Steven Buehler

Late-40-something (going on 12). Data, chart, Harry Potter™, and theme park addict.

Colophon

A colophon is “a statement at the end of a book, typically with a printer’s emblem, giving information about its authorship and printing” (Oxford Languages). I’ve seen a few of these on blog sites explaining how the site runs and also a few personal ones detailing the tools that bloggers and other geeky folk use in their everyday lives. I’ve modeled mine over the last few years after Jon Saddington’s, because it provides for me a good model to follow. It also satiates my curiosity. 😁

The most significant update in this version is that I’m back to using macOS and iOS as my primary platforms. I haven’t totally forsaken Windows (because Macs are not exactly known for great gaming experiences), but gaming (and work, by necessity) are about the only purposes I use it for anymore.

My Most Important Tools

My two most important tools are Visual Studio Code and emacs org-mode. VS Code is a cross-platform text and code editor adaptable to just about every situation; org-mode keeps me organized, lets me track my work, and lets me easily keep records of other things with simple, portable plain text files. I write the pages and posts for my blog in Markdown using VS Code.

Web Tools

The blog is hosted on Github Pages, powered by the Jekyll blog engine. Pages and posts can be written using Markdown (my personal preference), X/HTML, or Liquid markup. The theme is more or less stock, with a few customizations to suit my own tastes and format needs.

I’ve been working to consolidate all of my email, documents, records, &c., into a single place (iCloud, as that’s the most convenient when working on a Mac, iPhone, or iPad), but I also use Microsoft 365 and Google Apps rather frequently on occasion as the need arises, especially Google Apps Script and PowerShell Core on my Mac and Raspberry Pi for automating a lot of things and creating “front ends” to various APIs that I work with on a regular basis, because I can set hourly triggers to keep the API tokens up to date.

Feedly in combination with NetNewsWire keeps me up-to-speed with RSS/Atom feed reading.

I engage in social media on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok, and frequently livestream on Facebook and Twitch. In 2021 I added Snapchat back (as GloriousAbsence, since it’s limited to 15 characters). I also post a lot of video content (archived game streams, mostly) to YouTube.

I’ve started using Nvidia’s GeForce NOW for gaming on my Mac.

Software Tools

Rather than write with a word processor like Word or Pages, I do most of my writing using Dr. Donald Knuth’s TeX computer typesetting package, Markdown, or org-mode. Plain text files are much more portable and I don’t have to worry a whole lot about them becoming incompatible with later software versions down the road; and when I need to send something in a proprietary format like Word or an ebook, Pandoc comes to the rescue.

There are somethings that TeX can’t do without significant effort, though; and in those cases where something fancier is needed I’ll use Microsoft Office or Apple’s “formerly known as iWork” suite (Pages, Numbers, Keynote).

Analog/Hardware Tools

I had previously written that nothing will ever replace pencil/pen and paper, but I’ve come to change that view now that technology has advanced enough where handwriting and speech recognition are practically seamless.

That’s not to say that I have completely eliminated pen/pencil and paper from my life. As I get older, and also being old school, there are times when I want to leaf through the pages of a dead tree versus swiping across a screen.

For pen and paper, I’ve found Norcom’s Exceed products to be every bit as good in quality as the Moleskines, Leuchtturms, and Rhodias of the world, for a lot less money, and they are much more readily available (as in you can buy them at the local Walmart). My preferred pens are PaperMate’s Ink Joy gel pens; but given that they oftentimes bleed through paper I tend to use Zebra a lot more (their F-301 ballpoint pens and M-301 mechanical pencils are a pleasure to write with). While I try to keep separate notebooks or journals for personal versus work-related notes, it rarely ends up that way. Ultimately, everything that is on paper is digitally captured, scanned, snapshotted, and OCRd into my digital tools.

My desktop consists of:

My mobile bag (usually a LowePro Streamline 150 camera bag, but I have other backpacks and such) includes some combination of the following (not all at once, for obvious reasons):

…and the creative gear: