Blogging in 2023

It is (or was at least) a new year and I thought I would reflect on my 2023 posts and talk about what kind of content I follow. I originally thought about doing this on Dec 31st, but I tend to work pretty slowly on posts so here I am whenever this actually gets finished and goes live. Since June I posted a total of thirteen posts, two of which were more generic updates (a quick first post and a notice about a URL change), which leaves me a little under two posts per month. My first and last ‘real’ posts were both complaining about the state of tech, Microsoft’s Windows 365 and The State of Firefox respectively, and the rest were all about various tech topics that interest me or that I’d been working on/using in some way.

I feel I was most ’expressive’ in my complaint posts. I interwove a story about dealing with the dumpster fire that was Windows 8 into the post which was one long complaint about what may be Microsoft’s push to make an all online version of Windows for the general public. I also got years of complaints off my chest when I complained about every aspect of Firefox - the only mainstream browser that’s on paper not supposed to be beholden to an ad company or a corporate ecosystem bent on remaking the internet to suit that particular business model (or forked from a browser that is). I enjoy writing about things that interest me less negatively, like writing about IPFS or how messengers exchange keys; but I guess complaints are also a creative outlet as well.

And a creative outlet is my reason for writing here. As you can probably guess, technology encompasses both my job and a portion of my hobbies, so I usually have something to write about in that sphere. I can’t say for certain that tech is all I’ll write about in the future, but it’ll probably continue to be a majority of what I do.


Still, beyond just writing as a creative outlet, it’s always cool to see that people are reading content written by me. Fairly recently I saw somebody link to my blog for the first time when I saw my website on the link section of Chris Mcleod’s website - a blog that I read - and that was really cool to see.

Unique Requests
Requests by Region

Context Note the second image is total page requests and not unique visitors, so it’s an inflated number. Also note these stats are from January 3rd, which is when I got around to drafting this portion of the post, and may be different from when I actually make this post.

I also recently put my domains behind Cloudflare that way caching could speed up an otherwise struggling server, and found a fair bit more amount of traffic than I expected. Checking the stats in Cloudflare I had 226 unique visitors in the last 24 hours and 2530 unique visitors in the last 30 days. I’m guessing a smaller but non-unsubstantial portion of those are bots, and the majority of the rest of them are RSS readers instead of people reading the posts, but given it spikes at various times of day and around when I publish posts I can assume real people are involved in the traffic there. That was a lot more than I expected to see when I opened up Cloudflare, but a cool thing to see as well.

Cloudflare also listed the top five countries people are reading my blog from, of which (in order from most to least) are The United States, Germany, The Netherlands, Poland, and The United Kingdom. As an American this is, of course, the first I’ve heard about the existence of these countries. No, but jokes aside it’s cool to see that people internationally are also interested in reading what I write. Doubly so when English is the official language of only two of the top five countries.

Things I’ve Learned & Done

The first thing that comes to mind that writing has gotten me to do is taking part in Rob Knight’s defaults project, a project that had a bunch of bloggers making a list of their default applications. Right now it’s up to 343 members, and he’s also put together a map of people who linked to each other and a graphic of which programs show up the most. He also set it up so you can subscribe to everybody on that list with an .opml file, and creating a folder in my RSS reader with everybody there has been a great way to see a whole bunch of posts that I would never have seen otherwise.

Beyond that, having posted on various topics has helped me formulate my thoughts and pushed me to research or verify technical things. For example: while it’s fine for me to think it’s possible for Signal to break encryption by throwing in the wrong keys during the initial handshake, when doing my signal post I did a lot of reading up on the protocol itself and the algorithms it’s based on before publicly stating that. Or, with my Firefox post it gave me a chance to spend a month or so formulating exactly all the complaints bubbling up over the years, which helped me to put my thoughts together on what’s been bugging me about its state and was kind of satisfying to verbalize (or writerize, or typerize). I’ve even used my own posts to reference info, such as referencing my own recommended browser configuration in my Win 11 post when configuring a new browser (I don’t have a bare metal Win install on a personal device atm, but browser config is pretty universal).

My preferred blog reading/writing style

Obviously, to each their own. I’m reading and writing content because it brings me enjoyment, so don’t take anything I prefer as me saying it’s better or worse than anything else.

My favorite form of both reading blogs and writing is longer complex posts at a more spaced out pace. I feel like when writing, sitting on a post for a week to a month+ slowly plugging away or re-drafting it gives me a chance to better translate my thoughts coherently, while also allowing me to research or verify things if I need to. I also like to read content in a similar way. My favorite blogs are usually blogs that post once or twice a month, or sometimes even less often at like 2-6 times a year, where the author comes out and writes a long detailed post about something that’s been on their mind. I have a dedicated folder in my RSS reader for those blogs specifically, and I always look forward to reading posts like that.

One trend I’m not a huge fan of is the combination of micro-blogging platforms and longform posts into one feed. I’ve already talked about how I’m a fan of open protocols and using your own domain or cryptographic keys to “own” your account, but I’ve noticed more and more feeds through services that have one feed for microblogs and full sized blog posts all in one - and it gets a little difficult to follow both in one place. As I said above, not that it’s wrong to do so - it appears to be bringing value to people which is great - just personal preference. But it also works as a great segue into how I do like that blogging seems to be moving in the direction of the aforementioned open protocols.

Yes, RSS is open and works. Still though, it’s great to see protocols 15 or 20 years newer start to shine - and of course interoperability between all of them.

The future? & Open Protocols

Speaking of which, I think the slow move to newer open protocols is a positive trend. Maybe that sounds a bit blasphemous to the older crowd, but I’m Gen Z so just be glad I’m not talking about TikTok (well okay, I was born before 2k so TikTok is still after my time). As much as running a server/CMS is less efficient than a static site on an individual scale, at some point I’m sure it’ll be a breeze to hook up your own domain to an existing Nostr relay that outputs your content to a website or an Activity Pub server that handles multiple domains. In a case like that the website’s hosting would be spread over a large number of users, but individuals would still be in control of the account (both the username and website) with a domain (plus key pairs in the case of Nostr).

Something like that can already be done, but you’d need to either host your own server in the case of Activity Pub, or run a blog script on your own server that grabs your posts and then builds a site with them on Nostr - so in both cases you’re pretty much back to relying on somebody else’s domain or having your own server that’s doing more than it would need to with a static site for the moment. Still though, Nostr and Activity Pub are already integrated and RSS can be used to follow either or be piped into either, so I think there’s a future where everything plays nicely together and sharing content (in blog form and elsewhere) gets modernized a bit.

Wrap Up

Well, that’s all that comes to mind here so I figure I’ll wrap this post up. The world of ‘23 and the few predating it have certainly been wild years. I’d like to wish everybody a belated happy new year.