First p0st!

Yeah, so I got myself a blog.

Somewhere inside my skull there's a slightly younger and more principled me desperately trying to grab my attention: What on earth for, you dummy?! You've got a perfectly serviceable website already. You want to tell something to the world, you put it up on your website. And it's true, I could do that. But I sorta never got around to do it, more or less because putting stuff on my regular website seemed to require that I find some good structure for it. The blog concept offers the extraordinary idea that it is okay not to try to structure the inherently unstructured; you just keep a chronological list of everything in the order you wrote it and leave it to the search engines to try to make order of it. If that's what it will take to get me to commit my Messages to the Cosmos to ink (or, at least, bits), then it deserves a try. Also you won't get comments or backpings from putting up static web pages, and I'd like to play with something more reactive.

Fair enough, the imaginary younger me concedes. But, look, ... why on blogspot?! You're a moderately accomplished hacker, you run your own GNU/Linux server, the least you could do is to install some blogging software on that and host it yourself. And indeed, that is what the younger me would have done. (Actually, I suspect that he would have preferred to code his own blog system using perl scripts and duct tape). However ... these days I just don't care. If Google wants to host my blog for free, and I don't have to spend time managing the software or, even worse, write it, then it looks like a win to me. I'll try to remember making local backups of my postings.

It perhaps bears explaining that the younger me dates from a time before I left academia and started writing software for money full-time. I get all the programming I want to do done while at work, and I get a good appreciation of the fact that software which I designed and wrote is running right now to provide valuable services to customers who pay real money for that. That sort of thing does wonders to a self-confidence – which I'd never have thought needed any wonders done to it. But the fact stands that I don't anymore think I need to do things the hard way, as if to prove that I'm a real grown-up who can do things the hard way.

There's a different sub-self which is quite cross at me because I'm writing this blog in English rather than my native Danish. This sub-self insists that I ought to know better than to further the "domain loss" of Danish when most of the people who could conceivably care what I think share my native language and yet I don't use it in the blog. This argument has merits, but in the end vanity won out. I increase my potential audience by at least a hundredfold by writing in English; given the low number of people who are likely to care what I think, this could mean the difference between an audience and no audience. Sorry, but the Danish language will have to survive without the help of this blog.

So what can you expect to find here?

Basically, anything that catches my fancy, or that I think the The World ought to know. I'm not going to try to stick to any particular topic or format. In no particular order, I'll probably have something to say about physics, railway track layouts, science fiction, programming languages, politics, going barefoot, Copenhagen and a dozen other odd topics. The format will range from carefully constructed essays to quick by-the-ways. Posting frequency will be whenever I write something. We'll see whether I'm going to run out of topics to write about.

In general, I'm going to assume that the reader knows at least approximately what I'm talking about. Some postings will have heavy prerequisites. Others will not. It's not as if I'm aspiring to have any "regular readership" anyway. I'm just putting stuff out on the net and relying on the search engines to bring forth interested readers for each piece – or not.

I promise that I will never make any self-deprecating jokes about how low my readership is. I will probably try to use the phrase "as long-time readers of this blog will know" with a straight face within the first ten postings. People either read this or they don't. And if they don't, then at least an empty universal quantification is always true.

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