Wrapping up National Blog Post Month

Between writing a blog post almost every day and going back to the beginning of this blog and re-reading stuff I wrote over twenty years ago, it’s been a bloggy month over here!

I only missed two days. I can live with that. I’ve blogged more this month than I have in years, and that was the whole goal.

My big learning from this experience is that social media really killed my blogging. If you look at the first few years of posts, I sometimes posted multiple short posts in a day and maybe one longer thing a week.

Now, I never write short posts. They’re all longer than a paragraph, and that’s what blogging means to me now, which I think is misguided and too inspired by more “professional” blogs. This is my personal space, and I should use it to post whatever inane nonsense is on my mind. It’s not a diary, but it is kind of a public journal of what I’m thinking about – a perennial first draft of things that might become something more professional in the future.

I need to give myself permission to post the first draft (sorry in advance), and be OK with it living forever(ish). Because that’s what blogging should be – the great empathy engine of the web. It’s our thoughts, our selves, out there for anyone to stumble across and get a glimpse of our lived experience. Whether you’re me, a cishet white male with serious dad energy, a writer in Minnesota, or a famous sci-fi author in Ohio, your life is worth talking about. Your thoughts are worth sharing.

I probably won’t post once a day, but I’m hoping I make blogging a habit again. Fingers crossed!

The past is embarassing

This blog is twenty-something years old, and has moved blogging platforms at least three times, and between various WordPress installs at least another three times. Some of the older posts got messed up along the way, so I’m going back through them and trying to fix them.

Re-reading stuff I wrote from 2001 is… something. I talked way too much about work (this was before “dooced” was a verb). I don’t remember what exactly I was angry about back then, but I was often very annoyed and not good at not writing about it. I also posted a lot. I’d totally forgotten how short and frequent my post were back then, pre-Twitter.

I’m glad those posts exist, even the stupid ones. They’re fun to look back on and laugh at what I was excited about (like waiting for a new mac with a 60gb hard drive, and triple booting it – I also did a lot more compiling software than I do today). It turns out, 2001 was the year of linux on the desktop?

I think the saddest thing is how many of the links are now dead. Most of the blogs I linked to back then don’t resolve, or are for sale.

Rediscovering blogging has been the best part of , and I probably won’t ever top the 5 posts in one day I used to do in 2001, I’m going to try to post more regularly if only so I can look back in 20 more years at how stupid I was in 2023.

Just trying to be understood

If you are writing the clearest, truest words you can find and doing the best you can to understand and communicate, this will shine on paper like its own little lighthouse. Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.

Anne Lamott

The creation of all media is accompanied by a wish: to experience and to be experienced by another human mind. Above all this means to feel and to be felt.

Ze Frank

Today, you get quotes. So far, National Blog Post Writing Month has me writing longer-than-I-expected posts about things that I either wrote about a long time ago, or things that have been trapped in my head for years and I finally had a reason to write them down.

All of it is an attempt at being understood… and it’s my favorite thing about personal blogging. It’s one person, quietly sharing their heart, in the best way they know how, out into the chaos and cacophony of social media.

I’ve been doing it, somewhat inconsistently, for almost twenty-four years. This is the 2,800th post on this blog (here’s the first), and over 2,500 are mine, written by me (my wife also used to blog here once upon a time).

A lot of those posts are now kind of embarrassing. I don’t think I’ve ever gone back and deleted any (guaranteeing that I’ll probably never be able to run for office – a brilliant bit of subconscious self-sabotage). But, they provide a portrait of what I was trying to make sense of at the time, what was important, and again, all in an attempt to understand and be understood.

The mind that is not baffled, is unemployed.

Wendell Berry

New Digs

This change has been a couple months in the making and this morning in my pre-caffeinated stupor, I decided I was tired of fiddling with it and trying to make things perfect and just flipped the switch – welcome to the new lawver.net! Why change? Well, I’ll tell you…

I’ve been blogging for over ten years now. This blog started out on Blogger, and then moved to Movable Type fairly early on, where we lived happily for almost ten years. Then, Movable Type 5.0 came out and I didn’t feel like re-doing everything on a platform that felt stagnant. So, I decided it was time to move to WordPress and save myself the trouble to maintaining templates that were starting to get creaky and stale. I’m not a designer, and I don’t have a lot of time for side projects anymore, so I wanted something that looked good and that would be easy to maintain. I chose Khoi Vinh’s awesome Basic Maths theme, made a quick child theme to throw my OpenID delegate and Typekit stuff in the header, moved some widgets around, and then flipped the domain name so it points to lawver.net instead of the temporary domain name I set up.

There’s still a lot of data cleanup to do (the content column is a lot narrower than the old one and Jen likes putting up laaaarge photos), but it’s all in the old content and I can go back when I’ve got time later and clean them all up (there were some issues importing the textile posts too).

And since this post lines up nicely with The Ideas of March, I’ll try to post things more often. Our old install of Movable Type was so crusty it was actually painful to blog. I don’t see that being a problem anymore…

10 Years

I’ve been blogging, right here, for ten years. The first post on lawver.net was on 07/20/2000 and didn’t say a whole lot. Since then, though, Jen and I have posted 2,631 entries. Jen didn’t start blogging here until about 2005, so out of that, almost 2,000 of them are mine.

I don’t think I’ve stuck with a hobby longer than this, except maybe collecting comic books when I was a kid (non-stop from age eleven until 22 and then off and on collections).

I’m pretty proud of this little blog. Yes, the design is old, and it’s slow at times. But, it’s a record of our lives over the last ten years that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

Here’s to the next ten and whatever comes next.

Categorized as blogging

Bloggers are Real People

I just read Kathy Sierra’s post about the death threats she’s received and I’m shocked. I’ve been on the web a long time, and see some really horrible stuff, but what never ceases to amaze me is how cruel people can be.\
For some reason when our interaction with someone is online and we’re reading text they’ve written or looking at pictures they’ve taken, we somehow think of them as less than a real person. They become their work, not the person behind the work – which is dangerous. It opens the door to this kind of thing.\
I don’t even know that there’s a solution other than education and treating this stuff like the crime that it is. Threats are not protected speech. They are threats, and that’s against the law. Just because you think you’re anonymous doesn’t mean you are. Just because someone shares things online – words, photos, videos, etc – doesn’t mean they’re not a real person with real feelings.\
For me, I try (and often fail) to think of what I write, especially in comments and e-mail, as something I’m saying to that person face to face. If I wouldn’t say it someone standing in front of me, I probably won’t post it online. It’s saved me a lot of embarrassment and problems over the years.\
I’ve lived my life pretty much in public since I started this blog about seven years ago. I never quite understood why others didn’t until recently. After talking to several women over the past year, I think I’m starting to understand, and it makes me really sad. I don’t know what, if anything, I can do to fix things other than doing a better job of following my own rules.\
Kathy, I think you’re awesome. Your blog is one of my absolute favorites, and you’re an inspiration to me and to my work (and ask the people I work with – I send out links to your posts all the time). Here’s hoping the idiots responsible are caught quickly and this ugliness is resolved so you can get back to doing what you love (assuming you love blogging and presenting).

Categorized as blogging

Bring Me Your 48×48 Buddy Icons!

For our soon-to-be-a-launchin’ Ruby on Rails app, we’re looking for services that provide 48×48 buddy icons (you know, like AIM does). So far, it’s surprising how many different social networks and web apps have them, and it’s equally surprising how few of them have APIs to get at them. So far, I’ve got AIM Buddy Icons, Flickr buddy icons, and Twitter icons – because they’re really easy to get at (some easier than others). If you know of more services (or happen to run one) that has APIs for getting buddy icons (that are 48×48), please let me know! We’ll give you a link and make your users happy in the process, because they get to use their cool icon.\
One of my early goals with the project was to reinvent as little a wheel as possible:

  • I don’t want to store passwords, or make users remember another one, so we’re supporting AIM and OpenID logins
  • I don’t want to host, resize, handle uploading, a bunch of images, because that means users have to upload yet another one (hence the question above).
  • I don’t want to make people fill out a big long nasty profile, so we don’t have them (they’re short and funny).\
    We’ll be launching the new blog in the very near future, and the product hopefully before SxSW. I’m way too excited about it. I even posted a sneak peek of the logo because I couldn’t take it any more (oh, the design on this thing… it’s gorgeous – the best looking web app I’ve ever been associated with, and I’ve been involved in plenty).

The Big 2k

This is the 2000th post on this blog. I wish I could write this to coincide with some big redesign, a switch to a cool new blogging platform or have some cool techno-geeky thing to show off. But, I don’t. I just have this measly little entry. This entry is mostly here so I get over the fact that there are two thousand entries, most of them by me, but a bunch by Jen now too.\
The first entry was way back in July of 2000 and it says nothing at all important, just like the vast majority of other posts here where I rambled about nothing and posted anyway.\
Two thousand posts in, what have I learned and what has it done for me? Here you go:

  1. Blogging changes everything. If you get into the habit of doing it, it opens up a new world of people, experiences and possibilities. Maybe it’s because I started blogging before there were millions of people doing it, but I’ve made connections with so many different people through my blog and reading others. Blogging is a great way to get a glimpse into other peoples’ worlds, to walk a little bit in their shoes and get a perspective you wouldn’t have otherwise had into someone else’s experience.
  2. Blogging has changed how I communicate with everyone. My family reads my blog. A lot of people at work read my blog. A lot of my friends read my blog. When there’s a topic I’m not comfortable talking about in person (like religion, politics, etc). Writing about it here makes it easier to talk about it in person, and has led to some very interesting conversations I wouldn’t have otherwise had. Giving myself an “opening” here creates an opportunity for discussion in the “real” world.
  3. Blogging has made work better. I used to religiously not talk about work here, because I didn’t want to get dooced (I read her blog before she became a verb and loved it – still love it). I still have a hard time talking about work (habits die hard), but it’s made my work easier. I used this space to experiment with web standards, and that bled into work. Being one of the first bloggers at AOL (at least one of the first who would admit it), I got to help with the initial thinking behind AOL Journals and go on a couple trips to talk about it.
  4. Blogging is more fun with a partner. Jen jumping in and blogging here has been a lot of fun, especially the unspoken game of keeping up with her. Sharing the front page has removed some of the pressure of posting all the time, and I can’t tell you how many times people have caught me at work and told me how much they enjoy her posts.\
    It took five and a half years to get to two thousand. Hopefully, it won’t take another five and a half to get to ten.

On Modules and Widgets

I got a couple comments on yesterday’s post about ModuleT and widgets. I don’t post often (another vote against splitting my personal blog, I guess), but all the details about AIM Pages, our microformat or other thoughts on widgets will be over on the Alpha Blog. That’s where Joe, Shawn and I talk about module stuff. We’ve been so busy lately that we haven’t posted as much as we should, but there’s a lot to talk about, so keep your eyes peeled for news.

To Fork or Not to Fork

I’ve been working on a new blog and I keep running into the same question, so I figure I’ll pose it to you, my loyal readers (umm, I think, I actually have no idea who reads my blog and I’m OK with that). Should I start a new blog for just technical nerdy web bits or keep everything together? I’ve been itching to write longer articles on topics and I feel limited by the current layout (which I love for entirely different reasons and don’t see changing in the near future). A long article about CSS doesn’t really fit in half a page.\
What do you think? Should I start a new blog or just tweak this one? Do you read this blog because you’re my friend and we know each other in “meatspace”, or for some other reason?

Categorized as blogging