A better Steve Jobs

I’m looking forward to the new book about Steve Jobs, coming in a few weeks. The Isaacson book was a disappointment, and this one seems (by reports) to do a much better job of capturing the man and the complexity of his story. As Tim Cook says in an interview with Fast Company:

II thought the [Walter] Isaacson book did him a tremendous disservice. It was just a rehash of a bunch of stuff that had already been written, and focused on small parts of his personality. You get the feeling that [Steve’s] a greedy, selfish egomaniac. It didn’t capture the person.

Read the whole article. Just this short piece gives a deeper view of the man.

And, Beer!

I’m fascinated by Noble Brewer, a startup I discovered today at Launch Festival 2015. As they say,

We interview dozens of homebrewers to find the very best to feature in Noble Brewer. Once we’ve selected our homebrewers, we work with a professional brewery to produce our homebrewers award winning recipes. Then when the beer’s ready, we combine all our homebrewer’s beers into a single shipment and deliver to you!

What’s interests me here is that Claude and Lauralynnn have identified a niche where people are passionate, both as consumers and as creators. I’ve only had a short conversation with them, but I’m impressed by how they are thinking about this market and I’ll be watching eagerly to see what they do with it.

Update: because I joined, I have a link for you to get the same special deal, even if you aren’t here at Launch Festival:


That will get you a special promotional price for your first month. Move quickly… the discount is reduced as more people join.

The Internet and the FCC

On the eve of an important ruling vote at the FCC, Brad Feld has written a great piece on the subject. As he says:

There has been an enormous amount of bombastic rhetoric in the past few months about the issue that has recently become especially politicized in the same way the debate about SOPA/PIPA unfolded.


Indeed. And Feld continues on to debunk a few of the most ridiculous ideas and provides links to several other articles going into details. A worthy read.

New Servers Update

My new server at Digital Ocean is up and running. Ubuntu 14.04, with Nginx (LEMP stack).

Why Move?

It had been a while since I bothered much with my website. My interest in IndieWeb got me refocused on some interesting technical details and provided the extra push to get me moving.

A big decision came when I realized that my old web hosting company, which I had used for years, didn’t support SNI, and probably wasn’t going to anytime soon. This meant moving a few WordPress sites and a couple Rails and Flask projects, and that was going to be a bit of work. I’ve been doing *nix system administration for about 3 decades, so I wasn’t worried about getting stuck, but I also had a pretty good idea of the time and work involved.

Nerding Out

I looked quickly through the hosting recommendations at IndiewebCamp.com and did a little up-to-date checking of the particulars. It was a close decision, but I ended up going with Digital Ocean — partially because of their great documentation and active community.

I chose Ubuntu mostly because I had already set up a small home projects server on an old PC with Ubuntu 14.04, and it made sense to stick to the same until I had some compelling reason to do something different.

My knowledge of Apache is not up-to-date, so I was facing a learning-curve no matter what I did. And Nginx seemed to be popular for a lot of reasons that made sense for my situation. It’s light-weight, flexible and configurable, and the Digital Ocean docs seemed comprehensive on topics from basic LEMP stack setup to nitty-gritty topics like OCSP Stapling. So I dove in.

The basic setup to get the server configured, the LEMP stack in place, and my home site and main wordpress sites running took only a few hours, spread over a saturday afternoon and a few evenings. I flipped the DNS to the new server and was running.

The fancier stuff took a while longer. In calendar time, it’s been about a month, but I only worked on this a couple evenings a week.


The Results

I now have my own blog, my cooking blog, and our family site (which I created while learning a bit about BootStrap and HTML5/CSS3) all running and even getting an A+ rating on the Qualsys SSL test for all the domains.


Next Steps

I haven’t decided whether to setup my Rails and Flask experiments on this server, since I now have the little home server for that kind of thing. And I have a to finish moving the posts from an old business site into my personal site under a post category. But mostly, I’m just looking forward to getting back to this kind of writing and continuing my experiments with IndieWeb stuff.



Moving to a new server

I have moved my site (several of them, actually) to a new server. Unfortunately, my old host doesn’t yet support SNI, and I was up for annual renewal and just decided to make the leap to a different provider. It’s also an opportunity for me to duplicate my environment on my web server and on the little server I’ve cobbled together at home using an old PC.

Both are running Ubuntu 14.04, with nginx as the web server, and a variety of other basic stuff. Setting all this up is a fun learning experience for me, getting back into my *nix roots and working with some of the latest tools.

More on details of this later.

Are your tools working for you?

Apple has released the Public Beta of Mac OS X Yosemite, and  I’m getting a lot of questions about whether one should jump in. My advice is to wait. Most of the non-developer user features I find really great in Yosemite are in the integration with iOS, all of which requires iOS 8, which you don’t have (or you wouldn’t be asking me whether to try Yosemite! Ha ha!)

But whether you’re taking my advice or not, now is a good time to think about the Apps that you use and how you work. Anytime you are considering making a major upgrade it’s a good idea to check everything that’s essential to your work (and play) and ensure that it’s going to work right. It’s also a reasonable trigger for doing some thinking about what you use and maybe trying something new.

Yosemite and iOS 8 will give you plenty of opportunity to improve your workflow and try something new. There are a lot of new capabilities in both, especially in how Apps on both platforms can work together. It will be fun to see what creative developers come up with.

But first you need to know where you are. What are your most important tools? How do you spend your time on your computer? What works well and what doesn’t? It’s a fun exercise just to make a quick list, decide what’s essential and then ask yourself what works and what doesn’t.

In my short list: 1Password works great; Dropbox works well, but there are some privacy concerns so I might look at alternatives; my combination of Scrivener, Byword, Sublime Text 3, and Pages are excellent for writing projects and other text; TextExpander, Omnifocus, Fantastical, and BusyCal all work great for me. My tools for working with Audio are great; My Python and Objective-C/Swift development environments work great.

But I’m going to have to ruminate on this a bit. I’m sure there is some blind-spot — something that’s broken, but I’m just used to it. So I’ll jot a few things down over the coming days and weeks and then consider making a few changes.