from tmo

The sun is setting, lighting up the East wall of my apartment through the blinds. I head out of here at 10:30 tomorrow AM to do some grocery shopping, no word on when I will pick up the replacement chair for my living room (it will have to be the next time I am out there and I can haul the thing in to and out of the van myself). The #stlwx is incredibly hot/humid/unenjoyable, definitely couldn't walk today without risking dehydration. I cannot handle humidity at all, it seems :/

Almost all packages arrive tomorrow, as well – books, tobacco, and some cassette tapes, so yes, I am the world's biggest hipster, LOL!

more later

 
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from Hummingcrow & Co.

Kate   Little Paintings: Robin in the Bath

Seán and I have recently been scheming new ways to creatively capture scenes around the Hill, so I halved some card-paper offcuts I got from an art store. Now we have a nice stack of 3x3.5'' pieces that we're gradually making into tiny paintings.

One of my first attempts is a common sight around here: a fluffed-up, staring robin soaking in the bath:

robin bath in hand I always like the look of the colour-testing sheet afterwards (sometimes better than the actual painting!):

robin bath colour sheet

Process of my 3 sittings with the painting:

robin bath process

robin bath painting

robin col test sheet

 
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from RandomThoughts

Day 11 Today was my first real 'normal' day. Lockdown is technically over, and the family wanted to go for a walk. So we all did. It was really quite enjoyable being out in the open, soaking in the sun, fresh air and violent winds. Saw some horses and cows as well as the school of the ruling class.

Overall it was pleasant. But that did mean I sacrificed my usual routine, any time spent being productive as I spent most of my day with my family and going for a 2 or so hour walk haha. I'd say it was worth it, I got to really get my mind out of everything and got to relax, mingled with friends and family for the first time in ages (out of my damn house).

I am getting quite tired, hence the shoddy post this evening but hey, at least I wrote something unlike last Sunday lol.

 
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from 1234days

I have 5 minutes until the day is over. I've noticed that I spend less time with every day on writing posts here and I am not happy about this. I will think about it and will implement a new rule to stop this trend.

That's it for today. Ironic, right?

 
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from 1234days

There are so many potential project ideas, hobbies, and other activities you could spend your time on. There are plenty of options. I know that it privileged to say, but this can be exhausting too. This constant feeling that you could spend tour time better is sometimes so overwhelming that it stuns me and at this time I ironically spend my time watching movies or playing video games to distract myself from those thoughts.

Find your 'why'

I've become better at committing to something, but there is still plenty of room for improvement. Every time I sit down to work on a project I think to myself: 'why is it important to me?'. I then remember 'why' I have started this project in the first place.

Every one of us has different reasons to start a project. For example, building a side project to be more independent, provide more for your family and friends, learn new things you are interested in, change the world, and so on. If the 'why' is clear to you, it is way easier to do boring stuff.

'Making more money' is at least for me no reason to give 100%. I don't care about money. But with more money, you can provide yourself, your friends, your family with a better life, be more independent, be less anxious about the future and so on. Those reasons are more motivating than 'making more money'.

There is way more to figure out, but just some thoughts of mine to this topic.

*Post didn't went online for some reason.

 
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from tmo

I sat here, heating water for coffee, thinking to myself of what I am doing for the day, what to do tomorrow, what is coming up inthe week ahead – and all of a sudden, I felt like my memories were gone. Not like I forgot anything in particular, but was just empty-headed for a moment and was struck with helplessness in that very moment. Perhaps an acid flashback? I remember moment where I would be frozen by fear while on LSD as a teenager, and maybe that's what caused this helplessness-inducing moment of memory loss as I glanced over at the heating water?

Or maybe I just need to focus more?

More later

 
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from Andreas

When it’s raining I like to spend time in the carpenter workshop that I’ve put together in the barn. Today it’s been raining all day so I had time to made a new bench for the small porch. I was doing handicraft listening to podcasts. I enjoyed myself. I tried to at least. I am feeling very tired the way I always do in the beginning of a vacation. It’s like the system has to turn itself off completely in order to be able to reboot. It will be better in a couple of days I hope. I need the sun to come back. Rainy weather makes me sleepy.

++

The teenagers at the loft are having a blast. The don’t care about the weather. They’re playing music and stupid video games and are staying up all night watching horror movies. Tonight they’re gonna watch Blair witch project.

 
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from Ronald Steegstra

Dit was geen geplande rustdag, het was niet eens een rustdag. Ik geef u deze waarschuwing cadeau. Pas op! Ziet slasaus er uit als mayonaise eet het niet op. Het is geen mayonaise en je kan er behoorlijk van uit je doen raken.

Voor het geval slasaus er uit ziet als mayonaise geef ik de volgende richtlijnen, deze dient u strikt te volgen.

  • Hou voldoende afstand van de slasaus.
  • Laat het verwijderen door mannen in witte pakken, met behulp van een door Gouda's Glorie goedgekeurd slasaus reinigingsbedrijf.
  • Waarschuw de gemeente (zij zullen dan de buurt ontruimen en of afsluiten).
  • Laat u koelkast door een priester met spreuken en wijwater ontsmetten.
  • Heeft u geen priester bij de hand schenk u koelkast dan een week later aan de kringloop, en hoop er het beste van.

Mocht u toch per ongeluk de saus hebben aangeraakt of ingenomen.

  • Laat u met nachtzweet doordrenkte bed verschonen door andere mannen in wittere pakken, met het bekende Glorieuze keurmerk.
  • Beweeg tenminste één dag niet of nauwelijks.
  • Ontdek door de dag heen de vele variaties en kleuren van hoofdpijn.
  • Wees rustig en bedachtzaam al gaat dit in tegen u karakter, u heeft ook geen andere keus.

Welterusten.

 
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from The Monday Kickoff

Welcome to this week's edition of the Monday Kickoff, a collection of what I've found interesting, informative, and insightful on the web over the last seven days.

Let's get this Monday started with these links:

Writing

How to Organize Your Writing, wherein Amy Holland explains why you need to organize your writing and shows you a way to do that effectively.

How to Edit Your Own Writing, wherein Harry Guinness reminds us that editing is one of the keys to good writing, and offers some excellent tips for giving your own work an editorial going over.

Writing Is Thinking, wherein Sally Kerrigan explains why writing about what you do is important, and how writing (and planning to write) can help you think about what you do more clearly.

Online Life

Small b blogging, wherein Tom Critchlow argues that you shouldn't blog for fame, fortune, and glory but instead do it to make interesting connections while also being a way to clarify and strengthen your ideas.

When the Web Was Weird, wherein we learn how the web went from flat, utilitarian pages to more dynamic designs, with some interesting steps in between.

A Text Renaissance, wherein Ventakesh Rao examines the revival (of sorts) of text as a medium for creating and publishing content online.

Ideas

We Are All Ancient Mapmakers, wherein Cody Kommers explains that the idea of a map that all of us carry around in our heads uses the same conceptual framework as the maps crafted by ancient Greek philosophers, with all the physical and cognitive limitations.

Why We Need a Working-Class Media, wherein Carla Murphy argues for a need to hear the voices of working-class people from all races and backgrounds to tell their stories and to demonstrate that they are civic participants who matter.

How New York Is Zoning Out the Human-Scale City, wherein we get a peek into the urban development process in New York City, and learn how the process is tearing the heart out of the city's neighbourhoods and its history.

And that's it for this Monday. Come back in seven days for another set of links to start off your week.

Scott Nesbitt

 
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from katelovesorange

its sunday and i have been up since 6am. brent has gone fishing and i am enjoying a quiet cup of tea while i wait for my meds to kick in. i didnt make a cake yet as its been too hot. might try today. we had rain last night. not sure how much though.

todays plans include chores and not sleeping all afternoon. that afternoon nap yesterday prevented me from going to bed at my usual time as i was not tired enough to sleep.

maybe i will have some time to work on a collage page today too. i dont know when brent will be home from fishing. he didnt take any coffee or snacks from home so i guess he is buying them on the road.

i went down to the basement last night to look for a jar of carrot cake jam for the cake i want to make. i know i have lots of them but could not find any . after brent built the shelving for me he decided he wanted to help me by putting things on the selves....well he was not so helpful as i dont know where anything is and the shelves are not labled. so i move a few things around and wonder how i will ever get this sorted.

he did the same thing when the pantry was built. he could not leave well enough alone like i told him too. i went to bed and when i got up the next morning he had moved things into the pantry with out asking what or where i wanted it. now instead of fighting about it i just move it out and replace it with what should have been in there to begin with....my canning. i had the shelves put in a certain way to be able to hold the jars. in the pantry he put in all the boxes and bags of dry goods. NONE of the canning. i was livid. we fought about it for days. so since then i have been slowly changing things to how i want it. it would have been so easy to let me do it in the first place. he also rearranged all my pyrex and corning ware. i just about lost it. i hate when he moves things around and wonders why i get upset when he does.

so today i do what i can when i can. right now i am dealing with nausea again. will eat my cereal and take my meds and hope it will go away soon.

we are going out for dinner tonight. cake is made and finished. the phone still remains quiet. no nap this afternoon but pain level is managable for now. started my shopping list for the week and wondering if i will get a letter in the mail tomorrow....

 
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from Black Views Differ

“Although the capitalization of Black will stand as a mark of pride, it could easily be transformed into an assertion of a particular identity. Once 'Black' is uppercase, it’s easier to claim that there’s one correct way to be 'Black' and that those who think 'wrong' thoughts aren’t really Black in the full uppercase sense. We’ve traveled that road before and it’s a tragic and destructive one.”


 
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from flirting with nihilism

Any company that requires its employees to write out their annual goals likely also requires a mid-year review as well as an end-of-year review. Since June just passed, now is a good time for me to look back at my 2020 goals and see what has stuck and what has gone to the crapper.

To refresh, my goals were as follows: + Lose 20 pounds in 2020 + Weekly posts on Flirting With Nihilism + Monthly posts on Truth & Hyperbole + Prep for a novel + Use fewer commas in my writing + Use a custom domain for my email + Donate unwanted books to prisoners + Keep a list of books read + Play more disc golf + Getting back into routine

Please note that in times of catastrophe or sudden changes in market conditions, companies (no matter the extent of their problems before said catastrophes or changes) can always blame the new reality for their failures and I will distribute similar justification where I see fit.

That said, let's get to the review.

Lose 20 pounds in 2020

Though I am currently headed in the wrong direction in regard to this goal, I'm up only five pounds, so there's still time to right the ship. While now losing twenty-five pounds in six months may not be the most reasonable or healthiest goal, I can still make a decent dent. In more positive news, my doctor told me I was still down twelve pounds since my last annual checkup, so on a long enough timeline, I'm still in the positive. Or negative, however you want to measure that point.

Weekly posts on Flirting With Nihilism

This goal died pretty early in 2020, well before the pandemic hit. That's because I joined a writing group and my focus shifted to writing short stories.

Now, with the pandemic, there's less to talk about. There are only so many times you can blog about the pandemic without feeling like a broken record, so I'm not going to force it.

Just this month I renewed my write.as subscription for 5 years. Whether we'll ever move on from the pandemic, allowing people to have something different to write and talk about, remains to be seen.

Monthly posts on Truth & Hyperbole

This one died pretty early too. After a couple months or so, I decided to nix my secondary blog and to start posting fiction on Flirting With Nihilism. Then I decided to stop posting fiction altogether. I now want either to submit stories to publications or combine them into a short story collection of my own, whatever is appropriate for the specific story. RIP in peace, Truth & Hyperbole. Originally you were meant to be a podcast. Then a fiction site. In both lives you were shot down before you could ever get started. May you some day rise like a magnificent Phoenix so that I can justifying buying the domain.

Prep for a novel

This task is a slow-go. I do have the bones of an outline, but now I'm asking myself whether my idea for a novel/novella might be better served as a short story. The story itself isn't dead, so we'll see what final form it takes.

Use fewer commas in my writing

This one is immeasurable. Who the eff knows.

Use a custom domain for my email

I am in love with this practice. I like that I can use multiple custom domains for emails and have them all point to the same inbox. I also like that I have the option of responding from each of my email aliases to keep things separate. Perhaps most paid email providers offer these capabilities but I've experienced it firsthand only with Fastmail, so they get all the credit in this post.

Man, groups that collect books for prisoners are a bit pickier than I expected and because I'm not sure any of my books meet their criteria, I'm left holding on to unwanted books. Maybe I can donate some of them to a school library.

Keep a list of books read

Yeah, this died pretty fast too. Ain't nobody got time for dat.

Play more disc golf

In 2020 I have played a grand total of...zero times. I have no excuse other than pandemic depression that I only just recently emerged from. For now

Getting back into a routine

LOL. LMFAO.

The pandemic crapped hard on this one. I had just started to get into a real groove before March. Once the pandemic hit, it took me about three months to adjust again. Dare I say I have actually found a routine again, so this goal is not lost. It's just been a not-so-fun ride to get where I am now.

Additions

In most corporate mid-year reviews, you realize that you have extra bandwidth for new goals as some of your old goals have fallen off.

So below are some candidates for additions to my 2020 goals:

Social media distancing

In an article published earlier this month, Bridget Phetasy pleads that we all need to practice social media distancing in addition to social distancing. I know it can be hard when digital platforms become pretty much your only outlet for socializing but for my situation at least, I agree with Bridget.

I've decided to take a hiatus from Twitter. I'm sure I'll be back at some point—I always come back, no matter how bad an idea I know it is—so I haven't deleted my account, but I have stepped away indefinitely. People claimed that Twitter was toxic even in better times, and now in the time of Covid I have seen the light. I have a habit of falling in love with the Twitter of old, the Twitter of the early days, when it was a place to find likeminded people and to expand your interests. While you can still find such people and communities on Twitter these days, you will likely have to wade through wave after wave of toxicity for a tiny morsel of what you're looking for.

This go-round I did my best not to get sucked into the culture war, but the culture war got me anyway. And I now realize that while Twitter can be great for finding out what's going on in the world, it is undoubtedly the worst place to find out what's really going on—the real story. Twitter itself is full of people merely screaming yay or nay, and even if someone wants to elaborate a point, there's only so much nuance he or she can squeeze into 280 characters. Maybe they should link to blog posts instead, but nobody blogs in 2020. That's for loosers. (Typo intentional)

News on a lesser frequency

Last year I blogged about how I was done with The Economist and done with news in general. Then I found a deal for a digital subscription to The Economist at basically 25% of the usual price, so I jumped on it. Well, you see how strong my moral fiber is.

Early in the pandemic, I was obsessively checking Google News. I felt the need for timely updates. I needed to know how the world was falling apart as it happened. I needed to know who had the virus, who had been canceled, who was collaborating and singing horrible renditions of classic songs. Imagine.

Until I realized I didn't need all of that.

One of the negatives of the 24/7 news cycle is that journalists and news outlets need to find enough stories to fill that cycle. And so the moment something is uncovered, the story hits the electronic press and is offered to the world in an instant. With no opportunity to check context or facts or for legitimate in-depth analysis. Instead, bias leads the narrative of the story.

It's easy to feel the need for frequent updates when your county is a current hotspot for the virus. But my employer will notify me if the office shuts down. I don’t go too many places these days, so I don’t really need to know what’s open or closed. And those close to me will tell me anyway. And finally, I have built a habit of wearing a mask in public and plan to do so for the foreseeable future, so I don’t care whether masks are required.

Bring on the second half of 2020

The first half of 2020 has kept us all on our toes. I'm expecting more of the same in the second half.

And so we fly into the abyss

 
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from Musings

Hey, you! Yes, you. I'd like to chat about phones and computers without getting way too... geeky about all of it. Your phone is a very powerful computer, so I'm going to only refer to computers from here on out, just remember I'm also talking about your phone.

The premise is that you've been getting ripped off by nerds for years and I think that's wrong. You probably knew this already, but just haven't had the right words to describe it. I'm happy to help, if you'll continue reading.

The one word we'll be talking a lot about are specifications (specs) of computers. These determine how powerful a computer is. Specs typically increase together over time so we'll focus on only a single spec for our comparisons today: memory.

If your computer is running slow, it's probably because the apps on your computer are using too much memory. The folks at Apple or Microsoft will tell you that you need a new computer. Your token nerd friend will say you just need more memory.

I'm here to say you deserve better software.


The Cray-1 was the gold standard of supercomputers in 1975 selling for 7.9 million USD, with inflation that's ~33 million USD in 2019. In 2020, the most affordable entry level computer is a Raspberry Pi for 35 USD. The top of the line Raspberry Pi sells for 75 USD. A comparable Apple product would be the cheapest Macbook Air for 999 USD.

Okay, so for a baseline, the Cray-1 had about 8 Megabytes of memory. The 75 USD Raspberry Pi and the 999 USD Macbook Air both have 8 Gigabytes of memory. There are 1024 Megas to 1 Giga when it comes to computer specs. So these newer computers have about 1,000 times more memory.

I promised not to get too geeky, but I had to throw those numbers out there. I know they're essentially meaningless without context. Roughly, as memory increases so does computer performance.


Over the last 45 years, supercomputers decreased in size and price, therefore becoming more practical and affordable for consumers. Performance also increased over 1,000 times! The question I have though, did people change what they're doing on computers?

I don't think so. To me, there are two types of computer users: consumers and creators.

A consumer listens to music, watches movies, sends emails, composes documents, tracks their finances.

A creator composes music, edits movies, illustrates book covers, writes software.

We've been doing the same things for decades and we're currently at a point now where our hardware is capable of doing consumer-grade computing instantaneously. But the software is holding us back.


Okay, so if hardware itself is good enough and has been good enough, what's the difference between a Raspberry Pi and a Macbook Air, besides 900 USD?

For starters, you probably don't know anyone using a Raspberry Pi for their computer. But everyone you know is using an Apple, Microsoft, or Google product. It's easier to switch to something when you've got a tribe to share knowledge with. Being able to phone a friend is the simplest way to get computer help, since you're all speaking the same language.

The Raspberry Pi also isn't a laptop, it's a computer that fits in the palm of your hand, so you'll still need a monitor, keyboard, and a mouse to plug it into. So the Macbook Air is a fully packaged product, where the Raspberry Pi is a little more DIY. The 200 USD Pinebook Pro is a fully fledged alternative, with less power than a Macbook Air.

Finally, Apple has an entire ecosystem of software in their App store. It's really easy to download a program and be running in a few minutes. You can quickly install things on a Raspberry Pi, but there is a steeper learning curve.

I'm not sure it's super obvious, but the key ingredient to using a more affordable computer is time. By getting good with your computer, you will save time in the long run. For me, I get frustrated with slow software, constant updates, and the limited selection in app stores.


For an example on how improving your personal computing skills could improve your life, I want you to think about your keyboard. How do you type?

There's two common ways. You're either using your pointer fingers and striking each key like a vulture. Or you're using all your fingers like a Caffeinated Octopus.

To go from vulture to octopus took time and practice, but now you're set for life. You've mastered the interaction of interfacing with a common machine in the most mechanical way.

Having more control over your hardware and software is a learnable skill, like typing. Yes, it takes time, but will ultimately save you time and money in the long run.

The best part is some new update won't make your entire computer obsolete forcing you to buy a new one, because now you hold the power.


So instead of looking for a computer that has the minimum specs to run the software you want, that you instead look for software that falls under your max specs. I propose that 8 Gigabytes of memory is more than enough for your maximum specifications, if you're an average consumer.

If you choose the right hardware and the right software, I believe you can not need to buy another computer for the next decade.

 
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from dig {or} sink

Today marks exactly 1 week of launching my blog. So this post is perfectly timed. For the past 2 months I've been trying to get back into writing. Writing is therapeutic to me. Something about being able to express your thoughts on paper (or screen in this case). For one reason or another I found a way to talk myself out of it. Then finally I got inspiration from this article by Polina Marinova and decided to go for it. I spent the entire week prior looking into various platforms.

I had never even heard of Write.as up until last week Sunday. So it was quite wild that I chose to use this platform. Although my nature as a person has always been to try new technology. Whenever I find something new, I try to give it a chance because new things usually come with new ideas. My research into blogging platforms led me to discover Write.as by accident. In fact, it was the exact article called “Platforms to Write on Besides Medium” which got my attention.

It's quite ironic that the first 2 articles I've already linked to in this post are both using the Substack platform, but I digress. Write.as caught my attention because It was the only one on the list I had never heard, so I wanted to know more. The sentence that drew me in was “Write.as is an extremely minimalist blogging platform”. There are more reasons that swayed me which I will get into, but I knew as soon as I signed up and was up and running in under an hour...this was it.

After previous experiences and headaches with prior blogging platforms, I now knew what I wanted in a platform. It was as if someone was in my head and extracted details of how I would envision a blogging platform to be, documented those details and went ahead to go build it. That someone just turned out to be the founder, Matt Baer.

Here are the things I was looking for in a blogging platform as must-haves:

  1. No bloat
  2. Light and fast
  3. Simple to use i.e. extremely minimalist
  4. Preferably a managed hosting service, yet giving me full ownership and control of my data
  5. Reasonable pricing
  6. Domain name mapping
  7. Writing focused, not a damn CMS (Content Management System)
  8. Thought to execution should be flawless, like grabbing a scratchpad or journal
  9. Option to expand blog to Subscriber-based model if possible
  10. Easy flexibility for theme customization

All the points above were so important to me that I would probably talk myself out of writing again if I wasn't satisfied. Here are the things I did not like about other platforms, which discouraged me even if some of the criteria were met:

  • WordPress — Wordpress is like the OG. It was my first introduction to blogging on the internet. I created multiple blogs on it years ago. But over time, it just became a big bloated monster that tried to cater to everyone and lost its purpose. Add to that, the spam control and plugin breakages were just another nightmare I did not want to deal with ever again.

  • Medium — Medium is a platform that was newer and came close to what I was looking for. Beautiful UI and simplicity. My biggest gripe with Medium which overrides everything else is the paywall. If you haven't noticed Medium seems to put up a paywall for what I would call high traffic posts. So you get a free number of posts that you can read on Medium, but after that you have to sign-up to read any further even if the author of the post is not charging for it. Medium is pretty much being the gatekeeper of your own content. That was a big turnoff.

  • Ghost — Ghost is a platform that I would say was almost perfect in terms of what I wanted. It was simple, it was fast (written in Javascript, no PHP bloat). it was writing focused etc. Where it failed for me was after I tried spending an entire weekend trying to install it on my Web Hosting server and had no luck. You see, Ghost I learned required very specific server configurations in order to get it to work, things like NGINX and Ubuntu. Without that, you will be dealing with a nightmare. I then decided to avoid the headache and go for a Ghost Hosted solution. Ghost.org, Digital Ocean and Amazon Lightsail all offer pre-configured managed hosting for Ghost. What turned me off was the pricing. Ghost.org pricing started as $29/mth and goes up from there to $199/mth. Each tier has restrictions. That seemed like an insane amount of money to pay for a blog when I already have a fully Managed VPS Hosting for less.

  • Substack — Substack was something I noticed a lot of professional writers/bloggers were starting to use. I would argue Substack is probably the closest thing to Write.as out of all the others. To be fair I did not use Substack yet even though I opened an account. The only thing I would say about it is that their core product focus seems to be around Newsletter style publications. But in terms of features I could see why it is gaining a lot of momentum. If I hadn't found Write.as, I would probably be using Substack.

Now coming back to why Write.as:

  • Write.as just hit all the points and more. It is simple, fast, minimalist. In fact when you go to the website write.as you are automatically presented with the editor to start writing. How much faster and efficient can you get than that?
  • Write.as was built on the principle that users should own their data. In a world full of greed, principles actually matter. These are the words from the founder himself:

In late 2014 I was getting more concerned for my privacy both online and on my smartphone. I felt stifled, because I knew social media sites were analyzing my status updates and search engines were cataloging my searches. So I wanted to create an antidote for that feeling, and came up with Write.as. ... I own 100% of the company and don't plan to ever sell it (or our users) off.

  • The pricing is as fair as you can get, $5/mth. In fact, I was so shocked with the pricing I opted for the $180 for 5 years pro plan. Seriously that's cheaper than a pair of high-end shoes.

  • Everything about it is writing focused. I can put thoughts down quickly. The use of a Markdown language to quickly add formatting to text.

  • It allows you to change the look and feel of your site by using standard CSS syntax. I would argue this is better than downloading themes like other blogs. Just tweak things yourself to how you like it.

  • You can add up to 10 additional blogs...10!!!

  • Allows you to map your own domain, so www.yoursite.com will show the blog.

  • Comes with a Free Snap.as account which allows you to host photos

I can keep going on and on without accounting for everything it has to offer. You can see pricing and feature details here. If you are looking for something new and different in a blogging platform I would highly recommend to consider Write.as.

Tags: #Technology #WriteAs #Blogging #Wordpress #Medium #Ghost #Substack

 
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