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Here's to a great year ahead!

4:02 pm

I updated ClaySS to use iotaCSS 1.5. I'll probably update to the latest version of iotaplate soon, but that's a little more work so not sure when I'll get to it.

3:59 pm

I've converted the Vision theme to ClaySS as Vision2, it looks a little different, but mostly the same. I also updated the ClaySS repo to 1.1, but I then identified an issue because the iotacss enabler flag variables are not included (you can add them or wait for 1.2 next week).

I am pushing Clay 1.4 to a later date, so I can spend some time rounding out 1.3 some more. I want to add some blocks, apps, themes, and work on docs in Clay and ClaySS before I move on to the changes in 1.4. That means I'll probably have some minor 1.3.x builds popping up here. 

I also have help working on Clay now so I want them to have a little time working with a stable version before we start changing it too much. The even numbered 1.x versions are unstable builds, so 1.4 won't be live here anyway. I'll declare 1.3 in January, then the next few months I'll have 1.3.x versions here. Clay 1.4 will introduce a new REST API and some features that make applications more powerful, similar to how 1.2-1.3 have been about improvements to the front-end.

3:26 am

I merged the Clay Installer updates into my 1.3 dev branch tonight. That was the last major merge for 1.3, I hope. I have some minor fixes here and there, but 1.3 is almost finished. I'm going to spend some build themes and working in small improvements, but I don't have very much more planned as far as major changes.

I'm very happy with the way this version has turned it. I now have a new CSS framework, written specifically for Clay, and supported by both Clay (the CMS)  and Clay Installer; a unified theme system across Clay and Clay Installer; Vue.js support; and built in Markdown support. Not bad for a couple of months of work.

I've decided I'm keeping the 2 new themes I've made, one will be the default in the Installer, but I'm building a new theme for here.

11:56 pm

The Clay Installer uses only ClaySS for styling now and supports Clay themes, instead of having its own. JQuery is no longer used in Clay, tonight I began transitioning the installer to Vue.js. It used very little jQuery, but even less vue.js. So far I haven't found anything I used jQuery for that I can't do with Vue and normally it's way less code. There is definitely a performance boost as well.

12:44 am

I upgraded most of the templates in the installer today, it still uses jQuery, but nearly all of the templates now use ClaySS. It's really easy to make a clay theme now, so it shouldn't take long to finish the ctx-2 theme.

I will be adding a few ClaySS components based on things in the installer. I haven't decided if I'll use all of them in Clay, but if I'll try to just extend current components if I can.

One feature I will be adding to Clay as part of this update are base page templates that will go in the Common app. I've noticed ClaySS has kinda standardized page templates, so they will likely be the same across most themes. This will prevent every theme from having a requirement to have the base templates, such as dashboard and app page templates.

Overall I think I'm on the way to a solid 2.0 and a good segway into the planned changes for 3.0.

1:50 am

The final step to complete Clay 1.3 is to revamp the Clay Installer. The installer is it's own CMS within Clay, generally only used to install or upgrade a package (such as Clay itself). Currently it has its own themes and styling, because I never transitioned it to Bootstrap. The revamp will move all of the installer's styling to support ClaySS and it will use the same themes as Clay.

I had considered just changing all of the installer's packages' to use ClaySS styling and make the new Potter theme the default for the Installer. I like the installer's theme though :) so instead I'm upgrading the CTX-1 theme as CTX-2 with ClaySS support so it can be used by both Clay and the Installer.

There are some architectural changes I'd like to make within the Clay Installer, other than themes, but I don't know if they'll all make it into this update. Some of those may affect Clay's framework and thus Clay overall. That is beyond the scope of the roadmap for the 2.0 branch, so those may be saved for an incremental change beyond 2.0.

3:09 am

Vue.js continues to impress me. For the new version of Clay I removed jQuery and replaced it with Vue. It was scary at first, but it is amazing how compact the JavaScript in Clay has become. The script for the dashboard is a single Vue instance with just a few methods, but it can do ajax submits, toggle edit/save buttons, and add input fields dynamically. The awesome part is the same script works with every app on the dashboard, without a lot of confusing variables to try to decipher. I'm sure it helps that I've gotten better at JavaScript, but Vue makes it really easy to do what used to be complicated tasks. I'm liking it. Next on my list is to add previews when adding items...but I'm not scared anymore.

This is the first of a blogging series I'm starting, Open Source Blogs, where I attempt to use only open source hardware and become as technologically independent as possible.

Over the years, I have become very dependent on Google and their products. I'm not alone, as their email and browser are #2 and #1 in their market share. The email numbers were for 2016, but the 2017 numbers will put Gmail even closer to Apple. I'd guess in volume Google has the lead from email addresses. This is about email clients, so Google hasn't taken control, yet.

More than anything, I'd become extremely reliant on the Google Inbox app for Android. It is a very good email app, I'd even say the best I've ever used. I did some research and came across an open source Android app for email, named K-9 Mail. You can view their Github project here. Now, I'd been using the best email app I'd ever used, so I didn't have extremely high expectations. K-9 isn't Inbox, but it's fully capable and it supports multiple email accounts. I don't want to just get away from the Gmail app, I want to get away from Gmail, but it takes time to migrate 13 years worth of email usage. I've been using K-9 for a week now, for both Gmail and my new email account. It gives me notifications for both accounts and I haven't had a single issue with it. If you have an issue connecting to Gmail, you may have to enable connections to "less secure" clients. It's not less secure, but they label it that way to keep you on their client.

The phone is settled, unless I find another option. Time to replace Gmail in my browser on my laptop. I run Linux Mint, plus I'm looking for an open source desktop client, so I'm not expecting MS Outlook. I used Thunderbird years ago, before I used Gmail, so I thought it would be ironic to use it as my first client away from Gmail. Thunderbird is made by Mozilla, just as the Firefox browser. Years ago, Mozilla had a suite that included a browser and email client. It was originally Netscape and I believe they had one named SeaMonkey after Netscape. Anyway, Firefox and Thunderbird were the standalone (and completely new) browser and email client introduced to replace their suite. Thunderbird came pre-installed on Mint, so I fired it up and added Gmail, along with my new account. For Gmail I'm using POP, so I can download all of my Gmail messages over the years. The last time I checked that is over 3gb of email, so it's going to take a while to get the all. No issues connecting to Gmail (Thunderbird already knows their server info), other than enabling POP access within my Gmail account.

For my new email account, I am using IMAP within Thunderbird, instead of POP like Gmail. IMAP lets you read the emails as they are on the server and whatever you do to the emails generally syncs to the server. POP lets you download the emails and, in most cases, removes the email from the server. Gmail gives you options for what happens when you use POP, including keeping a copy on the server in different forms. I wanted to remove my Gmail message from the server, so I selected to delete them when they are downloaded. We'll see if they are actually deleted. So I have Thunderbird running two email accounts on different connection types and haven't ran into any issues. I also changed the download folder for my Gmail messages, so I can archive them and to also add a bit of security. If someone gained access to my computer (remotely), they would possibly know to check the Thunderbird folder for my messages.

For OSB.1, I'm just listing the 2 clients I am using right now. For other things, I'll probably list more options. I'll also do a follow-up and introduce some other options for email, once I give them a test run. That's it for now, as always, if there's an open source option, use it.

Love it or hate it, they are in again. Clemson and Oklahoma are playing the best now, but no one can question #1-3. If Bama wins it all it will have to work for it.


My daughter broke the screen on her tablet a week or so ago, so I ordered a new screen on Amazon. It was advertised to fit and I called myself comparing before I replaced it. Once it was on, I noticed the bezel around the screen was reversed; the old one had an even bezel on the sides, while the new one had two different side bezels.

It's hardly noticeable, but it does cut off about 1/8 inch from one side of the viewable screen and you can see beneath the old bezel on the other side. I've replaced phone screens before without any issues, but those came from specialty online stores. Beware if you order a screen from Amazon and pay attention to the bezels.

2:17 am

Today I worked on integrating the markdown app via plugins, it turned it really well so far. It was the first time I used a plugin for an editor, so I was able to pick out a few places that could be improved in the plugins system as well. I still need to work on the previewer, which should test the plugin system a little more, but I made some progress at least.

Spending all that time in the blogging app today really showed me how much more responsive the new front end is than here on this site. It was a noticeable difference. I also prefer the new blog layout over the one on the site now. I'll have to check again, since I've added more to ClaySS since I last checked, but at one point I'd removed nearly half a megabyte of filesize from front-end dependencies.

I also added the pager (the page numbers at the bottom of the page) to ClaySS. It's more integrated into the theme and uses the background colors, where the one here has it's own stylesheet and required a theme override.