Tag Archive for blogging

TekBytes #4: Why I’ve Switched to Simple Markdown in WordPress

I’m always looking for ways to improve my workflow and productivity; most recently I’ve started using Markdown for as many projects as I can, so using Markdown in WordPress is no exception!

If you haven’t seen or used Markdown before; it’s a super-lightweight markup language that allows you to add formatting elements as you go by using special syntax. For example, if you want to make a section of text display in italic, simply put an asterisk at the start of the word or sentence. When the output is then parsed, your *Italics* then becomes Italics).

Why is this useful?
  • Like an XML file, it’s open, super portable and easily readable across many applications, operating systems and web platforms (think Reddit, GitHub, Stack Exchange, Confluence, etc).
  • It saves time when editing simple documents as you don’t have to go back and highlight/modify formatting, just add the syntax as you go, often with the use of one or two characters at the start of a line. Simple examples might be a bulleted list, where you add an asterisk *, or an H1 heading where you add a single hash symbol #.
  • It’s fantastic for writing documentation where you might want to insert a quick code snippet or command just like this!
  • Due to the very simple notation, it’s far quicker than writing HTML and can be substituted for HTML on many publishing platforms.
  • If Git is already part of your workflow, it makes for easy collaboration with others (ideal for Devs!) and you can use GitHub for both version control and easy access from anywhere to your in-progress content.
  • Learning and practising with Markdown opens up future opportunities to move to various publishing platforms such as Jekyll, Hugo, etc. I might even think about giving the site a facelift sometime soon!
  • New skill to master, init?
Markdown Block - Activate Markdown
Using Markdown in WordPress
You’ve sold me! How do I start?

I don’t know why WordPress didn’t enable it in the default code, but it does come as part of Jetpack (which I assume 90% of sensible WordPress Users are using!). If you want to adopt it to your blogging workflow your site too, simply install Jetpack, then enable it under Settings ‚Üí Writing.

You can find detailed instructions here:
WordPress Support – Enable Markdown in WordPress

Here’s a quick intro to how to use Markdown:
Markdown – Getting Started

After writing a couple of draft posts with it so far, I have to say I’m pretty happy with it. The next step is to find a decent plugin for linking to GitHub, enabling me to write/edit posts in my favourite text editor (VSCode, Sublime Text, Atom depending on my mood), then push them up via Git!

TekBytes: A Blogging Experiment

doc-brown

I don’t know about you, but some of my best and worst ideas come to me when I’m in the shower… it’s quite possible this may be the latter, but let’s see where it goes!

For those of you who are either regular readers of this blog, or perhaps even know me in the “walking, talking flesh sacks” world, you will probably have noticed I’m prone to long-form communication; whether it’s writing, or indeed speaking!

Due to many reasons I won’t bore you with today (but maybe later!), life has been spectacularly busy the last few months. This has led to something which I want to correct; missing out the enjoyable act of blogging here!

What’s the plan, Stan?

In response I am going to try a little experiment based on the theory of “little and often”.

In addition to my traditional “epic saga” posts, I will be producing a new post series I’m calling #TekBytes. Not quite Twitter-style microblogging, but more regular, bite-sized chunks of content. No more than a few paragraphs or a couple of hundred words per post, based on observations and challenges I see day to day in my role as a multi-cloud solutions architect.

That doesn’t mean it will all be cloudy of course, just whatever comes to mind and I can get down into a post in a few minutes, possibly even from my phone! Some of them might even only be questions for you, the readers!

And before you ask… of course there will still be terrible memes! ūüėÄ

terrible-memesThoughts? Feedback? Make yourself heard using the comments below!

vBlog 2017 – Top Virtualisation & Storage Blogs

I’ll keep this post about vBlog 2017 very brief as you can see my thoughts on the subject of soliciting votes for awards in my post from 2015!

It’s that time of year again when Eric Siebert of vSphere Land and vLaunchpad runs his annual Top 100 vBlog nominations!

There are a huge number of bloggers around the world producing great documentation and insight, as well as podcasters helping you pass your daily commute in a constructive and educational fashion! Eric’s awards give people the opportunity to recognise those who really stand out from the crowd, as well as more up and coming bloggers / podcasts.

vBlog 2017 sounds great! How do I vote?

I would encourage you to head over to Eric’s site and cast your votes; it only takes take a few seconds of your time to show some appreciation for the time and effort put in by those ladies and gentlemen who worked tirelessly throughout the year to help make all of our jobs that little bit easier.

Of course, if you do feel like throwing a vote for the Open TechCast podcast and / or Tekhead.it, then it would of course be much appreciated! ūüėÄ

Direct link to the voting is also here:
http://topvblog2017.questionpro.com/

vBLog 2017 Awards

VMware vExpert 2017 – It’s not just about the schwag!

vexpert 2017

This year I was fortunate enough to have reached a wee milestone of a 5th vExpert award so it prompted a post!

Needless to say I am honoured to be still counted among such an awesome community of folk who spend their own free time helping others to understand and consume VMware technology.

Looking back to when I¬†received my first vExpert title in May 2013, it feels like time has just flown by! As well as being part of the awesome community, getting free licenses from VMware, awesome awesome free training from¬†Pluralsight which has helped me loads in my career, and a bunch of vendor other schwaaaag, it’s also opened up a great many opportunities!

For example, I’ve made loads of great friends, gotten to speak¬†at a number of events, and even had the chance to become a¬†Tech Field Day delegate, traveling to the US several times to visit a load of¬†tech companies and startups, whilst learning from some seriously clever people. What I’ve put into the community I have easily received back tenfold, and I am massively grateful to be part of it.community

Do it! Do it now!…

If you have the time to put into it, I highly recommend anyone takes the time to share and hopefully become part of the community.

Here are a few examples from my entry this year, which might hopefully give people some ideas as to the kinds of things which you could do too!

  • Member of a panel at a VMUG
  • Presented a short 15-minute talk at a VMUG
  • Ran a “roundtable” session at a VMUG (for around 30 people)
  • Founded a new website on homelabs (http://openhomelab.org)
  • Started a new podcast with some other VMUG members and vExperts around homelabbing and tech news (http://opentechcast.com)
  • Posted a blog a week (in the past I have aimed to do one a month and built it up over time)

The entry bar to becoming a vExpert is not massively high; you certainly don’t have to do all of the above, or even any of the above! That said, if you are not currently a vExpert, and you can achieve just a couple of these kinds of items, you could be well on the way to becoming one too!

Trust me, it’s worth the effort!