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Category: personal

Closure (2)

I told you six months ago that I’ll be out of my office by the end of summer and will no longer have access to the webserver running this blog.

There’s a slight possibility that the new inhabitant is willing to inherit said iMac and as long as (s)he doesn’t shut it down, this site may be online for a few extra months.

With help from Pieter Belmans I managed to create a static version of this blog on GitHub. Its URL is

All internal links should work (if not, please tell me) and if you ever bookmarked a post here with URL something like
you’ll be able to view it till eternity comes using this URL:

The more you link to the static GitHub version from now on, the more likely it is all static NeB posts will show up in a Google search.

I may even continue to blog and will update the GitHub repository whenever I can.

If you ever come in a similar situation (WordPress blogger, whose server will become unavailable, and want to set up a static version of your blog, with the possibility to keep on blogging) I’ll walk you through the main steps (and, if I could do this, anyone can).

1. Install Local.WP

On a computer you will continue to have access to, say your laptop (not serving to the web) install Local.WP which allows you to build local WordPress sites.

2. Clone your blog locally

Set up a default WP-blog, name it as your blog, say myblog, install all plugins you have on your regular blog and set it up to use your preferred theme.

Then. clone your blog with the export/import tool from WP. That is, export your blog and then import it in this local blog and delete the standard first post and page local.WP created.

Oh, and make sure you local site serves https (may be important later if you want to use the GitHub API). The local.wp helpfiles provide you with all info.

3. Get all internal links right

Install the Better search and replace plugin.

Use it to set all your internal links right. Assume your blog has address and your local version serves it at https://myblog.local do a global search and replace of these two terms.

Check if indeed all local links (including images) work.

4. Make a GitHub repository

Set up a GitHub account, let’s call is myname and set up your first repository and name it after your blog myblog.

5. Do the Simply Static magic

Install on your local blog the Simply Static wordpress plugin.

In the general settings of Simply Static choose for replacing URLs ‘Absolute URLs’ and for scheme/host choose and force URL replacements.

Choose as your deployment method ‘ZIP archive’ and hit generate. When it finishes download the ZIP file.

6. Upload to GitHub pages

Upload the obtained folder to your GitHub repository and make it into a Github-page (lots of pages tell you how you can do both). You’re done, your static site is now available at

If you would opt for the paid version of Simply Static the last step is done automatically (hence the importance of the https scheme on your local clone) and it promises to make even comments to your static site available as well as semi-automatic updates if you write a new post on your local blog.

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Exactly 20 years ago I wrote my first blogpost, ‘a blogging 2004’. I wasn’t using WordPress yet (but something called pMachine), and this blog was not called ‘neverendingbooks’, but ‘’ (the URL of the mac still running this blog).

At the time I wanted to find out whether blogging was something for me. “I’m just starting out. Give me a couple of weeks/months to develop my own style and topics and I’ll change the layout accordingly.”

Well, after 20 years I know what I can, and more important, what I cannot do within this framework. Time to move on.

There are other reasons why this might be the right time to pull the plug.

– I’m on retirement since October 1st and soon I’ll have to vacate my office, containing the webserver on which NeB runs.

– My days are filled with more activities now, and I don’t think you want to read here for example about my struggles with chestnut-farming.

– I like to explore other channels to talk about mathematics. This may happen on Mathstodon, MathOverflow or YouTube. Or it might be through teaching or writing a book, perhaps even a children’s book.

NeB will remain reachable until mid 2024. I’ll check out options to preserve its content after that (suggestions are welcome).

I wish you a better 2024.



A suit with shorts

I’m retiring in two weeks so I’m cleaning out my office.

So far, I got rid of almost all paper-work and have split my book-collection in two: the books I want to take with me, and those anyone can grab away.

Here’s the second batch (math/computer books in the middle, popular science to the right, thrillers to the left).

If you’re interested in some of these books (click for a larger image, if you want to zoom in) and are willing to pay the postage, leave a comment and I’ll try to send them if they survive the current ‘take-away’ phase.

Here are two books I definitely want to keep. On the left, an original mimeographed version of Mumford’s ‘Red Book’.

On the right, ‘Een pak met een korte broek’ (‘A suit with shorts’), a collection of papers by family and friends, presented to Hendrik Lenstra on the occasion of the defence of his Ph.D. thesis on Euclidean number-fields, May 18th 1977.

If the title intrigues you, a photo of young Hendrik in suit and shorts is included.

This collection includes hilarious ‘papers’ by famous people including

  • ‘A headache-causing problem’ by Conway (J.H.), Paterson (M.S.), and Moscow (U.S.S.R.)
  • ‘A projective plain of order ten’ by A.M. Odlyzko and N.J.A. Sloane
  • ‘La chasse aux anneaux principaux non-Euclidiens dans l’enseignement’ by Pierre Samuel
  • ‘On time-like theorems’ by Michiel Hazewinkel
  • ‘She loves me, she loves me not’ by Richard K. Guy
  • ‘Theta invariants for affine root systems’ by E.J.N. Looijenga
  • ‘The prime of primes’ by F. Lenstra and A.J. Oort
  • (and many more, most of them in Dutch)

Perhaps I can do a couple of posts on some of these papers. It might break this clean-up routine.

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