Tag: meta

Reviewing the second year of Monomorphic

June 30th, 2011 — 8:19pm

In May 2010 I reviewed the state of Monomorphic as a blog. Since it’s now been almost 13 months since that time, let’s evaluate what’s happened in the meantime. Where am I, how did I get here, and where do I go next?

The rate of publication has decreased. Prior to the last evaluation, 55 posts had been published – about one per week. Since then, only 22 new posts have been added. This is partly because I’ve had more academic tasks to carry out, a condition that is set to intensify gradually from here on, and partly because I tried to change my standards for what I wanted to blog about (in some vague, as of yet unspecified way).

Scala is still a very popular topic to blog about, and rightly so, but I no longer feel that I should write about it for the sake of doing so. Others do a much better job of writing about Scala than I could do, because they spend all their time more time with that language. Incidentally, I’m delighted to see that companies are still switching to Scala quite eagerly, and that Martin Odersky and others launched the company Typesafe to help others with the transition. Learning Scala has honestly been one of the most empowering experiences I’ve had as a programmer, and I believe that there is a vast space of possibilities that has yet to be explored in the language. Maybe it’s not a language for everybody (I postpone my judgment on this for now), but if it were in the hands of the right teams with the right discipline, the world would be in a better state. Also, the Scala IDE for Eclipse has been vastly, vastly improved since 13 months ago, at which time it could barely be used.

I’ve become more and more interested in philosophy over the past 18 months or so, and this started to show up in the blog during this interval, with more and more entries tentatively trying to delineate philosophical questions or positions. Initially I was focussing almost only on Nietzsche, but recently I’ve also been reading a lot of Foucault, as well as some others. I’ve probably not been very pedagogical in writing down my thoughts on these topics, but I fear I will never be a pedagogical writer unless I go through some initial struggling attempts. The ideas I’m most interested in currently are causality (I believe that we don’t understand it at all) and free will (I believe that its existence is highly questionable, but very fruitful to criticise and reason about).

Popularity. By far my most popular post has been this little note on Nomura’s Jellyfish. If I put Google adwords on just that post, I would probably make a lot of money without annoying any other readers. For some reason Google directs a lot of people googling jellyfish to this site. As if programming and philosophy are not more interesting things to Google. Other than that, the Scala posts have been very popular, and following them, Continuous computing, Type theory and Politicization of mathematics… were able to attract some attention.

From now on, until early next year, I have to focus more and more on finishing my Ph.D. studies; it remains to see how this will affect my blogging.

Comment » | Computer science, Life, Philosophy

Meta notes: 1+ year with Monomorphic blogging

May 29th, 2010 — 12:28am

After 13 months and 51 posts, my experiments in blogging continue, although they are perhaps better described as polymorphic than monomorphic. Maybe it’s time for some reflections.

On the whole blogging in this format and at this frequency has been a pretty fun and fulfilling process. I get to practice writing free-form, nonscientific texts, and even if many of them might not be read by so many people, the idea that they might be turns it into a useful exercise.

Recently Flattr buttons were added to this blog, which allows users who use the service to donate money and show appreciation for my texts (some such people indeed exist – thanks a lot, all two of you!). Initially I had a single button for the entire blog, but now I am trying out a format where I have one button per post.

I’ve noticed, on this blog and elsewhere, that I can’t quite decide if I should write with British or American English. I feel culturally uncertain as a writer of this language. But recently I’ve come to think that I should embrace my European background, so more of the British variety in the future is a likely prospect.

Topics have been varied. The tag and category systems have been used in an attempt to bring some order to the table, but they’ve become too chaotic to be useful. A restructuring is perhaps in order during the next 13 months.

One of the most popular topics I’ve written about has been the Scala language. People tend to google Scala a lot, and it’s actually really uplifting to see the interest in it (since I hold it to be a way forward). If you are a blogger who wants to get a billion page views, write about Scala. I don’t want to consciously pander to the readers too much, so in itself it is not a reason for me to write about the topic. I will write about Scala when I want to say something about it. (A difficult principle to really practice.)

I’ve tried out some different WordPress themes occasionally, but so far I haven’t found anything I like better than this “Infinimum” theme. It feels very clean, functional and modern.

That will be enough of the reflections for now.

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Blogging revisited

April 27th, 2009 — 4:12pm

This marks the launch of my second (possibly third) attempt at serious blogging. Unlike previous blogs, I intend for this one to have some specific purposes.

Primarily it will be a vehicle for me to express ideas about software and software research that I can’t express elsewhere. This will probably range from random thoughts to essayish writings. The benefit for me is that expressing myself coherently aids my thinking and understanding. In this sense the blog will be a kind of public notepad, but hopefully more well written than my notepads are.

Secondly, though surely this is too much to hope for, maybe it could attract comments from people who share my interests. Any kind of dialogue or exchange of ideas is always welcome.

This time around I use WordPress, one of the most popular blog packages. Times have changed since around 2004, when I made my own PHP/MySQL based system. At the time I had lots of free time and a kind of do-it-myself ethic. Today there is less time and no clear benefit in rolling my own. My focus should be more on the content and less on the form.

So let’s see how this instance of my blogging attempts turns out.

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