Brian Hicks

This is the most self-indulgent page on this whole website. Don't say I didn't warn you!

Source and Licensing

The source of this site is available for inspection at The contents are licensed CC BY 4.0 as it says in the footer of every page.

I haven't put any thought into what license the code that builds the site should be released under, but I'm not gonna track you down or anything if you use it as prior art for your own site. If this matters to you, please get in touch and I'll figure it out and add a proper LICENSE file where it needs to go.

What I Track

As a matter of policy, I try as hard as possible to make this site respect your privacy and independence. The most obvious impact of that is that this site won't ever host third-party ads or trackers (e.g. Google AdSense or Analytics.)

That said, I do use a GoatCounter instance hosted at to get an idea of what other sites are linking here and what the most popular pages are. That data is anonymized and only presented in aggregate. That means I can't say "ah, on such-and-such a date, someone in Barcelona followed a link here from" I can see those pieces individually—page traffic, location, and referrer—but not together.

I also keep a couple months of Nginx access logs for various sysadmin purposes—mostly detecting broken links by looking for 404 response codes. Those have IP addresses in them so I can see and block bad actors (there are actually kind of a lot of things running on this server, see clown computing.) I suppose I could be sneaky and try to track individuals from the information there, but I don't see any benefit to my doing that, so I don't.

If you have questions or comments on any of the above, please email me.

This Page is Designed to Last... ish

I love This Page is Designed to Last, so this site is built with it in mind. I haven't stuck to it 100%, though. Let's look at the principles:

  1. Return to vanilla HTML/CSS. Yep! This is a completely static site. The HTML is templated using Zola and the styles are plain CSS based on Better Motherfucking Website (or one of the derivatives of Motherfucking Website anyway... I don't 100% remember which, just that it had a very permissive license.)

  2. Don't minimize that HTML. I'm... minimizing the HTML. CSS and JS too. Sorry, I guess? Open the dev tools in your browser and everything will get automatically prettified. Browsers are really good about this now! It's fine!

  3. Prefer one page over several I'm not doing this, but I feel like the pain behind this principle is "it's hard to maintain multiple pages" buuuuut… I'm using a static site generator, most of the content is in markdown, and all of it is version-controlled. Making a change is trivial, and all the dependencies are versioned with Nix. I've been using this kind of setup for years now, and have had very few issues like he mentions.

  4. End all forms of hotlinking. With the exception of YouTube embeds in the talks section, this site doesn't load any resources that aren't hosted somewhere on Success!

  5. Stick with the 13 web safe fonts +2. font: 1.2em/1.62 san-serif. Looks fine. Done.

  6. Obsessively compress your images. The site doesn't use any images for layout. In fact, the only images outside of page content are for the favicons and they're compressed with pngcrush's brute-force settings. (Although, check out the SVG version of the favicon... it uses a CSS media query to change based on the system dark/light mode. CSS can do some pretty wild things now!)

  7. Eliminate the broken URL risk. This is the only item where I don't feel like I'm at least satisfying the spirit of the rule. I don't have an external link checker of any kind. That said, this site is hosted on a VM which also serves as my personal git host (git.bytes.zoneemail me if we know each other and you want to use it too) so I'd notice pretty quickly if it went down! I also periodically check for 404s in the Nginx access log so I know if I need to add a redirect or improve the missing page stuff.

Was this helpful? Would you like me to email you things like this a couple times a month? Sign up below and I'll do exactly that!