Adding an RSS feed to my wiki

TiddlyWiki is a single static HTML file. It does not generate an RSS feed of new entries. It doesn’t generate anything.

I treat my wiki at wiki.baty.net more like a blog than a wiki, so not having an RSS feed feels like an omission. Most of the time I consider this to be a feature. I like that I can write any old nonsense and it doesn’t actively go out and bother anyone. It’s my little secret, that you can read if you want.

On the other hand, I find it annoying when I’m interested in someone else’s writing and they don’t provide any feeds. So, I’ve decided to make it easier to follow me. I suppose if you deliberately subscribe to the wiki’s feed, you want to be bothered by the stuff I write there.

My solution is based on this article . The short version is that I created a new tiddler named “RSS Feed” containing the following:

This tiddler runs a filter finding the last 10 tiddlers tagged with Feed and renders them as RSS-formatted XML.

Extracting the rendered text from that tiddler out to an RSS file is done using my Makefile using the TiddlyWiki node.js module . The command is as follows:

tiddlywiki --load index.html --render "[[RSS Feed]]" "rss.xml" text/plain

This generates a file at ./output/rss.xml containing the rendered RSS text/xml. Later in the Makefile, I rsync rss.xml up to the server along with the rest of the wiki files. Here’s the complete Makefile:

SERVER_HOST=server01.baty.net
SERVER_DIR=/home/jbaty/apps/rudimentarylathe.wiki/public_html
PUBLIC_DIR=~/Sync/wikis/rudimentarylathe/
TARGET=server01.baty.net

.POSIX:
.PHONY: checkpoint deploy

build:
        tiddlywiki --load index.html --render "[[RSS Feed]]" "rss.xml" text/plain

checkpoint:
        git add .
        git diff-index --quiet HEAD || git commit -m "Publish checkpoint"

deploy: build checkpoint
        git push
        @echo "33[0;32mDeploying updates to $(TARGET)...33[0m"
        rsync -v -rz --checksum --delete --no-perms $(PUBLIC_DIR)index.html $(SERVER_HOST):$(SERVER_DIR)
        rsync -v -rz --checksum --delete --no-perms $(PUBLIC_DIR)output/rss.xml $(SERVER_HOST):$(SERVER_DIR)
        rsync -v -rz --checksum --delete --no-perms $(PUBLIC_DIR)files $(SERVER_HOST):$(SERVER_DIR)

All this means is that you can now subscribe to the daily posts at wiki.baty.net using the following URL: https://wiki.baty.net/rss.xml .

The odd thing is that I normally create each daily post first thing in the morning and update it throughout the day. I’m not sure how different RSS readers will handle this, but it’s a start.

I haven’t added the discovery links yet, but should. I also don’t think the RSS tiddler needs all those non-breaking spaces so I may play with that later.

Update March 11, 2022: Saq Imtiaz sent a link to his experimental plugin for generating RSS and JSON feeds . Worth a look!

Music: Stream or buy?

Which is right for me, streaming or buying my music?

TL;DR: Both

Phil’s recent note about streaming vs “owning” caused me to review how I think about it. My attitude about “owning” music continues to evolve.

One advantage I may have is that I don’t think of streaming services as music that I “rent” and that can be ripped out from underneath me any time. To me, streaming services are $10/month commercial-free radios that let me play DJ. I never worry that, if they disappear, I would no longer have access to that music. The most I’d lose would be my playlists and an educated AI. That doesn’t concern me at all. I don’t make playlists. I almost always listen to albums, as god intended.

I use Roon for music. Roon is (far and away) my favorite way to browse and manage my music library. It can also hook into Tidal or Qobuz and magically combines my local library with one (or both) of those streaming services.

Roon doesn’t work outside my LAN, so when I’m not home I use Apple Music. It’s fine, and it comes with my Apple One subscription, so it’s likely I’ll keep it.

Speaking of subscriptions, Roon costs money. And the service I choose, Qobuz, also costs money. Subscription Fatigue is real, and I’ve been evaluating the things I’m paying for every month.

The good news is that I paid for a lifetime license to Roon years ago, so that’s no longer costing me anything. Qobuz is around $11/month. I like the service, but it might be the least “necessary”. What if I were to cancel? I’d have to rely on music I own, on my hard drive. I’ve decided that this is OK. Preferable, even.

My digital music collection is sparse, and it sucks. Mostly bad CD rips from 90s. Can’t get too much Chalk Farm, right? But then, in comes Bandcamp , and kind of changes the game. I can buy great new music in a way that gets me immediate, permanent FLAC copies that don’t cost too much. Also, the artists get an average of 82% of every purchase. Everybody wins.

This means that if I buy one or two albums a month on average from Bandcamp, I’m about even with what I was spending on Qobuz. And I “own” the music. And I get to use Roon.

I have two modes when it comes to music. The first is that I just want to have some music on. For that, I can stream Apple Music. The other mode is deliberate listening. I want this to be high-quality and under my control. Purchased music that I own and manage is perfect for that.

And don’t forget, for when I’m all-in, I have a nice vinyl collection.

So, I’ve settled into a comfortable combination of both streaming and owning my music.

Starting with a clean desk

My workspace

My home office environment was getting out of hand, clutter-wise. They say that a messy desk is the sign of a creative mind. Maybe so, but I’m more of a tidy desk person.

I’ll sometimes notice that I’m easily provoked, frustrated, or otherwise feeling edgy. Then I’ll clean my office and I always feel better.

The worst thing for me is to set something on my desk because I don’t yet know where I’m going to put it. Then it just sits there, for weeks, nagging me out of the corner of my eye. Drives me nuts. Or, I’ll knock something over or cords will tangle or I’ll be unable to find something because it’s under something else. Aargh!

My workspace doesn’t need to be a minimalist, Instagram-worthy setup. It just needs to be organized and tidy. I cleaned my desk yesterday and have been in a better mood since. ????

Visual Meditation

I’m not sure I’ll ever be capable of sustaining an ongoing “meditation practice”.

The idea of regular meditation is compelling, but after many attempts I’m starting to think it may never stick. This is likely because I’ve not practiced long or consistently enough, but my brain just refuses to stay quiet or focused.

Instead, I’ve been making daily drawings. Or, more precisely, “doodles”. I find that mindlessly drawing random or repeating patterns soothes me. It’s a relaxing form of perhaps, if not meditation, mental relaxation. And calling them doodles helps me to avoid the feeling that they are “bad” drawings. It doesn’t matter.

Drawing may not have the consciousness-altering effect of consistent meditation, but it helps clear my head and lets my mind breathe a little.

May is “Easy Mode” month

I’m exhausted. I think it’s because I haven’t been working in more than a month and my brain has had too much free time to “figure stuff out.” (Yes, I know how it sounds to complain about exhaustion while not having a job!)

As an experiment, I’m going to live the month of May in “Easy Mode”. This means I’m going to solve problems with quick, obvious, easy solutions. I’m going to use the easy-to-use tools. And I’m going to make various processes as easy as possible.

Examples? Sure!

  • Roam not Emacs
  • Lightroom CC not Photo Mechanic and Capture One
  • Things not Org mode
  • Day One not Org Journal
  • WordPress not Hugo
  • Streaming music not FLAC/MP3 files
  • Netflix not Plex
  • Books not Kindle
  • Walks not Workouts
  • Mac not Linux

It could be argued that some of these are backwards, but this is where I’m starting, and the gist is: nothing fancy for a while.

★★★ 3 stars by default

Here’s my star rating system for everything:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Loved it!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ It was good
⭐️⭐️⭐️ It was OK
⭐️⭐️ I didn’t like it
⭐️ Hated it

With me, everything gets 3 stars by default. Books, movies, photographs, everything: 3 stars right off the bat. I always assume that this new thing or person or conversation will be OK at the very least. This applies to more than just media. It applies to people, too. Sometimes I’m disappointed and end up with 1 or 2 stars, but more often than not I’m surprised and delighted and my opinion of something or someone goes up rather than down.

Too many people seem to start out assuming everything and everyone only deserve 1 or 2 stars. They expect to dislike everything by default. This doesn’t seem healthy to me. Why go out of your way to look for trouble?