Blogging returns

Back in the golden age of blogs I started multiple sites on but they had hometown-specific names and every time I moved I felt obligated to start a new one. Then social media happened and everyone stopped, but these days social media doesn't seem to be cutting it and the blogs are coming back.

Many times I've wanted to start one back up except running on my own domain. While I know the platform well, didn't want to maintain my own Wordpress installation or the server it would need to run on. My own site is much simpler - static text pages being served from the Amazon cloud so I wanted to continue that strategy. There's lots of choices for simple Static Site Generators (SSGs) that can convert text files into a web site but with choice comes bikeshedding and I'd get lost in technical details and scrutinizing themes and then lose interest. Then there's of course the actual writing, not just the what but the where. I felt like I wanted something other than the laptop that I do most computer stuff on, something more suited to writing on the couch. Something with less distractions.

I finally think I figured out a solution that satisfies me and this is here to prove it.

The Writing Machine

I considered all sorts of setups. A phone with a USB keyboard. Tablets. Old laptops running Linux. In my laptop research, I looked at using old cheap Chromebooks with Linux and I even set one up for driving a 3D printer. But that conversion process takes a lot of steps and I wanted easier. Turns out a lot of the information about Linux and Chromebooks is stale, or is harder than it needs to be. Newer Chromebooks can natively run their own basic Linux system with one change in the settings.

With native Linux I have all I need for writing, the VIM editor in a terminal window. I run all windows full screen and alt-tab between them. A $40 retired educational Chromebook 11 (3180) is light, quiet, and boots up fast. The screen isn't amazing of course, and there's some weird quirks, but they do the job and if I fill the keyboard with coffee I already have a spare waiting.

The Blog

There are almost too many SSGs to pick from. I narrowed it down with the following requirements:

These requirements led me to Zola. It's a single Rust executable. Download it and you're up and running. Theme is a work in progress. Getting started took a little reading of docs to understand how it wants to structure things, but once the configuration was sussed out we were good to go.

Publishing is just copying the files to Amazon. So here we go....