Gadzooks, I’ve decided to do a blog.

Since I’ve been complaining about blogs for so long I have
rationalized my decision. Here’s what I hope to get out of it and
here’s why you might consider doing something similar. I will
gladly link to my PC Mag readers if they have a blog they want
linked. This is only done as an exercise to further ruin the
Google mechanism if it isn’t ruined enough already.

Anyway, here is my rationale for the blog:

— I’ve always been a believer in knowing about something
before you criticize it. Often that means being in the community
somehow, even as a lurker. This allows me to continue to criticize
without hearing “try it, and you’ll like it” or “what does he know
about it anyway?”

— I’ve noticed that I do broadcast emailing to friends and
in those emails I’m writing on and on about something. I’ve always
complained that bloggers are writing for free and that it’s
stupid. Meanwhile I’m writing these broadcast emails for no money,
why not blog them and get no money that way? Makes sense to me in
some convoluted way.

— Every so often I go off-topic in a column and the column
has to be shelved. I used to write op-eds for a daily newspaper
and this was a way to get this stuff off my chest. There were also
some regional magazines I’ve written for that would take these
diatribes. Now I have no outlet for them and, to be honest, the
wife and kids are sick of listening to me at the dinner table. So
I’m relenting and putting this stuff in a blog to get it off my
chest. Sorry. I apologize for that.

— Lost Columns. I’ve been working on a book of lost
columns. These are columns that are out-of-print and not online
anyplace. There are at least 7 that are worth re-reading.
People are always asking me about certain old columns. This now
includes almost a decade worth of thoughtful online columns done
for PC Magazine when we were owned by Softbank and were all
published on the ZDNet sites and since removed. I have reprint
rights and I’m going to dig through these old tomes and put
together an archive. Why not?

— Learning new skills. I’m moving right to WordPress
software (considered by many to be the
blogging software of the future) and this forces me to learn CSS
(cascading style sheets) and PHP (PHP Hypertext Preprocessor). I
can tell you already that I don’t like these systems and the tools
available do not help. Although everyone tells me I’m a lazy weenie
for whining about this. I realized that once I learned HTML I
haven’t done anything but play with toys. It’s ridiculous not to
know this stuff cold if you’re going to be writing about it.

— I do spend more time online than the average reader and
run into lots of interesting stuff that needs to be more widely
distributed. This is a start. In the process it serves as a
database for these discoveries. An annotated link can be much more
easily tracked down when you want to revisit it if you use a
blogging database as opposed to rifling through endless bookmarks.

— Fun factor. I did the side blog on Boing-Boing a year back
or so. And it was fun. So why not?

Now you know.



  1. Kevin says:

    Hey John, you’re not following your own advice on your blog. No other blogs are cited, you-humble???, you-rich language???, no jargon, no scripts, and no list of your favorite bloggers. You do have humor, tho. WIth what you write about, you have to laugh to keep from crying.

  2. Dvorak says:

    🙂 The site went live about ten minutes before you posted. I’ll have the fancier stuff AND a blogroll when I can!
    John

  3. Arjun Singh says:

    Hello John,

    I am a long time reader of yours and wish you all the very best with the blog. I stumbled upon this place when I was trying to dig up some comments of yours about the futility of watching video on cell phone screens.

    I am going to link to you in my blog…if you like mine, would love a link on yours.

  4. Michael says:

    Congratulations on your blog. … Read your latest book last yr. Great book for the neophyte(s). … Looking forward to seeing some of your old columns. .. Esp the one on the acroymn what does “IBM” means. Another one that I remember is … a two parter on Urban Myths. … Presume it’s one on hunters or elephants. You wrote those columns in the late 80’s/early 90’s for Microtimes.

  5. Michael says:

    Good luck on your blog.

  6. Adrian says:

    About time! I’ve always wondered when you where going to get around to doing your own personal blog. It’s very gratifying I think to be able to write about whatever you want, whenever you want…

    Have fun, and remember, doing this is for you, and not anybody else… Many people lose sight of that, and then their blog dies because they stop posting. Blog for you.

  7. memer says:

    heh! not to mention that you’d get exponentially lamer with each passing blogless day. let’s face it, john c, you finally jumped in cuz it’s socially acceptable to do so, now that the number of “legit” folk joining in has reached critical mass. it’s officially “cool,” now (sorta) . you’re not half as geeky as you pretend to be.

    congrats on making the leap. looking forward to reading your ideas.

  8. Ed Campbell says:

    Sidebar on your hassles from the Google Adverts:

    If you think they’re weird for you, wander over to Richard Dawkins’ website. He’s the world class biologist — best noted for his application of Darwinian science to contemporary questions of science and philosophy.

    His site managers hadn’t especially paid attention to their Google Adverts until I recently pointed out that half or better were for creationist and other superstition websites — like how to cure War [or was it warts?] with the power of prayer!

  9. Ed Campbell says:

    John, I’ve had another round of emails forth-and-back with folks running http://www.richarddawkins.com about the Google Adverts that head their page. We could probably take this to conspiracy level.

    The site is mostly a short bio and book site for Dawkins’ work in zoology. He is, after all, one of the leading Darwinians. I thought the Google ad algorithm was something that might easily be altered via feedback from the folks who own the website. Unh-unh. Turns out, in Dawkins’ case, the advertising portion belongs to their webhosting firm, Netfirms.

    They’ll gladly sort the problem with all the religious wingie-dingie ads showing up on the site — for a price. Can you see an additional profit center, here? Build a website for the Red Sox and populate it with NY Yankees ads. Host a website for a Roman Catholic parish and populate it with ads for condoms! And only charge a nominal “fee” to sort out the problem with your “free” website.

  10. Mark Kraft says:

    Does that mean that you will stop trolling the weblog phenomena? I sure hope so. Your previous articles on weblogging had appeal to the kind of rubbernecking that takes place at a particularly bad accident.

    You seem to think that weblogs (and webloggers) will come in for a hard landing… and I’m not denying that some will. That said, the people who *WON’T* be hurt by it and won’t stop self-publishing in one form or another are the very people you criticize the most — the people who post their cat pictures and their recipe for pumpkin bread. Their weblogs will still serve a purpose, both to them and to their friends who read them.

    In the first days of the telephone, the experts came forward and said that this amazing device would be linked between businesses, with some large businesses having two or even three telephones, used to help connect the heads of major companies.

    In 1977, Ken Olson of Digital Equipment said “There is no reason for anyone to have a computer in his home.”

    Personally, I’m putting my money behind the vanity blogs. They are our future.

  11. […] Blogging and Microsoft Word:      I really do love to blog; it’s constructive. However, given the choice of documenting nothing or doing something, I tend to choose the latter. That is a bit of an exaggerative statement, but what I’m getting at is that I am mortal too. I am bound by time. I mention now that I am impressed with the tenacity of Hailey and her blogging.      Mr. John C. Dvorak has something to say on the subject of blogs frequently. Such as this.      As of late, I have been “pulling a Billy ‘Illinois’.” No, not searching the web for naked pictures of Hailey or my mom, Hailey with my mom, or sheep, but writing posts mostly in a word processing program, mostly Word (because it’s there, not because it’s good). BTB (by the bye), there’s a neat feature in Microsoft Word that tracks changes made to a document. You may find it under the Tools > Track Changes > Highlight Changes drop-down menu to the right of the File drop-down menu at the top. It makes some tedious typing feats much easier. Oh, and yes…I am the first person to discover this. And I did so way, way, way before the emergence of Robin’s site and the fall of the Soviet Union. I am being sarcastic. Another “feature” is the AutoSummarize feature and it is laughably poor.      And another note for users of Microsoft Word: Word uses a little something called, I believe, “smart quotations.” Which are tilted towards each other, “as such,” “versus this.” Not all browsers display these, apparently. I made this discovery using the old browser emulator at http://www.dejavu.org/emulator.htm. It does something with sets of periods greater than three (3), too (Hailey, look out). I don’t think it is a very pressing issue, but it is nice to be awarez of these things. […]

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