James Panther

About

G’day, I’m James! 👋 #

I’ve worked as an IT professional for over 15 years in the education and property industries, helping people get the most out of their technology. I also tinker with app and web development from time-to-time, and enjoy playing around with various programming and database languages.

Since the early 2000’s, I’ve been an avid Mac user but I also use various flavours of Linux in my daily life. I’m a true IT generalist and have a wide gamut of skills and experiences across many different platforms and technologies.

In recent times, my technology interests have shifted towards the security and privacy implications of our modern world. I spend a lot of time researching and hardening systems to protect myself and others from a vast array of modern cyber-threats.

This site serves as my personal home on the web for sharing some of my thoughts, ideas and stories about my experiences with technology, security and privacy.

Aside from IT, I’m also a professional lighting technician and regularly work on productions large and small.

Hobbies & interests #

Outside of my work life, I’m still a complete nerd. I enjoy learning about privacy, open source software and web development.

I also have a deep passion for food. I love to create delicious meals at home and share my experiences with family and friends. In the great pandemic of 2020, I decided to write about my food journey at Southside Kitchen.

When I have time to get away, I’m an avid skier and enjoy partaking in whisky tastings - not at the same time though!

Colophon #

I’m often asked how I build my websites and it’s not always a straightforward question to answer. I do take a lot of care when putting everything together so I thought I’d explain a little about what makes this site tick.

Note that all opinions expressed on this site are solely my own and may not represent the views or opinions of my employers past and present. Furthermore, you should always seek professional advice before relying on something you’ve read on the internet. The information herein is provided ‘as-is’ without any warranty or representation.

A storied history #

I’ve had a personal website in one form or another since March 1999. Over that time I’ve used many, many different web technologies, changing as paradigms shifted and standards evolved.

In the beginning the site was known as The Pudge and it was simply a few pages where I put funny things to share with friends. It was hard-coded HTML and used Perl and CGI scripting to do some crazy 90’s things like guest books and polls.

Around 2003 I relaunched the site as PantherX where I maintained a personal blog about my life. It wasn’t focused on a particular topic but it had a regular following. It was a time when social networks weren’t yet invented and the blogosphere was the big thing.

PantherX started out being built on b2 which was a PHP/mySQL content management system specifically designed for blogs. It was my first real foray into open source software and it was the start of an amazing journey. b2 eventually evolved into WordPress and at some point I migrated across.

My personal blog continued until mid-2008 when I decided to stop posting under my own domain. Social networks like MySpace and Facebook were easier places to share content and it was the dawn of a fun new era.

My interest in web technologies never waned though, as in 2007 I co-founded LemonJar. We developed sites for clients using a custom built CMS backed by PHP and mySQL that we had written from scratch. During this period PantherX was simply a personal landing page with links to my various projects.

I eventually moved it over to this domain where it became a single HTML page that rendered its content using JavaScript. It was a far cry from all the complex database-backed websites of the last decade but I was sick of the bloat.

However, in 2018 the blogging itch returned and I decided to have a play with some ideas on a new domain away from the spotlight. I called this new blog include(logic) and it was solely focussed on my experiences with technology. I originally built it using ghost but after only a couple of posts I wasn’t impressed and wanted a better way to publish.

I really wanted to get away from having to manage a server with all the database services and security challenges that poses. I had been using Jekyll in some private projects and was looking to move to it but while researching alternatives I stumbled across Hugo and the rest was history. I ported the ghost site to Hugo using a customised version of the Terminal theme by panr.

It served me well until August 2021 when I decided to merge include(logic) with my personal landing page and this site was born!

The site today #

Today, my website is built using Hugo with a custom theme called Congo that I developed from scratch. It’s based upon Tailwind CSS and uses the latest just-in-time build process that combines and builds all the CSS on demand.

All the content is written in Markdown and version controlled using git. The site is then published to GitHub before Netlify automatically builds and deploys the site whenever changes are pushed to the repository. The build process uses Hugo Pipes to combine assets and generate completely static HTML.

Building and deploying this way has both performance and security benefits. It’s also super easy to maintain and takes a lot of the headaches out of managing a simple website.

If you want to make your own site that looks like this, be sure to check out the Congo project on GitHub.

Thanks for visiting!