Jeremy Cherfas: Posts

Jeremy Cherfas

IndieWeb Challenge Day 11

A very, very small fix today.1

  1. The formatting of footnotes had been driving me nuts, but not nuts enough to do anything about it. Until today. The marker is now where it ought to be, and the font size a smidgen smaller. 

Wed, 11 Dec 2019 12:30:00 +0100

IndieWeb Challenge Day 10

I've wanted for ages to be able to do visual representations of some of the data I collect, and as I had a bit more time than usual yesterday I finally made the effort to understand chartist.js and put it to work.

First, though, I got rid of a few things that my new theme was loading and that were leftovers from a previous life. That made it easier to see what was going on. Following the very clear instructions made it relatively easy to get a test chart visible, and with that done, I stuck in some of my own data, and voilá!

This is actually a daily plot of the number of spam comments I get over on the stream. It was the biggest set of data I could easily lay my hands on. To get it to display intelligibly I had to meddle with the styling of the bars on the chart in my custom.css, and I am hoping I may be able to do that on the fly in future; tricky, but possible. I also suppressed labels on the abscissa, because I don't have the actual dates.1

For now, the data are actually in the script here in the source. Next I want to see whether I can read the data in from a separate file. And ultimately, store the script elsewhere too.

For now, I am very content.

  1. Well, I have the start date, so I could reconstruct the series, but life is too short.  

Tue, 10 Dec 2019 12:30:00 +0100

Monthly report: November 2019

Best part of the month was a brief trip to Venice to see two of my very best friends and just hang out with them. My first experience of acqua alta too, which made it even more interesting.

Drinking a coffee standing in high water

Highlights of the month:


Weight crept up a bit, although overall still trending down. Steps and sleep stayed just about the same. Now only 65% more active and sleep 13% longer than average.


Exercise has taken a beating this month, not helped by a bad cold in the final week. The 7-minute workout thing still isn't really gelling.

Reading is low, because I don't count reading online or magazines, and after finishing my most recent book, I couldn't decide where to go next.

Interesting new podcast series from Tim Harford and Pushkin Industries. I haven't subscribed to Cautionary Tales (yet?) but I heard two episodes shared elsewhere. Currently feeling a bit overwhelmed by the backlog.


Not too much in the way of paid work this month, which was a bit of a blessing as it allowed me to finalise my accounts for the past tax year and get them sent off. That's the big chunk of Admin time.

Month Total Daily Admin % ETP % Other %
11 154.1 8.1 63 18 19
10 96.5 4.5 37 19 44
09 128 6.1 33 28 39
08 110 3.1 38 37 25
07 58 2.9 22 21 57
06 75 3.75 38 18 44
05 145 7.25 40 2 58
04 128 6.4 37 28 35
03 158 7.5 44 28 28
02 121 6.0 32 42 26
2019-01 95 5.4 39 13 48
10 100 4.2 41 34 25
09 131 6.5 45 23 32
08 185 8.0 14 85 1
07 68 5.25 25 63 12
06 96 5.75 34 9 57
05 151 6.0 36 20 44
04 159 7.5 29 29 40
2018-03 152 7.0 20 10 70


Five new posts, but only three old posts. These are they.


Still no nearer displaying information here visually. Well, a little nearer, as I continue to learn, but no nearer actually doing it.

Final remarks

I committed to fixing something on this site every day for at least seven days, and probably less than 101 days.

Mon, 09 Dec 2019 18:32:00 +0100

IndieWeb Challenge Day 9

Updated one of the more useful Grav plugins, TwigFeeds. This had been rewritten to take advantage of a better feed-reading service, and so I needed to change one or two things to make it work properly. The excellent instructions made that extremely easy, which is nice.

I briefly thought about using the Twigfeeds plugin to add a link to the latest Eat This Podcast over there in the sidebar, but for now I have decided against it. That's one for later.

Maybe later today I'll have a little time to play seriously with chartist.js. If that works, I may update here. Or I may save it for tomorrow.

Mon, 09 Dec 2019 16:45:00 +0100

IndieWeb Challenge Day 8

Eventually, perhaps, I'll learn to think things through properly, but for now it seem that trial and error just leads me to more errors and more trials. My improved logic for detecting whether a post was a Review or a Listen failed to detect that it was neither of those things. As a result, those pages were having an empty image thrust upon them whether they wanted one or not. Now fixed.

But now I really need to work out why pagination has stopped working entirely. Something about how Grav handles a collection based on a category, I'm sure, but what?

Sun, 08 Dec 2019 18:45:00 +0100

IndieWeb Challenge Day 7

For ages, I have wanted the navigation menu at the top of the page to remain visible even after you have scrolled down past the bottom of the screen, which pushes the menu up off the top of the screen. In principle, that's supposed to be much easier now that you can use CSS to position an element as <sticky>. But it proved trickier than I expected

I've done it, as you can see, but had to sacrifice the image of umbrella pines that used to grace the top of each page. I just could not figure out how to get the navigation menu to stick to the top of the page while allowing the image to slide on up. I got to the point of realising that it depends on which element is inside what, but after a couple of hours of experimentation, I was not able to make it behave as I wanted.

So I have a sticky menu, but I don't have a picture, and while I warm to the greater minimalism -- the image serves no purpose other than decoration -- I quite liked the look of it before, as a reflection of my environment.

Adding it back can be a project for another, less busy day.

Sat, 07 Dec 2019 17:30:00 +0100

IndieWeb Challenge Day 6

If one is sufficiently slapdash, fixing something on this site each day is more than doable. A couple of days ago I did some work to tidy up the display of Reviews. Deeply fancy logic (not) to check the name of an image file seemed to do what I wanted. I had forgotten, however, that while the name I gave the image file was constant, it respected the file format of the original image file. My logic was testing for only one file format.

The fix is reasonably easy. Instead of testing for the whole filename, I strip out the extension and test for what remains. Except I don't. I use a filter to see whether the filename starts with the name I give it. Possibly not as bullet-proof, but it works.

Then I had to add another filter to ensure that I did not display the contents of the page twice. And that seems to work too.

So that's another small win.

Fri, 06 Dec 2019 11:15:00 +0100

IndieWeb Challenge Day 5

A brief flurry of webmentions to a recent post reminded me that I needed to look again at how those things are presented. In building the new theme, I had discovered the <detail> and <summary> elements and used them to hide interactions as the default. I hope most people know that clicking on the triangle will expose something hidden. Ideally I would like to offer different visual presentation depending on whether either webmentions or comments exist. That is not going to happen for a while.

I did dig around enough to know that I could do something like that for webmentions, but it would mean becoming a whole lot more familiar with Javascript than I am currently. I also discovered some long-neglected modifications to the Grav comment plugin that would make a few things a lot simpler to do. That too will have to wait.

Instead, I opted to slightly tweak the presentation and to offer a brief explanation of webmentions and of comments. Tiny changes, but hey, it counts.

Thu, 05 Dec 2019 15:30:00 +0100

What happened to tagging? We did

I very much enjoyed reading What Happened to Tagging, by Alexandra Samuel, so thanks to Aaron Davis for the link .

I do think, however, that she is being entirely too negative about the state of play today. Aaron singled out one wistful quote, about the web we could have. I noted that the author could start having that web today, were she so inclined. And I singled out a different quote:

I’ve so completely abandoned tags and RSS that when I got my annual subscription reminder from Feedly, the RSS reader I adopted once Google Reader closed, I literally couldn’t remember when I’d last looked at my RSS subscriptions.

Seems to me that there is absolutely nothing standing in the way of the author recovering the experience she used to have except herself. That there is nowhere on her JSTOR post that would allow me to suggest this is further circumstantial evidence that she doesn't really want what she says she does.

Rather than enumerating the eulogies for RSS and being surprised that she's paying for a service she isn't using, why not start using it? Why not learn about the nifty tools that will give you RSS feeds of your Twitter lists. Alexandra has her own site, where she appears to at least link to her writings (though not yet this piece). It's a start, even if it isn't a full PESOS. It looks like a WordPress site.

All that is missing is the desire and a few IndieWeb plugins.

Also sent to IndieNews.

Wed, 04 Dec 2019 15:35:00 +0100

IndieWeb Challenge Day 4

Not much to see today, unless you go spelunking into old posts. If you do, however, you will notice that some of the older Reviews now are not quite as messy as they were.

The problem was that Kindle kindly formats the notes one saves with useful, descriptive CSS classes that I had left behind, so I needed to update the styling of those. No biggie, but it took time to get it looking just so. Even then, I decided to go with the existing classes and adapt my custom.css. As a result of which, the text is quite large on mobile devices. The smarter option would have been to edit the classes provided so as to include the additional information that Tailwind uses. Maybe that's a project for another day.

Wed, 04 Dec 2019 13:30:00 +0100

Page created: Fri, Dec 13, 2019 - 09:05 AM GMT