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In Plain Sight

Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen. Writing this out near the Marina in San Francisco. It’s a beautiful day out and I’ve juts been biking around town all day. Found a nice spot on a hill and the Boss knows what’s up.

I’ve had a couple people tell me that they actually read this strange corner of the Internet, much to my shock and horror. Originally when I started doing this website thing, it was because I just wanted a nice online place to store all my notes. It was for mostly academic reasons - I would make little circuit tutorials that could maybe help other people, but it was mostly just to help myself. As time went on, and as I got better at software things, I kept remaking the website to be less of a textbook and more like my personal space - a house, if you will. It also ended up being quite a lot of effort to continuously crank out the technical articles [although I’m going to try and get back into that starting this month, dear reader], so I kept writing, well, other stuff.

By this point, where I’m trying to get my cadence of two posts/week, it’s almost stricly personal. I also really like how my website looks now - sure, it’s just someone else’s theme with a small changes, but it really feels like the way I want to project myself. This means I feel a lot more comfortable writing about things that I normally wouldn’t want to talk about, especially in public. The word “public” is key here - what does that even mean nowadays?

Let me give my personal ranking/uses of social media:

  • Facebook

The default one for BigThings. I try not to make my Facebook one-dimensional like it seems many people do. One-dimensional in the mood sense: only the highlights, only the lowlights, only boring repost political memes, etc. I think Facebook peaked, and that’s super unfortunate, because for all of high school and college, it was an amazing website that really let anyone talk to anyone fairly painlessly. Bummed it’s on the decline and that I use it less.

  • Twitter

I transmit pure noise but get a lot of signal out of it, somewhat surprisingly. This is the catch all for whatever random thoughts I have, and where my more non-public but short-term thoughts end up. Mostly just black humour and bad memes. On the other end, I follow quite a few people who use Twitter as a great tool for networking, outreach, technical knowledge sharing, etc. Super odd dichotomy!

  • Reddit

Similar to Twitter, but used way more in college1. Now, humourously, it steers more professional than the others, just to the great knowledge on the technical subs2. They are definitely pretty snarky and have their elitist tilt, but it’s no worse than most engineers in real life. Definitely helps me stay afloat in the wide tech industry.

  • HackerNews

Read-only. Started browsing quite a bit once I moved out here. Have never felt the urge to comment or contribute, pretty boring comment section but good links usually. Generally gets all the tech news the fastest out of any other place, so that’s most of my excuse for browsing it.

  • LinkedIn

This website sucks. I only go on there for work and it’s mostly just to laugh. Would rather browse Google+ than this.

Ok, so where does this leave this little blog? Well, on all of those websites I either use my real name or don’t hide who I am3. Since all those websites log everything you’ve ever posted (I loathe deleting things and they probably archive it all anyways), I do have a slight bit of trepidation about what I post there. So, if I have something I’m not too confident about - here I go! It’s perhaps the definition of irony that I think the safest, quietest place to post my own personal thoughts is on a website with my own name, but hey, that’s living in the modern world.

Even though that’s being proven false every couple weeks when I find out someone else is reading this, I am going to continue living the lie. It’s more fun for everyone this way - I get to post things that I would really not have an outlet for anywhere else, and at least those few people enjoy them! As a finishing thought - why do I care about this little place so much? Well, I move around a lot, about twice a year usually. I’ve never really felt tied down to any one place in particular4, but hasn’t moved since high school. Planting a flag and owning something doe feel nice, a little anchor in the craziness that is the modern world.

If you’re one of those readers, all I ask is that you consider doing something like this too. It’s more fun than you think =)

  1. /r/uiuc is a great sub and it makes me Illinois too much [return]
  2. /r/ece in particular, can not be recommended enough [return]
  3. No I’m not gonna post my reddit username, but no one has ever wondered either…. [return]
  4. Aside from Legends Bar and Grill on a Friday afternoon <3 [return]