Physicist, Emacser, Digitales Spielkind

New Blog and On Blogging with Emacs
Published on Jun 13, 2020.

A warm welcome to my first blog post! :)

This is not the first time I attempt to keep a blog and have an online presence. But this time around, I have a much more coherent vision and many more ideas of what to actually write about. Having come to an actual first published post, in fact, a big step for me! For this to continue to work, I need to both be able to identify myself with the end result as well as enjoy the process of creating something. The whole thing needs to fit and be me. Or, at least, have the potential to become something I appreciate.

This is where Emacs comes in. It has been my tool of choice for many of my computing tasks whether at work or at home. Becoming more and more familiar with its patterns, I am starting to be able to express myself most efficiently when in front of an Emacs frame. But more than just familiarity, it is fun to use Emacs. Behind every function and every variable, there lies potential to learn something powerful and very useful. Thanks to the context-aware help system that is just a keypress away, much of this power becomes more and more accessible once one is over an initial threshold. This allows me to do my computing with the feeling of actually controlling what is going on and not just adjusting to someone else’s vision of how I am to use the computer.

But back to blogging. When I realized that I could use Emacs not only to collect my thoughts, structure them into cross-linked notes, and write them into publishable posts using org-mode, but even for the publishing itself, I was intrigued again on the idea of having a blog.

Of course, thanks to the strong and collaborative community around Emacs, I didn’t have to start from scratch. Building on the code and guide of Sachin Patil, I quickly had a running setup. I found many other sources of inspiration online. Noteworthy mentions are posts by duncan, loomcom and pank. Tying everything I liked together and adding anything missing (such as adding linked keywords) was a welcome challenge and a chance to learn more about Emacs.

A recent find that would probably have been a good starting point as well was the static blog with org-mode repository – oh well, I am quite happy with what I ended up with :)

While I see myself as rather creative, coming up with original designs and concepts is not my strong suite. It does happen but takes a long time and many, many discarded drafts. So I am incredible thankful for the inspiring ideas and suggestions by Melisa Özdilek who created a very personal and fitting theme for me :)

(Putting this into code and style sheets was my doing though, so any quirks in the implementation are solely on me.)

I personally believe that our technical choices matter, and nowadays we do have them. Therefore, I didn’t want to go with whatever hosting was free right now or whoever was eager to host my content under their domain – so I went with HCoop, who provide cooperative internet hosting. Nice personal contact, an impressive configuration tool and SSH as well as AFS (!) access are the icing on the cake. Try to get anything like that elsewhere without having all responsibility dumped on you as well.

If you want to take a peek at the gears behind this blog, you can find its source code on gitlab.

Tags: emacs, thoughts, blog