Tag Archives: coding

Share Something Every Day – Coding

I pulled the coding card again today and carried on working on automating my general knowledge management workflow, basically how I take notes, organise ideas about things that I’ve read or written in the past and turn them into something new.

Today this involved fiddling again with Drafts to do something that’s basically a mail merge, taking some structured data and inserting it into text. This used to be word-processing bread and butter, but I don’t do it at scale in the same way. It’s also about re-using stuff that I’ve already written without digging into documents. The philosophy of Drafts (or the bit that appeals to me) is that you write stuff without knowing what it’s going to be and then when you do know, it will probably be more than one thing and so you can send it to different places. If you have several blogs and you want to post roughly the same thing to each of them, then you compose in Drafts and then just press a button to publish to each blog.

Talking of having several blogs, I was also pointed at sheet-posting (yes the pun is intended) which takes a set of Google Sheets and turns them into a blog. It’s ridiculous and distracting, but I did learn a bit about CSS and also about Google Fonts, which for some reason have passed me by. Here’s my effort.

It’s late and I shouldn’t really be writing, and it shows.

I also had a trip to Central London today. It’s still weird. I took this picture by County Hall, of Westminster Bridge which at 5pm on a Tuesday would normally be heaving with road traffic, office workers and tourists, but today was empty.

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Walking to Victoria Station from Westminster Abbey later on, it felt like it should be more like 11pm than 8pm. Even on the station most of the food and coffee outlets were already closed or closing. And there just aren’t as many people there. I encountered a woman who was lost over the road from the station, looking for the Coach Station (a common issue in that part of SW1) and I walked her round to Buckingham Palace Road and pointed her in the right direction. She was going to get a coach to Bristol I said I hoped she got there before midnight. She said “There are just so many people here.” And I’d just been thinking exactly the opposite.

On my way home, I realised that I’d just been to my third church service in as many days. I don’t know what that means, if anything.

Share Something Every Day – Coding 002

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I went for a nice long walk this morning, about 5 miles, before breakfast. It was warmer than it has been lately but still cloudy. It’s supposed to get warmer this week.

It was a good space to think about things – especially my desire to make some very simple automation for my blogging. Everything is so complicated and dominated by the various silos. I really ache for the kind of #indieweb vision of a server, under my control, running software that I understand fully and which only does the things that I want it to do, so that it serves me, rather than me having to bend my style of writing and capturing into someone else’s way of thinking.

I walked for 45 minutes and then turned round (took a photo to remind me of how far I’d gone – above) and walked back, talking into my phone about the things that I’d been thinking about. It works so much better for me to record like that. I haven’t listened back to it. It’s likely to be atrocious quality, but it gives me the chance of getting something done before breakfast that I haven’t done for a while. I’ll see if I can get better at doing that – and better at grabbing bits of audio as I go, to avoid the gross feeling that comes when I think about making a podcast. In the meantime, I think I’ll feed it to otter.ai and see what kind of transcription it can make of it.

I spent the rest of the day reading up and making notes on node.js and how it works. Patiently just plodding through the Hello World examples and seeing where I could break them or find ways that they didn’t work as I expected so that I could see how they do work. Standard.

That gave me a bit more confidence reading some other people’s code on GitHub and I realised that I have looked at similar things before, just given up when my brain started hurting and run away screaming. Much better these days. I got a couple of examples running on my Mac here and then spun up a cloud server to prove to myself that it really would work over the net 🙂

Still very early days and baby steps, but I’m much more confident that I can make something work. And that I can strip away pointless stuff in other people’s software to just provide the functions I want – really old school, but also using the computers to do the hard work that they’re suited to and not being dominated by some silo providers business model.

Nothing to show yet, but a good progress day.

Make Something Every Day – Coding 001

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Today, I was more gentle with myself. I pulled “coding”. Now I definitely don’t have any coding projects all set up and ready to go. But I am interested in how to automate my workflow for blogging on Hive. The process for wordpress is straightforward and handled by lots of different clients. I currently post straight to a draft post on my wordpress.com having given draftsapp my credentials a long time ago. I’d like to be able to compose in one place and then click one button to send it to wordpress and another to send it to hive. I don’t want to be copying and pasting or doing something so automatic that it reduces my flexibility.

So today, I’ve poked around in the developers documentation for Hive. That makes it sound very efficient. Of course what I’ve actually done is googled stuff and then decided I needed to set up my own testnet and then realised I didn’t and wondered what I did need to install and then started going through the examples on the development portal and realised I’d forgotten how node.js works exactly and you know, it dawned on me that I’d started in the middle with the bit about posting rather than starting at the beginning and working my way through methodically, so no wonder…! Once I did that, I found the example for Hivesigner and by that time, either because this did what I wanted, or just because I’d looked at so much that wasn’t and so was getting my javascript-reading-eyes back, I understood mostly how it works and felt able to have a go.

Anyway, long story short, because yesterday what I really learned was that I don’t have to present something here for approval or be thinking of the audience at all, I’m writing for myself… long story short, I posted a little test post on the tuttleclub blog which I haven’t really used since I used it as an experiment in setting up a second account.

Notes on yesterday…

It wasn’t really a fail, because I did make something. I think I need to spend some time, not only reviewing what I’ve done, but also planning what I might do next. I’ve got lots of ideas in my head, but if I’m going to continue with this approach, they really need to be committed somewhere so that I can pick them up when I need them. So that I’d have something to start with yesterday morning (or today for that matter) without having to think almost from first principles.

In the case of podcasting, what’s notable is that I don’t have lots of audio clips stashed away, in the way that I have bits of writing, film or photography all ready to pick apart and put back together in a new form. Or if I do have a stash, it feels old and stale and a lot of work to breathe new life into it. I also feel like I’ve done the mumbling, bumbling improvised ramble character to death. It was so 2005 for me and, man, that was sixteen years ago – a different world and definitely a different me. And I’m not really interested in two-hander interviews either. There’s a new form of podcast out there that will excite me but I don’t quite know what it is yet. And making it will take more than a day’s sprint.