Blog 15th year anniversary

Wow. Can't believe it's been 15 years already for this blog. This year additionally just happens to be a 10 year anniversary for my very own domain, too! I'm kinda forced to celebrate a little. Maybe even get a bit sentimental?

Anyway :3 How this blog started out does feel a bit cringey. I was quite young then. Also, I feel like blogging was kinda only becoming a thing then, and there were no social media in the larger sense. As such there weren't really any expectations on what a blog should or could be. At least I didn't. I mean, this blog was something that wasn't really even meant to become a thing. It was actually just kind of a fad I tried; something to perhaps practice voicing my thoughts on. How to somehow feel connected on something, just by writing things.

And I guess I really like writing things (not too often of course, as evident by the post history :p). But seeing how this blog has stood for 15 years - it's so long that I can't really even comprehend it all at once. So much has happened, yet remained unchanged, even. But I guess I feel pride, at least.

And that - barely - bridges us to the sentimental part. Or whatever this is. So what are all those things that have happened, then?

* * *

As mentioned in the intro, at the beginning the blog was an experiment. And there had to be something to experiment, platform wise. What's the point otherwise? :p So I started out by trialing a couple of self-hosted PHP-based blogging solutions, but was quickly turned away from those due to them feeling bloated, or just not the right fit for me personally. So instead I did what I always do: rolled my own. A great learning experience, but ultimately something that I grew bored of maintaining. But I still liked blogging, so to my own surprise I jumped for quite the opposite end of the spectrum, and moved my blog to Blogger. The final act of this transition was implementing an Atom feed for my old blog so that I could use Blogger to import the content. While reather unremarkable on itself, that may have been the first time that I really interfaced with another software solution to make it ingest something I made - instead of me just processing what some other piece of produced.

Blogger was about convenience. I had already learned what little there was to learn about the technical side of blogs, and it was now about just the content itself. And when I learned that I could post to Blogger using Windows Live Writer, blogging became effortless. A new blog post was literally just the matter of opening the application and clicking publish. A surprisingly welcome change when compared to my own solution, which required manual file uploads, or editing files directly on a remote server. Or perhaps I had an ugly web-based editor? But the quality of life was so much better with the new system. While I did have some grief about how much larger the page loads were on Blogger, all the other things won. With a proper theme it didn't look that much more heavier, and the dialup era had already ended.

And I guess that's all I have to tell about my history with blogging. Let's talk about the (evolution of) content next.

* * *

And boy, have I talked about a lot of things. And the initial years is something that I'd rather not really even talk about, anymore. It's like cringey Twitter. But how the blog has evolved since then, that we can talk about. Statistics-wise the first post was made a little over 15 years ago, and since then 79 other posts have followed, including this one. For a nice round total of 80 posts.

But I guess for completeness's sake I do have to address all the content. Like I mentioned above, the blog started out as something to allow me to have my own voice. At the time I wasn't (and still isn't) very social, so writing was an exciting opportunity to comment on things I had interest on: my beginner programmer stuff and other experiments with computers. Especially programming stuff, since I had very limited opportunities to talk about it otherwise. And I guess I can't deny the fact that having a blog was cool, as not too many people had one! I was hipster before you even knew it was a thing!

It also didn't take long for me to switch the language from Finnish to English. Because if I bothered to write about things, why not write about things in a language that maximized the potential audience with minimal cost?

After a time I also began experimenting with voicing some of my other experiences; how I was doing in the physical world, and after quite a bit of hesitation even about taste-testing meads. But talking about myself always felt strange, still. It was a lot easier to just talk about concrete stuff, and preferably in a way which could perhaps benefit the random reader. Value! Not that many of the posts really were that way, but that was the idea.

And value is actually maybe the most important talking point here. The blog was (and still is) my very own corner of the world, and with the only rules being the ones I make (or break :o) myself. Now, writing this I realized that the blog is a lot more me representable of me than I knew.

The most controlling aspect is the stride for just not half-assing things, but doing them well. The early tweet-like posts are especially hilighted here, because they were low in effort, and with little thought put into them: just stating a thing. Contrast this to later posts where I not only state things, but also the thoughts behind them. And better yet, explaining the things in such a way that the reader is able to hopefully learn something tangible. For example the times I talked about procedural asteroid generation or WebRTC. Or even the post venting about the instability of InfluxDB has a real tangible command to rebuild the index in a non-standard, yet common enough case.

Or to put that in other words, to create value. Why would anyone want to read this blog if it was just me talking about myself, on a surface level? When I could feel like an VIP and be talking about things that could benefit people. I've never even tried to chase readership numbers, but it does feel awfully nice to see that some posts have had up to 500 views. For some strange reason.

But like in real life, there are the extremely rare cases where I realize that the only one stopping me is myself. Times when I get to post about tasting those meads, or how a video game hit me really hard. Though even all those posts are still subject to my strict requirements of avoiding the "air-headed" beginnings and having some real thought behind them. Especially those posts, it seems. And this one, to a point.

* * *

Did I mean to talk about summarizing past post? I'll keep it short, then. It's high time for this post to start giving out some value :d

  • 2006: Short posts about developing a primitive blogging system with PHP. First comments around Linux experimentation. First post about my game project, USG.
  • 2007: Mostly a continuation of the previous year. A one-off comment about tech news.
  • 2008: More short commentaries about dev stuff. Not many posts.
  • 2009: Like the previous year. A small side step about game consoles.
  • 2010: More dev stuff, first non-tech post. At this point the posts start to get more thought put into them.
  • 2011: Conscription makes me ponder my life's choices. And perhaps ending it. A rather special year, with most posts about non-tech stuff.
  • 2012: A rather busy year; the level of thought reaching a "steady-state" :d Guild Wars 2 is released.
  • 2013: USG, refreshed.
  • 2014: Value.
  • 2015: A lot more value. Life is Strange happens.
  • 2016: The special interest of web development returns,
  • 2017: A rather busy year again, it seems; focus split to the first season of the vlog. Only a single post, but summing up the whole year.
  • 2018: A rather busy year, once again. Again a single almost panicked post before the year is over.
  • 2019: Hey look, we're back to producing value! With an asterisk. The new normal. Also, I finally graduated.
  • 2020: The new normal continues.
  • 2021: And continues; focus is split to vlog's second season. Return to gamadev.
  • 2022: The year some scary life-changing stuff is likely to start happening. There's a good chance I'll blog about it, you know.

Talk about value! There's surpsisingly lot of it. And lots of other stuff too, indeed. See you again in 10 years I guess, for the 25th aniversary. A time that seem more distant than ever before.