Welcome to dot-dot-romkey

5 minute read

At times I lament the fact that I don’t write quick hacks the way I did years ago. Of course, my brain and mind aren’t the same as they were twenty (or more) years ago, and that contributes to the problem. And the environment that I work in has changed and become much more complex… where two decades ago a piece of software most likely ran from the command-line, now it may need to live in a networked environment and work with a web server and talk to other pieces of software in order to do anything remotely interesting. Which is fascinating but means that software is a lot more complicated than it used to be.

But the biggest problem for me has clearly been that there’s just too much going on - too many things pulling on my attention. I have too many other concerns. That’s natural as you age from twenty to forty, I think. Your perspectives widen, your involvement in the world (hopefully) deepens. You develop deeper relationships, possibly you gain family.

My mind has often been overwhelmed by being involved in too many things and simply having too much stuff to take care of. For a while it was two homes, which was both good and bad. The convenience and sense of being involved in two places was very nice. But the effort of caring for them, making them both a home, worrying about them when we weren’t there, and the lack of depth of engagement were all frustrating.

So, one of the main themes in my life the past couple of years has been “simplify”.

For many years I offered access to ‘apocalypse.org’ to friends, friends of friends, and worthwhile projects. Sharing access to computer resources with people who needed them was an old MIT traditional and, I felt, a noble thing. When I started sharing apocalypse.org it, getting Internet access was still difficult. The web was nascent, and the only ways individuals connected to the Internet were dialup and T1 lines. Things obviously changed and now it’s easy to find high quality free email access and cheap web hosting. Having other people using the system and worse, being responsible for it as they came to depend on it, was a much bigger brain-drain than I think anyone was aware of. Not to mention the occasional scuffles with one or two people with an outrageous sense of entitlement. Finally it was clear that it was time to stop, which I’ve done in two stages. At this point apocalypse.org is home only to me and my partner and one remaining web site. It’s a huge relief not to be responsible to, or for, other people in that way.

I’ve run three blogs for a while - The Apocalypse Blog, because I find the subject the ‘apocalypse’ rather fascinating; Shiny Things, which I started because friends would ask me for computer and gadget recommendations; and Blue Forest Blog, which I intended as a development blog for my software company, Blue Forest Research.

As conditions have worsened in the US and the world at large, the Apocalypse Blog has lost some of the charm it held for me. I also found it difficult to put the level of effort into that I think it really needed in order to grow. It was also too much a link blog with too little original content. I may continue to post in it though I’ve let it go for quite a while now. I may just retire it.

I lost my way in Shiny Things and became a bit too concerned with posting articles on how to save money buying gadgets. I’m interesting in continuing some of what I was trying to do there, but not the way I was going towards the end.

And I never really managed to do the level of writing for the Blue Forest Blog that I’d hoped to do.

Why did I have three blogs? I felt like it was a good idea to keep each one focussed on its particular area.

And there’s a fourth - my LiveJournal, which I’ve used more for keeping in touch with friends and personal things.

I feel too spread out, and I haven’t felt much like continuing in this vein. So, in the interest of simplifying, I’m retiring Shiny Things, Blue Forest Blog and partially retiring my LiveJournal. Having three blogs also dilutes my presence on the web when I would be better served by concentrating it. Instead of these blogs, I’m launching this new blog: dot-dot-romkey. I wanted to call it “dot-romkey” but that didn’t really work, so “dot-dot-romkey” it is.

I’ll be cross-posting articles on dot-dot-romkey to my LiveJournal in order to make it easier for friends to follow it if they want. I may once in a while post something a little less professional only to LJ. And I’ll use dot-dot-romkey for whatever topic is on my mind. It’ll most likely be computer or food related, but I’m sure I’ll stray from those topics.

Finally, in the spirit of simplification I’m trying to streamline the design of the new blog. No more print or email buttons, no more social networking buttons… does having a digg button on your blog ever actually encourage anyone to digg it? Doesn’t everyone who regularly uses digg already have a digg toolbar or Javascript applet that they have ready for things they want to digg?

I am bowing to practicality and will still have a sidebar which will only provide some assistance with navigating this blog, and pointers to my activity on a few other sites that are a part of my regular online life and may be of some interest or use to you, my reader.

My goal is for this blog to be a tool and not a huge project unto itself - I’m aiming for simpler, not more complex. I will tweak it from time to time and I will update the theme occasionally.

I am providing OpenID support to make it easier for people to comment. OpenID should allow people with accounts on OpenID providers (like LiveJournal) to comment without having to create an account for themselves. Comments are still screened, if only to stop spam, which is still an overwhelming problem for many blogs.