Things I Have Written

Summarizing Hugo Content Summaries

Hugo content summaries and I have a complicated relationship. Rather, the design decisions behind the Hugo .Summary page variable intrigue me.

I’m going to tell you how I render my post summaries on my site front page, main blog page, and many of my various section pages, but not today. Today I’m going to write many words about why I had to come up with my own way of rendering Hugo post summaries. I apologize, but it has to be done.

By design, using .Summary to display a post summary strips out all the HTML formatting. The summary will appear as one block of text, regardless of paragraphs and line breaks in the original text. In addition, any images or footnotes or any other non-plaintext will be removed.

This is … an interesting choice. And not, I suspect, what most people want. …

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 Darkness 

I’m really proud of the most recent episode of BubbleSort Rabbit Hole, RH003 : Darkness. Clay, Ronnie, Vic, and I went deep on Eminem’s new song Darkness, what it says about our society, Ronnie’s reactions to it as a Las Vegas resident, and the importance of listening when a messenger comes, as Clay insightfully noted.

Speaking of Clay, please read Underwater. Personal emotional struggles have always been a part of the human condition, and we all go through them to varying degrees at different times and for differing reasons.

Clay’s words about not truly belonging anywhere struck a resonant chord with me, in my case due to where I grew up and the contrast to this country I felt when we returned to the U.S. But the feeling of not belonging has many causes and is experienced by people far more frequently than we probably let on.

On top …

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iA Writer Footnote Converter

I use iA Writer on iOS and Mac as my primary text editor for writing blog posts. I like its Files app integration and ability to work with Working Copy and other Files app providers. It’s also really easy to get at anything written in iA Writer because they’re all stored as iCloud Documents in an iA Writer iCloud folder.

One thing I have had an issue with though is that iA Writer does markdown footnotes in a way that doesn’t work when I post it to my sites as an .md file and compile it with Hugo. For that matter, it didn’t work when I used to put it into Wordpress with markdown enabled either.

iA Writer’s footnote format looks like this:

There is a footnote at the end of this sentence[^this is the footnote].

That doesn’t convert to a proper markdown footnote in most (all?) markdown …

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The Unwieldiness of Complex Shortcuts

I use and rely on Shortcuts app for many of my iPad workflows. The most complex of them that I’ve created are for publishing to my Hugo-powered blog, and for publishing episodes of the various BubbleSort podcasts.

One issue with Shortcuts that I’d love for Apple to address, which they almost certainly won’t, is the ease with which they become too complex to manage or restructure.

Case in point is my Blog Post Publish shortcut, which I wrote in such a way that I could use it for multiple websites. This necessarily leads to multiple menus and multiple nested If statements, since Shortcuts doesn’t support the “else if” construct.

Nested If statements in Shortcuts

Instead, the next if clause gets forced under an Otherwise statement, so that if written in code, it would like something like this:

If (blog == “ …

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Hugo .Summary Customization

In my article on supporting link posts in Hugo, I went on a short tangent about the Hugo .Summary function and the fact that I wasn’t using it, but was instead piping .Content to the truncate function.

Mainly I wasn’t using .Summary because it basically strips out the html paragraph tags and makes a big block of text. I find this an interesting choice, because who does this? No one, that’s who. Everyone who uses summaries wants legible summaries, including paragraph breaks. Hugo summaries make the assumption that a handful of words will be enough to draw your readers in, and that that’s the look you want in the first place.

Hugo does provide for overriding this by putting a summary in front matter, but that seems like a major kludge considering how easy it would be for .Summary to take a few option parameters. …

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 BubbleSort TV Awards Ceremony 

I suppose it was inevitable that my illustrious and completely unknown podcasting career would lead me into the world of awards ceremony hosting. Vic Hudson and I, fresh off a run of BubbleSort TV episodes covering Mr Robot season 4, presented at the first ever BubbleSort TV Awards Ceremony, awarding prizes to various eligible categories from the entire Mr Robot series.

Ordinarily I don’t try to pressure people into listening to things I’m in, but this was a fun one. If you watched Mr Robot and you need a cathartic celebration of what made it one of television’s all time greats, give us a couple of hours. Let our award be your reward.

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 Mistaking Familiarity for Intuitiveness 

I don’t remember Gruber making the “iPads aren’t as intuitive as Macs” claim as part of his public confusion about how the iPad works, but I’m sure some people have. And, as Matt Birchler says in his excellent skewering of the “iPads are too damn complicated!” narrative, that’s ludicrous.

I think Matt’s onto something with the explanation that a case of familiarity and unfamiliarity is really the issue here, not the iPad itself. I’d say the real issue with the people I’ve seen on Twitter claiming no one can decipher the iPad’s mysteries is the inverse – unfamiliarity mistaken for counter-intuitiveness.

As I said yesterday, the iPadOS multitasking UI does have issues. I’m not debating that at all. What I am debating is that it’s so complicated as to be unreasonable, and whether every possible iPadOS feature needs to leap directly into the user’s brain the first time they pick up an iPad, or whether it’s ok that some learning is involved.

Also, the clunkiness of the …

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 Stephen Hackett Rewatches the 2010 iPad Keynote 

This is a fun video. Stephen Hackett analyzes the 2010 iPad introduction keynote, presented by Steve Jobs.

It’s pretty funny seeing how limited the original iPad was, especially considering the brouhaha today from some seasoned Mac veterans lamenting that the iPad is too confusing. 🤣

I submit to you that the same people who couldn’t figure out how to work on iPad then due to its very real limitations are some of the same people who can’t figure out how to work on it now, even with its greatly increased capabilities.

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Can Everything Be Discoverable?

There are good arguments to be made that Apple hasn’t always helped the iPad live up to its promise. Certainly John Gruber thinks so, as evidenced by both the title and body of his recent post, The iPad Awkwardly Turns 10.

My issue with what he wrote is not his claim that iPad multitasking is fiddly and unintuitive and a bit incoherent and inconsistent. It is. And it’s not his assertion that iPad multitasking is non-discoverable:

How would anyone ever figure out how to split-screen multitask on the iPad if they didn’t already know how to do it?

I can’t really disagree with that. It’s just that I don’t know how much that does or should matter.

Not everything in technology can be intuitive. Sometimes things have to be learned. And some of the people complaining about the fact that all iPadOS features don’t present themselves as fully-formed concepts directly into the user’s brain upon iPad unlock are people who created Markdown, or who are iOS programmers, or who use Photoshop, or who have elaborate writing workflows.

None of those …

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Link Posts in Hugo

Most popular blogging platforms or themes made for them support some kind of link post format as an alternative to a regular, “this is my own original content” post. The idea is that you can link to something somewhere else on the web, and add your comments in your own post. Typically the link post title links to another site, and there is a permalink URL to your own post.

I don’t plan to write a lot of link posts, that’s not the point of my site, but I knew it would be nice to do so whenever I like without having to step outside my blog post shortcuts and blog post template archetypes and manually edit things. To support this, I added the ability in all my section and home list and single article pages to check for a front matter variable called “linkurl”.

Here’s what …

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