Friday, October 13, 2006


I admit it; right now, I'm an audience metrics freak in regards to my blog.  I have a Google Analytics, and StatCounter tracker, and I watch my feedburner counts.  In a sense, it's silly.  There is some value there, but I know I'm blowing it way out of proportion.  But I can't stop..

I wasn't always this way.  When I started this blog, I just wanted to experiment with blogging, and was following the idea that writing would be an effective tool to extend my own thought patterns as well.  If a person or two discovered it and liked it, all the better.

Overall, that went well.  I think blogging has been great for extending myself, and it's been a nice outlet for many thoughts fit for public consumption.  But after your write something, no matter what your original intentions were you start to feel the need to share it.  That is as long as you don't think it sucked, in which case you're more likely to want to delete or revise it.

And so that led me to wonder, is anyone reading this stuff?  What I found out was: no, no one was reading anything I wrote.  And because I liked a few things I wrote, it was a bit annoying to see that not a single soul had read it.  In a sense, that's worse than one person reading it and telling you it sucked, at least for me.  At least a little criticism would push me back towards the delete side of the spectrum.

I had built it, and they weren't coming.  And I could clearly see from the logs that it wasn't as if a few people dropped by and rejected me, quite simply, no one was showing up.  I've probably been impatient about the whole thing, because this was only 3 months in, but I started trying to spread the word in other ways.  And for this stage, metrics were really valuable.  They gave me a good idea of what methods were working, and which were just pissing people off.  I stopped doing some things, found some different avenues, and finally got some readers.  It's not that many, but at least it's enough that I feel like if I did something really right someone would take notice, and then maybe they'd come.

But in the process, I developed the metrics habit.  Hopefully I'll eventually kick the habit, but it's not that easy just yet.  For one, I'm still afraid that small group will go poof and I'll be back where I started.  I almost stopped doing the whole post categorization thing after I realized that it was repushing all my old stories.  I was quite afraid that would drive all he RSS/ATOM readers away.  I still don't know the result, but I thought, better now than later, so I pushed on and finished it up.

I have noticed a few things that help me ignore metrics.  One is comments.  Comments are far more valuable to me than any metrics, and so when I actually get them, especially if they are good ones, I hardly care about metrics.  Another is volume.  It's funny, but if I have an especially good day, like a record breaker, I'm more likely to ignore the metrics.  I'm hoping this means that if I continue I'll eventually get to the point where I'm confident enough to simply ignore not just the metrics but also the whole idea of spreading the word in general.

But for now, I'm still guilty.  At the very least, I can say I don't tailor my writing to raising metrics, or base it at all upon them.  I wanted to say, that I don't tailor my writing to any audience, but in reflection, that's not entirely true.  I do drop some controversial topics out of some posts when I don't want to detract from the main point.  But that's not about metrics or readers, that's about not getting derailed into one of the perennial debates. These debates are not something you can resolve in a single post, or even a back and forth comment session. And because they almost always start by rehashing the same points over and over, I don’t care to waste my words upon them until I’m ready to dig into them deeply enough to hit something other than churned mud.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Mojopac - Run Windows XP from your iPod, USB drive, etc.

Software that lets you store your Windows XP image on any USB device, and run it on any computer with no fuss (no drivers, hardware, etc.). Allows you to move from computer to computer and keep your whole system in your pocket.

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Sunday, September 03, 2006

Wow, do politicians even have a clue?

I got a call today from a local politician. Well it wasn't actually the politician, it was an automated recording. It basically said, have a nice labor day. Nothing politically related at all. Just an annoying interuption to get a fakey thank you from someone I care not one whit about.

What kind of positive impact could an annoying and pointless call like that have?

Friday, September 01, 2006

Not having to choose between a big ecosystem and cutting edge features

... you can get both the productivity benefits of working with declarative queries for all sorts of data, along with type inference of the sort that makes script languages easier to work with, but also get the performance optimizations that a long history and large ecosystem have forced into being.

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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Great quote:

Great quote, speaking of switching languages: "Not that the unsafe users actually switch; that's just how long, on average, it takes the majority of them to be killed accidentally by their product, leaving only the new, safer programmers behind."


Friday, August 18, 2006

The Emacs Problem

Steve's thoughts in part spurred me to write a little peice of my own, at my main blog.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Patent review goes Wiki

It's a step in the right direction, but you need to be careful that this is used as a process improvement rather than an excuse to cut costs and have the PTO spend even less time reviewing patents. Of course a solution to that problem would be to institute a multi-tier patent system where peer review would get you some benefits, but PTO review would be even more thorough for those that go to the next level.

See this:

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.NET and J2EE to get better dynamic language support

It's interesting to see better dynamic language support in the runtimes, but I think the question of functional programming support is the core languages is far more important.

Already today, both runtimes have implementations of dynamic languages. The main difference here is ease of port and performance. Performance has not usually been a high priority for dynamic language users so that's minor.

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Being the Averagest - Steve Yegge's Drunken Blog Rants

I've been reading through Steve's old rants with about the same level of interest as when I first discovered Paul Graham. Since they kind of say alot of the same things, in very different ways, that's pretty good.

This one really hit home however. I think there is a bit of Bob in all of us. I certainly spend alot of time trying to learn, but I'm forced to admit it's not because I think I'm a crappy programmer and need to get better. It's because I just plain have fun doing it. But I could be better, and Steve's totally right about that.

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