Static Site Search with Gatsby and Algolia

6 minutes to read — 1166 words

About a month ago, I wrote about developing a static website with server-side Javascript. As I discovered, there are a lot of advantages to a static site. But one of the disadvantages to the lack of a database is that it isn’t obvious how to make the site searchable. With no database to pull from, generating search results can be a challenge. Rather than pull search results from a database and generating results pages with server-side scripts, static sides tend to opt for storing results in a single file or external database and relying on AJAX to submit queries of the search index.

"The Ten Thousand Doors of January" by Alix E. Harrow

3 minutes to read — 466 words

Book Cover Alix E. Harrow’s debut novel is a magical journey through fantastical worlds. January is the ward of the wealthy collector Cornelius Locke. She’s raised in Locke’s mansion, which is stuffed with rare treasures from every corner of this world (and others). January’s father is mostly absent; he’s usually off seeking new artifacts to add to Locke’s hoard. She never knew her mother. As the book unfolds, we learn the stories of January’s parents.

Server Side JavaScript and Static Websites

12 minutes to read — 2409 words

I’ve experimented with server-side JavaScript in the past, but I finally had an opportunity to dig in and actually build a website with it. I have a lot of experience with JavaScript in general; one of my major professional projects over the past few years was developing a complex web application entirely in JavaScript. For a number of reasons, I had to work only with vanilla JavaScript (no frameworks or libraries like jQuery).

Ten Albums in Ten Days

11 minutes to read — 2308 words

I’ve been enjoying the “ten albums in ten days” challenge/craze/fad/thing on Facebook. The basic idea is that you post ten of your favorite albums or albums that had a particular impact on you, one each day for ten days. It was a neat opportunity to learn about new music, but really it was a way to learn my about my friends and the music that influences them. A few days ago, I was tagged to participate.

"Children of Earth and Sky" by Guy Gavriel Kay

3 minutes to read — 449 words

Children of Earth and Sky I should have known Guy Gavriel Kay wouldn’t let me down. Kay’s books are often classified as fantasy, but I think they’re firmly historical fiction. I don’t have anything against fantasy—I grew up on J.K. Rowling and Philip Pullman, and I still love it—I just don’t think Kay’s books fit the description. Kay’s characters believe in mysticism, but I think that’s more a reflection of how people used to see the world than an effort to inject magic into the proceedings.

"Darknet" by Matthew Mather

2 minutes to read — 275 words

Darknet Cover Like Douglas E. Richards’s Infinity Born, Darknet is a near-future science fiction thriller about the dangers of artificial intelligence. But Darknet is a much subtler, more carefully crafted, realistic, and enjoyable novel. Darknet follows several major characters through settings as diverse as Manhattan, Hong Kong, and rural Canada as they struggle against an artificial intelligence, created by a hedge fund, that’s gone rogue and is attempting to take over the world’s financial and political systems.

Ubuntu Updates

3 minutes to read — 543 words

As I’ve continued to use Ubuntu as my Linux distro of choice on Dell XPS 15 laptop, I’ve made some modifications to my setup. I’m describing some of them here.

"Infinity Born" by Douglas E. Richards

3 minutes to read — 587 words

Infinity Born Cover I didn’t like this book. It has some interesting and promising ideas, but none of them are well-executed. Ultimately it’s a book with boring characters about computer science and espionage that seems to be written by someone with little understanding of either computer science or espionage. Infinity Born is a near-future thriller about artificial intelligence. The concepts involved are fascinating. Unfortunately, it’s just not very realistic. The author has a master’s degree in genetic engineering, so I have no doubt he’s capable of understanding the computer science involved, but for some reason it just doesn’t come off that way.

Ubuntu 17.10 on the XPS 15

5 minutes to read — 930 words

I recently upgraded my primary computer from the great but aging Thinkpad to a new Dell XPS 15 laptop. So far, I love the Dell, and a full review of that will come a little later. But now it’s time for a post reviewing the process of getting Linux up and running on my new machine.

"All Our Wrong Todays" by Elan Mastai

1 minutes to read — 178 words

I loved this book. It’s a really fun, fast-paced novel about a guy in a seemingly utopian future with an uhappy family who accidentally destroys the future utopia by using his father’s time machine to derail the technological developments that made it possible. But in the much-less-utopian present, our present, he finds that he’s a lot happier, his family’s a lot happier, and he has a shot at a life with the woman he loves.