From the Couch of Ben Johnson

Father, Staff Engineer at Prodigy Education, serial hyperbolist.

A Fresh Coat of Paint for 2023

I love personal blogs as a place to experiment and play. In my day job, I don’t get to do much design work anymore, so my personal blog gives me a place to stretch those (very atrophied) muscles.

For this year my goals were to make something simple and clean, with more whitespace. The last few years have been somewhat suffocating. It’s time to crack open some windows.

The theme uses the Rosé Pine Dawn colour scheme (for both light and dark modes). It’s typeset in the same type as last year, Capricho by Hoftype. Check out those italics.

This site is powered by is hard to explain because it’s trying to do so many things. It’s basically a bunch of different products all glued together:

  1. Hosting: It’s a hosted Hugo blog. It supports all the stuff that a regular Hugo blog supports, but it’s optimized for short microblog-style posts. Posts are written in Markdown with an API, which I love.
  2. Crossposting: It’s a system for crossposting blog and microblog posts to various places: Twitter, Mastodon, LinkedIn, Medium, etc.
  3. Social: It’s a social network of people with blogs all microposting at each other. The social network also supports ActivityPub, so you can follow and interact with people over in the Fediverse.
  4. There’s a bunch of other stuff: it manages what books you’re reading, dices, slices, and publishes podcasts.

For my purposes, I like that my content lives on my site under my domain, but it’s also sent to Mastodon where the community I care the most about lives. For the moment, I’m still crossposting to Twitter, but I’m honestly considering turning that off given how Twitter is going.

One thing is missing is a way to programmatically update themes. I wrote a bunch of scripts in Go to synchronize theme files stored in Git with the backend. This way I can update the theme and there’s a CI/CD pipeline that deploys the changes to the blog. It works better than you might expect. I’ll likely open source that if people feel like it’s valuable to them.

So here’s to a fresh coat of paint for 2023! Let’s hope the year is a good one.