2021-03-21 21:00

Guilty of Numeric Narcissism — Why I Subscribe to My Own RSS Feeds

Did you know that I subscribe to my own RSS feed? Yep, the one that are automatically generated from my own websites. Why, you might ask? Well, there are a few reasons for this seemingly narcissist behaviour.

Reason #1: I want to see what my readers are seeing from their preferred RSS readers. I think it’s important to get a sense of what people are seeing from their perspective. I cannot count how many issues I found with my content or feeds this way. I use News Explorer1, Reeder2, Newsify and lately I added NetNewsWire.

Looking at my own RSS feed content from Reeder on Mac

Reason #2: It’s a good way to test RSS reader apps. For the purpose of looking at my own content, the winner is Newsify. The following screenshot shows my preferred view setting. All the feeds items are intertwined. Content is shown from the most recent to the older content. It’s like reading a newspaper. My RSS feeds are setup to publish posts content entirely; no excerpt. Since I don’t allow ads on my websites, it doesn’t matter if readers are not hitting my websites directly and stay in their RSS readers to consume my content.

Looking at my own RSS feed content from Newsify on Mac

Reason #3: From time to time, I do take a screenshot for my archives. These are important to me. One day, I’ll look back and be able to see what it was like to be a content creator. On my iPad, I have a shortcut that helps me to automate a portion of this task. with the upcoming iOS 14.5, there is a new shortcut action that allows for automatic screenshot, this will help me to automate the process entirely.

One list thing, do you know about RSSmix? This free service allows you to create a super-feed made of individual RSS feeds. I create one with my own RSS feeds: Numeric Citizen RSS feeds. You’ll get all my content in your RSS feed reader. How cool is that?

  1. News Explorer is my go-to RSS reader for all my needs.↩︎

  2. Before NewsExploer, Reeder was my long time RSS reader.↩︎

Meta RSS Newsify Reeder NetNewsWire News Explorer
2021-03-20 10:00

My Blogger Workflow As of 2021-03

This is the first post on Numeric Citizen I/O about my blogger workflow. This website’s mission is meta blogging, which means writing about the tools and services that I use as a blogger and content creator. I hope you enjoy the ride here. This is the most comprehensive update yet. In this workflow release, as of 2021-03, there are many important changes. Here is a run down, in no particular order.

My blogger workflow as of 2021-03
  1. First, as stated earlier, I created a new website about meta blogging. It’s called Numeric Citizen I/O which is hosted on Blot1. That’s the place I’m talking about the tools and experience as a blogger and content creator. The domain name is hosted on GoDaddy. Domains ending with .io aren’t cheap, here are possible reasons why. I’m super happy with Blot. Their support is excellent. I learned how to properly use Git in my endeavour. I’m using Commento as a commenting service which is privacy friendly.
  2. Linktr.ee: is now my virtual visitor card. Super easy to set up. Lots of formatting options. Not cheap, though. In the past, I had an account on about.me which I closed because of its lack of formatting features. I’m pleased with Linktr.ee.
  3. Gone is the venerable MarsEdit on my Mac. Ulysses version 22 supports publishing to Micro.blog2. I do like MarsEdit, but I prefer Ulysses which is available on all Apple platforms.
  4. Gone is Linky, from my iOS devices. Used to be a great app for sharing links on Twitter and text highlighting. As my Twitter usage was dramatically reduced in recent months, I no longer need it. The app is no longer being updated apparently which is also contributing to its demise.
  5. Now in: Nova and Working Copy for publishing to Blot. Nova was recently reviewed on MacStories.net. I think it is important to show support for those developers who care to create real Mac software, not just ports of Windows apps.
  6. Now enabled is the automatic archive of my Micro.blog content to a Github repo. I like the idea of having my content available on Github. Using Nova, I cloned the repo on my Mac too. From time to time, I do a pull request to update my local repo.
  7. Craft is my new note-taking application, replacing Notion. Read my recent article on Craft. I still have content on Notion and I don’t know ye how and when I’ll be able to take it out. I’m waiting for their APIs release. I’m in no rush.
  8. Speaking of Craft, I’m using it to maintain a digital garden which can be found here. It’s super easy to nurture and the extensive formatting options of Craft allows me to have a decent website. You can leave comments by the way!
  9. Apple’s shortcuts, not shown here play a small part of my workflow. One of them is to generate quotes from a web page, by selecting the text that I want to quote. Another one is to create a page in Craft, from a website. I’s very handy and cover a use case not available in Craft but which is available in Notion.
  10. I restarted my Vimeo page as an experiment and for storing short clips of user-interface micro-interactions from apps that I use and like a lot. You’ll find many examples from Craft. Vimeo is not cheap. Micro interactions are created using the screen recording feature of iOS, but are converted to GIF when needed in a blog post using IMGplay, an excellent GIF maker, available on all Apple platforms.
  11. I’m still super happy with Plausible, a Google Analytics replacement. You can have a look at my visitors statistics for this site, for example.
From an idea to a blog post

Under Consideration

Reeder for maintaining a list of read later articles. I could use Craft for this instead. I created a page that contains all the bookmarks. This page is accessible from my digital garden, too. I like Reeder design, for reading, though. Maybe there is a more profound problem: read later feature like the one with Safari or with an app like Reeder don’t make me read more. I tend to forget about things I save in these lists. So, why give a damn about those app and service? If I don’t read an article that I find interesting in the first few hours or days, I’ll never read it. I’ll give myself some more time to think about this one.

Readwise: it is a fascinating service but as my Twitter usage a dropped significantly, the usefulness of this service is uncertain. Syncing highlights from Medium is interesting, though, because I’m a big reader of Medium content. The iPad app is lacking in certain areas. There is no Safari Extension that I’m aware of. Let’s see where it all goes from here.

A return of Things. Craft is able to export and import data to and from Things, but not from Apple’s Reminder. The problem is that Things doesn’t have an URL field which I depend on in Apple’s Reminder. I ask the developers of Craft if support for Reminders was coming. It is coming. Things won’t make it back, I think.

Using Square on Linktr.ee to enable tips from my readers. Too bad only Square is supported, I would have preferred Stripes on which I already have an account setup to receive Medium payments. Furthermore, my experience shows that people don’t tip bloggers. Nobody really cares to support marginal content creator like me. Oh well, getting my rewards from the journey, instead.

Moving my Photo Legend Series to HEY World. I think it would be interesting to restart this photo series but this time on HEY World. It is super easy to publish, much easier than on WordPress. That’s enough to consider this move.

Closing Remarks

That’s it for this blogger workflow update. Things are starting to settle a bit. I don’t see major changes in the foreseeable future. I hope you made some discoveries with this blog post. Let me know in the comment section.

  1. That’s the website you are currently reading!↩︎

  2. The exact date of Ulysses version 22 is still unknown at the time of publishing this post.↩︎

Workflow Tools Craft Nova Working Copy Blot Linktr.ee Plausible Meta
2021-03-18 18:00

Small Update to the Blog’s Pages

Today, I made a small change to the blog’s pages. Now, you can see the blog’s visitors statistics as collected by Plausible. This update is now possible, thanks to a new sharing feature released by Plausible allowing embedded content inside a webpage using an iframe. Simple to create, in three clicks, I’m being fully transparent. Enjoy.

Plausible Meta
2021-03-18 08:00

Showing Support for Real Mac Software

Nova’s main windows

So, I made up my mind and bought Nova, the best client for editing and publishing content to this Blot website using Git and Markdown. Coincidently, MacStories published a review of Nova just yesterday which emphasis the fact that Nova feels and is a real macOS application. I felt the need to show my support to Nova developers. We should celebrate great Mac apps. Sure there are free alternatives like Atom or Visual Source Code but they just feel weird on the Mac.

Apps Nova
2021-03-17 06:45

Ghost 4 Is Out! so What?

Now at version 4, Ghost, a self-hosting publishing platform, is making some buzz, again. To me, Ghost always looked like a modern version of WordPress. They share many similarities. The close integration of website and newsletters publishing is way better than it is on Substack. I’m thinking, what if I moved my main blog over there? I was tempted once to make a move. Others are discussing why moving from one platform to another might be a bad idea. Matt Birchler:

As I look at this Ghost 4.0 stuff focused on newsletters, my mind naturally goes,”ooh, I could use that, let me switch platforms!”

But the lack of a native mobile client for the iPhone or the iPad was, and still is, a deal-breaker. For an open platform with APIs, it’s surprising no real client exists. Ulysses supports publishing on Ghost, but that isn’t enough. Oh, and those analytics, aren’t they too much?

Ghost 4, lot’s of new stuff, same issue. I’ll pass.

Ghost WordPress CMS Newsletters
2021-03-16 20:00

Tips and Tricks on Optimizing Articles Exposure on Medium

I’ve been on Medium for many years and I learned a few tips along the way on maximizing articles exposure. These tips and tricks made a difference for me.

  1. If you plan to submit an article to a Medium publication, beware of busy publications: the exposure might not what would expect. The turn-over is too high, your article won’t stay fresh for long. One example of such busy publication is Mac’O Clock1. I did publish many articles for them over time. My content does get some traction, but it is for a very short period of time.
  2. Articles like The Top 5 Utilities for macOS” are really popular. Opinionated articles tend to perform well too. The Rotten Side of Tim Cook’s Apple is such an example. This article was published by The Startup2, not on the Apple-centric Mac’O Clock. It still receives regular views and reads.
  3. Allow some content to be published outside Medium paywall to increase your chances of being noticed (cross-post a link on Twitter for example). It’s a difficult balance to achieve, though. If your article is interesting, people will get it for free, you’ll leave money on the table. Considering doing this as giving samples of your quality work.
  4. Publish on your term. Some publications require that you submit an article in draft mode (not yet published). Depending on the publication owner schedule, it may require up to a few days before your article get published. Sometimes, timing is everything. Consider publishing on your own, if that’s the case.
  5. Reviews of hot tech gadgets are also popular, particularly from Apple.

Your mileage may vary. Many articles on how to be successful are already available on Medium. Search for them. You’ll get a better picture. This article should have been published on Medium, behind their paywall because that’s the type of article which usually gets a lot of traction. Oh, well. I feel generous today3.

  1. I hate this magazine name.↩︎

  2. Contrary to its name, the magazine has little to do with startups.↩︎

  3. It will end up on Medium, for sure, but in a few days from being published here.↩︎

Medium Tips