Posts Tagged baltimore

Tue Nov 27

HWC Baltimore 2018-11-27 Wrap-Up

Baltimore's second Homebrew Website Club of November met at the Digital Harbor Foundation Tech Center on November 27th.

Here are some notes from the "broadcast" portion of the meetup:

jonathanprozzi.net — Spent quiet writing hour writing a post about his 2018 and 2019 commitments! He wants to finish some personal writing tasks, capture some of the things he's been working on recently, and do some development.

rhearamakrishnan.com — Edited a poem during our writing time. Nice! Been reflecting on HWC and how it allowed her to use the web and her website to focus and promote her work and writing. Has a lot of new material to edit together before publishing. Just went to an intensive writing workshop in New York and generated a lot of new writing to work through.

Rosco — Working on a browser-based game for students at DHF to learn programming concepts. Thinking about starting with physical versions of the game first, maybe translating to the web later.

ashturner.net — Also working the programming tutorials and experiences for teaching computing concepts. Arrays and for-loops are particularly tricky for beginners. Ash discussed some inspirational single-purpose websites for teaching concepts, like The Bézier Game, and KERNTYPE. Has a personal website built on Adobe Portfolio, but interested in moving off of that because she doesn't want to pay for Creative Cloud anymore.

martymcgui.re — Doing lots of unseen plumbing work on his site, nearly read to flip over from a Jekyll-powered site to a Hugo-powered site. It's likely that no one will notice the difference! Also been playing a lot with iOS Shortcuts (formerly Workflow) and built a Workflow to take an iOS Live Photo, turn it into an animated GIF, turn that into a looping video, and post the video to his site. Here's an example post. Being able to do this helps him feel less anxious about having Live Photos on his phone and feeling like they're inaccessible.

derekfields.is — Been going to conferences and talking to companies about jobs. Also working on his LED backpack for cyclists startup. Accelerometer detects braking, turning. Been playing with WebUSB a bit, like with gamepad controllers.

Other discussion:

  • Commitments to complete before 2019
  • GitHub Pages for hosting. Rhea built her site there, using some tutorials from Codecademy. Likes the simplicity of HTML and CSS, loads fast.
  • GitHub credentials, SSH keys as "a password that gives your laptop the power to act as you".
  • The dreadful state of JavaScript development tools, NPM dependencies, etc.
  • How to advertise HWCs better (we missed posting it on FB etc last time). Particularly since we have a "weird" schedule, sometimes on Tuesdays, sometimes on Wednesdays, we should be consistent about advertising them. We should probably document our processes on the wiki.
Left-to-right: jonathanprozzi.net, rhearamakrishnan.com, derekfields.is, ashturner.net, martymcgui.re

Thanks to everyone who came out! We look forward to seeing you at our next meetup on Tuesday, December 11th at 7:30pm!

Tue Nov 13

HWC Baltimore 2018-11-13 Wrap-Up

Baltimore's first Homebrew Website Club of November met at the Digital Harbor Foundation Tech Center on November 13th.

Here are some notes from the "broadcast" portion of the meetup:

jonathanprozzi.net — Ran into an issue with his homepage. Some nginx rule was falling back to a default site. Got it fixed, though. Been doing lots of web dev for work, but none for his personal site.

martymcgui.re — Been traveling a lot! Went to IWC Berlin and Accessibility Club and had a great time! Grateful to catch up with and meet new people in the IndieWeb community. Worked on month/year archive navigation for the new Hugo version of his site, which is very close to being feature-complete compared to his Jekyll site.

Other discussion:

  • IWC Berlin! Marty went and there were many good sessions.
  • Changes in organizing HWCs (wiki stuff) and related events (travel sponsorships for IWCs, peripheral events that could bring people into the IndieWeb community).
  • Replacing Flickr. Flickr dumping free content beyond the latest 1000 images. DHF relies heavily on Flickr albums, including using them for the homepage of their site. Will probably get a Flickr Pro account now, request an export to make sure their photos are safe.
  • Web accessibility! So many fresh new JavaScript-based things refuse to use semantic markup, or otherwise break navigation or readability, making them unusable. Accessibility Club had a lot of good lessons. Hopefully the videos of the talks will go up soon!
  • WordPress accessibility issues around the new Gutenberg editor, the problems with Automattic pushing it through without listening to community. Yikes.
Left-to-right: martymcgui.re, jonathanprozzi.net

Thanks to everyone who came out! We look forward to seeing you at our next meetup on Tuesday, November 27th at 7:30pm!

Wed Oct 17

HWC Baltimore 2018-10-16 Wrap-Up

Baltimore's second Homebrew Website Club of October met at the Digital Harbor Foundation Tech Center on October 16th.

Here are some notes from the "broadcast" portion of the meetup:

jonathanprozzi.net — Worked today on a post recapping our last HWC meeting, focusing on ideas to get more people involved. For work at DHF, still learning lots of NextJS and ExpressJS. Getting back into writing content!

derekfields.is — Been a while! Last week in Minnesota for some networking. Met some cool people and talked to some companies, including Socrata, which was part of Open Baltimore. Also got back into bullet journaling after being away for a while. Working on legal and client-finding stuff for his freelance work.

pulianas.com — Also been awhile since he's been to an HWC! Moved all his sites to HTTPS. His podcast (overanalyzed.fm) is now on iTunes, so he added that link to the site. Also tried to track down an official Overcast button but hasn't found it yet. Recently in San Jose for API World. Very little talk about building APIs and more about pitching specific products/services. Did learn a bit about microservices and case-studies of moving to them. Did some general maintenance on his WP site, and has been working on his own plugin for podcasting on WP.

martymcgui.re — Been heavily porting his site from Jekyll to Hugo. Has had some fun porting things that he did as Ruby plugins for Jekyll into crazy Go template logic, like generating permashortlinks in NewBase60. Also had some fun setting up a new CSS Grid display for photos in posts with lots of them (example which apparently only works in Firefox). Also, after some struggling with his image proxy setup (because Hugo templating doesn't support HMAC signatures) is trying out Cloudinary's free tier for his image-resizing needs.

Other discussion:

  • Podcasting on WordPress is... a pain. Apple Podcasts refused to accept their feed due to http vs https issues and that was hard to track down.
  • Ferrite for audio editing on the iPad. Alec edits his podcasts there now. Some hiccups with the noise-cancelling and auto-levelling features being too-aggressive.
  • Recording setups. Blue's new Yeti Nano looks cool.
  • FF and Chrome starting to support the new dialog element. Maybe cool, maybe terrible?
Left-to-right: pulianas.com, jonathanprozzi.net, derekfields.is, martymcgui.re

Thanks to everyone who came out! We look forward to seeing you at our next meetup on Tuesday, November 13th at 7:30pm!

Tue Oct 16

🗓️ Homebrew Website Club Baltimore

Digital Harbor Foundation Tech Center 1045 Light St. Baltimore MD 21230

📆 Add to Calendar: iCal | Google Calendar

Please note: We are meeting on Tuesday this week at 7:30pm. Be sure to double-check your calendars!

Join us for an evening of quiet writing, IndieWeb demos, and discussions!

  • Create or update your personal web site!
  • Finish that blog post you’ve been writing, edit the wiki!
  • Demos of recent IndieWeb breakthroughs, share what you’ve gotten working!
  • Join a community with like-minded interests. Bring friends that want a personal site!

Any questions? Join the #indieweb chat!

Optional quiet writing hour starts at 6:30pm. Meetup begins at 7:30pm.

More information: https://indieweb.org/events/2018-10-16-homebrew-website-club

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/2179812425573835/

Thu Oct 4

HWC Baltimore 2018-10-03 Wrap-Up

Baltimore's first Homebrew Website Club of October met at the Digital Harbor Foundation Tech Center on October 3rd.

Here are some notes from the "broadcast" portion of the meetup:

jonathanprozzi.net — No updates since last time for his personal site. Was burned out after a lot of frustration with Gatsby + WordPress headless. Got to the point of feeling helpless and like he couldn't figure out how to progress. Started porting to Next.js and has some renewed energy because he is making progress and enjoying it.

martymcgui.re — Went to IndieWebCamp NYC! Didn't do anything new for his site, but did manage to write a post full of project ideas that he came away with. Really interested in using free services like Glitch (for server-side processing), Neocities (static file hosting), and Cloudinary (make thumbnail images from those giant originals) to make IndieWeb building blocks that people without coding experience could combine to make their own sites. Currently thinking of building a Micropub Media Endpoint that handles dynamic image resizing to see how this approach works.

Other discussion:

  • Ideas from the IndieWebCamp NYC Organizer's meeting about "messaging" for Homebrew Website Clubs. The name is often confusing or off-putting for newcomers, and oddly self-selecting for those that "get it". Thinking about rebranding to "Indie Web Meetup" – evokes "independent web" and a meetup is more inviting than a "club" which might have membership requirements.
  • Talked a lot about how many folks who come to HWC are WordPress users and how we might do better by them if we made it more clear that we are here to help them power up their WordPress sites.
  • Or even go a step further and simply offer to get people started with or improve their existing personal site. If we can get people to the meetups, no matter the skill level, we can get them started: sign-up for micro.blog to get going right away, put a simple static HTML page up on glitch or GitHub, dive into WordPress, etc.
  • First steps may be to think of it more like an open hours help desk. The "price" of getting help can be to write up all the steps followed, as a way of documenting steps for future folks who might need it. The goal would be to have folks come and actually leave with something accomplished.
  • Also talked about difficulties with estimating the limitations of tools before you invest a bunch of time in learning to use it and understand it deeply. Jonathan's experience with Gatsby was a prime example – ultimately he needed it to do something it didn't support well, but it took a lot of frustration to find out that the issue was with the tool being a bad fit for the problem.
Left-to-right: martymcgui.re, jonathanprozzi.net

This ended up being a very organizer-y meta meeting. It was nice to be able to check in with ourselves about this meetup and its future. We are excited to continue to evolve! We look forward to seeing you at our next meetup on Tuesday, October 16th at 7:30pm!

Wed Oct 3

🗓️ Homebrew Website Club Baltimore

Digital Harbor Foundation Tech Center 1045 Light St. Baltimore MD 21230

📆 Add to Calendar: iCal | Google Calendar

Please note: We are meeting on Wednesday this week at 7:30pm. Be sure to double-check your calendars!

Join us for an evening of quiet writing, IndieWeb demos, and discussions!

  • Create or update your personal web site!
  • Finish that blog post you’ve been writing, edit the wiki!
  • Demos of recent IndieWeb breakthroughs, share what you’ve gotten working!
  • Join a community with like-minded interests. Bring friends that want a personal site!

Any questions? Join the #indieweb chat!

Optional quiet writing hour starts at 6:30pm. Meetup begins at 7:30pm.

More information: https://indieweb.org/events/2018-10-03-homebrew-website-club

Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/2227947090772675/

Tue Sep 18

HWC Baltimore 2018-09-18 Wrap-Up

Baltimore's first Homebrew Website Club of September met at the Digital Harbor Foundation Tech Center on September 18th.

Here are some notes from the "broadcast" portion of the meetup:

jonathanprozzi.net — Has been travelling and getting married and had lots of time to think about things! Not to work on them, though. Catching back up on things like Gatsby pages for Digital Harbor Foundation. Feeling some maintenance pains now with Gatsby's GraphQL queries pulling HUGE amounts of data from a WordPress backend – about a 5 minute process for each site build. Upgrading to Gatsby 2 would also require a bunch of changes that he isn't wanting to do. Also, something in the Gatsby build process just broke, without him making any code changes. Wishing now he had built the site in Next.js, which uses REST over GraphQL. For his personal site, he is thinking about how much effort he wants to put into things. He typically uses his personal site as a way to learn new technology, but is now wary of force-fitting things that aren't a good fit. Maybe tweaking his current WordPress site would be a better use of time than rewriting the site. Particularly since he hasn't posted since July.

rhearamakrishnan.com — Not much new on her personal site, since it's working well for her purposes. Posted some new stuff she made over the summer, including a micro chap-book called It Makes More Noise Than I Thought It Would. Been working on other summer projects, like writing poems on postcards for people. Photographing and typing those up to make a mini-collection. Wants to build something on Twine, if she can include a form so people can write letters back to her. She's gonna write out the adventure as she wants it and then think about what kind of interactivity she'd like from readers. Thinking about designing a mini-course for DHF around Twine for students to build stories around it.

martymcgui.re — Hasn't really made much progress on any personal or IndieWeb projects since the last HWC meeting. Had a couple of out of town trips and projects that were good and fulfilling experiences, like going to Camp Improv Utopia East. Those experiences highlighted that maybe he is feeling burned out about some IndieWeb things! For example, he has been letting the This Week in the IndieWeb Audio Edition slip more and more each week and finding it hard to focus. He's trying to figure out what to do for the upcoming IndieWebCamp NYC, which he is excited about, but feeling a bit overwhelmed by project ideas, things he should be doing to help organize, etc.

Other discussion:

  • https://twinery.org/ is great for creating interactive stuff - and it seems like the output is plain HTML? So it should be possible to add a form from some service like Formspree or Firebase to an exported project, if the tool doesn't offer exactly that kind of thing.
  • Dealing with burnout and feeling stuck on things. Sometimes it helps to get energized by doing something else. Sometimes doing those other things really highlights that you have energy, just not for those things you're burned out on!
  • Principle of Least Power is another big thing, here. Jonathan and Marty have both been struggling with projects where the tooling or the plumbing may be taking all the energy available.
  • Semantic HTML and CSS can do so much, now. We looked at this CSS-only TODO MVC proof of concept. Talked about HTML definition lists, summary/details tags, figure/figcaption, and more.
  • Talked about the pyramid of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and the inverted pyramid of overbuilt JS-dependent frameworks.
Left-to-right: martymcgui.re, rhearamakrishnan.com, jonathanprozzi.net

Thanks to everybody who came out! We hope to see you again at our next meetup on Wednesday, October 3rd at 7:30pm!

Wed Aug 22

HWC Baltimore 2018-08-22 Wrap-Up

Baltimore's second Homebrew Website Club of August met at the Digital Harbor Foundation Tech Center on August 22nd!

Here are some notes from the "broadcast" portion of the meetup:

shawngrimes.me — Shawn has been working on teamruby.dog. Specifically, collecting content. It's a new WordPress site. Thought about Squarespace because of ease of maintenance but can't justify the pricing. Also trying to find a way to post some 360 panorama photos from a recent road trip through 19 states.

martymcgui.re — Finally started the grueling work of translating his site's data from Jekyll into Hugo. It involved writing lots of little scripts to do things like maintain redirects for old date-based URL slugs, RSS for podcast feeds, and other plumbing. Next up is to port his existing templates over, which should be a big process. Also started a tribute site to his cat Nitro at nitro.rocks. Hoping to make it an IndieWeb-project by getting folks to contribute fun cat memories by posting to their own site and syndicating to nitro.rocks.

Other discussion:

  • Ways to showcase 360 photos. Ricoh apps can (could?) post interactive panoramas to Facebook/Twitter. Marty posted some interactive panoramas on his site back in 2016 (example), but isn't super happy with the experience.
  • RSS (and Indie) readers
  • Webmentions and notifications
  • Badging (and politics)
Left-to-right: shawngrimes.me, teamruby.dog, martymcgui.re

Thanks to everybody who came out! We hope to see you all again at our next meeting on Wednesday September 5th at 6:30pm (quiet writing hour at 5:30pm)!

Wed Jul 25

HWC Baltimore 2018-07-25 Wrap-Up

Baltimore's second Homebrew Website Club of July met at the Digital Harbor Foundation Tech Center on July 25th!

Here are some notes from the "broadcast" portion of the meetup:

derekfields.is — Derek wanted a couple new rules for sharing time, today. First, find and share a site with some cool tech that you like. Second, talk about why you're into web development. He showed off a demo of using the browser Gamepad API w/ a Playstation dual-shock 3 controller. It showed button state changes, including analog states for buttons and joysticks. Been thinking about lots of ideas lately but missing some focus. Looking at productivity hacks to focus more. Notices when he's not focusing, now trying prompts to figure out why he's distracted and get back on task. Derek is into web development because it changes rapidly and requires focus to keep learning. Been working on his VueJS class and it's been going well until today. His accountability buddy is on a trip.

jonathanprozzi.net — Been working on work stuff. Built a single-page app w/ Gatsby for deploys of some Digital Harbor Foundation content for use in remote schools with intermittent internet connections. Pulls course data from the central DHF WordPress and deploys it as a package on Netlify. Ran into his first deploy issues with Netlify due to case-sensitive filesystems (which he doesn't experience on his Mac dev machine). Been really inspired by the Susty WordPress theme which can deliver WordPress pages in ~6KB, compared with most themes, which are very bloated. Jonathan is into the web because of the problem-solving aspects of it, but also because it allows creative expression and productivity.

zach.oglesby.co — New! Welcome, Zach! Recently switched his Known-powered site to Jonathan LaCour's overview page (w/ location info and other nice things), but it doesn't have a representative h-card, yet, so working on that. Also working on making his read posts more compatible with IndieBookClub. In terms of "Cool Tech", just had occasion to use Bootstrap for the first time, which was interesting. Zach is into web development because there are so many ways to do things on the web, you can play and tinker with different things you might not have otherwise.

pulianas.com — New! Welcome, Alec! Has had this website for a while, originally as a portfolio, now as a WordPress site that powers his Micro.blog. Been working on a new site for a podcast, Overanalyzed, also WordPress. In terms of "Cool Tech" - likes Eddie Hinkle's website. Also, webrings "seem pretty cool". Isn't a web developer professionally, but likes how it makes publishing easy. Really also likes the concept of owning your own content, bringing his stuff in from Twitter. Sees his online identities as layers: website is most personal, Twitter next, and Facebook is sanitized.

martymcgui.re — Been working on the Baltimore Improv Festival website, a static site generator called Ruhoh that doesn't really "exist" as a project anymore, though the code and gems are still out there. Needs to spend time on the webrings site. In terms of "Cool Tech", likes this recent "Even More CSS Secrets" talk from Lea Verou. Marty is into web development because it is an amazing way to share content that anyone can access from anywhere in the world! "Can it be done on the web?" is an interesting, if sometimes difficult, lens to see the world through.

Other discussion:

Left-to-right: zach.oglesby.co, derekfields.is, martymcgui.re, pulianas.com, jonathanprozzi.net

Thanks to everybody who came out! We hope to see you all again at our next meeting on Wednesday August 8th at 6:30pm (quiet writing hour at 5:30pm)!

Wed Jul 11

HWC Baltimore 2018-07-11 Wrap-Up

Baltimore's first Homebrew Website Club of July met at the Digital Harbor Foundation Tech Center on July 11th!

Here are some notes from the "broadcast" portion of the meetup:

jonathanprozzi.net — Been building static HTML/CSS layouts for fun! Some examples. Also started practicing turning those designs into layouts in Figma. Had a usability testing call w/ the folks from Gatsby that turned into a great discussion about how to better build community starters.

dariusmccoy.com — Was having some issues w/ his site, which is hosted on AWS. He is thinking about wiping his instance and starting a new one, since he has lost track of some of his passwords. In a tricky spot because AWS doesn't offer any tech support for free tier users. Talked about switching to Digital Ocean or something simpler but will have to balance his budgets to justify the costs.

derekfields.is — Been taking a Udemy course on VueJS. Before that has been working on a schedule for developing his website. Has a friend doing the same and they mutually keep each other on track to spend a certain amount of time on developing their skills and sites. It's kind of working!

martymcgui.re — Brought a bunch of stickers and other fun things home from IndieWeb Summit! Had a great time seeing folks he met last year and meeting new folks. Lots of great discussion sessions, hacking projects, wild ideas, and more. He really needs to write it up on his site! His hack day project also desperately needs to be written up – it's an IndieWeb-style web ring, available at 🕸💍.ws ! This week he added support for indielogin.com, which lets people sign in using their own websites by setting up only a couple of links.

Other discussion:
  • IndieWeb Summit! Marty went and loved it. Next year would love to bring more folks from HWC Baltimore, and travel assistance is available. We'll work on it.
  • Marty met Jared Ewy of name.com at the Summit and talked about all the cool work DHF does teaching youth to build websites, the upcoming Web Shop, hosting HWC and IWC Baltimore, etc. Jared gave him a bunch of codes for free domains and some hosting discounts to benefit that work, so we discussed lots of ideas!
  • Some possibilities: give Web Shop youth employees incentive to work on their own projects, outside of paid jobs, to learn more about building their own sites. Host a special Homebrew Website Club that's a 2-hour jam for new folks who don't have a domain yet to get set up with a website. Host a longer "Build Your Website Day" (maybe in coordination with a multi-city Drag Queen Build-a-Website Day?)
  • What would an IndieWeb "starter pack" look like for a quick "you have a domain but no money" way to get started? GitHub looks good for skill building for folks that want to get into web development someday because it's mostly managed by hand. Netlify looks pretty good for this because they offer hosting, flexible static site generation, SSL for HTTPS, and the NetlifyCMS. They also support some features like building your own webhooks on JavaScript, which could eventually be used to handle common IndieWeb building block endpoints (IndieAuth, Micropub, Webmention, ...) Because they run all the stuff for a given site from a git repository, it's possible to take a site from Netlify and set it up elsewhere if their offerings change.
  • "Packages" for a getting started workshop. E.g. "what will you get at the end + what will you need to learn along the way." Static HTML/CSS on GitHub could get a portfolio site done. For $5/mo a Neocities site can be hosted on a custom domain and requires no Git/GitHub wrangling. Micro.blog hosting is also $5/mo and brings a ton of features, interactivity, and community.
  • Talked about VueJS passing React in terms of number of stars on GitHub, and speculating why that is. For example, VueJS can be a lot easier to dip your toes in and get started without a complicated build toolchain.
Photo of HWC Baltimore attendees
Left-to-right: martymcgui.re, dariusmccoy.net, jonathanprozzi.net, derekfields.is

Thanks to everybody who came out! We hope to see you all again at our next meeting on Wednesday July 25th at 6:30pm (quiet writing hour at 5:30pm)!