Project Seeking42, Part 1
It's 5/5, the
Groundhog Day Resolutions
review day for May, so I thought it would be appropriate to write about the
"making of" the Seeking42 blog project, review its current state, and
think about the next phase.
Planning the Seeking42 blog
The main goal for Seeking42 is to provide a place to post articles to answer
frequently asked questions.
I made lists of subjects I had been asked about in the past,
as well as ones that might be interesting to write about in the future.
I then tried to fit them into categories, finally settling on these eight:
- Health and Fitness (exercise, nutrition, sports, martial arts)
- Home and Gear (food, storage, organization, tools, products)
- Self Improvement (productivity, inspiration, mind and brain)
- Culture and Travel (art, design, photography, books, entertainment, history, travel)
- Projects (diy, sewing, woodworking, you name it)
- Tips and Techniques (including urawaza)
- Mildly Interesting (with a nod to the original and imgur sites)
A ninth category, "tecnhnology", is covered by Dave's blog
Tech Works Corner. We agreed I could
do a guest post there if I had something techy to say.
I spent many weeks thinking about the design of the blog, looking at
lots of sites for ideas.
I could find no site in which I loved every aspect, and in
fact many of the sites I read regularly have one or more features I loathe
(usually those that interfere with my reading flow, slow download,
or make navigation difficult).
I was not particularly happy with the current Seeking42 design but went
with it anyway, just to finally get something out there
(see "perfect is the enemy of
Reflections on Seeking42 so far
- Projects and Self Improvement.
I originally thought the "project" category would be an easy way to knock out
a ton of posts.
What I now realize is I have a ton of almost-completed projects that are
functional, but a little too embarassingly "unfinished" to blog about!
Oh well; it gives me incentive to go the extra mile for new projects, and
finish off some of the existing ones.
Similarly, I thought the "self improvement" category would be overflowing
with articles, because I spend a lot of time reading about it and
trying different things. Unfortunately, I'm not finding that I can
write about it without sounding sanctimonius or self-righteous, or that I
want to write about it at all.
- Holiday newsletter articles.
In 2004, we started sending out a holiday newsletter as a sort of "blog" of
our activities for the year. I captured a good bit of the content to the
"Seeking42 travel series", in order to share those stories with those who
have misplaced (or never received) the newsletter.
We have many thousands of photos for those trips, but unfortunately they're
on a hard to access server, so the articles are sorely lacking in visual
content (even for me!).
- Posting schedule.
When I finally uploaded the initial website on 1/7, I had eight posts ready
to go (one for each category), which I had been repeatedly modifying as I
endlessly fiddled with the site's design.
I artifically assigned the posts separate dates, largely because it was
much easier for me to access the files using
completion (the first characters of each file are the year, month, and
I've been following the same file naming convention and "batch posting"
scheme for subsequent posts.
Batch posting is the methodology I adopted in my engineering career.
I wanted to avoid quickly publishing half-baked work that could
require me to scramble a patch later, so I
would design, simulate, and debug my electrical designs
prior to "publishing" them (checking the files in to
to be available to the rest of the project team.
I realize batch posting is against the conventional wisdom of publishing
individual posts as often as possible, but I'm more comfortable with it,
at least for now.
It also matches the way I read other blogging sites - periodically in batches
(not the moment each new post comes out).
Plans for Seeking42 part 2 and beyond
I know I am in the minority in preferring to read long, wide(ish) blocks of
text, so I am working on a format compromise to at least partially
accommodate a more normal person.
I'll probably also fiddle with other aspects, for example:
- redo the home page so the entry summaries are more box-like
(instead of being wide strips)
- move the category summaries from the home page (to the archives, or
maybe a new page)
- other miscellaneous changes, like tweaking the color scheme,
adding navigation buttons, etc.
- Holiday newsletter articles.
In addition to going back and adding more travel photos, I may also fill out
some of the text where it makes sense
(material in the two-page paper newsletter often ends up with major tweaks,
or sometimes dropped outright, to fit the center-justified three-column
For comments, I set up a companion site
This is similar to
where comments are posted to
I don't have any comments yet, so I need to figure out what to do about
that (if anything; maybe it's actually a blessing :-).
- More images.
The travel and recipe posts especially need them, and I want to redo some of
the maps and other graphics.
Stay tuned (though these will probably take me a while)!
inserted list of the original eight categories above, since they were
changed by the 1406.12 site update.