Tag Archive for TekBytes

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 → 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 #1 – CloudSpotting – A New Tech Podcast

CloudSpotting podcast

In the spirit of these new short-form blog posts (see TekBytes: A Blogging Experiment) it’s probably appropriate that I write a quick post on a new short-form podcasting project I am working on; CloudSpotting!

My day job is as a Solutions Architect at Rackspace, where I’m fortunate enough to work for one of the most tech-agnostic global service providers around! A typical week could include me talking about or designing solutions based on VMware, Hyper-V, AWS, Azure, GCP, OpenStack, or even just plain old dedicated servers! Add to that a swathe of security, networking and storage “stuff”, it all adds up to a pretty healthy mix.

CloudSpotting Time!

Myself and my colleague Sai Iyer thought it would be fun to share some of our learnings and experiences in designing and operating customer solutions. What better way (we thought!), than an easy-to-consume 30 minute monthly podcast for architects and engineers… In the first episode, we discuss scaling applications for peak periods and the insane growth of Kubernetes adoption! We already have episodes planned on phishing, cyber kill-chains, encryption, automation & DevOps along with a host of other topics, so watch this space!

Just to be clear though – No Kool aid, just cool tech! 🙂

For those of you who are also regular Open TechCast listeners, this doesn’t mean I am changing lanes in any way, there will just be more of my dulcet tones available on your favourite podcatcher (which may or may not be a good thing!).

Where can I find it?

If you want to catch the first episode, just search for “CloudSpotting” on iTunes or Stitcher, or catch the show on Soundcloud here:

CloudSpotting – Season 1 Ep 1 – Peaking Early – A discussion on Application Scaling

We have also settled on the Twitter hashtag #spottingclouds, as the reverse has lots of great photos, but not so much tech! 🙂cloudspotting-logo-horizontal

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! 😀

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