Shanghai entered into summer time decisively this week with sustained high temperature and occasional drizzle. Gossamer begin to drop from Phoenix trees in the French Concession district, forcing many people to wear mask or even carry umbrella to avoid inhaling it. A lot of people are taking this week off to extend the 3-day national holiday of May First to enjoy vacation trips or spend time with family. It's a slow week of recuperation and paying off technical debt.

I made a few changes in my technical stack. Protonmail is in and Gmail is out. While Gmail's functionality has remained almost stale in the last ten years, Protonmail offers much better encryption and streamlined domains management. At one point I toyed with the idea of hosting my own email server to avoid emails being scanned by Google for advertisers.  That's a bit too heavy-handed though so I settled with Protonmail's service, paying $10+ a month now for its Professional Plan that allows for 1 user + 5GB + 5 addresses + 4 domains. Compared to my Gmail plan where I have +100GB storage space, this seems puny. If I can maintain a zero inbox and delete emails diligently (and by default), 5GB should actually be enough to go around. Gmail's generous storage has little value to me when I not only am forced to expose personal data to greedy advertisers but also have become a target of tireless spammers.

Gitlab is in and Github is out. Since I picked up programming more than 10 years ago, I've become obsessed with writing in Markdown with version control. There are important personal things I want to keep track with, such as continuously evolving CV, bio, resume, sitemap of  various web properties and projects, as well as repos of my coding projects. I used to put them all on Github in mix of public and private repos paying a few bucks a month. Github is a great platform and community, but why do I want to expose my data to a centralized third party when I can handle that on my own? On a sunny afternoon I installed a local copy of Gitlab server on my Synology NAS and it was much easier than I thought. I should have done this much earlier ... duh! My NAS is configured for RAID 10 redundancy so I feel pretty comfortable that my code base and personal data can be stored there safely and more importantly, privately.

Ghost is in and Pelican is out. In "From Pelican to Ghost", I explained how I migrated from static site generator Pelican to Ghost, which allows for much more dynamic and closely integrated workflow with Stripe and newsletter. So far Ghost looks pretty robust with a responsive development team and passionate community. Static site generator still has its charm - DFINITY's demo of Motoko language uses Gatsby that has React Native as the front-end engine.  Growing an audience through newsletter is all about engagement though - Ghost is giving me enough trinkets to do just that.

In a casual chat, a friend mentioned that he knows David Bowie. What he said confirmed some of the suspicions about Bowie but that's all fine with me. I couldn't help but re-watching the duet of Comfortably Numb between David Bowie and David Gilmour. What Bowie brought to this legendary song is just incredible and a stroke of pure genius. He used a very particular pitch that created magical chemistry and mashed perfectly with the original tone of David Gilmour of Pink Floyd.

Until next time,

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