An Exceptional First Post

In 2005 I started a blog. I was taken in by the platform (though quickly moved to Wordpress) and the surge in personal blogs, and it coincided with our big move to New Zealand. The point of that blog was to document and share our overseas adventure, mainly with friends and family. By all accounts that worked well. People liked reading the blog, often left comments, and I very much like having a diary of those years.

When we returned to Illinois, I retired the “NZ” blog but continued to write, only much less frequently. There frankly wasn’t as much that I wanted to write, at least in the context of the Of the years, I had subconciously put limits around the stuff I would write there. It would be that which related to family, home, house, current jobs, food, kids, etc. I wanted to write about other topics, but invariably would assess how they would sit next to years of blog posts, and then not write them. Do I really want code snippets sandwiched between a recipe for curry puffs and a berry picking adventure? No! Nor does any potential reader want that mix. The mold was set years ago: the blog would be of and by the family.

I’d thought about creating another, separate blog for quite some time. I always had in mind what the content roughly would be, but the location of it became a sticking point. Was it some sort of offshoot of the blog, was it a subdomain, was is something hosted (ala Medium or Tumblr), or was it something altogether new? In the end I didn’t make a decision and there was no progress. No new blog was born, and the content I wanted to write ended up nowhere.

Earlier this month, a fun little white elephant gift exchange for domain names was launched. I loved the idea of getting some random domain and had at least one to give (au revoir,, so I signed up. On Christmas day I learned that I’d won and felt very lucky. There were some good domains on the list, but there was also a lot of junk. And the more I pondered “broken mold”, the more I felt that it could become home to the next blog. Totally separate from, and a break from how I’d typically blogged.

Here, in no particular order, are the ways I plan to break the mold of

Audience Link to heading

Me. I used to write for the imaginary family reader. What would they want to read and how should I write it? This time around, I’m writing for me 2 years down the road, since I’m probably going to be 98% of the audience anyway.

Categorizing Link to heading

I’ve never really grokked (note: my first use of that word) categories vs. tags, but I didn’t really use them for blogs in the past. I’ll need to use them for this blog. My goal is to have fine-grained tags like ‘angular’ or ‘vim’ so I can quickly zero in on previous bits of enlightment.

Content Link to heading

Anything that doesn’t belong on ☺. In particular, I want to start recording the solutions to various programming and sys admin type issues that I run into. Yes I can Google these things, and for a lot of things that is the way to go. But what about the solution that is presented so nicely on a blog that no longer is showing up, or maybe it was on page 4 of the results to begin with. What about the article you read, that linked to a blog, that links to a gist with the super useful zsh alias? Going through these steps more than once for the same thing is irritating, and I’ve come across a lot of cases where I’m retracing my steps to a solution. My hope is that building a local cache of solved problems will immediately help me, and maybe someone else.

No comments Link to heading

No comment.

Frequency Link to heading

Much higher. I used to write when I wanted to say something, and then moved to not writing even if I wanted to say something. On this site I’m going to post frequently. My goal is to average at least once a day. What gets posted might be a link or something that could fit into a tweet, but I do want to break the months-long gaps that are the current mold.

Length Link to heading

Much shorter. I write slowly, and don’t think much faster. Composing is a pain for me, largely because I spend a lot of time revising until I think things are perfect. I’ll tend to avoid it altogther when I expect that the post-to-be will be lengthy, so this time around I’m going to try to keep things brief. (It’s also why I consider this to be an “Exceptional” post. If I start writing this much every time, the blog will collect dust within a month)

Mechanics Link to heading

I’m using Octopress instead of Wordpress. It’s fun and something new (to me). More importantly, it’s one less database drive site I have to screw with–something I’m sensitive to having just completed a migration from Linode to Digital Ocean.

Enough said.