Today I Learned

I have had difficulty working on @TIL. The majority of that stems from my life, and that of my family, being in an extended phase of that which I can only sum up as Everything All At Once.

What does not stop me is worrying about how many Followers or Likes I have. It’s nice.

I use iA Writer for writing @TIL. It is the core of text creation for the entire project.

So… uh, that iA Writer 6 is out(!) and now includes wikilinks? Well that makes my current publishing break that much more timely 🀯

(also: autocompletion for hashtags πŸ‘)

One of things I’m working on for @TIL 2.0 is making the site easier to use. Better access via breadcrumbs, linked pages, etc.

I’m starting to see just how many websites don’t do this sort of thing at all. Most navigation seems to be built around “We want to funnel you to X.”

When I’m using the Micro.blog scheduler for @TIL, I feel like I’m having a good day.

There’s one more post set to be published this evening, and that’s the end of the week for @TIL. With 14 posts it feels good to say that activity has resumed.

I’m looking forward to next week: the full set of regular posts and some updates.

Next goal: a full month of posts.

Update for @TIL: full return next week.

Also:

Would it be good if there was a Facebook page for TIL, which functioned as a resource to help people see Facebook alternatives?

Or does this kind of thing already exist? Even if it does already exist, would it be good to have more?

Some @TIL news to start the new year:

Today I Learned will return on Monday the 10th of January.

Got a new category for my blog. Now waiting for it to show up; as good a time as any to give the site a kick via the Micro.blog “refresh” switches.

Related: getting ideas for new guides is easier than you might imagine.

Related-related: yes, guides are coming back to @TIL.

The new Micro.blog feature is now public on @TIL:

ICYMI is back!

Enjoyed putting this together in a short space of time. Was made so much easier by the fact that I had existing material from the previous version of the newsletter.

I’ll make email subscriptions available for @TIL as soon as I can. That’ll be the replacement for ICYMI, the weekly edition of the Post Haste newsletter that I retired last month. Much simpler for it to be built-in and there are still options for customisation. πŸ‘

Fully working on posts and updates for @TIL again. Publishing will resume on Monday.

TIL 1.9.1: Retiring features

After last week’s bundle of new additions, I realised over the following days that there was another part to those changes; the other shoe as it were. Let’s take a look at the release notes to see the complimentary updates:

… not quite so many πŸ†• badges, huh.

However the intent, and I hope effect, remain the same. I am making TIL the best possible companion to pair with the official support for Micro.blog and think that role is best fulfilled by providing much more direct, tangible resources. And that no longer includes custom tracking of Micro.blog updates from a third-party perspective.

Between the continued growth of Micro.blog and the team’s official records of updates, you can keep abreast of such news in a few different places. Plus, Manton has recently hinted at providing yet another source of this information.

When it comes to Post Haste, another hint from Manton says more than I really need to. Whilst I am going to publish the last few issues of the special bumper edition The Macro Report, the weekly catch-up log ICYMI will become mostly, if not entirely redundant and so my time is better spent elsewhere.

Overall it’s fair to say that the recent significant events of my personal life – moving home to a completely different part of the country – have inspired my focus in ways that I expected to a certain degree, yet not quite as much as they actually have. I’m excited to see TIL change in these ways because it should be the best companion within context of whatever Micro.blog needs and that’s exactly where my efforts are now focused.

Thanks for reading.

⏀ Simon

  • Claire’s powered wheelchair repair βœ”οΈ
  • Book COVID booster for Saturday βœ”οΈ
  • Book flu vaccine for Monday βœ”οΈ
  • Finish preparing @TIL for the future βœ”οΈ
  • Leave plenty of time in the day for unpacking + working on new things for TIL βœ”οΈ

Having declared no more features for any updates to @TIL between now and 2.0, my mind is of course finding it oh-so-easy to think of nice small features.

TIL 1.9: Design, Insight, and the Future

With the release of the newest set of updates to @TIL, I am happy to say that the unofficial companion to Micro.blog has entered the next phase of its development.

Let’s take a look at the release notes for those TL:DR fans out there:

TIL 1.9:

Unofficial

One of the updates is for the edits made to include the word unofficial in the TIL tagline. This better reflects the reality of the endeavour; yes I do get help from the team but this is not an official part of Micro.blog at all. It’s all just me, making it happen, and as such it’s better to make this as obvious as possible.

One of the reasons this is important is cost. As time passes and TIL grows, and as my standards improve – albeit unsteadily for the past 18 months – I have reached an inflection point. The project can not remain stable or grow further without money, and whilst I wish I could tell you my recent big home move resulted in an immediate and entirely surprising increase in our income… I’m sure you’ll be unsurprised that is very much not the case.

As such I have closed the Buy Me A Coffee page and now invite you to take a look at the first membership offering for Today I Learned: The Insight Program. Right now it is entirely donation-based, with no rewards on offer. As I’m sure you can imagine, this is not the plan for the long term; in fact, the very reason I have moved to Memberful is due to the numerous ways in which their platform is so much better made for offering a variety of memberships. This is a start… I am looking forward to doing more.

You’ll notice on the Memberful site that I have detailed the costs of TIL, including my fundraising goal for this version of the membership. I am doing everything I can to work around costs; using free trials, renting, finding free versions of software, carefully managing my computer… just as much as I can think of. I hope my intention here is as transparent as possible; every single penny that is put towards a plan in The Insight Program will be put directly into running Today I Learned.

Here is a quick example of the current situation regarding costs:

  • Setapp has expired. Having finished the 7-day trial of the rental service, I had quickly made use of a few apps for TIL.
    • Although, to be honest, the ongoing cost of the subscription is likely not the best choice even if in the short term it could be helpful.
  • NounPro Unlimited will expire in 3 weeks. The premium subscription for The Noun Project has already been put to use in a number of the design updates you can now see on the site and external profiles.
  • Sketch trial will expire in 3 weeks. Similar to Noun, only in this instance practically all of the new graphics in use for TIL were made in Sketch.
    • Much like with Setapp, I am unsure if this subscription makes sense in the long run. Though I have a back-up plan, which you can see listed on the Memberful site.

… and so I will continued to do my best in this way. Please let me know if you’re aware of any comparable free alternatives (MBP High Sierra 13.6), including that which is listed on the Memberful site.

Speaking of costs being covered and the overwhelming generosity of the community, I would like to give a wholehearted thank you to the multiple donors to the Buy Me A Coffee page. You’re all just fantastic and have left me flabbergasted, having literally helped my family move and thus massively improve our standard of living. On top of that, just 3 days ago Matt Cassem (@sarcassem) donated enough to cover email hosting for the next 12 months with money to spare that will be put to use in another part of TIL.

Seriously… overwhelming ☺️

Yes, so, you can help out with either a single donation or a monthly payment. The links to these can be found on the newly updated About page as well as the Memberful site itself.

Realign

Last week I changed the posting schedule for the site, introducing later posts as a result of an unexpected shift in my personal schedule. This may become a permanent change but I can’t say for sure. Either way I’ll continue to work to make publishing as reliable and consistent as possible.

Post Haste is currently on hold. Between uncertainty regarding email hosting costs and a switch to Fastmail that has been a little complicated regarding Buttondown hosting, there was suddenly something of a hurdle between writing the issues of the newsletter and publishing them. Thanks to the aforementioned good news regarding email hosting and the teaser screenshot posted by Manton last month, I don’t think it’ll be much longer before ICYMI is back.

Major design updates are now finished for at least the next few months. Version 1.9 means what it implies; the next change for the site, and likely the various extensions that make up TIL, will be 2.0 and all that entails. I have been working on ideas for this and look forward to getting my hands dirty with Hugo in particular. In the meantime I’ll make fixes and minor tweaks for smaller updates but as has once been said before: no new features.


It was both a lot of fun and quite stressful to put together these changes. In the end it has been the most satisfying update to make, and I hope you’ll join me in making this feel like just the beginning.

I am looking forward to building 2.0 but mostly, next, I can already feel the excitement for some new features that will hopefully be out very soon.

In the meantime, I’ll be back with regular activity throughout the week and will see you at the next big announcement.

Thanks for reading.

⏀ Simon

There were no posts from @TIL on Friday. Been finishing up the updates I mentioned previously in the week.

And they’re ready πŸ‘€

But first! Some regular posts…

So that’s the regular posts for @TIL done for the day. Second day back, I think I’m back on track.

But I do have… something else. πŸ‘€

Yes, @TIL is back.

Yes, to full activity.

Yes, there is more to come tonight. πŸ‘€

Because I have an actual computer I’ve found it easier to work on different parts of @TIL. I now have parts of the project I work on to feel better about the parts that are frustrating in a given moment.

This is one of those things I realise that further motivates me to work.

Have yet to spend time learning Hugo; evenso I enjoy working on the theme for @TIL with some HTML and CSS. I love that I can make design choices knowing that in the future I’ll be able to implement at the template level, with basic customisation then left for temporary changes.