πŸ–Š State of the Blog 2022

Welcome to this year’s bloggy wrap-up! In keeping with a vague Christmas theme: 12 topics; 12 paragraphs.

Leaving WordPress πŸ‘‹

I left WordPress this year, which was the second home this blog has had (the first home being Blogger). It’s something I’d been looking to do for a while as I wanted to self-host my own content, and the free tier of WordPress.com was a pretty awful experience for anyone visiting. At one point I was reviewing a post and wondered if my browser was mining bitcoin, as my laptop had slowed down so much! To replace WordPress I wanted something simple which would let me avoid its clunky interface and save any visitors from adverts and trackers. I realise I could have hosted my own WordPress instance, but that seemed overkill for where I wanted to go, which brings us to…

Discovering Hugo πŸ”Ž

Purely by chance, I discovered Hugo. It ticked all the criteria I was looking for in a framework to host a website. I don’t run Hugo as a server, instead I both build the site locally and deploy it using a set of Ansible roles I’ve written for this purpose. The site is completely static. No server-side scripting, and minimal JavaScript on the front-end. In a modern internet where so many places are riddled with adware and trackers, and everything is monetised, I hope visiting this place will provide a breath of fresh air.

Adopting Obsidian πŸ—Ώ

2022 was the year I fell in love with Obsidian as a general knowledge management tool which I now use at home and at work. I’m a Markdown fan, and Obsidian is built on it. I maintain this very website within Obsidian, but initially I tried to be too clever in getting Obsidian and Hugo to work together and ended up with a system which had been overthought and wasn’t stable. So during the past few weeks I went back to basics to simplify things. The change is live as of this post, so hopefully no one notices much of a difference. But on the back-end it’s much easier to maintain and update.

Rebirth of a Website 🌐

Thanks to Hugo, I now have a website I’m happy with for the first time. I’m still going through the long process of porting over all those old WordPress posts, which is more of a slog than anything else. There’s still more to do, such as migrating items from the Scratchbook into the main site, as well as adding individual articles which don’t fit under the catchment of a blog post. Eventually I’ll get there, but it’s proving a satisfying journey so far.

Who is this Blog For Anyway? πŸ–Š

One of the prime bits of advice for a successful Blog (or YouTube channel, etc) is to pick a specific theme and focus on that theme relentlessly. This blog completely ignores this philosophy, as you can no doubt tell. But, I keep it as a place for me to get stuff out of my system, and although I’m writing for myself having a blog helps me feel like I’m sharing some niche passions back into the collective pool of human knowledge and opinion which is the blogosphere.

Birdsite Thoughts πŸͺ¦

For a while I’ve heard people – a lot of people – say they wish they could leave Twitter, but felt they couldn’t for a multitude of reasons. This resinated with me as checking in on Twitter was like repeating the same question each new dawn: What am I going to be angry about today? What a crappy way to start each morning! It felt like a relief when I saw things falling apart and realised it was time to leave. The way I see it, petulant manchild Elmo M*** has done a good turn for my mental health. Thank you Elmo.

Mastodon Thoughts 🐘

I’ve been on Mastodon since 2017, but like many others only started using it properly in the past month. Right now as a community, it’s informative, kind and non-toxic. I love it and its been wonderful to watch it come alive in the aftermath of toxic Twitter. I hope it stays this way, and if not I’m sure I’ll find another instance to join which holds those values.

Where’s the Apple Stuff? 🍏

I didn’t have the head-space to write a lot during 2022, and so I didn’t manage a State of the iPhone this year (although you can read 2021’s write up here – it mostly holds true for how I used it in 2022). In 2023 I also want to introduce a “State of the Mac” and a long overdue update for my Shortcuts collection as well as a larger, more ambitious Mac related project.

Becoming Canadian 🍁

2022 was the year I had a the incredible privilege of becoming a Canadian, and by extension I also became a dual citizen. It was a long road fraught with uncertainty and many sleepless nights. I may write about the experience in the future, but for now the point is I made it and I couldn’t be happier or more honoured.

Speaking French πŸ₯–

Living in Montreal without a solid grasp of the French Language is a challenge. Not because I can’t communicate (most Montrealers speak English) or because my French isn’t just about good enough to get by (it is… barely), but because of the politics here and the fact it’s hard to truly integrate without it. My level is the equivalent of B1 (intermediate) but it’s become rusty since I took those courses and I’ve never come close to mastering conversational French. So, I want to make this a tentpole of my 2023 theme, speaking of which…

2️⃣0️⃣2️⃣3️⃣ Theme

I’ve been following the Theme System for a couple of years now. If you’re not familiar with it, instead of New Year’s resolutions you set yourself a theme for the year which provides a supportive framework for where you want to go. I’m keeping my theme a secret for now, but if you’ve ever struggled with resolutions I highly recommend giving this approach a go. (Note: you absolutely do not need to buy the merchandise to implement the Theme System! I just use my own Moleskin notebook.)

And Finally πŸŒ…

That’s almost it for 2022. (although there’s one final post of 2022 coming before year’s end, and it’s going to be a silly one!)

If you’re reading this, or you’ve read any of my other scribblings this year, thanks for visiting and I hope you got something out of it!

Cheers, and see you next year. 🍻