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Strong opinions, weakly held

Tag: meta (page 1 of 2)

New design, new functionality, old-style blogging

For the past little while, I’ve been experiencing a fair amount of Tumblr envy, and this weekend I decided to do something about it.

For whatever reason, this blog, like many others, has progressed toward longer and heavier posts over time. That has been accompanied by a reduction in the number of posts I make as well. The main reason for that is, I think, a migration toward posting short thoughts and links on Twitter, or just saving interesting articles to Instapaper or Pinboard and not really sharing them at all. That seems like a waste.

The beautiful thing about Tumblr is that it reduces the amount of friction involved in creating a blog post. Migrating to Tumblr was a non-starter for many reasons, so I have been looking for ways to implement some of the best ideas from Tumblr on this blog for awhile. This weekend, I came across the Pachyderm theme, created by Caroline Moore. It’s free, straightforward, and easy to customize. The default look is a bit precious for my tastes, but it has great bones.

So here we are. New look, new functionality, and hopefully more posts going forward. My goal is to go back to the good old days when I posted more and wrote less. We’ll see how it turns out.

Tweetbacks installed

I’ve installed the Tweetbacks plugin to try to capture tweets about blog posts as comments. We’ll see how it works out.

Feed breakage

I didn’t migrate my feeds to my Google account in time and have caused some breakage. The problem is fixed but it’ll take a few hours for the DNS change to propagate. Apologies.

Not migrating to Disqus

I’ve switched over to Disqus for comments. Let me know if you hate it.

Update: I changed my mind. I’m going to dig into some other options that provide features I’m interested in without taking over the whole comment system.

10 year anniversary preview

I haven’t really mentioned it yet, but I’m celebrating the 10 year anniversary of this blog this year. I consider the birth date of the blog to be December 18, 1998, but I didn’t really get going until January 1, 1999. Here’s one of the first posts, from January 2:

An early mention of Google

See original at archive.org.

Live debate blogging meta-post

The live debate blogging yesterday was great fun, and the Cover It Live software worked really well. Thanks everyone who participated. I did it mainly as an experiment, and I consider the experiment to have been a success. I’ll definitely be live blogging the Vice Presidential debate on Thursday night as well. Please join me.

I learned about Cover It Live from the Houston Chronicle. Their beat writer for the Houston Cougars uses it to live blog football games from the press box. I was impressed with the functionality and wanted an excuse to try it myself, and after Twittering my heart out during the political conventions, I thought using Cover It Live to discuss the debates would work out well.

The only thing I’m not entirely sure about is how happy I am with archiving items in Cover It Live, but it works better than any other tool I’ve seen for managing real-time conversation.

Levels of candor

I was just thinking this morning about the various levels of candor I employ when I think something potentially offensive and consider talking about it, stated as the questions I ask myself. (The calculation is different if privacy is the issue.)

  1. Would I say it on my blog?
  2. Would I say it in front of my grandmother?
  3. Would I say it on Twitter?
  4. Would I say it at an all hands meeting at work?
  5. Would I say it in email?
  6. Would I say it to my mother?
  7. Would I say it to the coworkers who I know well?
  8. Would I say it to my close friends (in front of their spouses who I know less well)?
  9. Would I instant message it to a close friend?
  10. Would I say it to my close friends?
  11. Would I say it to my wife?

You can infer from this that I am not as funny on my blog as I am in other settings. The other thing you can deduce from that list is that I’m a bit cautious about what I say when it’s going to live forever on a hard drive somewhere.

Busy busy

Sorry for the lack of activity here. I have a bunch of posts percolating but none seem to be finished, and I’ve been insanely busy for the past couple of weeks. I’m not a fan of “why I’m not posting” posts, but I thought some people might be starting to wonder. Of course, as soon as I post this I’ll find ten things I can dash off posts about and will be back on my usual pace.

What I seek to find and perhaps provide

Paul Kedrosky on what he looks for in the blogs he reads:

I don’t want volume or comprehensiveness; I want surprise and interestingness. And to be even more clear, I don’t want surprise or interestingness in a Digg sense of the word, with naked nonagenarians or raccoons with their tongues stuck to metal poles, etc. I don’t want an information freak-show. I want things that I would have normally read, but wouldn’t have found, nor would have most people that I read. Something that changes the way I think.

I think that’s a pretty good description of what many people are after in their blog reading. It’s one of the big reasons that I love blogs that are outside my areas of professional expertise and outside of my usual interests. Reading about topics that I don’t already know a lot about is intellectually stimulating.

On the road

I’m going to be traveling for the next few days, so there probably won’t be any blog posts. Stay out of trouble in my absence.

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