Early Internet usage
I have always been a enthusiastic user of most of the internet capabilities. I started of learning and using ftp and archie and gopher in early 90s, had an opportunity to use the NCSA mosaic browser prior to the Netscape phenomenon, picked up most of my C++ and software design learnings on usenet in the mid 90s, and was well into application development using web technologies and distributed objects by 96. As time progressed, I started using many newer offerings such as portals, forums, groups and eventually blogs and social networks.
Blogging is a very intensely personal activity. Its substantially unicast nature allows one to carefully craft and customise the message that one would like to project. Early in 2008, I found myself with tons of free time. I had stepped out of my earlier assignment at the turn of the year. I was unlikely to get attracted back into the realm of the conventional commercial software development in the short term. While I knew I was wanting to really focus on developing good software, I had no clue what I wanted to do immediately in the short term. While I had worked in senior management positions, managed large size teams and what at least in my perception had built some kick ass software, I felt like I had this whole body of knowledge and experiences to share but didn’t know where or how to share it. I had started a blog earlier but it petered out after about 5 entries, the notable result out of that exercise having been the article, A beginners guide to Dependency Injection
which I wrote in July 2005, which Floyd Marinescu, the then editor of TheServerSide.com asked me to put together based on my blog writings.
While many people blog for kicks, and many others for publishing their views and commentary on a large range of topics, and some others from a commercial perspective, I started my blog with a very different purpose. I wanted it to specifically focus on issues and matters related to software engineering ie programming, design and architecture, issues I believe I have a lot of experience in and in which I can pretend to talk intelligently. My objective was to share the understandings I had internalised through many of my experiences and share them across the relevant audience. In a very casual mood I decided that I would start blogging again, and /var/log/mind
debuted on Jan 3, 2008 with the post ”Nice Error Message
”. At that point, I was not really clear about what I wanted to blog about except that it would be about software engineering. Anyone familiar with UNIX file system structure will immediately understand the title - its a log file of the mind. Soon I was writing quite passionately and some of the posts focused on the fact that I was wanting to move from Java to scripting languages. These included :
I attempted to bring in a manager’s perspective including
And of course architecture was never too far from my heart
I also dabbled a little bit with online media
While I received very positive feedback on that, I quickly realised that this was an entirely different set of readers and the positive references were coming from a completely different set of sources. Hence I quickly backed off that angle being a little afraid of losing focus. /var/log/mind is intensely focused and completely non frivolous quite deliberately. However when I started it, unlike emails and groups, I wasn’t communicating with people I knew, I was simply broadcasting and hoping someone would find my views interesting enough. Soon enough there were a few people viewing it and subscribing to the feeds. This was a segment of people who were focused on software engineering to a substantial extent (or at least thats what I assume). Till date I have focused on trying to satisfy this small set of people intensely rather than reaching out to larger audiences. I must confess that while I am often tempted to either make the content a little more easier to read or focus on less intense topics, I have chosen to stay away successfully from such temptations. I would like /var/log/mind to be visited regularly by a small set of people seriously focused on software engineering. This in the overall scheme of things is not such a large audience, but its an audience I can connect with readily. Recently I did give in to the temptation of wanting to blog on a lot of internet / social media issues but only by starting a new blog - ”Web N.o
”. Finally I am also resurrecting my personal blog /home/dhananjay
which will focus on lesser intensive aspects of software, internet and allow me to write on other issues of interests such as Finance, Economics, Current Affairs and Humour.
On Indian readership :
Early on I didn’t quite figure out why if dzone gets more traffic from India than US
, I got only low single digit percents from readers based out of India. This remained a puzzle for long. It later dawned on me that my writings were actually targeting much more narrower segment - the people who are really passionate about their programming or engineering, the kind who flock to reddit which has a predominantly higher US traffic
. However I have watched the readership grow slowly in no small part due to the helpful words put out by Navin in his writings on PuneTech
. In the month of december till date, Indian readership share has crept up to 5%. I can’t imagine my writings being in any way being more relevant to one geographic region than another. Over the next few months I intend to try to understand the rationale behind the discrepancy and attempt to reduce the same at least partially.
One of the things I do wish when looking back is that I had paid more attention to microblogging. I simply did not realise the power and capability of Twitter till very recently. I must confess to be a very early stage user and look forward to learning how to leverage microblogging. However I have already done my first mistake, so its safe to presume that my learning process has begun. I had put all the people who I wanted to follow into one twitter handle, and a variety of people started following me back. This was a noise disaster in waiting should it be allowed to grow. There was no way that whatever I would write would make sense to a large proportion of the network. I have always believed in focus, and once again I set out to do the same. My belief is that the network is still quite small, and it is important to undo the potential damage even if it is inconvenient in the short term. So the twitter handle “dnene” now focuses on Software and social media topics exclusively. So if you are an IT / Online Media professional thats the one to follow. The handle “idhananjay” is much more freewheeling, so if you want to see my multiple facets, my humorous side, or my views on current affairs and local issues thats the one to follow. Finally if you are a IT professional based in India, you may consider potentially following both. I shall soon be setting up a third one and thats going to be for personal friends and family. That to me seems like the most logical way to organise to minimise outgoing noise polution on the twitter streams. A similar separation is also happening on the blogging trail - /var/log/mind and Web N.o shall be serious blogs focused on the specific areas attempting to look at the various issues in depth, whereas /home/dhananjay shall be a freewheeling general blog which shall perhaps reflect a more broader, casual, lighter aspects about my views and opinions.