Tom Donohue Tom Donohue

Resources

Here’s my recommended list of resources. These are things I like and use, and think you will too!

Blogging

I use a few tools for blogging:

  • Platform: I publish using Jekyll, which is a static site generator written in Ruby. (No, I’m not a Ruby developer!) I write my articles in Markdown and everything is stored in a Git repo.

  • Web hosting: I host my website on Linode. I recommend them! They are great if you are happy to set up and manage your own web server, which I prefer to do. If you sign up using this link, I get a small commission, so thank you if you do that! My setup is Nginx on CentOS.

  • Illustrations: When I need graphics for my blog articles, I use Freepik. They have a huge selection of free vectors, just in return for giving them a link. I also use their sister site Flaticon for decent free icons that I can use in illustrations or artwork. The illustration on the front page of the web site was drawn in Sketches for iPad.

  • Stock photos: Lots of free good photos available at Unsplash or Pexels.

  • Analytics: I use the free, self-hosted version of Fathom Analytics to get free privacy-friendly stats. I also use the GoAccess web server log analyser to get stats.

Life-long learning

  • Online learning: I’ve been a subscriber to O’Reilly for a few years now (formerly Safari Books Online). It’s a great way to get unlimited access to a whole lot of peer-reviewed, authoritative tech books, and also online video courses. I use it a few times per month, and find it very useful.

Creating ebooks

  • Writing: My books are written using Asciidoctor, which is a toolchain for producing documentation from Asciidoc files. It produces PDFs which look pretty good! (The exception to this is my DevOps Guide, which was written and published with LyX.)

  • Selling online: I use Gumroad for selling my Apache Camel book and I think the service is great. It’s a very simple way to sell PDFs and ebooks online. They handle payment processing which means I get to focus on writing. I use the basic (free) tier, which is sufficient for me.

Creating videos

As well as writing, I sometimes publish videos to YouTube.

  • Video capture: OBS Studio is a really easy way to capture the screen on both Mac and Linux. I also use ScreenFlow for Mac.

  • Video editing: I’ve tried so many other editors (like iMovie for Mac, and Pitivi and Kdenlive for Linux). But I’ve not found any of them to be as good as ScreenFlow for Mac. The workflow is very intuitive for me, and it’s very easy to arrange clips and add captions. So I don’t just use it as a screen capture tool, but a great video editor too.

  • Quick online video editing: I’ve had great results with Veed.io when I wanted to create and edit short videos for social media.

  • Video recording: I record videos for my YouTube channel with my iPhone 11 Pro. The quality is great and I don’t really need to buy another bit of kit, at least not for a while!

  • Microphone: I use the Blue Snowball USB microphone. It plugs nicely into my laptop. I sometimes also use the microphone with my iPhone, by connecting it using the Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter.

Other services I use and recommend

  • Email: I’m trying to move away from being completely tied to Google’s ecosystem. I’ve moved my personal email to Fastmail, who are great! I get support from a real person, not a robot. And I can still sync my email to my iPhone, get security with two-factor authentication.