A new start

It's been over seven years since I wrote my first post on this blog. In those seven years I've averaged a whopping post every two months. I don't think anybody could accuse me of writing too much.

When I first started I quickly fell into the trap that every post had to be useful. It sounds logical, but what it actually means is I've ended up with a folder full of drafts and not much else.

Lately I've been reading through my old writings. Over the years I've kept journals, written blog posts and kept various activity streams. Going back to them was enlightening (to say the least), and it made me a little sad that I hadn't written more.

The funny thing is that I actively try to avoid writing about myself on this site. Funnier still is that I deliberatly bought a domain with my name in it to force me to write about myself.

Starting again. Kind of.

Last year I converted the main site to Jekyll. Previously it was just a bunch of custom PHP files which meant adding new content to the site was a bit of a pain. After the conversion everything on the front end is kept in plaintext (org-mode formatted) and then built using Jekyll.

One side effect of the conversion was I felt much more comfortable editing and adding content. I've decided to see if this effect will work on other areas, so of today the blog is now built using the same process.

There's still a few other things I want to get working, but I didn't want to get stuck in the whole perfection-procrastination loop. I don't really know where I'm going with all this, but I think I'm starting to appreciate that the process is as important as the result.

Posted in: General | Comments (0)

WordPress + Beeminder = Happy Blogger

I've been using Beeminder for a couple of months now, and I've grown rather fond of its stick based approach to goal achievement.

However, one of the biggest problems I have with the service is the data entry side. Although it's pretty easy to add new data, frequently entering new data points can add a little friction to the whole process.

Thankfully the folks at Beeminder released an API a few weeks, so I've been playing around with ways of integrating it with my work flow. One thing I've wanted to do for a long time is blog more frequently, so a WordPress plugin to notify Beeminder when I post seemed like a good idea.

So here it is.

Beeminder Ping

Beeminder Ping is a really simple plugin for WordPress that notifies Beeminder whenever a post is published. Amazing features include:

  • Notify a Beeminder goal with a single value when a post is published. Good for "post 5 times a week" style goals.
  • Notify a Beeminder with the word count of a newly published post. Perfect for "write 1,000 words a week" style goals.
  • Only notify Beeminder for newly published posts, not edited posts or ones that have been moved from published -> draft -> published.

You can download the latest release from the Beeminder Ping page, either as a tar.gz file or a zip. Once installed, you can enable the different notification types and set which goals should be pinged.


As Carl Sagan would say, if you want to write Beeminder Ping, you must first create the universe. Luckily the universe is already here, but I needed a way to interface with the API using PHP, so I wrote beeminder-api. It's still a work-in-progress, but you can download the source from GitHub and play around with it. Please let me know if anything is broken, missing, or just plain sucks.

Posted in: Writing | Comments (9)