Hello blog

By | May 15, 2009

So apparently this is my first post. Actually, I’m editing the auto-generated first post.

I’ve been meaning to set up a blog on my domain (archlinux.ca) for a while, but never got around to it, likely due to the fact that it seems pretty unimportant. Also, I am in strong agreement with a 2002 article on the topic: http://mama.indstate.edu/users/bones/WhyIHateWebLogs.html That link is bloody hard to find these days. But while searching for it, I came across this 2006 gem, which happens to explain why that link is hard to find: http://teddygross.blogspot.com/2006/06/why-i-hate-blogs.html

The truth is, the internet landscape has changed, as usual, and I haven’t, as usual. I’m still a minimalist. I don’t need this fancy wysiwyg editor, I could just upload articles to a website somewhere and update them as needed. That’s what ESR does (http://catb.org/~esr/) and it works. But my articles would never be discovered.

So when Dave Crouse, Arch Linux user and all round good guy (http://www.archlinux.us, http://www.archlinux.biz, http://www.archlinux.me, and several other domains…) offered me a blog here on archlinux.me with the only work required being ‘change your password and e-mail address’, I just did it.

Judd Vinet (http://www.zeroflux.org/) has been suggesting I set up a blog for a while too. I should listen to him, as he’s the only famous person (He created Arch Linux – http://www.archlinux.org/) I am on an exchange e-mails basis (The modern equivalent of a First Name basis, of course) with. He says a few useful tech posts can go a long way to securing contracting positions. Since I still solicit the occasional contract, I might do just that.

I still have a few issue with blogs. They’re too chronological — by design. Often people post something and then a few weeks or months later post a new entry, an ‘update’ that cites results or new information in some way. They tie these together by editing the original post and linking to the new one. To me it would make sense to have only one article and update it to ensure it has the most complete and accurate information. Current blogging platforms (they’re just a CMS, really) don’t make it easy to do that. Tagging is, I think, supposed to alleviate this problem, but I have a feeling it doesn’t meet my standards.

Another issue is dates. In today’s world, information becomes obsolete within a year. In my field, it often becomes obsolete within a month.  (This morning I was searching for information on running Adobe Flash on the Android platform. The only info I can find is from November, 2008, its useless). When I’m searching for a solution to a problem, I often ignore any search results more than a few weeks old. Therefore the FIRST thing I look for on any article, web page, or blog post is the date. But its hard to find. I actually ranted about this a few months back (so the info is stale). I’d have put it on my blog if I had one, so here’s a link: http://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=63014

Next, I despise the way blog interlinking works. Its been said before (I’m in too much of a hurry to be doing other things to find a citation) that 90% of the info in the blogosphere is recycled content. Too many blog posts are “I found this solution and here’s the link.” Half the time the link is a link to somebody else who linked to the solution. Finding the information is a pain. Search engine page ranking is supposed to solve this by putting the most linked posts at the top of search results but it must fail or I wouldn’t have anything to complain about.

Finally, there was a book I read once (The Gospel according to Larry) which had a terrific quote I identified with. I can’t remember the exact wording, but the paraphrase was something like “(personally, I think if 50 thousand people are doing something that’s a good enough reason not to do it)”.  I’m very leery of bandwagon following.  I tried Facebook and the whole social network thing, but it didn’t suit me. I never tried twitter because I don’t WANT the world to know my every thought. But blogging isn’t like that anymore, its turned into a semi-interactive communication medium. It generally has more interesting, accurate, and useful information than standard broadcast mediums (news stations, sites, papers and the like). Plus, I’ve got ideas that need voicing, so lets try this.

This post indicates it also takes up a lot of time. Better be careful on that front.

BTW, if you’re wondering what topics I’ll cover here, Arch Linux and Python will be primaries, partially because that’s what I do best, but mostly because Crouse gave me a blog on the archlinux.me domain. Other topics that interest me and I feel I have enough authority to comment on include martial arts (Chinese, for the most part), web development, Hockey, dogs, Android, humour, and English grammar.

I imagine I’ll also post random useless information about random useless topics. I’ve had something on involuntary racism bouncing around in the back of my head just waiting to be authored.

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