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My ramblings on the stuff that holds it all together
I just noticed that my blog has been running for 2 years and 1 month with the 1st post in October 2007 and that got me thinking..
Ever since my school days I’ve been a compulsive note-taker for my personal and professional life, I have numerous paper notebooks in my study going back the last 20 or so years – they’re interesting to go back and review, but also serve as a useful reference point for what I was doing and thinking at the time (particularly the youthful enthusiasm of my teenage years!)
The biggest problem I had with these notebooks was finding anything – you can’t search paper notebooks and you risk loosing them if something were to happen to them like theft or fire so in early 2003 I switched to using Microsoft OneNote; which is great for solving the search problem and allowed me to keep screen captures/log relevant files etc, about this time I got very busy so the quality of my notes started to deteriorate; because it was so easy to dump information there and plan to re-organise it later on that’s pretty much what I did, but never got around to doing the re-organising, or at best by the time I did my train of thought had gone and the results were less than useful.
My original inspiration for starting this blog came from attending BriForum and VMworld in 2007 and the burgeoning number of bloggers at Microsoft and VMware, maybe I was a bit later to the party than some but blogs were quickly becoming a core part of my workflow in researching potential solutions and resolving problems.
Blogs were quickly becoming a mainstream way of getting concise, quality information from big companies like Microsoft that just weren’t in the books/KB articles – they were almost a direct access to the product dev teams; although some teams treated them more as marketing channels you can always find the useful blogs and as they say, “content is king” which beats fluff and cheerleading by miles.
Blogging by it’s very nature makes your content readable by the entire world; this brought a new challenge and driver – the fact that real people may read what you post means there is more of a driver to write something that is understandable and correct lest they may complain, berate you or at the least quietly leave with the impression that you are an imbecile.
So, to me my blog represented a way for me to put all my research and findings into one place, searchable and accessible from anywhere – hosted outside of my own equipment and home (now known as “the cloud”) so it should be safe, and less at risk from my technical tinkering – my blog was deliberately intended to be about the content, not the tech that delivers it – I’m a compulsive geek so there would be too much temptation to hack about with a wordpress install, web server and potentially screw it up.
I decided to focus the content of my blog on areas of technology that interest me; I made an early decision to avoid too many personal or social type posts – I don’t think anyone is really that interested in my life or family – and I have other tools like facebook for interacting with people I know personally but don’t get to see very often.
Virtualization, Windows and Infrastructure are the areas I follow professionally so that was the chosen topic of my blog and the name derived from that (it was also the shortest, cheapest domain name I could find :)).
I actually setup this blog during the lunch break at BriForum 2007 in Amsterdam using the on-site wireless, so Brian Madden was kind of responsible for it’s existence 🙂
I set about a couple of initial posts and eventually my blog got picked up by some people at VMware and put on the v12n list which aggregated virtualization related posts and I saw a large increase in traffic and google placements which was cool.
A lot of my early posting was commentary on cool articles I saw out on the web, and was reflective of my interest in fluid and grid type computing, which later have developed into cloud computing – I still like the idea of the mobile datacentre and follow-the-energy computing model – the tech is getting there.
Blogging has brought some challenges, I don’t do this full-time or make any money out of it; I am a full-time consultant and a I have a young family so I have to try and juggle this blog with my other extensive commitments – for me the schedule post feature of wordpress.com is a godsend, at those 3am moments of inspiration/baby-feeding or long train journeys I can get posts queued up a couple of weeks in advance to ensure a steady flow of posting rather than a surge of posts when I get time – which I think works better, for me anyway.
A more recent addition for me has been my use of twitter – although I don’t “tweet” as much as others – it’s a useful channel for news/current information – so I see a good split between quick, breaking news type content via twitter; and more long-form blog posts for reference.
I’ve been amazed at how traffic to this site has grown over the 2 years, and am grateful for some of the opportunities this blog has brought me, such as a blogger-pass for VMworld Europe in 2008, my VMware vExpert award and the invitations to speak at conferences.
As I said, I don’t make any money from this site (unless anyone would like to offer me some money? … no? thought so :)) and I have a busy day-job – it’s a useful piece of reputation for me and my place in the conversation as well as a good reference – rather than explaining an early concept like cloud computing I could just point people at the article – which was very handy in 2008.
Oddly my most popular article this year has been about the lack of Intel 855 video drivers in Windows 7 – which even now pulls in a significant number of page views/day.
I recently saw Jason Boche’s post on a similar subject so here are some numbers since the start..
Total views: 442,637
Busiest day: 2,233 — Thursday, October 29, 2009
If you are reading this and you don’t have a blog, or think you have the time to maintain a blog I hope this has given you some food for thought – it’s a good way to keep your thoughts in check.