The personal weblog of Jack Baty

Leeloo 2005-2016

Leeloo. 2005-2016

Shortly after Christmas, 2005, my daughter surprised me by taking me to the local Humane Society and handing me an envelope with enough money for an adoption. She wanted me to pick out a new puppy. We already had 2 dogs at the time so I wasn’t exactly keen on getting a third, but I said I’d take a look.

I immediately fell in love with an adorable pit bull mix and we took her home. She was strong and beautiful so I decided to name her “Leeloo”, after Milla Jovovich’s strong, odd, and beautiful character in “The Fifth Element”.

Leeloo had funny ears and the sweetest disposition. I loved her.

A few weeks ago she stopped eating. After about a week we learned that her kidneys were failing, and quickly. We tried a number of treatments but her condition continued to worsen, and the decision was made to put her down.

I am heartbroken, but thankful that she was kind enough to spend her 10 years with me.

I’ve selected some of my favorite photos of Leeloo and created a collection on Flickr here:

Or if Flickr ever goes away, there’s a copy of them here:

I’ll miss my sweet Leeloo.

In 2003 I was using Blosxom to publish this blog. Even though Blosxom rendered via Perl, it was essentially a static blogging engine. All content was maintaned as simple text files. I tired of always editing text files and so I built a very simple static blogging CMS for Blosxom. I called it PHPetal. It worked well for what I needed, which was a web UI for editing content in a static CMS.

More than a dozen years later, I’m again using a static blogging engine for my blog (Hugo). And once again, I sometimes miss having a simple UI for editing content, but there’s no way I’m going to write another editor for it.


Forestry is “A simple CMS for Jekyll and Hugo sites.” The fact that it works with both Jekyll and Hugo is great (since I use Hugo but Jekyll seems to get all the love).

I imported my blog (via Gitlab repo) and am writing this post directly in the Forestry CMS. When a post is saved, it commits the file to the Gitlab repo, which then automatically publishes and deploys via Netlify. It may be another moving part, but it’s optional and doesn’t actually take away any control.

And in the end, it’s still just HTML files on a server.

Since Living Alone - Durga Chew-Bose

Durga Chew-Bose:

Both versions of me, since living alone, have settled into a one woman show that I star in and attend, that I produce and buy a ticket, but sometimes fail to show up to, because as it happens, living alone has only further indulged the woman — me — who cancels a plan to stay in and excitedly ad-lib doing nothing at all.

I’ve lived alone for quite a few years now. I’m not lonely, but am frequently alone. This is my default–my preference, given the choice.

Being alone much of the time gives me room. Room to explore. Room to “stay in and excitedly ad-lib doing nothing at all”. I love that last phrase, and doing nothing at all is my favorite thing to do.

Or it was.

I’m learning that not having any constraints with my free time leaves me wandering a little too aimlessly. I drift more than I do. I’m learning that one of the things I seem to enjoy most is actually making me less happy; less productive.

I have some ideas on how to change this, but they’re secret, for now.

Netlify and Hugo

I upgraded my iMac to the latest macOS Sierra beta. I thought everything was working fine until I tried to publish a short blog post about the experience.

My Hugo and/or Go installation was broken so I could not build my site. This meant I couldn’t publish to my blog. Ironic, no? Rather than waiting for things to be fixed, I decided to find a way around the problem.

Enter Netlify.

I’ve wanted to use Netlify again ever since they’d removed the builds-per-day limit. (I tend to make a lot of corrections after publishing). I added my site’s configuration to Netlify, pointed it to my Gitlab repo and added the appropriate DNS records. Five minutes later the site was built (via Hugo) and deployed to Netlify’s servers and CDN.

Now, every time I commit to master and push to Gitlab, Netlify automatically builds and deploys everything for me. I’m a fan of simple, static files on a server I control, but Netlify offers benefits that make it worth giving up a little control. For example, I can fix a typo by editing a file using the Gitlab web UI and the site will be built and deployed automatically. This lets me make edits on my iPad, which can be handy.

Continuous Deployment, a CDN, easy rollbacks, CLI, free one-click SSL, and a generous free tier. Pretty nice, Netlify.

Imaging, Snapchat and mobile — Benedict Evans

Benedict Evans:

So, you break up your assumptions about the models that you have to follow. You don’t have to save the photos - they can disappear. You’re not paying to process a roll of 28 exposures anymore. You can capture all the time, not just the moment you press the ‘shutter’ button (which, for example, gives us Apple’s live photos). The video doesn’t have to be linear - you don’t have to record just the right bits as though you were splicing a mix tape or recording from live radio.

“You don’t have to save the photos - they can disappear”

I know that wasn’t the point of his post, but dammit I wish people would stop saying it. You don’t have to save all of them, but you sure as hell should save some of them. Or maybe you don’t care that you’ll end up with nothing to show your grandkids.

Why Tim Berners-Lee is no friend of Facebook - The Guardian

John Naughton:

Facebook is what we used to call a “walled garden” and now call a silo: a controlled space in which people are allowed to do things that will amuse them while enabling Facebook to monetise their data trails. One network to rule them all. If you wanted a vision of the opposite of the open web, then Facebook is it.

I’m as critical of Facebook as anyone, but I tire of this trope. Facebook is of course a silo, but it’s also just a privately-owned app on the open web. In that way it’s no different than this here humble weblog, albeit somewhat more popular.


Cloudinary is pretty impressive. I’ve only used it in small doses recently but so far it’s been a very nice image hosting/manipulation/delivery service. The free tier has been plenty for me.

I really like the “fetch” option which pulls images from a remote URL and then transforms and caches them automatically. That way I can leave the “master” images on my own server while utilizing Cloudinary for delivery.

Slack Is All Hose And No Bucket | Hapgood

Mike Caulfield:

No, my problem with Slack is that it is all hose and no bucket. You can search through conversations and find meaningful facts, but for us, at least, conversation is so easy that it can (and does) erode the impulse to do more end-to-end treatments of things. Community knowledge accretes but never quite pools.

“Community knowledge accretes but never quite pools”. This is exactly the problem I’ve been grappling with. I introduced Slack at Fusionary during the original beta and it’s been fantastic, but like all messaging tools, it sidesteps the need for collating corporate knowledge.

A time-based stream of quick messages offers no coherent whole–no summary derived from the experience.

A Tool like Pingpad is a step in the right direction but it has a long way to go. We need something though.

Discord in the Music Business


But the release of the album last weekend, through an exclusive deal with Apple, has also roiled the industry, bringing to the surface long-simmering tensions that record companies have with streaming music services, and sometimes even with their own artists.

Streaming music is darn handy, but I prefer owning physical copies of albums that are important to me. I’d rather not rely upon the whims of a “service” in order to listen to my music.