Static Websites with Hugo

I created a website back in 2010. It’s a professional website. It has a personal profile, description of the work, location and contact page. None of these change with any regularity. So, I just needed a few static pages.

I wanted to get up something quick. So, I had coded what I needed over a week, wrote all the copy and put the site up. Back then, around a quarter of the population had a smart phone, so it did not seem necessary to worry about mobile access to the site. So, I have a great site that works well for the PC. But, it’s useless on mobile. That’s not going to work in 2019.

But, I’ve been dreading doing the update. I figured it would be an unmitigated pain to code a site that worked across platforms. Being inclined to take the easiest route to solve a problem, I thought I might check to see if there was some free software that would help me make the transition with a minimum of fuss.

Turns out, there’s a lot of open source software to build static websites. Jekyll and Hugo are probably the most popular. But, Wintersmith, Harp, Middleman, and others are all viable options. I ended up using Hugo because of the two top options it didn’t require installation of any additional software on my system.

It ended up taking about two days to port the website content to Hugo. Most of the time was just understanding how Hugo works, such as the need to create directories and then put an in each of them to get the content to link up right from the main page.

In retrospect, there are two main considerations in this process. One, pick a system that will convert your old website for you, if you have a large site. For small static sites like mine, this really isn’t a problem. Two, make sure whatever you use has good theme support and choose a theme that has the built in look and feel you want for your site.

For example, I looked at Nikola first, but its theme support is largely non-existent. It became apparent I’d have better luck choosing the top two options after looking at this one.

Once the choice of system and theme is made, the coding and porting of sites is pretty straight-forward. I did have to noodle around a bit with templates to get the result I wanted, but it wasn’t much different from using HTML, just at one level of abstraction.

If you have the need to put up a small website that works on both PCs and mobile, using a static site generator like Hugo will save you a lot of time and be relatively painless. Recommended.

Improving Your Ability To Think

“Here are three ways you can use to put second order thinking into practice today.

Always ask yourself “And then what?”
Think through time — What do the consequences look like in 10 minutes? 10 months? 10 Years? 1
Create templates like the second image above with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd order consequences. Identify your decision and think through and write down the consequences. If you review these regularly you’ll be able to help calibrate your thinking.
(Bonus) If you’re using this to think about business decisions, ask yourself how important parts of the ecosystem are likely to respond. How will employees deal with this? What will my competitors likely do? What about my suppliers? What about the regulators? Often the answer will be little to no impact, but you want to understand the immediate and second-order consequences before you make the decision.

—”Second-Order Thinking: What Smart People Use to Outperform.” Farnam Street. April 2016.

Power of the Powerless, Vaclav Havel (1978)

“Ideology is a specious way of relating to the world. It offers human beings the illusion of an identity, of dignity, and of morality while making it easier for them to part with them. As the repository of something suprapersonal and objective, it enables people to deceive their conscience and conceal their true position and their inglorious modus vivendi, both from the world and from themselves. It is a very pragmatic but, at the same time, an apparently dignified way of legitimizing what is above, below, and on either side. It is directed toward people and toward God. It is a veil behind which human beings can hide their own fallen existence, their trivialization, and their adaptation to the status quo.”

—Vaclav Havel, “Power of the Powerless.”

Against Hustle

“Even Thomas Merton — a mid-twentieth century activist monk who lived at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky, and whom Odell holds up as a model of informed, participatory refusal — might have difficulty following the same path today. My mom lives a couple hours away from the Abbey of Gethsemani and when we went there a few months ago there were barely any monks left. Reading a flyer I realized that not only do you have to renounce all worldly belongings to join the Abbey, you can’t bring any debt with you. Charities can alleviate some of the burden, but even becoming a monk won’t necessarily help you escape student loans.”

—Rebecca McCarthy, “Against Hustle: Jenny Odell Is Taking Her Time at the End of the World.” April 2019.

Judgment vs. Judgmental

I was thinking about the differences between the noun judgment, “[t]he act or process of judging; the formation of an opinion after consideration or deliberation,” and its adjective judgmental, “[i]nclined to make judgments.” The adjectival form, by being inclined to make judgements, seems to suggest more opinionated based on prejudices rather than inclined to form them after consideration or deliberation.

To clarify a bit more, I turned to Webster, which has seven aspects to the definition of judgment:

  1. The act of judging; the operation of the mind, involving comparison and discrimination, by which a knowledge of the values and relations of things, whether of moral qualities, intellectual concepts, logical propositions, or material facts, is obtained; as, by careful judgment he avoided the peril; by a series of wrong judgments he forfeited confidence.
  2. The power or faculty of performing such operations (see 1); esp., when unqualified, the faculty of judging or deciding rightly, justly, or wisely; good sense; as, a man of judgment; a politician without judgment.
  3. The conclusion or result of judging; an opinion; a decision.
  4. The act of determining, as in courts of law, what is conformable to law and justice; also, the determination, decision, or sentence of a court, or of a judge; the mandate or sentence of God as the judge of all.
  5. (Philos.) (a) That act of the mind by which two notions or ideas which are apprehended as distinct are compared for the purpose of ascertaining their agreement or disagreement. See 1. The comparison may be threefold: (1) Of individual objects forming a concept. (2) Of concepts giving what is technically called a judgment. (3) Of two judgments giving an inference. Judgments have been further classed as analytic, synthetic, and identical. (b) That power or faculty by which knowledge dependent upon comparison and discrimination is acquired. See 2.
  6. A calamity regarded as sent by God, by way of recompense for wrong committed; a providential punishment.
  7. (Theol.) The final award; the last sentence.

My sense is that judgment, in modern usage, sticks with the main line of the definition in 1, i.e., careful consideration of discriminating rightly, justly or wisely. Whereas judgmental conveys the sense of the definition of 2 and 4, it’s an opinion by the unqualified, rendered based on whether it conforms to some arbitrary standard. Interesting that the form of the word can give such a different shade of meaning.

Weird Paul Interview: Vlogging Since 1984, Rocking Since 1987

“Imagine the irreverence of Barnes & Barnes circa their Voobaha album, apply a lo-fi punk aesthetic, add a dash of Half Japanese or the Ramones, sprinkle the lyrical sensibilities of Daniel Johnston on top, puree it in the blender and you have the music of Weird Paul Petroskey. It is pretty great, too.”

—David Buck, “Meet Weird Paul.” Tedium. April 18, 2019.

More than you ever wanted to know about Weird Paul Petroskey.

Nazi Gold

“Legendary skateboarder and artist Jerry Hsu started his blog Nazi Gold in 2009 as a repository for the cell phone photos he’d been collecting alongside his more traditional photography and film practices: shots of friends and strangers, roadside curiosities, and anything else that seemed to merit instant sharing with both peers and the public. In the ensuing years, the site grew from an exercise in visual note-taking into a uniquely hysterical embodiment of both Hsu’s keen artistic sense and his razor-sharp wit. Documenting his journeys through the high and low trappings of our culture, Hsu’s work captures everything from bootleg t-shirts and bathroom stall graffiti to unexpected truths and the occasional startling moment of humanity.”

—Description of blog called Nazi Gold turned into coffee table book by the publisher, Anthology