June 18, 2019 at 10:48pm

OpenDNS & Dynamic IPs

I have changed my DNS provider to OpenDNS. I have been using CloudFlare DNS and have nothing but praise for its speed and stability. However, with kids in the house, I need the additional network filtering and site-blocking that OpenDNS can deliver.

For OpenDNS to work it needs to be kept abreast of my home’s IP address. My ISP doesn’t provide1 a static IP. While my dynamic IP doesn’t change often, any change that does occur prevents the OpenDNS filtering from working. What’s more, it’s a non-visible problem. There are no error messages that pop up alerting of a problem. The filtering just stops working.

OpenDNS know this. They offer an app that runs in the background to monitor and update the OpenDNS service with the current dynamic IP address. However, that app isn’t nice. What’s more, I don’t like the idea of the network filtering being dependent on a laptop device that might not always be available on the network to perform the update.

Enter Raspberry Pi

I have a Raspberry Pi that provides ad-blocking throughout my home network with the brilliant Pi-Hole. Given it’s already important role in my network configuration, I decided the Pi should also be responsible for monitoring any changes to my dynamic IP address.

A bit of research led me to discover that ddclient was the tool for the job. It’s not installed by default on the Pi, but can be installed through the GUI package manager or on the terminal with:

sudo apt-get install ddclient

Once installed, I progressed to follow this solid step-by-step guide on how to configure ddclient with OpenDNS.

Success

The end result is that I now have ddclient running as a daemon process on the Raspberry Pi. It launches upon reboot and checks my IP address every 1 hour.

The best part is that I don’t have to run the very ordinary OpenDNS Updater app on my Mac.


  1. That is, I’m too cheap to pay for.

configuration networking
June 16, 2019 at 10:25am

So Many Markdown Editor Options

The search for the right Mac Markdown editor is like a quest for the Holy Grail. There are many options, but finding the ideal fit is a challenge.

It got to the point where I had to do an audit of the options that exist on my computer, and consider which one might be best for my needs.

The list I came up with is, in potential order of preference:

  • MultiMarkdown Composer (currently free version)
    • This offers live preview with synchronised scrolling, works with the file system directly and is designed specifically for Markdown writing. The downside is the editing environment just feels slightly off’. I do like the keyboard commands and the way it pastes in links.
    • $23.00 upgrade.
  • BBEdit (with Keyboard Maestro BBEdit Markdown additions) (currently free version)
    • Solid as a rock text editor. I’m not a programmer, so many of the features are lost on me. With the Keyboard Maestro additions it can deal with Markdown formatting with keyboard shortcuts elegantly.
    • No typewriter mode.
    • Doesn’t carry forward markdown lists, as I’m finding writing this post.
    • Has built-in git support.
    • $75.14
  • The Archive
    • A fork of nvAlt, this is an app I use for my zettelkasten notes, and other bits and pieces. The markdown editing is okay, but it doesn’t play well with links on the clipboard.
  • Drafts
    • Where text starts.
    • Also where text stays in a database which is not great for easy git management.
  • DEVONthink
    • The new version 3 has much better Markdown support, but it’s still rudimentary when it comes to editing. Limited keyboard support makes this better for looking at Markdown than writing in it.
    • I’m going to buy the new version anyway.
  • NotePlan
    • I’m using this for my daily notes.
    • While it has a section for generic notes, I’m not going to incorporate this into a wider writing workflow.
  • Byword
    • It’s really old, and while it still works, it’s starting to show its age.
    • I don’t like the way I need to switch views to preview the markdown.
  • Ulysses
    • Uses a custom variant of Markdown (Markdown XL) by default.
    • Keeps everything in it’s own library so not great for git management.
    • Every time I try to use this app for general Markdown editing I end up getting frustrated.
  • Curio Good for project-based Markdown notes, but not good for file-based writing and editing.
  • Notebooks (requires Dropbox)
    • The Notebooks editor is quite nice. Unfortunately, I’m in the process of ditching Dropbox, and it uses Dropbox as its fundamental sync engine, so it’s a non-starter.

A special mention:

  • iA Writer
    • I don’t have iA Writer on my Mac, but I do have it on iOS where it frustrates me by not having TextExpander integration.
    • Micro.blog feedback indicates that it is great on the Mac, though, so let’s add this as a strong contender.
    • $50.00

Picking a Winner

I thought I would end up choosing BBEdit. That’s why I typed this post in the app. But in usage, I think the winner might be MultiMarkdown Composer.

software markdown
June 14, 2019 at 8:13pm

This is a post written in 1Writer and to be published via Working Copy on iOS.

Files integration is great!

Now I’m editing this file in iA Writer as it is linked with Working Copy’s instance of my file through iCloud and Files app.

I wish iA Writer supported TextExpander.

git
June 14, 2019 at 7:49pm

BBEdit

I’ve always had a version of BBEdit on my Mac. For a while it was TextWrangler, but now it’s back to BBEdit (unregistered). It’s one of those apps I don’t use very often, but when I want a pure Mac text editing experience, I know I can rely on it.

BBEdit can do a whole bunch of things that I don’t understand and have no need for.

But it is working very nicely as an integrated text editor for GitHub Desktop, and I feel like I might now benefit from the unlocked’ version of BBEdit.

git software
June 14, 2019 at 7:22pm

More Tests

So now I have cloned my Blot repository into Github and am using Github desktop on the Mac. As this is editing via Github I have no idea how or if my edits here will make it to my site.

The nice thing about Github Desktop is it allowed me to easily open this whole project/site into BBEdit.

Update

At first this didn’t work, but it was simply because I’d forgotten to add the .md suffix to the file in BBEdit. So this stopped Blot’s renderer from creating the HTML version. At first I thought the file hadn’t uploaded. It had, but it was not showing on the web.

So this section has been added as an edit, which I should be able to push and commit as a new version of the same file.

git
June 14, 2019 at 2:52pm

I am writing this test post in iA Writer on iOS.

I’m going to try to share it over to Working Copy for publishing via Git.

Wish me luck.

iOS Integration

I’ve opened this file in iA Writer from the Working Copy files provider for the version stored on Blot.

What happens now?

git