Stephen Newey


22 March 2012

Hi. I’m Stephen, and this is my blog. I’ve lost count which iteration of it this must be. My enthusiasm for keeping such things up to date seems to wane pretty quickly. I’m hoping this time might be different.

Recently I’ve been learning and using some interesting technologies for work projects. And in the process I often find myself looking for simple walkthroughs of various things, or discussions of good practice and implementation methods.

With some of the bleeding edge stuff that’s not always easy to find. And so I find myself piecing together slowly how to do the things I need to do, often getting to a certain point and then starting from scratch as that magical glimmer of understanding comes into focus.

In the interests of being able to remind myself of these advances, and in the dual hope that writing them down will bring me to a greater understanding and prove helpful to someone other than myself, I’m going to try and document here as much as I can.

Following in the footsteps of Matt Gemmell, I’ve setup the really rather brilliant Octopress to build the site, baked into static HTML. This runs from a Git repo sitting on my server, and I’m writing articles in Markdown directly on the server via SSH using VIM, which I recently began using.

I’m writing this post as an experiment. Last week I gave into the pixels and bought a ‘new’ iPad and was wondering if I could use it to create stuff as well as consume it. And so right now I’m SSH’d from it using Panic‘s excellent Prompt client.

And guess what? I just typed this post with it! It wasn’t a super awesome experience, but it was doable and not unpleasant. And VIM is a great editor for the task, thanks to the ease with which it can jump around the text several words, sentences and paragraphs at a time.

Next up, I need to get to grips with some more advanced use of screen (or byobu if that’s what the cool kids are using these days)…

If, like me, you’ve contented yourself editing your code in TextMate on your Mac and poking at your server configs with nano, watching others with a mixture of fear and awe as they jumped around their documents seemingly pressing Esc on every other keystroke, then you are right to feel those things. But you can be that guy or girl too, install MacVim or GVim and head on over to the excellent to get yourself started.

With a little practice and patience, you too can be a fear and awe inspiring Esc key ninja. I’m not even very good at it yet, and I can’t imagine going back.

Tags: vim, iPad, Octopress