About This Website

Authored by

  • Steve Dondley on twitter.com (Caution: f-bombs ahead)
    • Quick bio
      • Live in Westfield, MA
      • Married with son in college, majoring in comp. sci.
      • Have been running a small web/phone app development company and web hosting service for unions since 2004
      • Ex-US Navy nuclear reactor operator (1988 - 1994)
      • One-term city councilor (2016 - 2018)
      • Former labor organizer and political/labor activist
    • Political views
      • Pragmatic progressive
      • Very worried about climate change
      • There are way too many idiots these days
    • Email: s@dondley.com
    • My older website
      • the content there will eventually get migrated into this one
      • also uses vimwiki/markdown
      • uses jekyll framework
      • looks nice, but framework was too convoluted and confusing and a pain to keep upgraded
    • More about me

Website Name

  • Climate Change Chat for Realists
    • This is the same name as a livestream project about climate change I do
      • Why is the website named after the livestream project?
        • Because I want to call attention to my project


  • Have a creative outlet free of limitations and impositions of corporate social media platforms
  • make it exceptionally easy to update and maintain
    • will be less likely to abandon a project that is less of a pain to update
  • share ideas and notes with other easily and quickly
  • keep track of shit

The Tech under the Hood

  • all content is published to github to a publicly available repo
    • people can go to github and suggest edits
  • all new content is publshed with custom vim maps
    • Example:
      • Typing <leader>www does the following:
        • saves the markdown file I'm working on
        • processes the markdow file and converts to HTML
        • commits the markdown and HTML file to a git repo
        • pushes all outstanding changes to all files out to the remote repo
  • I can quickly whip out text and publish it to web with little effort
  • git will give me an entire history of every change published to the site
    • nothing will be lost to the historians who stumble upon my great work :)
      • as long as there is electricity
      • and the apocalypse hasn't occurred
        • but no one will give a rats ass about my work at that point
          • people barely give a rats ass about it now
  • content is pulled in every minute to web server running a cron


  • all pages are created and edited with vim text editor
    • more accurately, neovim, a fork of vim
  • allows you to avoid using a mouse
    • I fucking hate using a mouse
      • Way too slow
      • Way too tedious
      • I get around the computer as much as possible with keystrokes and hot keys
        • It requires some obsession to get there
        • But, in the end, it makes computing far more enjoyable for me
  • about vim
    • used heavily by open source coders
  • benefits
    • absolutely the fastest way to input and maniupalate text
  • primary plugins used to crate these pages
    • vimwiki
      • designed to easily create wiki pages
      • has simple templating system for standardizing pages
      • easily creates outline and links
      • allows pages written in markdown format
      • converts vimwiki pages to html using a ruby gem called vimwiki_markdown
      • also uses some special sauce code that I wrote
    • taskwiki
      • a bridge between taskwarrior task software and vimwiki
      • allows vimwiki to be the interface for managing tasks

Why Is This Site Written Mostly in Outline Form?

  • It's inherent to the design of the software I used to write it
    • called vimwiki
  • It's much faster to write this way
    • no agonizing over how eloquent I'm being and how well ideas flow
    • much fucking faster to edit/revise
    • aiming for quantity over quality
  • Ideas can be conveyed very succinctly
  • I have a hunch prose is dead
    • 20th century media killed poetry
    • prose killed by the internet
    • I notice my own increasing impatience reading wordy shit
      • just get me to the meat of the matter, especially on reality-based topics
        • I'll fill in the emotional details with my own imagination

People don't actually read newspapers. They step into them every morning like a hot bath.

--- Marshall McLuhan

Why Is the Design So Plain?

  • It's not as plain as it used to be
    • Gave it a good facelift on 3/5/22
  • I'm more concerned with content and functionality than design
    • simpler is better
  • I don't want it to be time-consuming
    • A design that looks like a magazine and is both functional and not annoying to update and maintain takes a huge amount of effort
  • Things will improve slowly over time as I work on it
    • may add some graphics to spiff it up a little
    • right now, I'm not sure I like the colors
      • may play with it some more

Coming Improvements

  • Better menu navigation and interlinking between pages
  • Mobile friendly table of contents
  • Slightly more interesting design
  • Get a GD spel checker integrated with vim in a way that isn't annoying
Last updated: March 9, 2022 9:07 PM
First published: January 29, 2022