Reclaiming My Domain (since August 2016)

This is a post that I started writing back in 2017. I thought I should finish it off and post it for posterity. Some of these details have also been added to my about page.

rh make some noise gif

Reclaim Hosting

Back in August 2016, I moved my domain from Bluehost to Reclaim Hosting, which was co-founded by Jim Groom and Tim Owens. It grew out of the Domain of One’s Own project at The University of Mary Washington; providing space for students and educators to take control of their web presence. The migration was efficient and hassle free. A couple of issues arose as these things do and the support Reclaim provided was unparalleled.

Jim and Tim are legends and I am very happy to support their work. The ethics and aesthetics of the company chime with my own; not least due to a youth spent listening to punk and new wave. Two years on, I remain more than satisfied. Auto-updates; easy back-up and detailed documentation have allowed me to keep my various sites running with ease.

German Server

When I first signed up to Reclaim Hosting all of their servers were based in the US. As someone one who cares about privacy, I was ecstatic when I read Jim’s post: ‘Reclaiming Europe’. Jim and Tim’s success meant that they had to keep adding server space and this included the addition of their first European server in March 2017. I immediately made contact and took them up on the offer to move my domain to a Euorpean server. The server is called Kraftwerk and has been reliably serving my domain ever since.


On making this move, I realised that it had been quite some time since I had listened to everyone’s favourite German synth pioneers. I put all of their records on rotation and even made a playlist of their best material. This quickly began to punctuate my Saturday morning runs and the walk home from work.

Long Live RSS

Finally, like many of my web peers, I value open web standards; particularly RSS. In May 2017 Manton Reece and Brent Simmons released a feed format similar to RSS and Atom called JSON Feed. Based on the “developer’s choice for APIs” it “is much simpler to read and write” than XML, “and it’s less prone to bugs”.

This has been added to my blog using the WordPress Plugin giving readers an additional way to subscribe alongside the built in XML feed that comes as standard in WordPress. If you want to know more about why they created it, Manton and Brent discussed it on The Talk Show with John Gruber.

“We’re functioning automatic / And we are dancing mechanic / We are the robots”

~ Hütter, Ralf, The Robots (1978)

Make Some Noise Gif CC: Bryan Mathers (2017)

Perfect ‘Simple’ Note Making – Revamped

nvALT, my preferred text editor, has been the constant tool in my writing and note making setup for more than a year now. There have, however, been a few changes to both the way I write blog posts and the way I create and sync notes with my Android phone. Therefore, I felt a brief update was in order.


While learning HTML syntax has helped me to build and customise this blog, it is not particularly easy to use when writing blog posts. What I prefer, is to write in plain text. To avoid writing out lots of HTML, I would write posts in nvALT and then add links, formatting and images in the WordPress browser-based editor. This was not the worst workflow but it was not ideal.

Over the last three months I have been learning to write using Markdown. Markdown is both a software tool and a simple syntax, created by John Gruber, that allows you to maintain your focus on writing. It works by converting plain text, formatted with the Markdown syntax, in to valid HTML.

nvALT has Markdown support built in meaning that I can write a blog post using the syntax, quickly open up a HTML preview to check that everything looks as it should, then simply copy/paste the HTML source code directly into the WordPress browser-based editor. After adding a title and tags all I have to do is hit publish. A far more pleasing workflow.

If you are interested in learning Markdown quickly, this video by Eddie Smith is definitely worth watching:


A couple of months into learning Markdown I decided that I should find a text editor for my Android phone that supported it. Being a very specific search I quickly came across Epistle by Matteo Villa.


Like nvALT, Epistle has built-in Markdown support. Which means I can write fully formatted blog posts on my phone, using the Markdown syntax. It has an elegant and minimal user interface. Note creation involves a single click and they can be organised alphabetically or by date. Also, you can select from serif, sans-serif and monospace fonts. After a couple of clicks, I had Epistle working in exactly the same way as nvALT. I was completely sold.

Getting in sync

However, there was a problem. Epsitle does not sync with Simplenote. Instead it syncs with Dropbox. Fortunately, I remembered reading a blog post demonstrating how to sync your notes in nvALT with Dropbox and Plain Text for iPad. Re-reading the post it was clear that I could do the same with nvALT, Dropbox and Epistle.

In short I switched to saving notes in nvALT as plain text files. Then I created a folder called “NV” and moved all my notes to this folder. Next, I synced the folder with Dropbox using MacDropAny. To complete the setup, in Epistle, I changed the Dropbox folder it was syncing with to the “NV” folder I had created. And that was it, my notes were synced across both devices.

Perfect and ‘Simple’

It’s almost a year since I first shared an insight into my note making and writing processes. In essence not much has changed. My setup and work flow remain perfect and ‘simple’; revamped but much the same.