In my day we had to write our web-blogs by hand in html 1.0, barefoot in the snow, uphill all the way, against the wind

· long story short

breathing.jpgI’ve discovered that it’s easy to remember the anniversary of your first blog post* if you’re as clever or random as I was and wrote it on your birthday. This then reminds me to crank out my yearly age-revealing, I’ve-been-blogging-since post.
And this is a special one, too, for what it’s worth. Ten years of blogging! Hard to believe. Well, and it’s sort of not true. It has been ten years since I started writing a daily journal (Peter Merholz hadn’t facetiously invented the word blog yet), but there are two gaps (or hiati as my Latin-loving friend might style them) each of at least a year, back near the beginning. More recently there are gaps of weeks, possibly even months here and there. Sure, when I started Radio Free Blogistan in 2002 I was lightly underemployed and able to post seven eight nine times a day, and over the years I’ve scattered my words onto many different blogs at many different urls, foolishly diluting my “personal brand,” so that perhaps you can say those days of many entries help fill in some of the gaps in those long silences, much the ways mountains are stripmined and leveled and used to fill in valleys.
breathing-room-thursday-30-october.jpgBut who cares? I’m still ten years older than I was the day I started writing Breathing Room at the tender age of 33 (I toyed with the idea of calling it “Outliving Christ”) and so I feel qualified to celebrate.
I’ve actually been enjoying my nearly daily blogging habit lately and I expect to keep enjoying it until the next major arbitrary event intervenes. Sure, for a month I expect to replace blogging with installments of a novel-to-be-named later, but to me this has *always* been about a daily writing practice and not so much about professional or career or geek or politics or I stubbed my toe and my cat barfed blogging, so if I do manage to do the NaNoWriMo thing, I will count that.
Those entries, by the way, won’t show up here. I have a tendency to write fiction that treads into NSFW territory, so I’ll post the entries at my no-holds-barred fiction blog – one of the few I’m still willing to maintain as a separate site – A Supposedly Staggering Infinite Work of Heartbreaking Illumination I’ll Never Read – which at the moment still sports the final installment of the first draft of my previous novel, For You, The Stars. If you want all your xian blogging or whatever you call it in one place, you can always follow it from monolog, where the novel chunks will show up alongside this more ordinary blogging.
And so, I’m 43 today, a prime number. My blogging is 10. I apparently was willing to letterspace lowercase letters and thus would “steal” sheep, as the saying goes, and breathing room was right-justified, horror of horrors, and it truly was handcoded daily – though I did eventually at least make a template – with an elegant little url structure, and so it still isn’t fully ported over here (and, no doubt, eventually into some future next blog of mine probably in WordPress). And I’m about to be late for my shuttle.
*I refuse to use that most hateful of all blog-derived words, blogaversary – or however you spell it – except in this disclaimer and even now I must take a deep sip of coffee to clear my pallette.)

On the internet, nobody knows you're fat

· long story short

[image of a personal scale]I’m no fan of the term “fatblogging” but I do see some value in the idea of inviting accountability by applying the blog (in the sense of public log) format to a health and fitness plan, and reporting one’s weight to a globe full of strangers is surely one way to keep yourself honest.
Those who know me in the real world may know that I’ve been working out with a trainer since February, and those who’ve known me for a while are aware how unlike me this is. I’ve never been particularly athletic. I’ve avoided organized sports, especially since injuring my knee at age 15, and have never felt comfortable around gyms and locker rooms. But since reaching the magic age of 40 and seeing my weight riding an upward spiral, I finally realized that the years of benign (and less than benign) neglect had come to an end, bit the bullet, and started an exercise program.
Then a month ago, for complicated and yet uninteresting reasons, I was assigned a new trainer and this guy is really good. He and I have set some more aggressive goals and he has redesigned my workout program. I’ve been extremely diligent about it. I go to the gym five times a week, rain or shine. Most of the time I go to the fitness center on the “campus” at my job, but I also joined a local gym so I can get that fifth day in on Saturdays.
I feel stronger, healthier, more energetic, and also – quite frequently – sore. I’ve shed nearly 20 pounds while at the same time building muscle and discovering some muscles I never knew I had. I have more confidence in my physical self and I’ve even seen some improvements in my sadly degenerating knee joint.
This past week I was in New York for a conference and incidentally to visit family, and I had the best intentions in the world to keep up with my exercise program. The hotel we stayed at did not have a gym on the premises, but it did have a deal with a local gym. We arrived late Tuesday and I was too beat to go work out that day. Wednesday through Friday were packed solid with conference activities, particularly since I was volunteering and had to arrive early and stay late.
Saturday I totally could have gone to that gym, but chose instead to take it easy in the morning before checking out of the hotel. We spent the rest of the weekend at my parents’ apartment on the upper east side, where there are numerous gyms. I even researched a few within blocks of the apartment where for around $20 I could have purchased a one-month membership and worked out on Saturday and Sunday, maybe even on Monday morning before our return flight. But I did not.
I had my excuses. It was hot and muggy. We were busy. I was tired. And so on. It tells me that the routine I’ve established is a key part of my current program. Without it, I revert to old, bad habits. In the future, I’ll have to make a stronger commitment and find a way to hold myself to it. This morning I meet with my trainer again and I suspect it will be tough, both physically because I’ve been absent from the gym for a week, and psychologically, because I’ll have to tell him I’ve been off the wagon.
The good news is: I did a lot of walking, even in the strangely hot and muggy non-October weather we were getting, and I stuck pretty closely to my food targets. So at least there’s that.
I don’t plan to do a lot “health and fitness” blogging, but that’s what’s on my mind this morning and one thing I’ve learned about a daily writing practice (oh, yeah, I wasn’t able to do the daily blogging thing on my vacation either!) is to write about whatever comes up.

RE: Join my network on LinkedIn

· long story short, Social Design, The Power of Many, User Experience

'LinkedIn: Invitations Received' screen snap
This is a quandary for me. I try to keep my LinkedIn network literally to people I know and have worked with or with whose work I am familiar. From what I can see, you seem like an excellent person to know, I’m flattered that you enjoy my posts on that list, and I appreciate your providing that context since so many invitations I get have robogreetings on them.
I couldn’t bring myself to click the “I don’t know Jack…” button, but since I take LinkedIn literally (I want to be able to recommend people from my own direct experience) I also don’t feel right accepting your invitation.
I hope you understand.

Reputation and Patterns at SXSW

· conventionology, Patterns, Social Design, The Power of Many, User Experience

Here’s my obligatory plug for my South by Southwest proposals. I’ve got two panels in contention at the cool-but-unwieldy Panel Picker, so I thought I’d provide some shortcuts here. A lot of folks feel that there are too many panels at SXSW and not enough solo presenters. I tend to agree, but I think the problem is really panels that are underprepared or have too many participants. After moderating a panel with five participants last year I’ve decided that that’s too many for a 45 or 50 minute slot. I think four (including moderator) is the max, and three or even two is probably ideal.
The first panel I’m proposing pertains to my ongoing book project (working title: Presence of Mind), on the subject of online/digital identity, reputation, attention, privacy, trust, and presence. Last year, my panel, Every Breath You Take (podcast, my slides) seemed to go over fairly well, despite the gawdawful 10 am but really 9 am because of daylight savings Sunday morning slot (you must recall that Saturday night – and, really, every other night – at SXSW involves a lot of drinking for most attendees.
I took to heart the positive and negative feedback and so the sequel this year will feature just three participants: myself, Ted Nadeau returning from last year, and Andrew Hinton, whose presentation on communities of practice at the IA Summit this year was such a huge success. We’re going to strive to go beyond the typical talking-head panel format and enage the audience in innovative ways. We’re also going to try to take the conversation past the grounwork-laying, high-level philosophizing of last year and hand the attendees some practical tools for building on what we’re tentatively calling the “human operating system.”
If this sounds appealing to you, please go vote for Online Reputation: And I *Do* Give a Damn about My Bad Reputation.
My second proposal draws on my experience running Yahoo!’s Design Pattern Library and moderating a mailing list for pattern authors. I’ve recruited Jenifer Tidwell, the leading figure in UI patterns; Austin Govella, who can talk about implementing a pattern library in a commerical context at Comcast; and James Reffel, also now at Yahoo!, who will share what he learned getting eBay’s pattern engine off the ground.
Luke Wrobleski’s talk on patterns at SXSW last year filled a large room and generated a lot of interest and I’m hoping to serve that same constituency by sharing practical experience and advice in our panel Design Patterns: the Devil’s in the Details, which we described this way:
> Patterns ground frameworks like Rails and Django drive libraries like Prototype, and enable rapid product development at companies big and small. But what happens when patterns go wrong? How do you know when a pattern is right? We’ll examine common issues facing groups who use design patterns and share our experiences at making sure patterns go right.
There are a lot of other great proposals. I kind of wish I could sort my existing votes into star order to remind myself of the ones I’ve already deemed must-sees, but here are a few I’ve been able to recall or find.
* [Agile User Experience – Bigger! Better! Faster! More]( – Austin Govella, Leisa Reichelt, Dan Harrelson, yo!
* [Roll Over Gutenberg, Tell McLuhan the News]( – George Kelly
* [The State of Professional Front-End Engineering]( – Nate Koechley (yes, a Yahoo guy, but this is a must-see, trust me)
* [The Future of Presence]( – Bryan Oberkirch
* [Redrum in the Rue Morgue: Collaboration in International Communities]( – Ana Boa-Ventura
* [Build a Site Search Widget]( – Kent Brewster (another Yahoo guy, but again this is not nepotism or logrolling – Kent is the real deal)
* [Social Network Coups: The Users are Revolting!]( – Annalee Newitz
* [Do I have to disappear to get anything done?](a href=” – Ryan Freitas
* [English: Technology’s Universal Language]( – the always entertaining and enlightening Kevin Smockler
* [Stop Emailing and Be More Productive]( – Tantek Çelik
Hit me up in the comments if you’d like to recommend another panel or presenter as well.