Hello World

22 Jun 2019

Earlier this week, Marc Weidenbaum of disquiet.com wrote a paean to the blog that I found really inspiring. “Self-publishing,” he writes, “is the heart of the healthy internet.”

So hello. Having been given the push I needed, I decided to move my academic website to its own URL and use it as an excuse to start blogging. Since much of the rest of this website is given over to my career as a mathematician, it’s reasonable to expect that I will talk about math here, and I expect to get technical with it when I want to.

Math is not my only passion. I expect to also talk about many things related to music. This blog is tentatively titled Alanza, my middle name, but also my “artist moniker” when playing solo. I am a moderator on the lines forum, also under the name Alanza.


This site is built with Jekyll, and hosted on GitHub Pages. On lines I asked several questions about how to get up and running with a website and got a wealth of knowledge in response. Although, being a millenial, it’s maybe not surprising that I’d messed around with HTML as a kid, this site is my first time using CSS. I read what I could on Every Layout to get a feel for what the concerns were, and borrowed their “Sidebar” primitive. I also appreciated the from-square-one approach of Internetting Is Hard when Every Layout went over my head. These resources helped get me up to “okay, I can Google that” speed. I also should shout out Arthur O’Dwyer for a helpful blog post about enabling MathJax in Jekyll—which turns out to be surprisingly simple!

In college, I taught myself a lot of the basics of typesetting, so it was eye-opening to see how very different the concerns are when designing for the web. Although the design here is certainly minimal, it was also surprisingly relatively painless! One of my goals for this year has been to improve my Vim skills and incorporate it more into my work. I was very pleased how well using Jekyll vs. say, WordPress, furthers this goal!