This is the place to learn a little something about this blog, and perhaps a peek at how I operate as a developer and as a human.
That’s right: static.
This switch away from server-side fiddling will free me from the tyranny of having all my content locked up in some database out on the ‘net, thus, as my theory goes, freeing me to actually write something once in a while.
I have never liked writing in WordPress, and frankly, I do rather like the idea of not having to worry that my site is going to be hacked because I missed the last 4 WordPress updates.
I will now have complete editorial control of my content locally, and I can push content to the server when it’s ready. It’s the opposite of the usual blog paradigm, in which you edit on the server, never back up your stuff, and then lose it accidentally because of any number of server issues. Like what happened to me (although “accidentally” may be a bit of an exaggeration there).
My favorite part: I can very easily deploy to GitHub Pages
or any other server via SSH with a simple rake command:
Why am I suddenly so passionate about local authorship? It’s because I use a really sweet text editor. That editor is Vim.
I won’t go into too much detail about my personal Vim setup here (after all, you can check it out for yourself on GitHub), but after a lot of tweaking, I’m very comfortable in my development environment, and it seems very natural to extend the benefits of using Vim to my writing activities.
I can’t count the number of times my muscle-memory has betrayed me into trying to get some cool Vim command to work some other app. Well, that ends now. It’s Vim or nothing. My co-worker, Vick Aita, once put it like this:
Using Vim is like driving stick.
He’s right. Vim’s definitely not for everyone, but I have come to appreciate the powerful features that make it a mainstay in the development world. Many other folks are equally passionate about other powerful editors like Emacs and TextMate, and more power to them. I myself was an avid TextMater before making the switch to Vim, and it’s a very fine editor in its own right.
I am quite sure that I’ll be blogging about Vim a disproportionate amount of the time.
It’s been great to see Git catch on the way it has. Despite having used it consistently for years, I’m always learning something new about it. Git has matured and become a major player in the software development world. And I have to believe that GitHub has been a prominent contributor to the broader adoption of Git as the SCM of choice. Nothing against Mercurial, but it’s true ;)
I remember when the Rails project moved from that crappy Trac server to Github. That was a very significant milestone for both Git and GitHub, and ever since then, I have watched both explode in popularity.
It may be a little mind-bending to understand at first, but Git’s so fast and efficient, I’ll never again use SVN on a personal project. Git has won me over as a developer, and GitHub has started to play a much larger role in my professional development as well. Just have a look; it is now the dominant repository of open source projects on the web.
In 2007, I made the switch to the Dvorak keyboard layout. I’d been struggling with wrist and hand issues, and prospect of 50% less finger movement appealed to me. In addition, I despised the fact that I was a big cheater at typing with Qwerty; I always had to peek at the keys. This time, I was determined to re-teach myself to touch-type properly, and starting with a clean slate seemed like a good way to do it.
The experience reminded me of what I thought it must be like to undergo physical therapy. It took about 3 months to become roughly as proficient with Dvorak as I had been with Qwerty. It was a thrilling, rewarding, and yes, at times frustrating experience, but in the end, I persevered and came out on the other side with a new skill, having overcome most of the bad Qwerty typing habits I had picked up over the years.
If you ever find yourself in a position to remap your brain like this in some way, I’d encourage you to go for it. It doesn’t have to be learning Dvorak. It could be learning a new programming language, training yourself to run a 10k race, or figuring out how to play a musical instrument. It doesn’t matter. The point is, cliché though it may be, it’s amazing what you are capable of achieving with a little hard work and determination.
I use a Mac in all the major contexts of my life. At home, we have a Mini for media serving. At work, I have a MacBook Pro. Over the past 5+ years as a Mac user, I have witnessed the evolution of a truly awesome OS that is as much a pleasure to use as it is to look at.
The initial draw for me was the elegant UI on top of BSD Unix internals. I have been very comfortable with the Unix command line since college, and to date, iTerm is my most-frequently used app. Recently, I made another big switch from bash to zsh, thanks in part to the oh-my-zsh project. There’s probably a future blog post brewing about that.
Just the fact that I can run Photoshop in one display and MacVim with a zsh session in the other is about as good as it gets for me.
Concludophon (or, Tools matter. How they are used matters more.)
With that in mind, I raise my glass to better and more frequent writing ahead. I endeavor to blog about things of interest to me, of course: the web industry, rock music, good books I’m reading, stuff like that.
Seriously, though, don’t bother subscribing to this RSS feed until you see a good 10 posts in the Archives. By then, you’ll know this is for real. I know myself too well by now to make any promises up front!
Here’s to… the future!