What is this blog, anyway?

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I’ve now been blogging for more than two years and I’m still deciding exactly what I want to say and when. Here are a number of considerations and thoughts about what goes into this.

  • While a lot of the content reflects my work at IBM, I also talk about personal things that interest me. Sometimes the balance between these two areas will swing more one way or the other, but that does not necessarily correspond to what I am doing at the moment.
  • When I’m on vacation, I might have some clarifying thoughts about standards or open source and decide to write them up.
  • Conversely, while working, I might be in the middle of something that I simply can’t blab about all over the blog. So when I feel the urge to write, it might come out as being about Bob Dylan, carpentry, or travel. I make no apologies for this.
  • I have technical interests that do not fall under my current title or responsibilities. I plan to start expanding upon them in this blog.
  • Though I do point to press releases, I do not see this blog as either a communications or marketing vehicle for IBM. This has changed a lot from when I first started writing the blog in 2004. I do not hesitate, though, to write about or link to discussions of topics that IBM is interested in or expresses IBM’s perspective.
  • I try to write in an informal, conversational style rather than a stiff, official one. My critics (yes, you ALH) let me know when I don’t get it right.
  • Sometimes a bookmark is just a bookmark. Occasionally someone will interpret one of my del.icio.us links as making some particular statement. Sometimes they are right: I want to point people to one or more web pages that either expose some behavior or states some point of view with which I agree. Other times I just use del.icio.us to save things that I might want to come back to later and the significance might be lost to other people. Therefore, if you look at these links and something looks interesting to you, great. If you see something and wonder why the heck I included that, don’t over-analyze it. At times I’ve been too subtle and I should have just done an entry that explicitly made my point.
  • Oddly enough, I get a very large number of search hits for the few entries that talk about English grammar or carpentry. You would be surprised at how many people are building porches!
  • I don’t think I talk nearly as much as I should about learning how to play the guitar, and it’s been a long time since I discussed it at all. I’ll try to make up for this over the next few months. I’m not necessarily better player, but I know more than I used to.
  • There are now thousands of people within IBM doing something with open source and we all have different responsibilities. I don’t talk about all things open source and I certainly don’t know about all things open source (obviously). I try not to write about things I don’t know about.
  • I’m really not obsessed with ODF. I do other things. Really.
  • There is an ebb and flow to this writing stuff. Sometime I feel like writing six things a day, other times I’m focused elsewhere and I don’t feel I can put one coherent sentence after the other for the blog. Yet other times, as I mentioned above, I really want to say something but confidentiality prevents my doing so.
  • It’s much easier to be cranky than thoughtful. Though I sometimes come across as being “peeved” (as I think David Berlind called it), I try to limit it. Moreover, I try to only come across as being annoyed when I want to come across that way. That is, I do get annoyed and sometimes I want to sound like I’m annoyed. I’ve slipped a couple of times, but that’s not too bad.
  • I rarely ask other people their opinion about what I write, but I have what I consider trusted advisors that I bounce ideas off. This relates to the last point: if I’m not sure about the tone of something I write, I will usually ask someone else what he or she thinks. Lest you think they are always cautious, it’s not unusual for at least one person to suggest that I make it edgier rather than more bland.
  • There are various things I would like to speak about more critically, but either business or personal relationships make me think and edit before I publish. Also, there are some things that it just makes no sense to rail against. The people doing them will not change and I no longer have patience for those types of fights. There is more than enough to discuss in this industry without fighting the same old battles repeatedly. That said, there are some long term battles that I feel I am actively fighting, though I don’t always give a day-by-day accounting.
  • I often will serialize longer pieces and it may take several months to complete them. Other blog entries are one time short blurbs. I assume you will self select on what I write for length and content.
  • I’m now approaching 1200 entries in the blog. Though I may remember writing something and therefore feel I’ve said what I’ve wanted to say on a topic, I can’t assume everyone has read the complete collection, even on a particular topic. I’m trying to work out the best way to bring some of the older stuff forward without republishing it or providing a simple link. I may start doing something like an occasional entry such as “greatest hits from this week in my blog’s history.” I don’t know – suggestions welcome.

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