Running websites on your Mac is a useful feature, even for non-developers. There are tonnes of web-based open source tools and apps you can run locally for convenience, avoid connectivity issues or negate your privacy concerns. For example, if you run D&D games you can run local copies of apps like Azgaar’s Fantasy Generator, or Autoroll Tables etc. I’ve also made simple HTML/JavaScript utilities that serve and randomise card decks and dungeon tiles I’ve bought from vendors such as DM’s Guild. …


When I outlined my reasons for leaving Google Adsense, number 4 on my list of grievances was the invasive nature of its tracking cookies and the privacy concerns that raises as adverts follow readers around the web. However, I can’t exactly crow about the privacy of my readers while also using Google Analytics.

What are analytics, and why do I use them?

In the context of websites, analytics is software that helps website owners to understand how visitors spend their time on the site. Basically, whenever someone arrives at a site, the software records data about their visit, and typically aggregates that data into a report.

In an ideal…


At the start of this month, I launched a new theme for my website. The one feature I left behind was Google Adsense integration, and after a lot of thought, I’ve decided not to use it again.

The decision comes after using Adsense for almost three years. In that time, I’ve earned a bit under 1000 AUD, which isn’t a figure to sneeze at, particularly as it is passive income. It’s covered my hosting fees, subscription to FastMail, Ulysses, and Cove. Everything above that I’ve put in my editorial fund.

Why I started using Adsense

Adsense wasn’t my first attempt at monetising my website. Before…


For the last few months (years, if I’m completely honest), I’ve been thinking about starting a YouTube channel. Nothing fancy, just a place to create the occasional map-making video or document my world-building session, that might one day graduate to a vlog of some form.

To reduce editing, I was thinking of streaming content directly to YouTube or Facebook from OBS. Since, OBS allows you to blend multiple video, audio and other sources and encode them live to a video stream or to disk, you can save a lot of editing time and overcome the limitations set by iMovie (such…


Introduction

In this guide, I’m going to show you how to create a world-building system based on Markdown. This will be a multi-part series. In this part, I’ll introduce the basics of Markdown and MkDocs, a static-site generator typically used by technical writers. I’ll cover how to install MkDocs, how to structure and write your project, and how to compile your project into a website for personal use or to share with others.

Note that throughout this guide I use macOS 11, however everything I’ll show you works with Linux and Microsoft Windows. As a special note for Windows users, if…


Filter words dig into prose like ticks on a sheep’s back. When I draft, I don’t even realise I’m using them — and I suspect many authors are the same. Come revision time, and they are one of the first things I look for with the aim of re-writing them out of existence.

What are filter words?

But firstly, what are these horrible things of which I speak?

Filtering shapes the reader’s experience through the lens of a character. While we as writers want readers to engage with our characters, excessive filtering falls into the trap of showing not telling. By filtering a reader’s…


I love markdown, despite its quirks and shortcomings. I use it daily in my professional life as a technical writer, and in my creative life as a blogger and novelist. So in celebration of all things text, I decided to give a brief rundown of my favourite markdown tools.

But, first thing’s first…

What is markdown?

In case you don’t know what markdown is, it’s a lightweight markup language created to give web writers an easy way of compiling plain text into HTML.

Chances are, you’ve used markdown, even if you don’t know it. Ever used an asterisk for bullets or emphasis? Or…


For practice, and to keep the creative juices flowing even when I don’t feel like writing, I’ve started drawing and painting town maps using Procreate on my iPad. I use an iPad Mini, and drawing large maps isn’t practical, so I settled on a canvas of 6×4 inches, which is the size of an average photo print in Australia, or an index card in the United States. …


It’s been almost three years since I started using MailerLite. I moved from MailChimp back when the EU’s GDPR laws were shredding people’s lists, and MailChimp botched it further with their clunky implementation. But, for the most part, I enjoyed what MailerLite offered, particularly its automation abilities. I’ve sent 150 campaigns to date, split across automatic blog updates as well as my newsletter.

That changes from today.

Ever since I migrated to Ghost, I’ve wanted to consolidate the apps and services I use, not only for my convenience but also to give my subscribers a more consistent experience. …


Today, I dodged $20-a-month bullet by replacing Zapier with Pipedream. For those unfamiliar with these types of apps, Zapier is a user-friendly automation service that allows you daisy-chain all kinds of online apps and services together without needing to code. For example, I use Zapier to automate posting new blog articles to Facebook and Twitter. I have another Zap that pushes new members automatically to my MailerLite account for my newsletter.

For several reasons I’ve decided to move away from MailerLite and use Ghost’s integrated newsletter system instead. In doing so, I now need to overhaul the way I automate…

Chris Rosser

Technical writer, blogger and fantasy author. Living and locked down in Melbourne, Australia with my wife and three kids.

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