Matthew Lang

Freelance web developer specialising in Ruby on Rails

Jan 23rd, 2021 · 3 posts


Another Saturday afternoon out walking. This wee routine is definitely going to be a year-round thing now. Lockdown or not!

Another section added to the website

This week I added another section to my website—a bliki.

A bliki is a combination of both a blog and a wiki. I got the idea from Martin Fowler's website. I regularly use his bliki for looking up agile and software development terms.

Once I had my website up and running on Rails, I wondered what else I could add to the website. I toyed with running my bookmarks from the website, but I discounted that idea as it's a different type of content that I didn't want to try and make part of my website. I then wondered about adding a wiki to my website.

I like the idea of having a section of the website that is purely for myself and allows me to save different things without having to find them in another app or device. If this wiki is on my website, I can access it from just about anywhere.

I didn't want a traditional wiki though, I don't have the time to build something with those features, so I built a small section of the website around a collection of topics. Each topic has a title, and text and topics can belong to other topics. Just for a little bit of extra flair, my main topics all have an image on them. These topics form the bliki section of my website.

In time I may make the bliki section public, but for the moment it remains a private section.  

David Perell has an idea that has been simmering in the old grey matter for a few hours now. I'd like to act on it and see what I can come up with. 

Jan 21st, 2021 · 1 post



Jan 19th, 2021 · 2 posts


We’ll always have email

WhatsApp’s privacy policy change has led to a sudden shift of people flocking to other chat services. Signal and Telegram have seen significant rises in the number of active users and installs.

However, in the world of company-owned platforms, there will always be a shift of people from one platform to another. With privacy concerns raised from changes to WhatsApp privacy policy, many people flocked to Signal and Telegram. It won’t end here, though. When the next big thing appears in the app stores, we’ll see another migration of users.

These instant message platforms may come and go, but there is an alternative way of communicating that has been about four decades and even now is still evolving but no less dependable. Email.

The asynchronous communication form that has no silly limits on character length isn’t measured by likes and can be as informative as a thesis on space-time travel or silly as a cat playing the piano.

Even now in the face of a more and more message platforms, email is still one of the best mediums for communicating with people, whether it be a friend or a mailing list of customers.

And email isn’t done either. We still see improvements in how email is handled and managed. Email clients are continually evolving and making it easier to manage our email. And the best part? It just keeps on working.

Message platforms come and go, but thankfully we’ll always have email.

I managed my first walk/run of the year this morning. I ended up splitting the two roughly 50/50. Not bad for a first attempt at running. I'm aiming to run the full distance by the end of February.

Jan 18th, 2021 · 1 post



Jan 16th, 2021 · 2 posts


It’s Divisional weekend on the NFL. I’m predicting wins for the Packers, Bills, Browns and Saints, but I really just want the Packers to win it all!

WhatsApp is delaying its privacy policy update by three months. I think it's too late now for WhatsApp to remedy this situation without changing their privacy policy.

Jan 15th, 2021 · 1 post


It’s ironic that the application that CleanMyMac X is telling me to close down is CleanMyMac X.

Jan 14th, 2021 · 2 posts


Spent a couple of hours tonight swapping in a TailwindUI component into a Rails app of mine. I can see me swapping more of the TailwindUI components to replace my own over the next few weeks.

For anyone interested, I ordered this wooden book stand on Etsy. Compact with an adjustable tilt, and space at the bottom for at least a couple of notebooks. Not a bad price either.

Jan 13th, 2021 · 1 post


Beyond exhausted tonight. I had great intentions of spending a couple of hours coding tonight, but the energy levels are just not there.

Jan 12th, 2021 · 1 post


I'm looking for a book stand that has space underneath it for a few a handful of notebooks. There are lots of good book stands out there, but not many with the storage I'm looking for underneath it. Any recommendations?

Jan 11th, 2021 · 2 posts


The Couch Console

I'm not sure what to make of this Couch Console on Kickstarter.

I like having a reason to get up and get some nibbles or a drink, but this makes it much easier to sit and enjoy my movie, the American football, the golf or the lastest PlayStation game.

One thing I do know is that my boys would love one each!

HT to Tools & Toys for sharing this. 

The humble checklist

Adam Keys reminds us of the effectiveness of the humble checklist.
Checklists are great because they are an easy way to get my brain thinking about the details. They force me to think about all the things that need to happen. They force me to think in time and sequence: this needs to happen before that and this other thing will take a while so that’s probably another checklist. Checklists force me to think about dependencies and who is going to do what part of a project. For example: Bob has access to all the welding tools, so he needs to do all the metalwork which means Alice and Chris are stuck with all the woodwork and painting.

The unreasonable effectiveness of checklists
I love a good checklist, especially when I'm going through a process that I'm not familiar with. You have the steps to go through, and if the checklist is well written, each step validates the previous step.  If something goes wrong, it has to be in the previous step or two.

Jan 10th, 2021 · 2 posts


Pulled the trigger on a license for Tailwind UI. I've already been using the free components, but weighing up the cost of the license for what you get back in terms of components is worth it in my book.

Got The Charlatans on in the background, a series of bugs to work through for a Rails application and a cup of coffee on my desk. Good times.

Jan 9th, 2021 · 2 posts


It’s Wildcard Weekend in the NFL. Predicting wins for the Bills, Seahawks and Buccaneers  today. Tomorrow going for wins the Ravens, Saints and Browns. Tomorrow’s games are definitely tougher to call.

My dad dropped off homemade snowballs from my mum yesterday. Ideal with a cup of tea this afternoon.