Thursday, December 30, 2010

Reflections on Three Years Blogging

This blog has evolved into an outlet for creative expression, for attempts at humor, and for technical writeups on various topics. Though originally focussed exclusively on embedded software development and networking, after a few months this proved too limiting. Postings have broadened to include aspects of social media, meta discussions on life as an engineer, plus a smattering of space exploration and other mostly-technical topics. In late 2009 I also stated posting vaguely technical jokes, taking some liberties with the definition of "humor." Broadening the topics meant the frequency of posting increased from twice per month to twice per week on average, with a joke on monday and meatier post later in the week.

One thing this blog has not evolved into is a direct source of income. Initially there were Adsense units on the page, but the math just doesn't work for a site like this. As each technical article can take quite a while to research and polish I found myself computing the hourly rate for time spent writing. This is a highly negative train of thought. Advertising works well for a variety of web sites, but not this one. I removed the ads in late 2008.

Writing Resolutions for 2011

In 2011 I plan to make a few changes in regards to writing.

Writing Resolution #1: Write a Guest Post. I wrote an article on April Fool's Day 2009 for, which was a very enjoyable experience. I'd like to write at least one guest post in 2011, to get out of my comfort zone. I haven't yet picked a topic nor identified a site willing to run it; all in good time. As a practice accepting guest posts seems to be less common now than once it was, but it does still happen.

Writing Resolution #2: Stretch further for technical articles. Since late 2009 I've maintained a pace of one joke plus one in-depth article per week, notwithstanding the occasional missed week. Writing a technical post each week means they're in areas where I have at least a passing familiarity already, and only demand incremental research to finish. When publishing at a more relaxed pace I was able to write articles which required more of a stretch, like spending time working with the Google App Engine. I learned a lot from those experiences and would like to get back to it, even if it means publishing less often. Having a publication schedule is good as it helps maintain focus, but given a suitably difficult topic skipping a week in order to make it happen is an acceptable tradeoff.

I also plan to publicize a bit more, though I don't have a specific plan to phrase it as a third resolution. Tomorrow I'll highlight some of my favorite posts from the past three years. You have been warned, unsubscribe now if you can't stand it.

Other Outlets

Not everything gets posted here, I do try to stay on topic. There are a few outlets where I post other stuff:

  • I follow a large number of technical and coding blogs, and share the posts I find most interesting.
  • I stay active on Buzz. Native Buzz posts are used for brainstorming and discussion, while shared articles from Google Reader and tweets are also imported.
  • @dgentry on Twitter is for short quips and links.