• Urban designer.
  • Civic technologist.
  • User interface engineer.
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An introduction

I've been writing in blogs since the early 2000s, but it's been over a decade since I've hosted one on a personal website. In my mind, this is the newest incarnation of an ongoing series, but since we have a new stage, an introduction is still in order.

Previously, I'd post (infrequently) on Tumblr, but since I get the impression that it's losing its community to buttoned-up corporate interests, I feel like the party is starting to wind down and I definitely want to be on my way out before it becomes awkward that I'm still hanging out there.

And then there's my occasional posts on Medium. I've intended to use that platform for my professional soapbox, but it really feels like I'm not myself over there. Like I'm selling you something, using nebulously ill-defined incantations of whatever I think thought leadership is, and my goal is to trick you into buying the product, a knock-off version of me that slots easily into an office chair.

I usually name these blogs the Lou Huang public relations disaster so that I can remind myself to write because I want to write for myself, honestly, and not necessarily for you, the reader, whoever I imagine you to be—perhaps a recruiter type with hiring power. Of course, the blog is not entirely just for myself: by putting these words out in public, I'm aware of an audience, and yes, I hope that you enjoy the show. So for the people who found me in a professional capacity, there will definitely be some career-friendly posts here about programming, or city planning, or some such. But I also want to remind you that I'm also going to be jotting down some totally useless and silly bullshit just because I feel like it.

I wrote something over at the Tumblr that still resonates with my inclinations today, so I'll just paste it here, with a few copy-edits:

For me to really get into writing more frequently, I needed less of an audience, and a more disorganized way to express thoughts. I like to write things in temporally misaligned bits. In other words, not front to back; I also talk this way, apparently, where I start in media res before revealing the overall storyline. Think of this as an ongoing conversation thread where I might write parts of chapter five tomorrow, and the end of chapter one next week. Then I might go back and edit chapter five to smooth out all the continuity goofs. This is the kind of blog this will be.

So, I'm going to be running an experiment in unstreamed content. By this I mean, instead of having a steady "stream" or "feed" of timestamped posts, this will be a curated collection of hopefully-evergreen thoughts, as a way of counteracting the Internet's tendency to value only the most recent stuff. I'll probably have more to say about this at some point (maybe even in a future edit here!), but I'd start with The Garden and the Stream: A Technopastoral by Mike Caulfield, a post written in 2015. I mention the year of the post ironically, but it's still relevant today.

I thought about eliminating timestamps entirely, but they do provide context when the content becomes out of date, making the difference between information being dangerously misleading as opposed to charmingly anachronistic. So the compromise I'll make is that I'll have a "last updated" timestamp, instead of a "posted on" date.

So, thanks for coming by. We've got a great show for you, so stick around, and we'll be right back!

Last updated on 26 June, 2019.