A note on curations

I’ve been doing some sort of “link curation” here for several years now.

“Collecting” links isn’t something I actively spend time on, it’s a reflection of things I come across while browsing various “feeds” I have.

However, the process of turning them into a blog-post has always taken some time, and these days I have little-to-no time, so I’ve been finding ways to automate the process as much as I can.

A good solution that emerged recently is of using Micro.blog‘s “monthly email” facility.

I started using Micro.blog sometime back as a “less noisy alternative” to Twitter, and can easily recommend it to others looking for the same.

It has this nifty email newsletter” feature where you can pick a tag, and then, at the end of the month, have every post with that tag included in an email.

So — I subscribed myself to that email, and will simply pipe in the contents (with minimal formatting to restore urls) into a post here on this blog.

Unless I run into problems, this is how I’m going to run the monthly-curations here from now on.

Switching back to hosted WordPress

I tried an experiment of using a self-hosted DigitalOcean-droplet-based copy of this site for a year.

It went well, but I see no advantage to that.

Or rather, there are advantages (freedom w.r.t. plugins) to that, but I didn’t use them, and don’t think I will.

Also, there were some downsides to my self-hosted instance.

DigitalOcean has a XML-RPC limitation with hosted WordPress instances, which makes interaction with them through either (1) the iOS App, or (2) writing apps like Ulysses impossible (though, to its credit, iA Writer relies on a different mechanism of application-specific passwords, and is unaffected by this).

So, it’s back to wordpress.com for me.

Caveat: there’s some problem with “re-pointing the DNS” right now, but I’m hoping that’ll be resolved soon.

Update (2/7/22):

  • All good now, abacusnoir.com directs here now
  • fwiw, DigitalOcean was really good, here’s a snapshot of the droplet before I turned it down:

(a 1vCPU, 1GB droplet is all you need, if you ever go down this road!)

Posting flow

I made the previous post using my phone.

It’s annoying that I can’t use the WordPress app with self-hosted sites (which is what this is), but the “mobile web” experience for the same is not too bad.

I can’t write in that web interface, for whatever reason, but that’s okay as long as I can copy-paste in content.

I use Drafts heavily now on my phone, which works very well as a “staging point” for all text.

So, writing there and then using the mobile web to just add it in, and click “publish” works for me.

Snippet sharing

Ruminating on how tiny bits of content are mixed in with larger bits, here, the options are

  1. Don’t share it
  2. Share it somewhere else
  3. Share it mixed in, as separate posts
  4. Share it “batched up”

Of these, (1) can be rejected, and (2) is too much of a hassle (where would it be, Mastodon?, micro.blog? … would I be able to still own and later export content?)

So it’s about whether to share in-line or not, and while (3) is the status quo, (4) seems like a simpler approach that I’ll trial for next year.

Switching to self-hosted WordPress

For various reasons, I decided to ditch wordpress.com and self-host this blog.

It might turn out to be a terrible idea, but I’ll stick with it for a year.

Some motivations:

  • better control through plugins, more flexibility over time
  • the .blog domain is more expensive, I don’t care for it

New posts (after this one) will appear at abacusnoir.com, older ones will continue to be available at abacusnoir.blog (and be redirected to the new site for some time).