sad spiders

I need to work on my definition of idiot

Starting a blog is super-easy. Right?

My original thought was to sit down and write an article on “how any idiot can start a blog using Hugo”. Hugo is a static site generator, which means that I create all my blog posts and Hugo mushes them into a usable website like you are using right now. There is minimal interactivity and no database so I thought the whole thing should be pretty for anyone to jump into and use.

The other perk that drew me into Hugo was the these posts are all written using a format called Markdown. A file written in markdown is just a normal boring text file that uses various combinations of characters for formatting. The thought is that these files can be read in plaintext format (like if you opened it in Notepad) or if you opened it in a dedicated markdown editor, like Typora or some online eitor. [Aside: I actually spent real money on Typora. It’s like if Word was stripped down to the functions you actually use.]

Just as an example, here’s what a snippet of markdown might look like:

# This is the title of the page
## And this is a second-level header

I am some text! I can be *italic* or **bold**! You can also include [links to Blurt](

Not bad, hey? Even without much knowledge of markdown, you can hopefully get a sense of how it works.

So what’s the problem?

It turns out that at some point along the way I went full-nerd and forgot what a normal computer user is like. I sit here typing this into VSCode my desktop computer where I can easily access my Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL2) or have two Raspberry Pi’s in the basement that I can SSH into for whatever reasons. Before your eyes glaze over and you leave this site never to return, that stuff wasn’t supposed to make sense to you – and that’s the point.

When I was going to write that “any idiot could do it”, what I meant was “any idiot with a decent amount of experience using a command-line and who is happy to websearch the inevitable problem points can do it” and holy crap are those two statements ever not the same.

I was hoping I could write out some quick instructions here so that maybe a couple of friends might start some blogs and we can be part of an online blog-gang and rove around intimidating other blog-gangs or blog-citizens and experimenting with Cryptocurrencies/Web3 (the smoking of the internet). So what I will do instead, is break things down into two groups. The first being a quick version of what I’m using so the bigger nerds out there have a starting point. The second will be for normies who just want to start writing without getting bogged down in frustration before giving up and using Facebook as their soapbox of choice.

Sup, nerds? (normies can skip to the next section)

As mentioned multiple times like it was Crossfit or something, I am using Hugo to generate the site. The pros of using Hugo are the superfast build speeds and quick hot-reloads via websockets which allow for a quick and pretty great development experience. It’s also a single binary without dependencies so it should be a lot easier to maintain in the long run. The templating language could apparently use some work but I don’t have many downsides since I am using it for the simplest possible site. And that’s it, my database is folders of markdown files and my front-end is the Bearblog theme with a few tweaks to improve a11y. It’s great for this purpose, I even plan to use minimal images which is strange for me because I love images.

Once everything was in place, I pushed the code to a public Github repository since I don’t give two shits about security because what are people going to do, hack and leak my publically available blog posts? Have fun with that.

To publish the site I signed up for an account on Netlify, said “use the repo at this address” and they said “cool” and like two minutes later I was live! They use webhooks or something so that every time I push new updates to Github, the new site is built within a couple of minutes and we’re off to the races! It’s pretty great since the whole point of sad spiders was “simple as possible for minimal excuses”. I recommend this pipeline, I like it.

Sup, other nerds? (yes, this is you, normie)

Now when I say “normie”, I don’t mean to be mean like I normally do. Just that you don’t feel like plodding through a whole ton of crap just to start a really basic blog, and I applaud you for your mature, informed decision. So what do you do?

I considered sending out a few links to various blogging platforms but I decided I don’t want to do that. I want to send you to Bear Blog because it’s as barebones as sad spiders and that’s what I want from people. Content, not zazz. Sometimes zazz, but not always zazz. So get yourself on over there and sign up and let me know so I can add you to my as-yet-uncreated Friends page!

Up and at them

I’m getting real sick of the normal internet. The articles are all interesting but after reading them I don’t feel any better. I would way rather read some BS that people I actually know have written rather than some carefully crafted nonsense. It’s the same way I’d rather watch Father Ted over Game of Thrones.

Sometimes in media, the message is the message. Marshall McLuhan, you idiot.

#coding #meta