Pondering the cobwebs
It's plain to see that I've not been a blogger for a long time.
This place is a long-neglected ghost town that sees a begrudged entry every few months, when I happen to remember it still exists and I feel guilty for not feeding it with content. What I've yet to figure out is if the cause is a matter of motivation, publishing tools, audience, or writing topics.
Behold as I ramble on for many tens of words pondering the cobwebs here at 0xDECAFBAD.
Other outlets have absorbed nearly all of my motivations that once prompted casual blogging. And those other outlets, in most cases, provide better rewards:
- For quick top-of-the-head thoughts and quips, Twitter works best for the brain-spew and gets me feedback from interesting people faster than my spam-embattled comments here ever did.
- For sharing things I find on the web, Delicious took that job over years ago and Google Reader has been angling for the job as well.
- For sharing code and projects, I've started doing more and more over at my GitHub account.
Quite awhile ago, I even went so far as to redirect the front page of my decafbad.com domain straight to a page that's nothing more than a shell for a FriendFeed widget that aggregates my output from elsewhere. It's kind of a cop-out, but if you want to see what I'm really up to, that's a much better page than my stagnant blog index anyway. I've got a local archive of my activity, and have been meaning to make a self-hosted lifestream more front-and-center, but I've been too busy to bother.
In fact, I've been thinking about killing my WordPress installation here altogether, and switching the blog over to a static fossil snapshot. Since I rarely post, there's rarely a comment inbound here these days that's not trying to slip through an ad for pills or fake handbags. Thus, most of the CPU cycles on my web host are spent on busy work processing requests that will never amount to anything real. So, why bother having an actual PHP application running here?
The one thing that I haven't done a lot of lately—and would like to carve out time to get back to—is some real long-form writing. You would think that that's where this WordPress thing would come in handy, but oddly it seems not to. I hate writing in textareas in browsers, haven't found a desktop blog client that I liked in years.
So, because of the little things that annoy me, I stop writing before I start because the anticipated process to publish seems like a chore. I'd much rather be writing in MacVim and checking text files into a git repository. Then, I could throw Jekyll or something yak-shavingly homebrewed on top of post-receive hooks to do indexing magic and such in static HTML. You know, the stuff that took forever in MovableType back in the day, but decoupled from my actual writing process.
Huh, now that I describe it, the above sounds like a chore too—but it would be a shiny new toy! At that point, I wouldn't be blogging so much as publishing an archive of essays on the web. But, at least I'd know the format would be future-proof, the platform exploit-resistant, and the overall maintenance less worrisome. If I had comments, I could even outsource them to another service and run periodic backups to be safe.
But, beyond the mechanisms, there's who I imagine might be reading this stuff. I hold off on writing a lot of things that could be posted here because they're maybe not tech-nerdy enough. If it doesn't have at least one code example, I hesitate to share it here—and if I don't share it here, I probably don't share it anywhere.
And then there's the thought that whatever I write here, no one will read it if it's too long. This entry is mostly written to myself, and I expect a single-digit comment count—most likely zero. I get the most feedback on the shortest things, which has ultimately lead to Twitter and its 140 character limit yielding some of my most rewarding interactions on the web in years. I post an essay here, and it's all crickets.
The exceptions are where I post something really useful, like that article about HTML 5 Drag & Drop or a Delicious command for Ubiquity. That is, of course, a clue if comments and feedback are what I'm after.
So, what could I be writing about these days? Let's see, I could write about:
- what I've been up to at Mozilla since I started;
- brewing beer and roasting coffee at home;
- retro computing on my C64 and Amiga;
- developing for Palm webOS;
- random thoughts on life;
Huh. That all sounds like a blog, and one I would read myself—though that last one sounds like my LiveJournal, long neglected since I started dating my wife and got much less emo in general. We probably don't need to go there so much, but I could probably bore with more even-tempered philosophical expositions.
What's the problem?
I wonder what my real problem is, then? Is it really just a matter of butt in the seat that I'm missing? I write every day—in a paper journal, in wiki pages, in emails, to myself—I just don't write much here. Maybe all the above is just a collection of excuses.
Lately, I've had this notion that I should try writing and publishing for an earlier version of myself. That is: all these things I end up searching for and researching on the web, I should write them up in a way that I wish had been the first search result in Google. Whatever the topic, if a younger version of me wanted to find it, I should put it out there to be found. Never mind who else I think might read it or (not) comment on it.
Write for myself, write what I'd want to read—sounds pretty obvious when I put it out there like that. So, is that the deal? Who knows; we'll see if a change in perspective results in more happenings here.