Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Back after baby: An update on why I blog and planned future topics

I have taken a few weeks off from blogging due to the arrival of a new baby. For the same reason, I expect my blogging output to be a little lower for the next month or so. On the other hand, there is a lot going on in Canadian politics and I have quite a bit to say on that topic.

What is my motivation for blogging? I have several:

Firstly, when I have an idea that I haven't seen expressed publicly, or want to bring more into the public consciousness, I think blogging can have some impact. Even with only modest readership, I hope that my ideas or thoughts may spread through my networks, or be retrievable by search. Similarly I hope to propagate ideas from others that I think are worthy of propagation to my network of readers.

Secondly, for some topics, the material forms a useful repository for teaching and research. Specifically, my comments on usability of products and other software engineering posts will hopefully form a useful resource for students and for others interested in my research.

Thirdly, I simply want to record my own thoughts in a coherent way. The discipline of writing down thoughts is useful to me in developing my own ideas.

It is interesting to see the blog entries that have so far garnered the most attention. The winner to date is my commentary on the Watson victory on Jeopardy. A lot of the hits on this came through search engines; it was a timely post that continues to receive regular traffic. I don't consider it among my most important posts, however.

Second so far is one of my posts on net neutrality, specifically my suggestion that a fair solution would be regulating the cost per GB to be a lower fairer level that ISPs currently charge. This post goes against conventional wisdom, both among the net neutrality advocates and  ISPs. I really hope my thoughts on this topic (and related posts) propagate to the collective consciousness.

My third most popular post is where I pointed out a usability problem in Apple's iCal product. A lot of people experiencing the frustrating error searched for a solution, and found a workaround on my blog.

In coming weeks I expect to be commenting a lot on Canadian politics, assuming the anticipated election comes to pass. I also have quite a few comments on energy and other aspects of science in various states of preparation.

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