Earlier this week Matthias Pfefferle released an update of the Sempress theme I use as a basis for this site. I clicked install in my WordPress dashboard, and then my site became unreachable. I mentioned it in the IndieWeb IRC/Slack channel for WordPress and Matthias kindly offered help in figuring out the issue. He found a small mistake on his side, which he quickly corrected and updated, and he spotted a few differences between my child theme and his original. But it didn’t solve the issue. So I left my child theme turned off, and ran Sempress proper, with the idea I would make time to compare my child theme alterations with the original later in the week. Then I slept on it and the next morning I woke up with the notion that I had changed some function in the original Sempress theme, for my child theme to work.

That turned out to be the issue. I copied and tweaked a function, that then in the original Sempress file should be wrapped in a conditional statement that checks if that function isn’t already loaded (as the child theme gets loaded first, then the theme). When a function gets loaded twice it causes a clash. Precisely that function isn’t wrapped by default in a check if it already exists. So I added if (!function_exists(sempress_customize_css)): and all was well again.

Unlike last time, this time I documented that I need to do this after an update of the Sempress theme. (Or suggest a change to the original.)

My blog archive prompts me that today it is 13 years ago that I stopped hosting this site on a PC under my desk, and moved it to a webhoster, the same one it is hosted with today. I had an internetprovider that gave me a fixed IP and I had a double ISDN line at home since 1997. The ISDN lines were provided by my then employer, so I could work remotely (he was ahead of his time, my second employer in contrast argued with me whether I really needed an e-mail address at work 😉 ) One ISDN line I used as internet connection, plugged into my PC which doubled as a webserver. In 2002 we switched from ISDN to ADSL, which had better bandwidth at 6MB, albeit asymmetrical. Over time it got less reliable though and my site at times was unreachable, so in 2007 I switched it over to a hoster.

In 2010 glass fibre reached us, upping bandwidth at home to 100MB, then 500MB and then 1GB, all symmetrical. That would have been an opportunity to run a webserver at home again, but by then I used laptops only and didn’t have a machine I wanted to run 24/7.

These days however, back on a 1GB connection after a brief stint back to 500MB, and not just with one fixed IP address, but with a vast range allocated, it might be viable again to run a webserver from home again. Or multiple cheap ones, like Raspberry Pi’s. Maybe I should start with running an experimental one full time first.

This morning I wrote my 300th notion, the term I use for my permanent notes (it was on how the societal impacts of novel infrastructures change the scope and paths of your empathy). These notions I started writing from July 8th, so it took about two months. I hadn’t written almost any in the past week or two, and that felt uncomfortable. Thinking about it I realised I wasn’t going through my old presentations as much anymore, and just picking a presentation from the list helped me get back into it. Regularly those presentations contain 1 idea per slide, so they are a rich source. A second much used source are my existing blog posts. Each day I look at which postings I created on this date in the previous 17 years of this blog.

These first 300 notions are mostly my notions, the things that are core to my thinking about my own work, and the things I internalised over the past 25 years or so, of doing that work. Likely there will be a point where I’ve worked through most of my existing material, and new notions will come more from reading novel material, reading other people’s material. This will take more effort I expect, because I’d need to digest my reading and think about it before lifting out the bits I want to keep. That’s different from what is now basically transcribing my slides or my old blogposts. Likely it will need a slightly different process, with more notes in the process of turning into notions in parallel.

Via Roland Tanglao I came across Greg Wilson’s posting on making governance discoverable and providing basic documentation, of a community of contributors to open source projects. It coincides with discussing documenting precisely such key and elemental things for my company, to have a better on-ramp for new team members as well as provide colleagues with better agency to do things themselves. It also reminds me of how Basecamp documents and describes their preferred modes of communication (asynchronous long form being the default), and it triggered some ideas on how to better engage the existing community and new networks around the NGO I chair.

I am coming around to the notion that I may also want to stop using Things for keeping track of tasks, and do it through markdown text files, similarly to getting out of Evernote. There was a time I always did such things in straightforward text files. Being able to do so again but now with a much better way of viewing and navigating such text files and the connections between them (using Obsidian as a viewer for now), makes it easy to ‘revert’ to my old ways so to speak.

(This doesn’t say anything about Things, which is a beautiful tool, that I have been using ever since I became aware of the Cultured Code company in 2008.)