Ideas Of March: Don’t Read The Comments

It’s that time of year again, time for an “Ideas of March” post (you can read more about this initiative on Chris Shiflett’s blog). Most years many bloggers pledge to write more often, start or restart their blogs, and generally embrace the idea that some thoughts are worth more than 140 characters. Chris himself wrote this year about the demise of google reader, and about blogging as a way of curating and retaining ownership of your ideas, which I thought was an excellent point to make. Continue reading

How To Write 800 Blog Posts

This is the 800th published post on It’s my personal blog and I started it in early 2006, when I moved to a new city with no job. I think I got the blogging bug just because I had nobody else to talk to at the time! Over the years the blog has recorded recipes, craft projects, the story of buying and refurbishing the house (a decision that a previous employer described as “brave”) – and of course the vast swathes of technical snippets that are the regular content you see here.
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Flattr-y Will Get You Everywhere

For many years, I’ve been convinced that micropayments are the way of the future. The internet has brought us so much that is freely available, but often it’s nice to show some appreciation for something someone has given us. This is true both for the open source software without which I couldn’t do my job, and for the excellent content that makes me think or guides me through a particular issue. Continue reading

Eleven WordPress Plugins

When I moved this blog to wordpress a few weeks ago, I got a lot of questions about its implementation and setup. Today I’m sharing a list of all the plugins I have enabled, with a little description of what they are and what they do.
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Comment, Don’t Tweet

This blog regularly features posts which are rather niche, incomplete or in some cases simply misleading (not intentionally, I promise!). Often I post something, and then discover there was an awful lot more to know, and find that people add all kinds of constructive suggestions, resources, and other goodness in the comments.

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Ideas of March

You may find that you read a few of these posts today – the title is a play on the fact that today is the Ides of March, and the story goes like this:

I’m seeing increasing numbers of my friends and peers announcing that blogging is coming back into fashion, which came as a surprise to me since I didn’t realise it had gone out of fashion and I’ve been blogging regularly without realising how uncool that was! With twitter managing to annoy everyone in the last week or so either with a new client, bad behaviour towards existing 3rd party clients, or reassigning twitter names, change is in the air.

Personally I like to blog, it’s a platform that I control, and I’m always too verbose for 140 character limits (which is a nice way of saying that I talk too much – if you’ve met me in person then you knew that already!). The blogs, and perhaps more importantly their comments, are the best way I know of sharing ideas and having those accessible and grouped together if you want to refer back to them at any point in the future. They are also wonderfully asynchronous; I see some great posts coming past about technologies that I don’t use, then find myself reading those articles a few months later when I’m onto the next project. Having the various blog posts, even those short ones that people think “don’t qualify” or “aren’t good enough”, really help me get started with something new – and I try to leave the same trail on my own blog and in the comments of others’ when I’m figuring things out that I think others might come up against later (where “others” includes me, if I have slept since writing the blog post!).

So – will you join us? Will pledge to blog, or to comment on blogs, in March? Here’s to a revival of blogging (and some continuation from those of us who fail at being with the cool crowd!)

5 Years of Blogging

I’ve just realised that today marks 5 years since the very first post on this blog. I’m not sure how 5 years came around, the blog began because I was just leaving a job and every time I did that, I lost my directory of useful scripts that I collected. I also didn’t know how to use grep 5 years ago (or linux, or vim …) and so I couldn’t find things in the directory anyway. So I started to blog things, in the hope of finding them again when I wanted them.

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Make Blogging Your New Years Resolution

Do you have a New Year’s Resolution? Is it to blog (or blog more often)? If so, keep reading!

I’m coming up to my 5th anniversary of blogging and looking at my stats, I’ve written around 150 posts per year for most of that time, although in 2010 I “only” wrote 102 posts, possibly because one or two other things happened in my life. So many people tell me they want to blog, or they have a blog but can’t find the time to write, that I thought I’d try to give some pointers for those resolving to blog this New Year.

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Advice To Another Blogger

Recently I was approached by a friend of mine looking to start his own technical blog. I’ve been blogging here for some years, and he wrote to ask my advice. I replied to him, but thought that the ideas could be useful to others in the same position, so here’s that email, published here for anyone else who wants to see it:
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