Qubyte Codes

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Unexpected upside to having a mouse problem in the neighbourhoodโ€ฆ a falcon just perched on our garden wall! Unfortunately I wasnโ€™t fast enough to snap a photo of it.

โš ๏ธŽ Testing syndicated posting to mastodon with spoiler text. โš ๏ธŽ

Text should be hidden behind a warning.

This talk on documentation here at #BrightonRuby by Kaitlyn Tierney is gold. Iโ€™ll definitely use some of these tips for my personal site.

Iโ€™m tantalisingly close to replacing LaTeX statically rendered to SVG with MathJax with presentational MathML. Itโ€™s bulkier to write, but not difficult. Browser rendering (chrome seems quirkiest) isnโ€™t quite there yet though.

Iโ€™ve been trying to get a photo of our local rook for months. It doesnโ€™t stay put for long, and the light is usually all wrong. Finally I got this while eating breakfast just now.

A picture of a rook perched on a house roof. The sky is clear. The white face of the rook is obvious.

Iโ€™m on a BA flight, somewhere over the Bearing Sea, and BA have decided to enable free streaming of the coronation over Wi-Fi. Also they gave me a packet of Eton Mess flavour popcorn.

A small packet of Eton Mess popcorn. The design sports a union flag.

The one issue I have with my iOS shortcuts flow for posting images to my personal site (and by extension mastodon) is that the input box for alt text appears over the image Iโ€™m posting, so I have to remember what the image looks like. Not a problem on a tablet or larger device because I can do it side by side, but I mainly do it from my phone since itโ€™s also my camera.

Yesterday I visited the Hikawa Maru in Yokohama. Itโ€™s a museum now, but started life in the โ€˜30s as a luxury liner. I recommend it. Anyway, I took this photo at 12:05. Five minutes earlier the horn went off next to my head and I nearly shit myself.

Not a whistle.

A photograph of a brass lever with a few rotary setting. The detailing on the housing shows one of the labels to be โ€œsilentโ€. A sign above the lever reads: โ€œWhen the ship was in active service, turning this lever could sound a whistle. At present, too, a whistle is blown every day at noon.โ€

I love it when I find a good spot for a coffee. This one has it all. Fairly calm and quiet. Close to the museums in Ueno, so some foot traffic for people watching. Trees. Shade.

The view from the patio of a cafe. In front is a quiet road, and on the other side green trees and some pedestrians walking by an old brick wall. Itโ€™s a sunny day, but the photo is taken from the shade of an awning.

Now Iโ€™m in the Hitachino Nest Brew Lab in the converted Manseibashi Station arches. Itโ€™s full of is Western Folk and blasting English pop music from ten years ago but itโ€™s still pretty good in here. Ironically I was at the actual brewery in Ibaraki yesterday.

The sign board above the bar of the Manseibashi Hitachino Nest Brew Lab. the signs are hand drawn in black and backlit on a white board.

Next up, Kanda Matsuya. This is a highly regarded soba restaurant which I walked past every weekday for two and a half years and never got around to trying. Very tasty.

The ceiling lamp of the restaurant. Itโ€™s large and rectangular, dominating the ceiling. Itโ€™s composed of a square, dark wooden lattice and white paper reminiscent of traditional Japanese sliding doors. Some patrons can be seen below.

High on the list of places to see which I missed before was Kanda Myojin. I know, shameful given how important it is.

The main gate of Kanda Myojin, a major shrine close to Akihabara. The gate is large and ornate, with lots of red and white wooden structure visible.

I'm on my own in Tokyo for a few days (back from the countryside). I arrived early this afternoon, and I'm allowing myself just the remaining hours of today to visit old haunts.

I might allow myself a bit more time though, toward the end. While most of my time is set aside for some site-seeing of things I missed back when I lived here, I think it's important to just do nothing in a place to really take it in.

Absolute scenes.

A photo of a steep (downward), narrow alley in the rain. A red-leafed tree is in the foreground on the left, and houses either side. In the background are green mountains and mist.

Through the power of โœจphysics โœจmy son managed to throw a stone at his own head.

Iโ€™m at my in-laws, and the place is wonderfully remote after a week spent in Tokyo.

The upstairs view from a house in the Japanese countryside. Itโ€™s a sunny day with a mostly clear sky. A small polytunnel can be seen in the foreground with some other small plots prepared for crops. In the background are green mountains covered with trees.

It's been a few years since I was last in Japan, and my phone now supports Suica for travel and low value purchases. It's really, really good. My only complaint is that if I want to use my watch the readers are all on the wrong side of the train turnstiles.

Posted from a plane somewhere probably over Nepal.

Last time I visited Japan (about four years ago!) mobile data was kind of a pain in the ass. I would rent a little mobile wifi hotspot. This time it looks like eSIMs are so well supported that I'm just going to use my phone.

That doesn't sound like a lot but it'll be huge. It means my partner and I can always be connected, even when we're off doing different things. Those hotspots run hot too (I guess the clue is in the name), so I always had to plug them into a battery, which meant I had to carry a bag (not enough pockets for all the things). This way I'll be able to enjoy my time there as if I live there again.

I went to see Devin Townsend and his touring band play at the Bexhill De La Warr Pavilion on Tuesday. It was a good concert, even by his standards.

Devin on the stage with the band behind him. Heโ€™s thanking the crowd after the gig. The audience can be see clapping and arms raised in appreciation.

Ever since I figured out how to build monochrome (black and white or any other pair of colours) PNGs Iโ€™ve been thinking about hiding secret messages in the unused bitsโ€ฆ

Monochrome PNGs have a bit depth of 1 (when encoded efficiently), which means that each pixel only needs one bit. Each row of the image is an integer number of octets though, so when the number of pixels in a row isnโ€™t divisible by 8 you get some unused padding bits at the end.

Testing tweaks to my plain note shortcut.

I should probably make some sequence diagrams. My setup is a bit of a Rube Goldberg machine, but it's surprisingly robust and really convenient to use. For example, sharing photos happens right in the iOS photos app because shortcuts integrates into sharesheets. #indieweb

I'm really enjoying my POSSE setup. I publish to my micropub endpoint using my own iOS shortcuts for photos or study sessions (as events). For plain notes and bookmarks I typically use Omnibear.

The micropub endpoint pushes to a repository on GitHub, and an Actions workflow picks them up and syndicates photos, notes, and bookmarks to Mastodon. The workflow is fast enough that stuff frequently reaches Mastodon before Netlify has finished building my site. #indieweb

Word gets aroundโ€ฆ

Four white doves huddled together, eating seed scattered on a wall.

A pop up gallery below Brighton station.

Viewed from the back toward the entrance. Cobbled floor. Art hung on the walls.

Last night we went to see Mogwai at The Brighton Dome. Just amazing.

The band Mogwai on stage at The Brighton Dome. Seen from the left circle.

One of the doves (they fledged last year) is roosting near us again this year.

A white dove standing beside some seed on a wall outside my house. Some bird shit can be seen on the window behind it.

An example of a more pragmatic approach to image uploads, for example, is the mastodon API. You still have to use a separate multipart request for an image, but the description (alt) text accompanies the image as an additional field. I think you can probably use the same image (and by extension its alt text) for multiple posts if you want. This fits because alt text is descriptive, so it shouldn't depend on the context the image is used in. #indieweb

I get why microformats documents came to look like this. It comes from their roots as data embedded in HTML. But it's not very pragmatic. Why would a document have more than one name or content? Why would photo (singular) be used for a plural field. It's all out of whack. #indieweb.

I love the #indieweb, but the aforementioned micropub thing isn't the only friction. JSON encoded microformats-2 documents are just plain weird. Everything is an array for some reason. Unnecessarily complex to consume. We can surely do better...

One pain in the ass thing about micropub is that there's no way to send photos and content together in a single request and include alt text. It can only be done with a multipart request to a media endpoint for the photo and a JSON request to the regular endpoint. Why not allow both in a multipart request? #indieweb

Photos never do a sunset justice, but this was a magnificent one.

The sunset over the houses to the rear of my house. Stunning peach and pink shaded clouds.

I may have a problem.

A display of my mechanical keyboard collection. There are five displayed. Two ortholinear, one compact ANSI layout. One full size ANSI layout, and two splits.

I'm vain, so I have one domain for my personal site, and another for shortlinks. The personal site generates a text file, which the build of the shortlinks site uses when it builds.

I had Netlify set up to trigger a build of the shortlinks site after the personal site builds, but most triggers were redundant (I don't have them for notes etc.).

I decided to replace the hook with a build plugin. https://github.com/qubyte/qubyte-codes/blob/main/plugins/update-shortlinks/index.js

I've run out of time to publish it this year (still 2022 here for almost an hour), but I have a full year of language study sessions (special micropub posts with durations in) to crunch the numbers for. Should make for a few interesting plots!

Work in progress render of revision 2 of my custom split mechanical keyboard.

A 3D render of the PCBs for a revision of my custom split keyboard. The vertical column stagger is moved one key outward, so the pinky and index columns are lower than the middle and ring finder columns, but now the pinkies rest on the outer-most column. The thumb clusters are moved one key outward too. This revision also shows holes for per key LEDs.

Another syndication test. This is a photo of a new pedestrian bridge close to where I live.

Taken at night. The bridge has downlighting on either side of the path, showing the light brown colour and slightly rough texture (for grip). On the other side of the bride is the entrance to an elevator down to street level. Some lights are on in the high rise university residences behind.

Iโ€™m testing syndication of notes from my personal site to mastodon, so hereโ€™s a photo of an icicle.

A small icicle hanging from a branch of a tree. The view is from below, so the clear blue sky can be seen behind.

A sample of the Christmas cards for this year. They were rushed, and certainly minimalist, but Iโ€™m happy with the result.

A hand made Christmas card standing on a table in a cafe, next to a cup of coffee. The card is white, with a blue panel on the front. On top of the panel is a snow man cut from white card with a specular snow shine to it.

I designed and built a keyboard! This is build for my comfort (despite how it looks). I designed it from the PCB and plates up! It uses kailh choc switches for a low profile, and a QWERTY variant of Miryoku to minimize finger and thumb movement.

The FG-11 split keyboard. Each side has 23 keys. The keys for the fingers are layed out in five columns or three rows on each side. The second and third column from the inside are one key higher further from the typist than the other columns, to suit where my middle and ring fingers sit. There are three thumb keys on each side, arranged along a diagonal. The PCB of each side can be seen peaking out on the inside edge, and the controller can be seen on the left hand. A ribbon cable connects the two sides from PCB to PCB. The plates are stainless steel and key caps white.

I built a keyboard. Hopefully it's more practical than it looks.

A photo of a four row ortholinear (square layout) keyboard. The keycaps are mostly light grey, with dark grey on the bottom row and the first and last columns. The escape and return keys are red. The caps have a high profile, with each row pitched differently at the top for comfort. The base has a low profile, so you can see the switches below the caps.

GitHub sent me a one-time donation as part of their thank you to OS contributors to software GitHub uses (who have their sponsors dashboard set up). I originally set it up in hope that someone would send me the occasional buck or two for a coffee. That never happened (at least not yet), but $550 as a one off makes up for it!

This cat is attempting to be adopted by us and is in no way subtle about it.

A cat sitting on my doormat, right outside my house.

I live so close to this countryside, but rarely take time to visit. Itโ€™s the perfect weather for it today.

A field of barley. Deep blue sky with white fluffy clouds. In the distance there is a ridge of green hills.

ๅคš่ชญ(ใŸใฉใ) time! First up, ใ—ใ‚ใใพใ‚ซใƒ•ใ‚ง

The first book of shirokuma cafe (in Japanese). Beside the book is an iced coffee.

I bought the keycaps.

I'm using Safari for personal use these days. I wanted to use omnibear for micropub stuff, so I compiled the JS (a normal build step for it), and then ran the command below. The only change I had to make was to add a description to the manifest.

xcrun safari-web-extension-converter /path/to/my/extension/

In Safari, the Allow Unsigned Extensions option must be checked. Xcode generates a wrapper application for omnibear. After booting it, you can quit it and go to Safari -> Preferences -> Extensions to enable the extension. I'm posting this note using it!

I finally caved in and ordered myself parts for an ortholinear keyboard. I've gone with a Preonic through Drop, and paired it with Holy Panda X switches. The wait means it'll be a nice birthday present for myself!

I guess the reason for rolling my own webmention receiver is that I don't want to rely on services I don't manage or pay for. Now, an argument could be made that I'm putting everything on Netlify, so my eggs are all in their basket. My counter to that is that the functions I'm writing fairly portable. All I'd have to do is wrap the functions in a little server. So, the important part is to own the logic! Of course, there's also the fun part of reading a spec and implementing it.

This afternoon I'm playing with webmentions again. I've decided to implement my own endpoint and migrate away from webmention.io (which is fine, I just want to build my own).

First concert since December 2019. Back then it was seeing Devin Townsend. This time it was seeingโ€ฆ Devin Townsend. This time was stripped back and very tight. They played some songs I never thought Iโ€™d see live, like Dynamics and Almost Again. We got upgraded to a box in The Royal Albert Hall too.

Devin Townsend and Co. on the stage at The Royal Albert hall, as seen from the Second level circle.

A bridge being built close to where I live.

The view of a pedestrian bridge being constructed from one end. It currently lacks a platform.

I found an old picture of me holding peanuts.

Me with a handful of freshly dug peanuts in a field in Japan.

A caterpillar.

A yellow and black caterpillar perched behind some purple flowers.

A little autumn weather isnโ€™t putting folk off the sea.

Three people in coats sit on the beach facing the ocean. In the distance there are people boating, windmills on the horizon, and clear sky peaking through the cloud.

An interesting path close to home.

Steps in the shade between houses.

Feels good to wander around Brighton.

A view of the ocean between some houses and a church in the Montpelier area of Brighton.

I made an excellent banana bread the other day. No sourdough involved though.

A slice of deep brown banana bread on a small plate.

I made some sourdough hot cross buns!

A plate with some freshly made sourdough hot cross buns on.

Sourdough brioche. About 25cm in diameter.

Freshly baked sourdough brioche. About 25cm in diameter.

I finally found a use for that physics PhD.

A paint brush taped to the end of a stick.

Itโ€™s good! I got lucky!

A slice of my first sourdough loaf. It has good structure and a fine crust.

My first sourdough loaf!

A dome shaped sourdough loaf o. A cooling rack.

The sourdough starter is finally ready to use! It seemed to go a bit dormant, so I fed it some rye flour and it seems to have done the trick! The rubber band marks where the top was at its last feed six and a half hours ago.

My sourdough starter in a jar. A rubber band marks where the top was, and it has doubled in volume. Bubbles can be seen in it.

The sourdough starter is growing!

Sourdough starter, showing signs of growth in a glass jar.

First batch of white chocolate and macadamia nut cookies!

A batch of home cooked white chocolate and macadamia nut cookies cooling on a baking tray.

After a day Iโ€™m supposed to discard half the sourdough and feed the remainder. This is the discard, and itโ€™s already showing some signs of activity!

A discarded portion of the sourdough starter. Bubbles can be seen on the surface.

I began a sourdough starter yesterday. Due to a lack of whole wheat flour I used 50:50 very strong white flour and buckwheat flour. Iโ€™m hoping the latter will donate the yeast!

The beginnings of a sourdough starter in a jar.

Want: Recipes to label their ingredients in groups, so I can keep them together in the same bowls and save on washing up. Also good for knowing when things need to be ready.

From yesterday: Vegan buckwheat pancakes with caramelised banana, chai spiced coconut cream, coconut chips, and cacao nibs. Eaten at Black Mocha in Brighton.

Vegan buckwheat pancakes with caramelised banana, chai spiced coconut cream, coconut chips, and cacao nibs.

Rainbow sunset with Venus.

Rainbow sunset with Venus visible.

Fox in the Pavilion Gardens.

Fox in the Pavilion Gardens

No context conference slide.

Conference slide reading โ€œwhyโ€.

Reminder for later... Paths are predicable enough in my setup that I can improve the netlify config to apply headers only to HTML by batching routes with wildcards.

Morning mist over the Sussex Countryside.

Morning mist over the Sussex countryside, viewed from a railway viaduct.

Next thing to do: add handling for h-reviews so I can rate mince pies.

Work in progress.

A partly painted room.


Testing out syndication of a note from my blog.

Between Lewes and Newhaven by train.

A view of fields seen from the train between Lewes and Newhaven.

An interesting local mural.

The concrete front garden of a local house is a beautiful mural of fish.

Another nightmarish thing my partner bought.

A nightmarish pair of felt jester shoes for a baby.

Versioning edge case discovered on the Node.js website.

A screenshot of the Node.js website showing the latest version behind the LTS version.

Hideous gnome.

Hideous gnome.

The sea.

The sea.

I'm not a huge webpack fan, but I'm wondering if I might change my own mind my porting my static site generator to it. As it stands my generator tries to be as efficient as it can be, but only for a single shot compilation. It doesn't cache artefacts. It looks like webpack, with a custom loader and plugins, might provide the necessary mechanics to make incremental builds while writing a blog post much faster.

Originally I was going to do a sort of dark-battenberg theme for dark mode on my blog, but now I'm rethinking. Since more and more devices are beginning to use OLED screens, I want dark mode to mean "mostly completely black" to save some energy on those devices.

I wrote a while back about how promises and event emitters in Node.js can play badly together. Since then, Node and JS have changed enough that I should write a follow up post.

I have a real completionist streak to me, which is a lot of fun as it interacts with IndieWeb stuff like microformats. The next thing on my radar is WebSub. I'm keen to implement both the hub and publisher in one as a glitch.

Next up, Iโ€™m considering micropub for posting full article entries. Hosting an editor and managing storage for drafts is a bigger task, but I can increment on that. Posts would be in markdown though. I wonder if thatโ€™s considered bad...

Idea for later: I need to markup each publication in the publications page as an h-cite.

I like the idea of a links page for things I've read and think others might enjoy. I'll probably build one soon.

I think I'll work on putting some of the sharing stuff at the bottom of each post into a

element at the next homebrew website club. That might mean splitting the webmention stuff up from sharing links. I'm not sure yet...

I think it's time I started writing some tests for the static site generator.

Itโ€™s possible using sed, jq, and date to read timestamps from scheduled posts and git mv and push them. This would be superior to the current Contents API approach because the content of the post will be properly attributed. Itโ€™s also lighter and agnostic with respect to git hosting.

The command to get a time stamp will be something like: sed -n โ€˜/^---$/,/^---$/pโ€™ < post.md | sed โ€˜1d;$dโ€™ | jq โ€˜.datetimeโ€™ | date -f -

Now Iโ€™ve got a handle on the GitHub contents API, itโ€™s tempting to build an editor into my blog. Could be a rabbit hole though...

Idea: Set up a web hook for webmention.io which posts to a glitch which in turn opens an issue on the GitHub repository for this blog.

Another possible set of articles I could write is on tips for writing kubernetes configuration files. I've accumulated a number of them over the last few years.

I might make the repository for this blog open soon. It's embarrassing in places, but I'd still like to show what I've done and compare notes...

Homebrew Website Club is this Thursday, so I need to either think of a blog post I want to write, or think of an enhancement to my blog. Iโ€™d quite like to integrate an editor, but thatโ€™s a big task. Something smaller, or an enhancement to an existing feature might have more impact...

Tickets booked for the next trip to Japan. Our first with the little one. I can't wait for his grandparents to meet him!

I can think of no better tribute (albeit late) than to wish the World Wide Web a happy 30th birthday on my own weird little personal site.

I have a glitch which tweets out new blog entries. Right now it just looks at changes in the sitemap. Reminder to improve it to include tags.

The selector to use is '[rel="tag"]'.


Reminder to myself to write a post about my recent contribution to Node.js.

All micropub client implementations appear to be a bit lacking (none seem to support a media endpoint very well). I'm considering making my own client and embedding it in my blog...

Testing alternative micropub server implementation.

I've come to refer to my preferrred way of creating microservices as "calving". Start with a monolith, and move bits into microservices where the coupling is weak (like a big iceberg calving off a smaller iceberg).

One of the cool things about micropub is that I can use a third party client really easily. This post was created with micropublish.net

Now I need to reconsider my landing page. It'd be nice to have the notes there, and some information about me.

I implemented #indieweb notes on my blog using a Netlify function and the GitHub content API. I'm using Keith J Grant's omnibear browser extension (in FireFox) to post. Not much to see yet, and it's a very basic implementation, but not bad for a couple of hours of work.

Notes are live! ๐Ÿ‘

Testing again, 456.

Testing, 123.