Simplify, simplify, maybe for real this time

The site enters CTCAJW Mode.


Yes, it’s my third post with “Simplify, simplify” in the title; but, please, hear me out. I’m hoping for better luck this time than with its two predecessors — especially since, as I’ll explain at the end, this has nothing to do with my gyrations among various static site generators (SSGs).

A few weeks back, I mentioned my daily use of a feed-reader app — specifically, NetNewsWire — to read a lot of sites’ feeds. Most of the feeds I follow originate from the likely suspects for a geek like me: Hacker News, Ars Technica, several Mac-related sites, a few tech companies’ blogs, some subreddits, and the various GitHub release pages for several projects I use.

I also follow feeds from a small number of tech-savvy individuals who, as do I, write posts about whatever nerdy things happen to interest them at the time. It hasn’t been lost on me that some of these folks tend to write more frequently, and often more freely, than I’ve typically done since launching this site in September, 2018. They apparently don’t share my long-held thought that every post has to be like a mini-article — and, in my case, often not all that “mini.” Rather, they write posts of varying lengths which clearly are driven not by some sort of internal editorial calendar but, instead, a desire just to say something, to share information, and to do it immediately.

The closest I’ve come to this method, so far, has been in two series of posts: the “Mixed nuts” series I started in November, 2019, and the “Gems in the rough” series I began in December, 2020. The latter, with its more tech-oriented focus, is closer to what I’ve seen from those other bloggers; but, even “Gems in the rough” isn’t quite in that mold, since (a.) I have tried to avoid issuing multiple “Gems in the rough” posts too close together and, in a related vein, (b.) I’ll often hold a cool tip or otherwise important item until I feel it’s appropriate to put out another “Gems in the rough” — or, even more limiting, a larger piece with just one over-arching topic.

Well, let’s see if I can change all that.

Now entering new territory

Welcome to this site’s first day in CTCAJW Mode.

That’s short for cut the crap and just write.

So what exactly will CTCAJW Mode involve?

First: anyone who’s stopped by here in the recent past will immediately notice a big difference in look-and-feel. The new minimalism, bereft of the need for “hero” images on each post page (as in this example, below, from a few days ago), is a key part of CTCAJW Mode. More on that shortly.

Screen capture to show the “hero image” design approach used on this website before May 21, 2022

As for how the posts themselves will line up from here on: well, CTCAJW Mode will be mostly new ground for me, so I can’t really say how they’ll play out. I don’t intend for this to be like so-called micro-blogging on occasion, but there may be times when that’s justified.

Oddly enough, you can already see examples of this in two of my earlier posts: the very first one (written more as an experiment than as something I intended to have legs) and one from only a few weeks ago to plug my other-site writing. Each was really short by my past standards, here, simply because it didn’t need to be longer.

In short: CTCAJW.

If a subject needs a lot of words, I’ll still provide those words; but that often won’t be necessary — especially if, like those other bloggers to whom I referred above, I write shorter pieces more often, rather than finding little nuggets and hoarding them until a later time when I think “it’s time.” Under CTCAJW Mode, when there’s something worth saying, that’s when it’s time.

Now, I’ll get back to minimalism vis-á-vis CTCAJW Mode.

My regular readers know that each of my posts has usually sported a big ol’ hero image as the background for the post’s title, description, and date-of-issuance info. That, too, has been limiting and even delaying, even if only as a lame excuse on my part. After all, it’s not always possible to find a freebie stock photo that has even a tangential connection to a post’s subject(s). In fact, I’ve devoted entire posts to both the nay and yea positions on this topic, and alluded to them in others. The main argument against hero images is the time and trouble they require; the main argument for them is that, well, they’re pretty. And the latter never had a snowball’s chance of surviving the onset of CTCAJW Mode. So those babies are gone.1

One more thing: because CTCAJW Mode means I may be more frequently publishing posts, even if they’re often shorter, I’ll have to decide whether to continue my long-established practice of giving a heads-up on social media every time I issue a new post. I don’t want to be (more) annoying. There’s already ’way too much of that on social media, and it ain’t gonna be gettin’ any better. So, as always, I invite you to follow my feed — RSS or JSON, as you may prefer — to make sure you won’t miss anything, regardless of my future choices about social media.

It’s not about SSG FOMO

There’s one more thing I need to say, especially for those who’ve seen my various twists and turns SSG-wise.

If you’ve read those earlier “Simplify, simplify” posts, you know each was tied in part to my choosing a different SSG than had been the case up to that point — but not this time. CTCAJW Mode has no relationship whatsoever to which tool will build these pages. Whether the site is on Astro, Eleventy, Hugo, or even something else out there that’s yet to attract my fickle brain, we are locked and loaded on CTCAJW Mode.

. . . whatever that eventually means, which I hope will be clearer (including for me) as time passes.

Comments? Brickbats? Molotov cocktails, even? I welcome your thoughts — just as I hope you’ll continue to visit here and welcome mine.

  1. Before I decided to whack hero images again, I did something I don’t recall doing before the previous deletions thereof: I pulled up blogs from some of my favorite web developers to see what they were doing. I was surprised to find the vast majority do not use hero images with their articles. I was even more surprised that this was true among those who tend to write more about look-and-feel than about the nuts and bolts of coding. So, if I needed any further confirmation that my decision had some solid precedent out there, that little survey-of-sorts was it. ↩︎

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