On August 2nd, 2005, I made my first real foray into making a home on the web by registering
I was a sophomore at Georgia Tech and had spent the summer tinkering around with Linux as a result of spending my freshman year in a dorm with other Linux users. I previously ran two other websites; most recently a wiki devoted to computer modding. I grew a curiousity around CMS software and decided to play with WordPress next.
I installed WordPress on my G4 Mac Mini and began to modify WordPress, make themes and learn the ins and outs of CSS. Then I hooked it up to this domain — still hosted on the Mac Mini in my dorm.
One of my first articles was a guide to help friends setup things like BitTorrent and Tor; those articles eventually getting picked up by sites like Digg many times. I was hooked; enamored that people would actually read my stuff. I continued writing technical guides as well as some product reviews and news posts.
Ten years later I've still kept writing, designing, developing and maintaining this site.
I've published around 700,000 words over 1,198 articles, not including the 95 photosets I began posting in 2011.
However, my writing has changed. I used to write as often as several times per day, largely covering tech news along with the occasional product review or guide. I began writing less frequently after I graduated college and began working on my startups. I stopped writing about tech news. I didn't want to be another person saying the same thing that day. I preferred being the news with some in-depth article.
As such, I no longer care too much about sticking to a particular publishing cadence. I will only write if I can say something interesting and dive deep on a topic. I now only post a few times a year but they tend to be huge articles or mammoth travel photosets.
I have since redesigned and rebuilt the site countless times — along the way briefly becoming the #1 "Paul" on Google — eventually migrating from WordPress to Jekyll in late 2010. I'm trying to simplify and futureproof my site. It's now just flat html files that I will be able to migrate and host anywhere in the future.
Why I do it
For me blogging here is an outlet for creativity and an eternal personal project where I can tinker with design ideas and various web technologies (like using Route 53 and hosting on CloudFront). Of course, it's also megaphone with which to share my ridiculously verbose thoughts with the world. Writing articles and publishing photosets also finds a way to connect me with other like-minded folks online.
This website has opened countless doors for me. It helped land my internship at Yahoo! in 2006, put me in a Nike+ ad and be part of the ridiculously fun Ford Fiesta Movement experiment where they gave 100 bloggers an unreleased car.
But it's not all kittens and daisies
I used to follow hundreds of fellow bloggers and get greeted by a packed RSS reader every morning. But that's no more; they've all stopped blogging. The only blogs that remain are large, commercial multi-author websites — the BuzzFeed, HuffPo and their ilk — which we don't call blogs anymore.
The era of the personal website is over. It's now just a personal landing page with a photo, bio and link to a Twitter profile.
It's so ridiculously easy to make a website now. There are countless CMS systems, static site generators and hosted publishing solutions... and no one really cares.
I've thought countless times about entirely removing comments from this site and simply replacing it with some functionality to more easily quote and take the conversation to Twitter. I no longer receive more than a few Disqus comments on articles. The questions, conversation and discussion is now happening on Twitter. The future of online commenting will probably be some incarnation of bridgy that summarizes this activity back on the website.. I used to use BackType to do this back in the day.
Don't worry about me though. I'll be here pumping out one ridiculously-long article or photoset at a time, keeping my little corner of the Internet tidy and well-stocked.
Thank you for reading.
Here are some of my favorite posts from the last ten years:
- My most popular and controversial piece, viewed by millions: Android is better
- Another one of my most popular articles, a series around building a NAS on the cheap: DIY $200 PC: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
- Odeo Launches twttr, hellodeo
- Atlanta to San Francisco: What I Learned Moving Cross-Country
- Startup Idea: User Retention as a Service
- Review: Dell 30-inch LCD Display
- When I was selected as one 100 bloggers to live with the unreleased-at-the-time Ford Fiesta for 7 months: Review: 2011 Ford Fiesta and the Fiesta Movement
- When Lincoln sent me a car to review for a week: Review: 2009 Lincoln MKS with Microsoft SYNC
- The post that ended up getting me in a Nike commercial: Nike Plus - An iPod Shoe? and the video itself
- How To: Apple MacBook Pro RAID 0 Array with 2 Intel X25-M SSDs
- How To: HDR Photography Basics (Part 1), How To: HDR Photography Basics (Part 2), How To: HDR Photography Basics (Part 3)
- This was my absolute favorite automotive product before mapping on smartphones got good. I used this thing so much. Review: Dash Express GPS
- My favorite earbuds that unfortunately met their demise in the washing machine: Review: Etymotic hf3 Earphones
- When GM sent me to Pittsburgh to checkout an autonomous SUV: Carnegie Mellon Succeeds at DARPA Event
- Review: PGP Whole Disk Encryption for Mac OS X
- Thoughts on Netbooks: Part 2 (Asus Eee PC Edition)
- How To: Optimize Your Site with Image Sprites
- This is so very dated.. I would write a follow up of some sort. Crash Course: Design for Startups
- How To: Upgrade to Studio Monitor Speakers
- The Startup Diet: How I Lost 35 Pounds While Working Overtime
- How To: Bulletproof Server Backups with Amazon S3
- Notifo (YC W2010) Gets a Co-Founder... Me
- Full-time Startup: Skribit Week 30 (Coding, Coding, Coding)
- This was before I came more of an audiophile and got a pair of Sennheiser HD650s, then Beyerdynamics.. but this post still gets traffic to this day: Review: Beats Studio by Dr. Dre and Monster (Noise Canceling Headphones)
- Review: BlackBerry Curve
- How To: Download with Newsgroups
- How To: Code Your First Web App (Part 1)
- When General Motors sent me to the 2008 Detroit Auto show: Live from the Detroit Auto Show
- My original review of the Vudu box. While I no longer use the set-top box, I use Vudu on my AndroidTV to rent movies all the time. Review: Vudu
- Sonos sent me a system to review in 2007. They didn't let me keep it and I couldn't afford a system of my own back then but I loved it. I now own a complete Sonos system and playbar that I'll need to write about one of these days. Review: Sonos Digital Music System
- Review: iLift VESA Arm
- Review: Amazon Kindle 3 Wi-Fi Reading Device
- Review: HTML5 for Web Designers
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