PixelCog Blog

Hello World!

Hello World!

Welcome to my new tech blog!

Following Lorna Jane Mitchell’s advice I made blogging into a new year’s resolution… two and a half years ago. Two full new-years later, I’ve long since convinced myself of the benefits of this practice; writing for mental relief, personal reference, publicity, etc. I’ve just never made the time to dive in until now. I’m excited to finally get started.

I’m not really doing this to attract an audience, though if this blog lends me a bit of credability to future employers or the web developer community in general I’d consider it a nice bonus. The real purpose of this blog is to enhance my own professional development.

Maintaining this blog will help me accomplish several things at once:

I plan to cover a range of topics from software and technology, to productivity hacking, and a little bit of personal philosophy.

Externalizing My Brain

Getting Things Done

A few years back I adopted David Allen’s GTD system and it’s transformed the way I manage my workload. I’ll probably write about it in a future post. One of the main takeaways from his philosophy is that a great deal of stress and inefficiency comes when you try to hold onto too many threads in your mind. By externalizing as much of your brain’s working memory into a trusted system, you can stop your brain from nagging you with unrelated thoughts while you try to focus on a particular subject.

While using this blog as a “mind dump” for ideas and technical tutorials won’t profoundly effect my working memory in the same way putting my projects and tasks into a task management system would, I think it will allow me to relax my long term memory in a similar fashion.

In this profession, I wear a lot of hats and I balance a lot of skill sets. I may use a library like cURL for a small one-off project, or use Chef to customize my server environment for a customer, or run into some quirky syntax in a programming language I occasionally use, and then never use that knowledge again until 12 months later. If I document these experiences in writing, I not only have a better chance of retaining my acquired knowledge, I don’t really have to remember it at all:

“The things that were once in my brain – now Google can find them!”
Lorna Jane Mitchell at php[tek]

Since everything I write is public and indexable, all I have to do is look back into my blog history or Google it. This blog will serve as my second external brain.

Writing Regularly

Expressive writing has been shown to improve working memory, writing skills, thought organization, and a host of other things. I’m actually doubling down on this idea. In addition to this long-form tech blog, I’m starting a personal Tumblr blog to act as a personal diet blog and to let me segregate the posts about movies, hobbies, and politics from the more focused vocational stuff found here.

I think forcing myself to write regularly will require some discipline. My intent is to blog something at least twice per month. We’ll see how well I manage to keep up.

It should be an interesting ride. Thanks for tuning in.