The blog

Published: 2024-03-21T21:19:34+01:00

There is now a page on the capsule for the gemfreely tool.


This contains an intro to the tool and basic documentation.

License: CC-BY-SA-4.0.

Written by: @[email protected]

Published: 2024-03-21T14:22:58+01:00

The gemfreely command supports sanitizing the generated Markdown files by stripping out text before and after certain points in the file, based on a string marker. The Justfile accidentally had a space in both markers, and thus it was missing the markers in the gemtext files. This should be fixed as of this post... I hope. It's time to add some tests to gemfreely.

gemfreely (

License: CC-BY-SA-4.0.

Written by: @[email protected]

Gemfreely now on

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Published: 2024-03-21T14:18:49+01:00

The Gemfreely tool is now available to install on

cargo install gemfreely

It also now supports basic error reporting, along with an optional date format override for Gemlog Atom feed date parsing (the default format is the one used by the atom.xml of this site). I will next add documentation to it, and then move on to better error reporting, which actually includes context of the validation failures. Right now, the error doesn't really give the user a clue where it happened.

The CI pipeline that builds the Gemini capsule will now also automatically synchronize to the Fediverse via WriteFreely, so this post SHOULD show up in WriteFreely shortly after it's posted to the Gemini site... We hope.

The next step is to somehow redirect the WriteFreely instance to my static site, as WriteFreely is only really used to push things to the Fediverse; I'm not necessarily interested in exposing it as a separate site.

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Written by: @[email protected]

Gemfreely: Synchronize Gemlogs to WriteFreely

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Published: 2024-03-21T12:10:52+01:00

I have created a tool to enable “integration” of this Gemini site into the wider Fediverse. It is called Gemfreely, and it performs a one-way sync of a Gemlog feed to a WriteFreely instance. The tool was created for my specific requirements, but should be applicable to many/most Gemlogs.

The code can be found here:

Documentation is (or will) be found at the associated Git repo. The next major items on the roadmap are:

  • Some kind of comment integration.
  • Sync updates to Gemlog posts as WriteFreely updates.
  • Broader compatibility with more Gemlogs, as there's no doubt some bugs.

The tool will remain a one-way sync from Gemini to WriteFreely, aside from the comment integration (when implemented). It will not sync WriteFreely posts to a Gemlog. At least, I will not write that code! Someone is welcome to contribute that.

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Written by: @[email protected]

Published: 2024-02-10T12:33:58+01:00

Words have power, and the paradoxical nature of the vocabulary used in Geminispace is symbolic of a greater underlying change that society must embrace.


I have noticed that a lot of the naming and vocabulary in Geminispace is based on astronomical terminology. And I like it. Much of Geminispace has a slightly surreal feeling to it, one in which I am eager to participate. The feeling that you are floating in space, a vast universe before you, with only you and the fundamental forces of nature as your companions, is manifest in the way we write the words presented on capsules. That feeling appears in the name of the protocol, the standard port (1965), and in many of the capsule names used.

It evokes a specific feeling, one that for me represents the hope of something new, an exploration of deep possibility and potential. The feeling of vastness is paradoxically coupled with the close-knit nature of the small web (let's face it: Gemini is not well-known or easily accessible to the average user). Those of us who are in Geminispace are all explorers of a new method of thinking and doing things with technology. Words have power, processes have power. Technologically speaking, Gemini is a reaction of sorts to what the Web has become, but there is a powerful symbolism behind it, and that symbolism is attached to an ever-growing movement. Gopher, Gemini, the Fediverse, Matrix, XMPP, and other technologies are different facets of a larger current of social change.

The Cathedral and the Bazaar

Large corporations have built the cathedral and locked it down, while we continue to mingle in the bazaar. We in the bazaar do not always agree on “the right way” to do things (and in fact, that disagreement can sometimes be a hindrance), nor do we even all have the same opinions or ideologies. But what matters is the unified attempt to reclaim and redefine technology in a way that works for us, rather than exploiting us.

One of the most important things we can hope to achieve from these disparate movements is an embrace of digital democracy, where technology works for the interests of society and a free people. This is even more important in an era where generative AI and deepfakes are causing disinformation to rocket out of control. Projects like Gemini are a simple manifestation of a much greater obligation that we have. The promotion of innovations like Gemini pushes the idea of digital democracy, privacy by design, and decentralized control over our own data into the public mindset. Telling a friend about something like Gemini might seem inconsequential (and when measured alone, it probably is!), but it furthers the greater behind it all, even if in the most minute way.

Gemini isn't going to be the thing that helps people take back the internet. But it will be one building block in an optimistic future where user freedom and privacy reign supreme. Technology alone will not bring about this future: it's about mindshare, cultural shifts, and regulation, too. These things are arguably even more important than the software itself.

Filed under: opensource, ideology, gemini

License: CC-BY-SA-4.0.

Written by: @[email protected]

Published: 2024-02-12T14:23:06+01:00

The capsule build system now uses the Just tool to make it easier to use gempost.

Gempost (GitHub) Just (GitHub)

The entire current content of the file is below. I will expand this over time to enable templating of static pages, and other things.

	which gempost >/dev/null 2>&1  || cargo install gempost
	which tera >/dev/null 2>&1 || cargo install tera-cli

build: ensure
	gempost build -c ./capsule-main.yaml
	gempost build -c ./astroponic-garden.yaml

post TITLE: ensure
	gempost new -c capsule-main.yaml -t "{{TITLE}}" "{{ lowercase(replace(TITLE, ' ', '-')) }}"

plant TITLE: ensure
	gempost new -c astroponic-garden.yaml -t "{{TITLE}}" "{{ lowercase(replace(TITLE, ' ', '-')) }}"

deploy MESSAGE: build
	git add .
	git commit -m "{{ MESSAGE }}"

Filed under: capsule

License: CC-BY-SA-4.0.

Written by: @[email protected]

Published: 2024-02-24T20:02:14+01:00

My beliefs in open source extend further than just software. I believe the principles behind the free software movement can be applied to most industries, in and out of the hardware space. Two things I have strong opinions on, that I've noticed myself repeating over the past few years:

  • 90% of what Apple does should be illegal.
  • Anything that can be connected to or interacted with in some way should be required to have a public API or standard.

These would be fundamental regulatory changes that would drastically alter society in ways both big and small.

90% of What Apple Does Should be Illegal

Something of a ridiculous clickbait way of putting this idea. In reality, it is more about a consumer-first focus and protecting the rights of the users of devices and software. The Digital Markets Act of the EU, as well as the EU forcing USB-C and replaceable batteries in mobile phones are perfect examples of this idea in action. Especially the Digital Markets Act.

Apple markets themselves as a company that produces user-friendly and privacy-respecting products. I argue that this is not true. Apple produces products that are EASY TO USE, which is different than user-friendly. Apple's products are actually user-hostile, locking you in to a specific way of doing things, and not playing well with any kind of interoperability. Almost everything they do is profit-driven, not user driven. This is noticeably true in their hardware. Dongles, removal of the headphone jack, strange proprietary cables.

Regulation fixed this.

More regulation is needed. Right to repair, for example, should not be done by companies out of the goodness of their hearts. It should be a legally required mandate.

Everything Should Have an Open Standard

Or, the Death of Reverse Engineering

I came up with this thought after dealing with many devices that can only be fully configured or used by making use of some official app (which almost always is hoovering up data). It is absolutely ridiculous that things you own cannot be used the way you want without submitting to onerous and possibly illegal terms of service. Everything has an app now. Almost everything doesn't need an app. Most internet-of-things (IoT) devices don't need to be connected to a cloud.

Local-first, open standards first. If it can be connected to, the manufacturer should be required to publish (or adhere to) some standard API/specification and make it possible to connect to and manipulate the device using that API or specification. A simple example is an electric scooter. Many of them have official apps that allow changing of acceleration sensitivity, max speed, etc over Bluetooth. There is zero reason for this to require a specific app. This could be both a standard protocol AND standard API.

Why should something like this be required?

  • Product longevity. Less e-waste.
  • Increased competition. Businesses can build on top of one another with new features.
  • Real ownership. No more buying a thing to own but not REALLY owning it.

License: CC-BY-SA-4.0.

Written by: @[email protected]

Published: 2024-02-15T20:42:38+01:00

Update: HTML fonts now changed to sans-serif, with dotted underline links.

Thanks to the power of the wonderful tool gem-web-cli, the HTML version of this website is now accessible!

This tool does 99% of the heavy lifting. It converts the gmi files in-place to HTML that looks pretty much like the native Gemini rendering does. I kept the basic style, because I think it looks fine. I may change the fonts around, as I'm not a huge fan of the serifs. The CSS is simple yet doesn't look entirely out of place in the modern world, and it is mobile-friendly.

Anatomy of the Website Generation

I integrated gmi-web into the repository's Dockerfile and the justfile that does all the templating and building. The gmi-web does not handle every link on the site, so some light application of sed was required to get all the links properly converted to their corresponding HTTP versions. The gemlog and individual blog posts have its own specific sed fixes, and additionally a “hostname fix” is applied across all pages on the site to make sure that any links point to the HTTPS site and not the Gemini site.

This makes gem-web-cli the third main tool used in the creation of this site, along with gempost and tera-cli. The justfile has grown to 115 lines, which is still miniscule compared to writing a full application to manage this in a more specific/“elegant” fashion. I may reach that point anyway, though, as tera-cli has some very specific limitations that make it annoying to template the page files. Namely, templating pages requires kludging them into a YAML format so the tera CLI tool will understand how to template them.

I might wind up creating just a more general version of the tera CLI tool to fit my needs, rather than a full-on set of changes. But in any case, with the HTML version of the website available, the main goals of this project are now complete! The website will continue to evolve and be updated, but I think I can go a long way with the current setup.

Features of this Site

Working with the site is still pleasant:

  • Fully static website, generated in both HTML and Gemtext.
  • Served over Gemini and HTTP.
  • All content managed in Git.
  • Updates deployed in seconds after push.

License: CC-BY-SA-4.0.

Written by: @[email protected]

Published: 2024-03-13T21:08:04+01:00

Story: The Quiet Fire

I have finally gotten around to updating the writing and world-building page with a short story. This is an story I wrote recently. It paints a vague image of a desolate, apocalyptic future, but tinged with hope. The intention of the story is that it speaks multiple messages, some of which the reader themselves might have to discover in their own minds. I wrote the story for a specific reason, and it has a specific meaning to me. Several meanings, in fact. But hopefully, by sharing it, people can find their own meanings too. It is a melancholy story, but with a hopeful nod towards an undefined future.

I am also building up the list of campaign settings and other fictional worlds I've created over the years, which will be added to the writing section soon as well (very likely as links to external sites). Many of these campaign settings have been hosted on various forums or self-hosted wiki sites over the years, but I've taken them all down by this point, or they were turned off by the hosting provider. I would like to host their content on Gemini, but at least in the beginning, it will be far easier to get them up and running more or less in their original forms (Gollum wikis and statically generated websites).

License: CC-BY-SA-4.0.

Written by: @[email protected]

Published: 2024-02-14T22:36:15+01:00

It is so annoying to encode video in the modern age. There's dozens of different codecs, and dozens of different containers. I am using Pitivi to edit and encode a video that should run everywhere. The first attempt ran on my machine but not phones. The next attempt ran almost everywhere, except it doesn't have sound on Macs or iPhones. The third attempt was just janky and didn't work at all.

  • Attempt 1: Pitivi MP4 with H264 and MP2 audio
  • Attempt 2: Reencode above into MP4 using vLC
  • Attempt 3: MP4 with H264 and AC-3 audio

The fourth attempt will be MKV H264 converted to MP4 with ffmpeg. If THAT doesn't work, I will do something more exotic like WebM or even Ogg Theora! There is an Ogg JS plugin which can be embedded into web pages to play Ogg files...

This post will be updated once a successful combination of codecs and steps to produce a video that works everywhere has been found.

2024-02-19: Update – AAC Audio Works!

The video had to be encoded with AAC audio to work properly on Apple devices out of the box. The magic combination for the future is thus H.264 and AAC audio.

License: CC-BY-SA-4.0.

Written by: @[email protected]