Catching Up 2022

November 9, 2022

Well, well…​ Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends! We’re so glad you could attend. Come inside, come inside!

Only two years since my last 'catching up'. That is half the prior catch up. Rock on!

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Cryogen 101

April 9, 2020

Given the dizzying array of static site generators that have sprung up the past few years, inquiring minds may wonder…​

Why Cryogen?

Good question. Indeed. With about as many answers as those askin'. The bottom line is that it pretty much boils down to personal preferences. Let me break some of mine down. Language is as good a place to begin as any.

Why Clojure?

I used to think Clojure was the next big whizz bang thang and dreamed about learning it. One of these days. When I had some spare time. Then came Go. And the rest is history. My experience with Go is limited but it does not trip my trigger. I am not inspired to learn it. I do still like functional Lispy things. Cryogen is based on Clojure. Clojure is Lispy. Ergo Cryogen is Cool™.

But Java Sucks

Maybe. Maybe not. Have you evaluated Java lately?

If platform agnosticism is high on your list then Java certainly offers a win. Although worthy of bonus points if well implemented, cross platform portability is not a big concern in my little hole in the wall blog my world. But there are other worlds. Like multi author sites where this does factor prominently. Hence I also hold such capabilities in some regard.

There will be those who whinge on about this that or the other issue with Java’s virtual machine, license, overhead, whatever. Java is evil. Yes, there will be significant start up overhead. But not really. Use Java 8, nothing greater, nothing less. You will see that much of that carping is ancient press and herd think. Particularly among a certain sector. Holy moly!! A CLI Junky just bold enough to say it. Roh, roh!

So moving on, once again it all boils down to your use case. Depending on perspective, objectives and priorities, this investment may, or may not, be well spent. Now that I have covered all my bases with circular logic…​ Bottom line is that jvm startup overhead is a non issue for me as it simply does not bother me to have to wait a few seconds for my environment to be set up.

Or not. Whatever trips your trigger. It’s not worth a religious war.

Work Flow

So I guess it must be about the environment, eh? Yep. I gots me a REPL fer' me bee loggin'. And I likes it. I find it useful. Functional. No hassle. You get the drill. And so does Cryogen.

My Cryogen Machine is smart enough to monitor file modification times for changes and parse as appropriate in a timely manner. We are not done yet. Nope. This machine thang can also optionally fire up a local webserver running on unpriviliged high port 3000 so you can visualize your handiwork real time. With options to also launch and display that modified page in your web browser. Or not, if you just want to run a quick parse job [1] before uploading a hot fix to remedy a typo. Publication involves transfer to your public facing webserver via whatever mechs suit your fancy. [2]

Oh, yeah. Cryogen requires minimal configuration and looks pretty decent out of the box. The basic knobs are damned simple. So you are free to get to work on creating content rather than wading through configuration file minutiae. Speaking of which…​


Cryogen supports both Asciidoc and Markdown[3] sans the need for any 'extras' or 'plugins'. Hence, unlike many other SSG offerings, Asciidoc is supported as a first class citizen. Free and open software is in no small part about freedom. Cryogen makes it easy to exercise that freedom.

If you have an investment in Markdown then Markdown certainly makes sense. I did not. As I had no dog in the fight, I put each through its paces from the perspective of a naive user. [4] I prefer Asciidoc. End user perceptions are five nines of reality. I get a warm fuzzy feeling about documents marked up with Asciidoc. Groove on it.™

Theming & Templates

Cryogen ships with a few basic themes that get the job done. That said, this is one potential downside of Cryogen. As of this writing four themes come bundled with Cryogen. If eye candy and JAMStack wizardry are high on your list of priorities you likely want to either be prepared to roll up your sleeves or look elsewhere. In which case you may want to investigate Gatsby, Hugo, or NEXT.js. I am not an UX front end designer. Nor do I have any desire to become one. I appreciate aesthetics but function even more and prioritize lean, mean, and nimble web sites. There is only so much time for indulgin' in bee loggin' and I would rather spend it writing content than pursuing design awards for presentation. Thus, the screen adaptive out of the box themes bundled with Cryogen suffice nicely for me. A bit of CSS tuning and I am a happy camper.

Cryogen favors Selmer templates to facilitate knob tweakin' by intermediate and advanced users. Selmer is a powerful templating engine and has all the features you’d expect from a modern template system. If you’ve ever used Jinga2 or Mako, you will probably also feel at home with Selmer in short order.

Should templating prove inadequate for your adventures, power users have Clojure and all those mature Java libaries at their disposal. Code on, Garth!

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Catching Up...

April 2, 2020

Yep. It has been a while, eh? Teamcool Networks has been around since early days of the 'Net. Teamcool Rocks Blog, not so long.

That Was Then

I started the blog as a pragmatic response to an itch that needed scratchin'. Knowing how cool ZFS is from my FreeBSD and OpenSolaris usage, I was an early adopter of ZFS on Linux. [1] As fate would have it, I was also early to encounter some problems and get a few things figured out systems side before very many other bright and talented folks did. As ZOL began to gain traction I became somewhat of a "go to" guy on a couple IRC channels, at least with respect to various sysadmin aspects of getting it up and running. Go figure.

I grew weary of repeatedly answering the same questions so posted a few ZOL articles. Which became quite popular and prompted inquiries about other things like my workstation and preferred tool chains. It also appeared that some minor sub population appreciated deeper understanding of the hows and whys over the more ubiquitous, and more oft than not, quick and dirty copycat copy pasta [2] "solutions" running amok in the tech blogosphere. So I wrote a couple more articles to elaborate upon said mysteries.

As the story goes, after Ubuntu made the bold move of including ZOL as a supported file system in their shinny gui installer it did not take long for ZOL popularity to skyrocket into the stratosphere. A huge demand for articles more digestible by droves of entry to intermediate level Ubuntu Desktop Users ensued. The tech writer communities did not disappoint. Some had jobs sponsored by Big Company Dot Com’s. It did not take them long before the blogoshpere was awash with ZOL articles. Concomitantly, the increased uptake spawned demand for better tooling so getting started with ZOL became considerably easier. Hence, I did not see any need to elaborate further and called it good.

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Daily Driver Trifecta

August 4, 2016

Worksations are typically customized to perform various specialized tasks but every toolbox is founded upon three essential apps; text editor, teminal, and web browser. The daily driver trifecta.

Five nines of my computer time deals with text. Either reading or composing it. No surprise then that text based, command line driven tools take center stage.

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Flirting With Voidlinux

July 16, 2016

Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends, we’re so glad you could attend, come inside, come inside. If you’ve just arrived by way of prism, the rest of us have completed a freshie ZOL enhanced Voidlinux minimal install that’s ready to build out for workstation duty. Yippie yi yo kiyah!

We’re using ZOL and have snapshotted our freshie base. As noted above, I plan on using this puppy in a workstation capacity. Presuming your hardware isn’t too exotic, this guide should get you a functioning plain vanilla minimal Xorg configuration using twm, xterm, and good 'ol xclock that you can then season to taste with your favorite window manager or integrated desktop environment. I prefer crafting a customized desktop experience built upon a stand alone window manger over prefabbed integrated desktop environments. What can I say? I like to tweak. Maybe you do too. It can be one hell of a time sink but the rewards are there for those willing to put in the effort. If not, no need to stress. Others have gone before you and Voidlinux offers several popular desktop environments. A couple even come standard with kitchen sinks. Yeah, haw!

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