One year later

Who is this?

Hey! It’s still Paschalis, now a graduate physicist, that is now working towards an MSc in Computational Physics, loves to build and break stuff, as well as learn about something new (nearly) every day! ^^

Exactly one year ago, I started this blog. During this time, it has grown into something that I actually care about, a personal space that I enjoy fiddling around with, and that I can be proud of at least one or two things that are hosted here.

What happened here during the past 365 days?

  • A total of 11 new articles/posts/nodes were created.
  • A barebones tags system was implemented (you can use ctrl+F).
  • A major overhaul took place, largely based on Jekyll Now, but skinnied down a lot.
  • URL scheme changed to something friendlier.
  • I actually showed this blog to people IRL and on HackerNews, and got real-world feedback.
  • I thought setting up Jekyll on my own VPS, decided against it. For now GitHub pages (<3) provide stable and hassle free hosting.

The truth is, I didn’t post any earth-shattering knowledge or, Red Sea parting advice on How to use AI Blockchain Technology to Cure Dermatitis, or Implement the Random Forest Algorithm to Save the Bees. But I sincerely tried to write about things I encountered in my everyday work, in a coherent sensible way that might benefit a random person on the internet. And that would be enough for me personally.

Looking back to the very first post, I see

My New Year’s Resolution for this year was, well, to start a blog. I think it could be a great opportunity to take notes and document my journey of learning new stuff, share things I’ve been working on, practice my writing skills, as well as a motivation factor to not give up when I run into a wall.

I really don’t need a fully-fledged CMS […] Most of the options I explored felt too bloated […] for the sole purpose of storing, displaying and styling text. […] Jekyll seemed like the perfect choice.

A target of ~5-6 good blog posts for this year would make me happy.

And that’s what really happened. I learned more about Jekyll, and blogging like a hacker. I used Git to monitor my train of thought and gamify the advancement of projects. I implemented features I needed. I pushed myself to document solutions to my own problems, and motivate myself to polish them. I threw out (or just kept in the drawer) a lot of sub-par drafts of posts, and forced myself to take conscious steps towards becoming a better writer. I don’t know if I do have 5-6 good blog posts, but again, I’d say I have one or two that personally, I’m proud of.

Also, I started noticing how other people set up their own blogs and personal webpages, CVs and Portfolios. That provided a scale of measurement and goals to reach. I found tiny corners of the internet that you wouldn’t end up to, unless you Googled for very specific keywords in quotes. I found really smart and interesting people that inspired me and lit new ideas.

It sometimes felt like the internet of the early 2000, where you went to places, and not to the mall.

What’s next? What’s not?

Plans for 2018 include

  • A proper comment section, or at least a “Discuss on Twitter/Send me an e-mail” button.
  • Introduction of “Software in Physics” and “Data Analysis” posts.
  • More of “What I Learned From” style posts.
  • Polishing and refinement of old drafts.
  • Presenting the two side projects I’m working on.

For this whole past year, I haven’t had any analytics, except for the traffic surge that one of my side projects received when I submitted it on Hacker News (just the number of HTTP requests). I would never exchange a potential reader’s personal information for pennies, in hope he clicks on an intrusive and/or malicious ad. “But how are you going to get better at blogging? How can you figure out what the audience likes?”. Well, as I said, this blog is a personal experiment for me to force myself to write, code, and get better at it. It’s not, and is far from being a Coding Horror style blog. The personal gain in an honest feedback message would far outweigh potential clicks.

Here’s a small token of appreciation for anyone reading.

Thanks a lot for taking a moment of your time to be here, instead of “a mall”.
Here’s a list of blogs that I visited last year, and might be of interest to you, too!

(Small detail, I do not have a personal opinion on any of the authors, this is not an endorsement, neither have I read all of their content. I JUST enjoyed some their content throughout the year, and am happy to share it with y’all). Most of these were through peer recommendations, following internet rabbit holes, or through HN/Reddit. I did not include any company blogs, because they’re easier to find.

Written on January 21, 2018