Mandaris Moore

The first award that I've won in years.
The first award that I've won in years.

I did Toast Masters today and I even managed to get a little award for best "Table Topics". It is an event where you select a random topic and speak about it for 2 minutes.

Keyboard Maestro is used to publish the site when computer is idle.
Keyboard Maestro is used to publish the site when computer is idle.

Today, I’ve put some time into improving something that I’ve been thinking about doing for years. And that is having my static pelican powered website update without me over seeing it.

In a lot of ways this is me getting out of my own way and just spending time producing words instead of focusing on the technology. In other words, writing the words instead of making pages.

Hazel sorts all the blog posts into sub folders.
Hazel sorts all the blog posts into sub folders.

It’s mostly just the one hazel rule to constantly keep the posts sorted and then there is a keyboard maestro rule that waits for the computer to be idle for 30 minutes[^waiting] before making all the posts.

The only thing I want to improve is adding images and editing posts from the past. I'll leave that for another day.

  1. I have a plug-in for pelican that uses Java to render diagrams. I don’t want it to interrupt anyone using the computer while it does this. 

I was thinking about doing some kind of challenge for the month of April. I wasn't really able to start yesterday, but today is a great to start with something new.

Here are somethings that I'm thinking about working on

  1. Writing. I want to work on my communication via writing. I think that I can be better served by focusing on making my writing better. Both with grammar and how I express ideas.
  2. Web Design. Just making it look nicer would make me feel better about giving the url to people
  3. Planning. Setting more time to work on things that need to be improved.

I'm slowing making progress on my blog. It doesn't look like much because I don't have any css associated with it. I'm ok with it looks a little rough for now because I want to focus on the design for now and I rally don't think I'm going to get a lot of people checking it out between now and whenever...

What I would like do is challenge myself to do more than just play around on my computer. I've been spend more and more time becoming aware of the little clock in the upper right hand corner of the screen that tells me how productive I've been on my Mac.

Image of Timing in Menubar showing that I am 62% productive.
Image of Timing in Menubar showing that I am 62% productive.

Personally, I feel that every little bit counts towards becoming an adult. I can't go back to the days where I only had to worry about homework any more. In fact,I no longer wish for those days because I understand that even then I had some kind of struggle going on. The me now, is a lot more self aware and more confident in who I am.

A mind map of what the goals are for my new blog theme
A mind map of what the goals are for my new blog theme

I've been having a desire to make a new website, but I haven't really been thinking about what I want from it. I took some time to brainstorm so ideas and broke it down into three things.


I want people to be able to read the site. I've had a couple scares where I thought something would happen to my vision. I want what I'm reading to be read by everyone.

Even if it's just me in the future.

Quick to Load

I want the page to load fast. I think I could break this into two smaller goals.

Reduce the number of calls to external libraries

Modern OSs have a lot of fairly good fonts and not every website need to have the entire library for css and/or javascript that you want. Although CDNs can help with that, I feel what I'm creating needs to make yet another http request for the end users.

Keep the syntax for the site to a minimum

I don't want to add extra code just for code sake. I want the person to get in and do what they want - which is read- and then move on.

I want people to be able to find out what I'm saying. It could be helpful for them. Maybe it's something technical or just a story that I choose to share.

A stone statue of a woman standing by herself.
A stone statue of a woman standing by herself.

One thing that has been bothering me for a while is the fact that most of the websites that I was going to and the system that I was using to generate my blog were wrapping stand alone images into <p> tags.

For example:

![Alt message](url/to/image)

would turn into:

<p><img alt="Alt message" src="url/to/image" /></p>

To me, this doesn't make sense that you would have an image in an unnessary container.

Sure, it wouldn't been seen by most people, but don't think it parses to well for screen readers and is probably a hastle for webdesigners who have to account for this with generated content.

What's the solution?

Well, pelican does offer a wide array of plugins, but I've already worked with plugins before and I didn't want whatever solution that I came accross to be specific to pelican.

Luckily, I didn't have to come up with something all by myself because @jdittrich created an extension that you can add to python-markdown.

This make the markdown:

![Alt message](url/to/image)

into the following:

<figure><img alt="Alt message" src="url/to/image"><figcaption>Alt message</figcaption>

Adding the extension to pelican

The instructions on adding markdown extensions was a little difficult for me to follow during my first read. Which actually turned into a learning experience as I had to read over the code.

Ultimately, I had to add the following to to get it working.

# Markdown Plugins
    'extension_configs': {
        'markdown.extensions.codehilite': {'css_class': 'highlight'},
        'markdown.extensions.extra': {},
        'markdown.extensions.meta': {},
    'output_format': 'html5',

One last thing

When I was experimenting with this extension, I noticed that it didn't allow for the information found in references to be placed in the <figcaption> tag.

I made a little change and am waiting for my pull request to be merged.

Setting rules in Hazel
Setting rules in Hazel

I've been working towards getting the generation of this blog to be automated and I've decided to do that using a rule in Hazel to always detect if a file has been changed and then running the pelican command to create new pages.

I've decided to make the actual publication1 a seperate step for now because I might be moving hosting in the coming weeks.

  1. Currently, the site is hosted on github and I need to make a git commit to make it availble on the inter-webs. 

I love working on my laptop!

I got it in 2009 and it has been good to me all of these years. Apple no longer supports it for OS updates but that doesn't mean that I can't get on it and still do everything that I was doing before with it.

In fact, I think I'm enjoying not getting the latest OS updates.

At first, I felt I was missing out because of the new features, but I'm having some trouble thinking about what features I've been missing out of other than siri.

And to be honest, I don't know how great siri is on a mac.

I’ve been torn on what to do next with my website. I like a new theme and I want to use it but it would require either a rewrite of my posts or a change of the theme that the original writer has put together.

I feel like I’m going to just rewrite the theme to meet my needs, but I’m hesitant to start a new project where the scope may run away from me.

I think I’ll start off with just small goals of changing things little by little. First, I’ll start by automating the generation of the sight and then making small changes to the them.

Well, I’m sitting here at my in-laws place and all I can think about is trying to take a nap.