Paolo Amoroso's Journal


Two years ago these days I announced my blog Paolo Amoroso's Journal hosted at is a paid instance of the lightweight, federated, open source blogging platform WriteFreely.

Deciding on a blogging platform that meets my needs wasn't easy but going with is the best blogging decision I've ever taken.

The good is perfect for me for two main reasons. First, it provides excellent support for technical writing. Markdown proved a game changer for the ease of formatting text and source code.

The other reason is' lightweight environment reduces friction. Again, part of this is due to Markdown which doesn't get in the way of producing complex technical content.

This allowed me to publish 268 posts in two years. I never blogged so much on any other platform.

Reflecting on my first year with I wrote:

The first year on was eventful. Two of my posts went viral on Hacker News, [...]

Aside from the rewards and validation of such success metrics, an unexpected benefit of the first year of blogging at has been writing for an audience of one: me.

Since then there were a couple more Hacker News hits but the last point is even more relevant now.

The post archive is an invaluable resource, for example, for reviewing the details of past projects I no longer remember and need to resume working on, or for other projects. The blog turned out as a sort of personal lab notebook, and sometimes others read what I write.

The less good

Much as I love and am grateful for what it helped me accomplish, it still has a few limitations and minor annonyances that introduce unnecessary friction. has no post preview. A workaround is to publish an anonymous unlinked post that doesn't show up on the blog, and continue editing until it looks good. But anonymous posts don't render the blog's theme, Markdown tables, MathJax, and media embeds. Which is a problem for technical writing.

When a post is ready for public distribution I move the relevant anonymous post to the blog. However, the action doesn't trigger emailing the post to the readers who subscribe to the blog as a newsletter. A fix is to set the datestamp of the anonymous post to the current date and time just prior to moving the post to the blog.

Finally, doesn't have a global language setting for blogs and the option has to be set manually for every post. Which I did for all 268 of them.

The future

Most of the time these issues are minor. The only major limitation is the lack of a real, full post preview. I hope the issues will eventually be fixed but I still highly enjoy The platform encourages writing and makes blogging enjoyable.

I'm happy with and the experience of the past two years strenghtens my choice. No changes ahead, I'll just continue using


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These are some of the best blogs I read and recommend. Although not all are updated frequently, they're published by lesser known but talented, knowledgeable, and passionate indie bloggers and professionals.

  • Dr. Brian Robert Callahan. Software development, programming languages, and systems programming with a xBSD slant. A great source of project ideas.
  • James' Coffee Blog. A personal blog with a focus on technical writing, on which it provides lots of practical advice.
  • SatTrackCam Leiden (b)log. Space news, satellite observations, and orbital tracking analysis.
  • The Fediverse report. Curated news, resources and analysis on what is happening in the Fediverse.
  • The History of the Web: Essays on the history of the World Wide Web.
  • Wayne Hale's Blog. Personal memories, thoughts, and learned lessons on the high stakes endeavour of human space exploration. By a former NASA Flight Director and manager.


Planet Python carried out my request to remove my blog from the aggregator. Now their feed no longer syndicates my posts about Python, which I'll no longer write much about.

Planet Python is an aggregator of blogs, podcasts, and other resources of interest to the Python community. In late 2019 I submitted the feed of Python posts of my old blog, later updating it to point to my new blog.

I was learning the language and sharing on the blog my experience with coding projects and other experiences. But although I had great fun with Python and accomplished a lot I'm proud of, my interest waned as I rediscovered my old love Lisp.

I encountered Scheme in the early 1990s at an introductory computer science class based on Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, fell in love with the Lisp family of languages, and learned Common Lisp and Emacs Lisp. Lisp became my only language until the early 2010s when real life claimed my time and attention. Near the end of the decade, intrigued by Python and its massive ecosystem, I decided to learn it.

At the beginning of 2023 I discovered Medley Interlisp and got hooked.

Using Interlisp and its environment made me realize Lisp is the language that comes most natural to me, I'm most productive with, and gives me joy and not just fun. I never mastered and enjoyed other languages to the level of Lisp. And my projects turned out not to need Python's batteries.

I'll still maintain a reading knowledge of Python and keep up with its ecosystem. But this journey made me readjust my focus on Lisp, now my only language.

It's good to be back home.

#Interlisp #Python #Lisp #blogging

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My old blog post Why your blog still needs RSS was shared on Hacker News, made it to the home page with about 250 upvotes, and so far generated almost 9K views. I'm pleased as it hints there's still a lot of interest in RSS.


Discuss... Email | Reply, the blogging platform I use, lets me embed a YouTube video in a post by just inserting the URL in a blank line of the Makrdown source.

It's a valuable feature with a major drawback: YouTube embeds contain user tracking code by Google. I don't mind such trackers but my many privacy minded readers do.

As a workaround I could insert the trackerless code YouTube provides, but the design of the video player is not responsive and gets cropped on mobile screens. relies on for YouTube and other embeds and doesn't support trackerless embeds. I and others tried to bring the issue to the attention of the developer but not much happened.

Managing tracking and cookie consent is a hassle, so what to do? I just went ahead and replaced the half a dozen embeds of my blog with links to the corresponding videos on YouTube.

A nice side effect is the Blacklight privacy inspector now reports 0 trackers and cookies on my blog.

#blogging #Google

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I changed my RSS reader from Feedly to Inoreader.

The affordable Supporter plan I subscribed to is the lowest Inoreader tier but I chose it not because I want something cheap, it's just the plan happens to provide all the features I need. I left behind a lifetime Feedly Pro plan that allows me to use the product indefinitely at no cost.

Importing my feeds and folders from Feedly via the API was seamless and smooth.


I had been using Feedly for ten years since March 13, 2013 when Google announced the shutdown of Google Reader. Over the years Feedly kept adding AI and enterprise features I didn't care about as an individual user. Although the Android app remained inadequate for a long time, Feedly is an okay product despite its frequent outages and performance issues.

I eventually grew dissatisfied with the reliability of Feedly and the company's drift away from the core RSS experience, which made me want to look for something new. A shameful new Feedly feature set the right timing to research a different newsreader.

I want a cloud RSS reader that synchronizes across platforms, particularly the web and Android. I had long heard great things about Inoreader, checked it out, loved it, and purchased a subscription.

First impressions

Inoreader has a clean and pleasant design with the right similarities to Feedly.

The general layout and the choice of keystrokes, mostly the same as Feedly, make the application immediately familiar and usable. Article presentation and formatting are better than Feedly's, which often doesn't render correctly certain page elements. For example, code blocks stand out nicely in Inoreader.

The web client is consistently fast and responsive. So far I haven't experienced the typical slowdowns and outages of Feedly.

What surprised me of Inoreader is text search actually works and instantaneously delivers accurate results. I hadn't seen these levels of search accuracy and performance in RSS readers since Google Reader. Compare this with Feedly's search, which takes several seconds and misses results I'm sure are there. Feedly search is an oxymoron.

A great Inoreader feature missing from Feedly is the ability to load the full text of the articles in partial feeds, it takes just a keypress. This alone is worth Inoreader.

The Chrome extension makes Inoreader double as a read later tool. My primary read later tool is Google Keep but I'm liking Inoreader's smooth workflow for saving and reading web pages.

The Android app has all the key features of the desktop version. For example, swiping down an article in a partial feed downloads the full text. Also, sharing to Inoreader a link to a website with an RSS feed prompts to subscribe to the feed or save the page for later. It's a no brainer, but the Feedly app doesn't support it.

Inoreader is making me rediscover RSS. Reading sessions felt like routine with Feedly, but Inoreader makes me eagerly anticipate sitting down and catching up with my favorite sources.


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One year ago today I published the first post of this blog hosted at, ending a long quest for a better publishing platform.

I had grown frustrated with the clunkyness and limitations of Blogger, where I settled for the prior threee years. So I set out to research a lightweight blogging platform with good support for technical writing that could replace Blogger, and finally went with One year and 225 posts later, I'd say was the right choice despite a major missing feature, post previews. I've never been so productive, neither with Blogger nor any other publishing platform.

Another fortunate decision, intentionally against the conventional wisdom of SEO, was to publish a personal blog that focuses on me rather than remaining confined in a specific niche. This let me write about new interests or experiences, adapting to the wandering and widening of my interests and activities.

The first year on was eventful. Two of my posts went viral on Hacker News, one on why I use a Chromebox and the other on my encounter with Medley Interlisp, and brought tens of thousands of views.

That was exciting. But over the past year I also joined the Fediverse, and sharing some of my blog posts there generated more interesting, meaninfgul, and lasting interactions than the drive-by traffic of viral posts.

Aside from the rewards and validation of such success metrics, an unexpected benefit of the first year of blogging at has been writing for an audience of one: me.

I'm using the blog more and more as a sort of lab journal for my hobby programming and tech projects. Since I work on a number of projects, and put them aside for some time before resuming, the blog has proven invaluable in getting back up to speed with projects or track useful resources by reviewing and referencing past posts.

So, even if nobody read my blog, I would still gain the most benefit from this personal space and online archive.


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I fulfilled the requirements of the Bring Back Blogging challenge, i.e. posting at least three times over January of 2023. I published 8 posts with not much effort as this is more or less my average output. This is my first blogging challenge and I'm glad I took it as it set a realistic goal, not the usual death march.


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My first Medley Interlisp blog post was shared on Hacker News, got over a hundred upvotes, and ended up on the front page, where it still is a day later after climbing up to number 5. So far my post received over 24K views, and counting.

I'm really glad Medley Interlisp is gaining some very well deserved attention.

#blogging #Interlisp #Lisp

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I enrolled into Bring Back Blogging. It's a project to encourage and bring awareness to blogging by challenging bloggers to publish at least 3 posts in January of 2023, and enabling readers to discover content in the list of participating blogs that includes almost 140 so far. I blog regularly anyway, so it was a no brainer.

I shared Bring Back Blogging on Mastodon and my toot generated huge enthusiasm, with many saying they'll join.


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