Because I know you care…

Previous updates: December 2021: An Introduction To Dashboards; October 2021: Pi Update; August 2021: What’s Your Pi Doing?

So what’s up with markdown?

Way back in December 2014 (Markdown) I came across this simple markup language called Markdown. Since I wrote in text editors  anyway (Word makes me crazy!) it seemed like a good way to add some simple formatting. Fast forward 8 years or so and I am still using it and use it almost exclusively for note-taking and recording (for posterity) things I am doing. (I’ve got a cheat sheet posted for those who are more interested.

These days all my computer set-up and install notes are in Markdown, my yearly books read, and lately, all my ebook and accessibility research have been written in Markdown.

A few weeks back I had one of those “I wonder if…” thoughts and it transformed my world. You perceive, I had a lot of notes and note files going by now and it was getting worse and worse everyday… since I am basically being paid these days to make notes about ebooks and accessibility and I like to give my money’s worth. Frankly it was becoming a big mess of files, folders and disorganized gibberish.

I wondered if there is a way to render all those markdown notes on a simple website? I’ve done it with my notes on GitHub for Standard eBooks but that is a fancy Jekyll installation. And I mean, half the time I am pasting markdown into this WordPress blog and the Jetpack plugin I installed renders it as html so it shouldn’t be that complicated …should it? But a separate WordPress install was just too unwieldy and frankly I have having to log in all the time since WordPress helpfully built in a timer to kick you out after a certain period of time… sigh.

So that disqualifies my first two choices. So time to do a bit of googlin’

Enter MkDocs

— MkDocs is a fastsimple and downright gorgeous static site generator that’s geared towards…

And is it ever. A quick docker install, a bit of reading about how to tweak the interface and voila! A clean, searchable interface that updates every time I hit save.


Becomes this:

All organized, neat and tidy and most especially searchable. As you can imagine I am slowly making more and more sites and cleaning up a lot of old notes.

My world has been rocked.

What’s on the Pi these days?

I keep tweaking with things. I did pick up a Pi-400 as a machine to experiment on since I am trying to use the original Pi 4 as a production machine more and more.

A Pi-400 is a 4 GB Pi 4 in a keyboard case. For some reason they are actually available where as all the other Pi models are very hard to get.

The Dashboard Today

I’ve reorganized a bit but the essentials haven’t changed much. Notable new additions are VS Code Server, MeTube, Home Assistant and Snippet Box.

VS Code Server

VS Code Server is one of the code editors I use to  write python. Having it on my Pi as a web-based version is occasionally helpful but it is most useful for editing yaml files and configs for the docker containers so I don’t have to mount the Pi as a drive etc.


Is a fast and easy YouTube downloader. Paste in the URL and it downloads the video. Great for archiving favourite shows like Taskmaster.

Home Assistant

I bought my first smart bulb. And since I am a cheapo I didn’t buy the expensive Hue that works with Macs, I had to do some hacking to get Siri to recognize it. I will probably do a post later about that whole adventure, but suffice it to say I landed on Home Assistant — which is a missive open source home automation software package with a huge community. All to control one single bulb.

But hey it turns on and off everyday all by itself and even turns on earlier if it’s cloudy outside! W00t!



See above 🙂

Snippet Box

Snippet box may not be long for the (Pi) world… It’s a great app that allows you to store snippets of code that you use fairly frequently but always forget the specifics of.

I was using it to store regex’s but I have a feeling I will replace it with a MkDocs site. We will see I guess…