Jul 17Wildcat Website: Nose-to-Toes, Part One

I’m doing a seven-part series on how and why I made this site as I have, cobbled together from teeny tiny pieces of Internet. This is the second post in the series, because we number from base-0, like proper nerds. (The first part is here.)

Last time, we talked a little bit about how and why I chose OpenBSD for my hosting. We wrapped up with the installation of NGINX and git, glossing over steps like setting up an OpenSSH keypair. In retrospect, this was too glossy of me. For while SSH is common knowledge to most nerds, it may not be well understood; in fact, I suspect rather a lot of Internet tutorials and HOWTOs also gloss over this step.

So, today, before we dive right into configuration of Nginx, we’re going to take a moment to talk about SSH, keypairs, what they are, and why they matter.

Here’s the ‘what’ and ‘why’.

Jul 8Die by the Leaf

There's currently an advertising campaign by Petro-Canada, a national oil & gas company, using “Live by the Leaf” as the catchphrase. Does anyone else not think this is a massive self-own? “Live by the sword, die by the sword” is the obvious reference, and, after the four hottest days on record on this planet, facilitated in no small part by our patriotic tar sands, TMX pipeline, and omnicidal extractivist government, we are all clearly dying by the leaf.

Has the marketing department at Petro-Canada been infiltrated by Adbusters?

Jul 9sbstr8: Free, resilient self-expression

In the process of setting up this blog, I developed my own blogging engine, atop the brand-new, just-released Next.js 13. I was sort of running alongside the Next 13 development effort, reliant on nightly builds.

After an intense refactor, I’ve produced an early alpha of the underlying engine, ‘sbstr8.’ And of course, I put it up on GitHub, and made a website for it.

This is a server-component-first, Markdown-centric blog written in React. It was written because, despite the plethora of blogging engine options in 2023, I couldn’t find anything that captured the range, power and simplicity I was craving. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, but sometimes you do need to iterate on it.

Here’s what’s under the hood.

Jun 26Refactoring! The musical

Don’t worry, I haven’t gone anywhere! I’m currently hard at work refactoring the blog toolkit I authored in order to create this blog, which I named sbstr8.

Refactoring, as other engineers probably know, is the art of generalizing or otherwise mangling code into a new shape. I’m doing a major refactor, but I’ve committed to not break the build at every step!

Here’s how I’m doing it.

Jun 21Solsticeposting: Despair and Responsibility

It’s Summer Solstice today (technically, it occurred at about 8am local time.) The sun will never be higher in the sky, nor in the sky for longer. From here until almost next Christmas, it’s one dimming day after another. In me, this occasions a hankering for some basic philosophical inquiry. I ask: is despair a vice?

It might seem a weird question, until you remember that, according to at least one major world faith, despair isn’t just a hardship, but an active, ongoing moral failing. By this view, one succumbs to despair the way one might, for example, succumb to gluttony or an appetite for violence. And there are some moral intuitions that seem to support this view; for example, we all have at least one friend who seems gratuitously negative, “raining on the parade,” etc. We can and do feel angry at such friends, from time to time. Why can’t they just enjoy the here-and-now? Are they.... indulging themselves, somehow?

Here’s my thinking.

Jun 22Everyone on the Downtown Eastside Should Get the Same Treatment as the Submarine Billionaires

The world is convulsing at the news that five Very Rich People, who were the subject a wildly expensive and unsuccessful publicly-funded search, are in fact dead, having died painlessly.

“This meant something to him. He pushes the boundaries. He lives his life this way. I hope people don’t think of him as [just a billionaire]”, I just heard an unidentified voice say on the BBC Livestream.

So: the proposal is that we humanize a reckless billionaire who killed five people by negligence, including himself, who we just spent millions of dollars to not rescue.

Here’s a counter-proposal.

Jun 20Wildcat Website: Nose-to-Toes, Part Zero

As I promised in the first post, I’m doing a seven-part series on how and why I made this site as I have, cobbled together from teeny tiny pieces of Internet.

At any point along the way, I could have used one of the dozens (hundreds?) of existing ‘Content Management Systems’. There are any number of great options out there, and a panoply of beautiful templates. And there are an even greater number of easy hide-the-details hosting options, such as Vercel, Netlify, etc.

But instead, I opted to start with a bare OpenBSD instance and build up from that.

Here’s how I put it together.

⦃In case you missed it…⦄

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Calligraphic embellishment of the name 'Liz'