So I've wanted to put together a "best of" roll call of my posts here in the last couple of weeks/months. I write a lot of stuff for tychoish.com, tens of thousands of words a year, and while I enjoy the practice and what I write often helps me pull together ideas and thoughts in a way that I don't really get to do in any other form, most of the posts are ephemeral even for me. There are some posts that tend to stick with me for a long time afterwords and serve as the beginning of much longer trains of thought. This post presents a collection of five of these posts for your perusal.
Mutt of IM
So I'm 22, right. I actually don't talk about my age much on the blog but there it is. As a member of my generation, and as someone who doesn't much care for talking on the phone, I use instant messaging a lot. It's convenient, it's possible to parallelize conversations with other projects and with other conversations, and IM allows links and other data to be exchanged. The only real problem is that IM software is almost universally sub par.
Update: I've basically switched to using mcabber, an ncurses console jabber client in combination with transports for AIM and MSN. This means I'm not on yahoo (alas) but it works, and I rather like it, though it took some substantial customization.
Link: The Mutt of IM
I wrote this post after hearing someone talk about search engine optimization as a given part of the content creation process. Which struck me at the time, as being the wrong way to respond to anyone who was interested in "starting blogging," while organic search-engine hits are important, certainly, promoting content on the Internet has more to do with generating high-quality and innovative content that relies on personal connections and word of mouth tools. This was then as is still the case, and I think its important to challenge anyone who promotes the idea that there are ways to quickly hit it big on the internet.
Link: SEO Nonsense
So I have this really geeky way of downloading my email. Basically I store all of my email and associated configuration files in a git repository, and I have a server that receives email, filters it through procmail, and stores it in the git repository. Why is this good? I get to cut out the worst part of email technology: the downloading protocols (IMAP and POP). Furthermore, I get to use my own encryption (SSH) to secure the transfer, and I can synchronize my mailbox between computers without bothering with IMAP and the various conflicting implementations of that protocol. I'm linking to the third series in this article because it includes the code and implementation of the version that I currently use. I didn't mention this in that article, but I have also started to keep my procmail filters and mutt configuration files in the same repository so that all mail-related data and settings are stored together.
Link: Git Mail
Open Source Work
This was one of my earlier writings about the open source world, and is I think a close conspirator of the next essay on this list. I think there's something to be said for taking a materialist approach to studying the open source world, and I'm interested in doing more with this, though I must admit that I haven't yet. This definitely falls into the "posts which represent key moments in my thinking.
Link: Open Source Work
There's No Economic There, There.
Written during the heart of the first phase of the 2007/2008-20__ recession, this piece was probably the most "political" I've been on the blog in recent years, and just outlines the problems with economies based on the exchange of credit rather than the exchange of material, and it was an important post for me.
The Big Push
I wrote a "introduction to push and pull technology," a while back that started to dig deeper into usage habits and internet technology, as being something more than just an exploration of web pages. While websites are indeed quite powerful, things like the iPhone and the explosion of interest in XMPP in the last year has illustrated to me at least, the importance of thinking about the internet as being more than just a collection of web pages, and this article is a marker of my thoughts on the subject.
Link: The Big Push