Setting up an RSS reader and eBook manager we're happy with is difficult, it turns out.
We used Thunderbird but it didn't feel very comfortable to use often. It felt cluttered and tedious to go through every update because of the amount of things we used it to keep track of. Email support and notifications were nice, and it was the reason we started using Thunderbird instead of Feedbro for Firefox, but we already have so much open on a regular basis that remembering to open Thunderbird felt more tedious than it was worth considering how rarely we actually write emails throughout the day. It still works as an email program and calendar but the feeds were too much. We're trying out Fraidycat for RSS feeds but the inability to see entry descriptions makes it difficult to choose what to view even if its sorting attempts to make feeds less overwhelming. An inbox view that can be opened to preview a feed entry before opening its link might work better for us, but we also might just be used to that. It looks like more detailed post previews have been considered and may come in the future. We wouldn't give up Fraidycat's sorting for another reader with previews so this is what we're using for now.
The sorting style seems to be working better for us so far because it prevents any one feed from taking over our reader or notifications. A couple of Tumblr blogs took over our Thunderbird feed list with reblogged posts but Fraidycat only lets them take up the same amount of space as every other feed. Thunderbird allows for feeds to be put into folders but Tumblr blogs would still be updated more often and give more notification badges. Filtering out reblogs wouldn't work because that would remove discussions. Fraidycat's lack of previews makes it hard to tell when something has been added to or not but it doesn't feel as tiring to choose what to look at instead of following notifcations. Fraidycat also makes the original poster's nametag stand out in the item title, so it's easy to tell at a glance when something is a reblog. We originally started using Fraidycat as a standalone program because we're somewhat used to Thunderbird and weren't worried about syncing across devices, but now we're using it as a browser add-on like we were for Feedbro. Using a browser add-on has the bonus of making it easier to add feeds detected on a website.
The other thing we've been customizing is calibre. We "use" calibre, but we don't really use calibre. We save calibre-compatible files in a folder as backups of things and read the original copies on the internet instead. calibre sorts the files for us when we remember to enter them but other than that we've avoided using it. Customizing calibre seems far easier than trying to find something else to use. Calibre-Web does look interesting but we don't feel like setting something like that up right now. The calibre reader is very barebones but we've been able to make it comfortable enough with CSS styling. The theme we're using is BLZ-1.
It turns out that Archive of Our Own saves EPUB files with the text set to a serif font and calibre couldn't overwrite it with the "default font" setting. We unzipped a file to read the stylesheet and put the divs under calibre's stylesheet with a sans-serif font. It seems odd, since AO3 doesn't put a serif font on the main text in its default site skin. The summary and notes are .userstuff, the titles of chapter notes are .userstuff1, and the main text is .userstuff2.
In the same vein of customizing our interfaces for keeping track of things, we got Neovim. We've used Vim before but it has been a while. Using it to edit the website feels nice. It's a challenge to learn but it's fun so far. Before this we were using the Neocities editor for everything on the main site, hence the relatively large update number on our profile. The blog was being edited in Notepad++. The ability to easily open so many files in tabs led us to get distracted with multiple blog drafts and other files we had opened for some reason and never closed. By comparison, the simplified appearance of Vim makes it feel more natural to use alongside other programs. We're currently listening to a podcast and browsing links to put in Things. That handles our drifting to distractions so the only file we're working on is the blog draft.
Of course, we've been grabbing things to put in our vimrc file. We set up a shortcut to open the vimrc file in a new window, as well as a shortcut for someone's note-taking journal. "jk" is our alternative for ESC from insert mode ("jj" was considered but "jk" felt more fitting for the purpose). When opened without a specific file, our last open file will be opened. Spellcheck is on, which Notepad++ can have but we didn't have it or even think about it. We used to occasionally copy parts of our blog posts into LibreOffice Writer for a quick spellcheck but we usually forgot about it. The one part of Notepad++ we miss is the ability to drag and drop text because we're not used to jumping enough for keyboard navigation to be faster than mouse navigation. We're currently using Neovim for editing the HTML in general while Notepad++ is used for only writing and quick CSS comparisons.
The biggest reason Vim is currently working for editing this blog post is emmet-vim. It makes generating the lists much easier, especially the ones in Things. "ul›li*5›a" and a shortcut is enough to generate a list ready for 5 links. We found other plugins we want to use but emmet-vim is the only one we've used so far. That doesn't include color schemes, we use Iceberg and we have Nord as an alternative.
HTML, markdown and Vim files are the only things we've used Vim on so far. Trying something that is both long and something we're less familiar with will probably be much more difficult to learn. It would be a good chance to learn more about Vim, though.
We used to enjoy taking personality tests but we stopped trying to collect results since they would never be consistent (for probably obvious reasons). For a time after that we tried improving our typing, which is why it's something more universal among us. The little results box from this test we found through Dokodemo/Sunny's about page reminded us of our old personality test result collections so we thought we'd put it here.
- We've been having difficulty deciding how much needs to be defined in our posts. That's probably why it's nice to have a glossary page. We're more likely to just add some links to our about page and stop giving definitions, though.
- Our whitespace formatting is a mess. Everything has its own default and we just go with it as long as it doesn't bother us, so nothing ends up being consistent once we actually start writing things ourselves.
- TiddlyWikis are interesting because the version you see is often the same as what the creator(s) saw while working on it. Most other things have behind-the-scenes file editing or an "editing" page for website builders. TiddlyWiki isn't quite What You See Is What You Get but it's "what you see is what your audience sees." Of course, that's ignoring options like encrypting certain tiddlers or changing the visible options of the TiddlyWiki before publishing it. Those options are needed at all because everything starts with no difference between the editor's view and the audience's view, though.
- It feels something like exported game projects with what the engine considers default, except instead it's a note-taking program with what the author considers default tools for editing.
- In hindsight, it seems natural that trying to make a personal site with a small file size and interesting graphics would lead us to learning pixel art. We're picky about images and we do have some past experience with pixel art. We might have also been influenced by another Neocities site.
- We made a pixel art-related page under projects since we had enough to put on it.
- This blog post about scheduling posts talks about the benefits of posting less often to make it easier to stay on schedule. It makes a routine for both the blogger and the audience who want to keep up with the blog while having the time to look at other sites. The idea of a schedule does sound nice and it's something we've considered, but we really aren't that consistent in anything.
- Image maps look fun but we have nothing to really make with one right now. Maybe it can be a directory for a future creative project.
- Youtube seems to enjoy looping part of a playlist while in shuffle mode. Sometimes it's less distracting to have no surprises, but most of the time it's just irritating.
- It might be nice to decorate the background of this blog more. Something with little saturation, but that could fill the space. Make it feel less empty.
- These blog posts are getting longer, aren't they? It may be time for us to tone down some expectations about how much we write or how often we update this blog.
- Here's the beginning of a series of blog posts about a wiki as a personal garden. The series has quite a few links to other examples to check out.
- The first blog post is about defining experiences in certain parts of the web as "streams, campfires and gardens." The linked Twitter thread and Wordpress post both categorize different kinds of information intake on the internet and emphasize that different kinds of information have different lifespans in the mind of the person reading. The Twitter thread is interesting because it also emphasizes that fast, short-lived information in "streams" is valuable. With this method, information intake is intentionally varied in order to give someone usable knowledge. The two blog posts mention the stream being something unavoidable that people grow attached to, but the Twitter thread explicitly states that the stream is necessary to start building knowledge and communication with others.
- The Wordpress post also brings up the garden's ability to make long-lasting information as being better for educational resources.
- "Benefits of a daily diary and topic journals" by Derek Sivers
- The separate topic journal does seem like an interesting medium for keeping track of thoughts but it probably isn't feasible for us. We prefer singular digital journals that have sections for different topics so everything is searchable in a single file.
- "Chaotic Software License"
- "The Anti-Capitalist Software License" by Ramsey Nasser and Everest Pipkin
- "ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct"
- "Canonize: Creating a Personal Canon Template" by Brendan Schlagel is about the development of a place to put a list of media that has influenced you.
- "We’re All Failing at Being Women"
- "The Hiveswap Fiasco"
- "How Apple Destroyed Mobile Freeware"
- Digital Ephemerality Neocities page
- "Against an Increasingly User-Hostile Web" and "Rediscovering the Small Web"
- mmm website maker lets you test its drag-and-drop system on its own main page.
- "Graphic Designers Have Always Loved Minimalism, But At What Cost?" by Jarrett Fuller
- "Today, minimalism has been reduced to a buzzword that describes a lifestyle, a type of decorating, an Instagram aesthetic, or a decluttering movement, but its roots are in art history as a term first used to describe the simple, geometric sculptures of Donald Judd or the paintings of Sol Lewitt in the 1960s, right around the same time corporate modernism was taking over American businesses."
- "Whitespace is, quite literally, expensive — more whitespace means more pages and more pages means more money."
- "This erases the vernacular of local cultures and the plurality of human experience — race, gender, class — reinforcing the myth that design decisions are neutral while creating aesthetic hierarchies of good and bad design. What started as a utopian ideal leading us into an egalitarian future, inevitably would become another system of oppression, pushing the tastes of the few onto the many. It should be no surprise that most of the names mentioned here were white and male."
- "A pre-history of weeknotes, plus why I write them and perhaps why you should too" by Matt Webb
- wiby is a search engine for finding interesting links, like this parody scientific site or this collection of old stories and rumors about people working with computers.
- Legible News
- "Before you were here" by Menso Heus is about human rights, specifically anonymity and privacy, and their history on the internet.
- "The tyranny of ideas" by Nadia Eghbal
- The Electric Zine Maker website and Mackerelmedia Fish are fun to play around with.
- Anime Girls Holding Programming Books is self-explanatory.
- Cactus's Obvious, Intuitive Naming Scheme
- "Post-Open Source"
- "Axolotl" by Julio Cortázar and these two (HTTPS) interpretations:
- Library at the end of civilisation is a collection of PDFs for self-sufficiency. Mostly engineering and computer guides.
- "Digital Hygiene" and the one week update
- "On rants about gemini"
- "Finite kindness"
- Some recipes