Although I can’t find the original post, it was Frank Chimero who gave me the naming inspiration for my weekly newsletter. If I remember correctly, he was apologising for the lack of updates, stating that he was working on his book, so everthing else was “just thought shrapnel“. I immediately registered the domain.
The logo I’ve been using for the past couple of years was by Bryan Mathers who asked me one day what he thought of something he’d drawn. It was based on my avatar at the time, in which I was wearing a cap. You can see it in action in a past issue. It’s served me well.
Bryan was the obvious person to turn to, therefore, when I decided to re-imagine Thought Shrapnel as not just a newsletter, but as something more like kottke.org, or Brain Pickings, or Farnam Street. These are more than just blogs or newsletters — they’re a bit of both, an intentional curation by someone who wears their view of the world on their sleeve.
Just check out the logo that Bryan came up with! It’s inspired by the work of Roy Lichenstein:
A few months ago I started a Telegram channel where I’d share directly links I’d just come across. Some of these made it into the newsletter, some didn’t, and I’d add a bit of commentary and emoji. However, as someone committed to the open web and the POSSE model, I was a little bit uncomfortable about continuing this into the new year.
Enter Thought Shrapnel Live! This is a new blog where I share in a more structured and web-friendly way what I would have previously sent directly to the Telegram channel. You can still subscribe via that method, as well as by RSS, web notifications, and the weekly newsletter, but the content is available on the open web.
I’d like to thank my supporters who keep Thought Shrapnel going. The newly-redesigned version of the newsletter goes out on Sunday, and I’m delighted to be able to offer both new and existing supporters laptop stickers that demonstrate their support. Look out for an email about that next week if you’re on the list.
I wrote my own HTML and CSS for dougbelshaw.com back when I was at Mozilla. It was originally a template to be used with Thimble, and a few people ‘forked’ it to use it for their own site.
So, on the train on the way back from Dundee today, I thought I’d do something about it. I knew that I wanted something pretty simple and minimalist, yet with just enough to ‘delight’ visitors. It needed to serve static files, not rely on a database back end (as with WordPress).
I also wanted to link to something I’ve been tinkering around with that allows me to surface my most recent writing. I’d already put that together at dougbelshaw.com/feeds in response to people complaining that they miss my stuff because I post it in different places around the web.
For those interested, I’m using the LazyGuy personal landing page template (cheap!) and the Font Awesome Favicon Generator (free!)
Please do tell me what you think: http://dougbelshaw.com
(note that this redesign doesn’t affect the look/feel of this blog)
This week I have been mostly…
Attending my first PTA meeting
Eventually, I want to be a governor of my son’s school, but as a first step I’ve joined the Parent Teacher Association. Not quite the short-and-to-the-point meetings I’m used to, but enjoyable nonetheless. I’m not around for the disco that’s being organized, unfortunately, as I’ll be at Interesting North. Oh well.
Wrestling with my mobile review
As I’ve mentioned several times before in my weeknotes, I’m composing a mobile and wireless technologies review for the JISC e-Learning strand. This week I’ve begun trying to synthesize some of what I’ve collated.
Imagine a penny tossed into a paddling pool. That will give you some idea of the difference in scale between my proposal and what I’ll end up delivering. It’s. Just. So. Interesting… :-p
After declaring (rather triumphantly) that, despite two sets of visitors and the rest of my family coming down with a sickness bug, I had managed to soldier on, unaffected – guess what happened? Yep, I had to take Monday and Tuesday off due to a sickness bug. Still, it meant that from my sickbed I managed to set about…
Redesigning this site
This redesign been a long time in coming and, I’m glad to say, it’s been well-received. Further details here.