human being display group membership through language and is perhaps idealistic. However, this is a really good starting point for investigating ways in which to make yourself kinder and more considerate to people you aren’t on joking/best friend terms with and is a good toolkit for framing discourse in group discussions in professional contexts.
- Fixing urxvt copy/paste – I started using urxvt recently, having left behind Terminator due to not needing it anymore. Turns out, i3wm and a lightweight terminal suit me much better. In any case, this link helped me figure out how to get copy and paste working.
- imapfilter config.lua examples – imapfilter was the missing link for my terminal-based email toolchain. It allows you to log into imap servers and run filters. The problem I had was finding good examples. Turns out, there was a set of very good example uses stored on the project repo and it took an internet stranger to point it out to me. I’ve already got these working for my personal email, and my professional email is slowly being integrated.
- mynoise.net – I like music, and I like Lo-Fi beats, but I still find it useful to listen to ambient noise sometimes to help me focus. This has a nice set of links for that.
- Starting Stretching – I exercise a lot but I am not very good at stretching. I’m in my 30s now and starting to feel the effects of neglecting stretching. This is a good starting point for getting into a basic stretching routine.
- PulseAudio via GUI: Pavucontrol – although it starts off via GUI, this article contains some stuff around manipulating pulseaudio via the commandline. I’m getting a bit tired of selecting the default sink via a system tray applet so want to apply these lessons to creating e.g. a dmenu script.
- Bifurcate the Problem Space – I can’t remember where I came across this link, but the short article is a great tutorial on effective technical problem solving when you’re trying to figure out what’s not working. I’m sure there are lessons which can be applied outside of a technical context, too, but this is effective because it allows you to remove potential candidates by testing them to see if they’re producing errors.
- On Fediverse Culture – I’m very lucky and privileged to know Rhiaro, and their reflections on Fediverse Culture are a good example of why. Rhiaro was part of the team that designed ActivityPub and has been hanging around the Fediverse for a long time. This writing is clear, heartfelt, and illustrative.
- This Page is Designed to Last – Jeff Huang tells us why it’s getting harder to maintain and archive web content these days and provides some practical takeaways for building web pages that last. Spoiler; don’t bloat the web page.
- Remembering Marilyn Monroe’s Radical Politics – an OpEd from the Eurasia Review. The title basically sums it up. What I learned from this was that Monroe actively defended US Communists under investigation from the House Un-American Activities Committee. This has made me want to read more about her life.
- Making a Hugo Blog – I stumbled across Forever’s site when hiking across some webrings this month. This blog post stuck out at me; there are any number of Hugo tutorials on the web but none that so clearly explain theming to a newcomer. I really want to try out Hugo for running this site, but the documentation on developing your own theme can be iffy. I’ve yet to try this out first-hand but it looks promising and I wanted to share it for that reason.
- Best practices for inclusive textual websites – A long read but an important resource. Seirdy does a deep dive on how to present text effectively on the web which is absolutely something I am here for. I’ll be returning to this time and again to mine it for lessons.
- A Life in Pocket Notebooks – Anna Havron of Analog Office gives us a beautiful glimpse into the value of analoge ephemera. As someone who has always valued keeping pocket notebooks and paper journals, this hit me hard.
- Reading emails: mutt + mbsync + mairix + imapfilter – Using Mutt, mbsync, etc across multiple accounts and keeping it nice. I used this to help make sense of a mutt-based workflow for my email, alongside resources provided by contributors to YouTube. This was by far the clearest blog post on the matter, however.
- ADHD is not a superpower – with my diagnosis of ADHD combined type this year, I’ve been doing some reading about it. This resonated a LOT with my experience, and I took a lot from this post.
- How and Why I Stopped Buying New Laptops – Low Tech Magazine has been in my periphery for a while, but this was one of the articles which grabbed me to read the entire way through. I’ve committed to only buying new machines when my current machines totally and utterly break down, and even then only buying older machines. It was nice to read about someone elses' experiences with this sort of commitment.
- Fruit Trenches: Cultivating Subtropical Plants in Freezing Temperatures – Another one from Low Tech Magazine that grabbed me as soon as I had finished the above article. Being in the British Isles, we don’t currently get temperatures like what the Soviets did but this was truly inspiring. There’s a lot of anti-communist propaganda out there targetted towards the Soviets but I’m broadly a fan. To see how they reduced their reliance on imports (very green) and achieved the feat of growing citrus fruit in their particular climates was inspiring and fascinating.
- The truth about China’s futuristic ghost cities – More dismantling of anti-communist propadganda. I didn’t know much about the “ghost cities” of China but this was a seriously good read to understand what’s actually going on, on the ground.
- Libertarianism is not what you think – Heydon writes clearly, succinctly, and brilliantly about how the superficial appeal of right-libertarianism masks a shallow philosophy which is designed to further empower those who want to work you to death without any regulations affecting their liberty to do so.
- Ebooks are an abomination – I actually read this article back in September (I swear it used to be called something different?), and I’ve got a response to it sitting half-finished in drafts. I disagree with the tone of this article a lot and reject some points made in the conclusion, but from an interactional design perspective the core argument around the haeccities of books was an eye-opener for me. Thoughts to follow, one day.
- A Solarpunk Post (Tumblr) – I wouldn’t normally link off to a Tumblr blog or other silos, but someone sent me this and I want to pass it on. It contains a list of UK-centric resources to take a break from the US-centred stuff that we often find online.
- From productivity porn to mindful productivity – Anne-Laure Le Cuff writes for Ness Labs about the difference between actually spending time thinking about being productive vs the ‘Productivity Porn’ which is sold. Trust capitalism to commodify the idea of being productive itself, and then package it back to you. The article is a solid read.
- How to Negotiate with Ransomware Hackers – I found this article via Scott Nesbitt’s Monday Kickoff. I’ve always found ransomware fascinating, due to the one time I had to remove some from my late father’s laptop manually as it had replaced the Windows Shell. It was as close as I’ve ever gotten to be a cool-ass hacker.
- The Aztecs Foresaw the End of the World – an old favourite of mine. I miss Sam Kriss a lot. He combines anti-capitalism with the mythopoetic language and worldview that I hold dear. Read this, it affected me once and I re-read it every year.
- Why are hyperlinks blue? – Elise Blanchard does a deep dive into the history of hyperlinks. I found this fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable.
- A Brief History & Ethos of the Digital Garden – I’ve been hiking around the Indieweb as of late, enjoying seeing people’s personal sites and reading blogs properly. One of the things I stumbled across was a bunch of people tending what they termed as “Digital Gardens”; collections of ever-green, constantly growing, articles that form a halfway house between a thesis on a subject and a public notebook. This was enlightening and something I may try out in the future.
- What Happened After My 13-Year-Old Son Joined the Alt-Right – I can’t remember how I found this one. It was a chilling read, but one that ultimately ends in hope. I think anyone who wants to counteract contemporary fascism should read this as it’s very insightful.
- Tagging is Broken – Tiago Forte unknowingly takes a potshot at my entire PhD thesis (not really, but close) and make some incredible points about the mental load required of tagging items. Whereas I once championed tags over categories, my academic research and posts like these are making me rethink the overall approach. I haven’t come to a solid conclusion yet, though. Perhaps this is something to plant in a digital garden in the future.
- A Markdown to PDF Workflow on Linux – a useful tutorial on generating a paginated PDF from markdown on Linux using
wkhtmltopdf. Perhaps you’re generating a paper from a markdown source and you’re wanting to avoid the LaTeX middle-step!
- Mormonism’s Sci-fi Swansong by Andrew Kay – a funny and interesting longread about an event in the Mormon Church.
- I Miss It All by Devin Kelly – Another longread, but one that captured a lot and made me feel things.
- A Man’s Guide to Wristwatches – I quite like AoM as a source of, generally, positive influence on contemporary men’s interests. This is one of their older articles, but as I’ve just started wearing a wristwatch again after some years I re-read it and found myself just as captivated as before.