Deploying a Tighten Jigsaw static site to a VPS using Laravel Forge

I have ran into an interesting challenge for a documentation site that I am working on. The code repository is private on GitHub until it is ready to be made public, however needs to be be deployed publicly

Initially I started working with Jekyll deployment proved to be a challenge through GitHub pages and Netlify both of which required upgrades which the project could not justify

Thus I looked in the direction of Jigsaw by Tighten which I have wanted to try out in a long time. My reasoning being that since it was Laravel based, I would be able to deploy it leveraging my existing Laravel Forge subscription to a managed server, and voila all would be well.

I first struggled with getting Jigsaw to get configured to display the site – so I went back to the drawing board and came up with the following flow based

  1. Build a production static version of the site
  2. Deploy it to the gh-pages branch as per the instructions in
  3. To automate this process I created a custom deploy action below
    deploy": "npm run prod; deploy_time=$(date \"+%A %d-%B, %Y %H:%M:%S\") && git add build_production && git commit -m \"Build for deploy on $deploy_time\" && git subtree push --prefix build_production origin gh-pages which combines all the commands to push to gh-pages
  4. Create an HTML site on my VPS using Laravel Forge
  5. Link the gh-pages branch as the app to the site
  6. Enable quick deploy so that any changes to the gh-pages branch automatically deploys the new site
  7. Do not forget to setup SSL on the site (using the method of your choice)

So once I make changes to my site, I run npm run deploy to push it into production …


Birthday Musings – High Noon

Snake in monkey shadow

I have made it, another trip around the sun, and I am a year older hopefully a little wiser, and it is a time to celebrate, but reflect and see look to what the future holds …

This year, this celebration is the high-noon of my life, I have lived through the morning – cold as the day starts with my birth, the teenage years as the 9am rays of the sun, and youthful exuberance that is 10am and 11am sunshine the best for getting your dose of Vitamin D to stay healthy. Now that it is high-noon, we at the equator with the sun overhead the shadow is a tiny spot a circle standing still, I looking at the past, present and peering into the future.

High-noon does not mean I am half-way my life, it just signals a turning point into what I am focusing on as I burst into the afternoon phase of my life, an opportunity to go for big hairy audacious goals with a long term thinking as time is my friend. The days of life are long so there is more to look forward to, work for and give to humanity

Thank you for all the love on this day…

Gakyali Mabaga

Leadership Development – Rethinking 1 person per role for dynamic needs

I have been thinking alot about leadership growth in my new role, how to grow team members to the next level. Many a time the focus is on growing one person into a role, which may be an ill-fit for certain roles or organization setups

My prior experiences actually lend credence to this approach:

  1. ThoughtWorks had it nailed down with the Beryllium (4 CEOs) running the organization with 2-in-a-box managers being common. I had an opportunity one part of 2-in-a-box General Manager in the South African office with the awesome Kgomotso Sediane where we both started on the same day. The biggest learnings & growth I have gotten in life came from this experience needing to be in sync with another person, finding out our strengths and weaknesses, plus blind spots and covering each other
  2. In another instance at previous role, I worked across 2 distinct program areas, with 3 direct reporting lines, and 2 additional dotted reporting lines due to the need for coordination. Obviously this was not ideal, but was necessary to maintain co-ordinated activities.

This got me thinking, does a position always have to be occupied by one person, or are models of 2 or 3 in-a-box not worth exploring for more complex and dynamic roles, even as part of leadership development with a leader actually working shoulder-to-shoulder with their replacement(s)

This obviously requires out of the box thinking, executive support, room to experiement and define what this means, plus will not work in every corporate culture, but is something worth evaluating and looking at more in this world that is growing more complex

The approach also requires rethinking the definition of roles in certain cases, with a process to guide natural evolution from a complex role into simpler roles over time and/or even combining simple roles into more complex roles to reduce overlaps in reporting lines and simplify organization structures

What are your thoughts and ideas? What is your experience, where has this worked and not worked?

Geek Tools – My Mouse Journey

I have been a predominatly mouse user all my life, at the beginning there was no choice as all we had were desktops, even if I was able to learn to use vi on Unix/Linux terminals. However as laptops have become cheaper and more capable, they have become primary computing devices for many including myself, and however big the trackpads are they still feel unwieldly.

This is sharing my experiences trying out and finding mice that work for me

Sony 2 Button mouse aka your regular mouse

This is the basic mouse everyone starts with, USB wires, basic point and click device that just works

HP Wireless Mouse 250

This was my first foray into more than basic mice, a wireless mouse shaped to fit into my larger than average hands. I used this one for about 2-3 years and still works, the AA battery lasts 6 months or so

Apple Magic Mouse

When I moved to a Mac environment I had the HP Wireless mouse 250, however I had the opportunity to invest in the Apple mouse after all it was from the world’s best design company. It did not work for me, could not fit in my hands and my brain could not connect with its design

Apple Trackpad 2

This was a big jump basically an external trackpad, which was moved to the side where a mouse would be. I loved, and still love this trackpad however the pinch and move, double finger and other combinations of finger movements were too much for my brain which craved for a proper mouse

MX Master Series

The day I touched an MX Master 2S, I just had to have one. There was no going back, here was a mouse which fitted in my hand, had the controls my muscle memory would remember, plus the side scroll wheel that worked great for wide spreadsheets, and TweetDeck (I have 10 columns I follow). The battery life is amazing over 70 days such that I charge it when I feel guilty it is missing out on being charged

I have had the 2S and now 3, they are an indispensible part of my computing accessories and workflow

The ease of switching between laptops (just a button at the bottom) along with Flow (when I want to show off), plus USB-C charging as I work make this series of mice a must have.

There are lots of additional app specific configuration options that can be made via the Logi Options app, but I am not yet there, the basics work fine for me

MX Vertical

This is a new addition to my workflow, 4 hours usage and inspiration for finally writing this post, and I love it… Seems like my wrist and shoulders are happy too. A strange shape but one which is so natural I am wondering why I never had one before. I will keep updating here how my experiences pan out over the next few weeks

Mouse Usage Hacks

The following hacks are what I use to improve my mouse usage over time

  1. Gimars Memory Foam Mouse Wrist Rest Support – helps alot with preventing carpal tunnel injury and means you can use your mouse for long periods of time without stress related pains
  2. Increase the size of your cursor, mine is at maximum, so I never have to look for it anywhere on the screen

What is your mouse journey and experience, what else have you tried that seems to work?

My Cloud Backup Approach

I have continously talked about my drive to never lose a file again, after I lost my first file to a failed floppy disk drive in 1996. The fanatical backup approach has been used to work as follows:

  1. Create a new version of whatever I am working on everyday – for files add the date, for web application development (create a new folder)
  2. For development create a separate folder for staging and production files adding to them as needed
  3. For files whenever I am to make a significant change I create a version too, even if it is for the same day so that I can track when I made made major pivots
  4. Backup to a shared magnetic backup drive (before 2010)
  5. Move backups to a cold storage hard drive which is only used for that purpose

Overall I used to end up with 3 different copies of any file over time, and storage is cheap so duplication was not an issue.

The cloud came and all I had to do was adapt my workflow as the primary, secondary and cold storage are all cloud based

  1. Primary work
    • Dropbox and Google for personal use, these are fast syncing for regular use. I have 13GB in Dropbox gained from various offers at the time of launch, and have a 200GB Google One subscription (the 2TB next package does not add value due to being higher for unused space)
    • Box – for ofice use
  2. Primary Backup – this is Google Drive, with a 200GB Google One subscription where I place archived projects, home photos and miscellaneous files that I need to maintain
  3. Cold Storage – Apple iCloud 50GB where I zip files that I do not expect to use for a long time

What I have learnt:

  1. I work directly in the cloud service folders, therefore do not need to remember to backup or synchronize the files
  2. All cloud services are set to automatically startup on machine reboot so are always active
  3. The primary cloud service you use depends on what you are comfortable with
  4. Most cloud service providers charge about $20 per year for 200GB then $99 per year for 2TB, I found the price jump not justifiable hence the move to iCloud for my cold storage
  5. The power and Internet services in Uganda are not very stable and consistent so the option for a NAS

What’s your approach to backups, what tips and tricks have you learnt along your journey?

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