Happy Half-Birthday to Me

Just over six months ago, we started this blog. Since then, we’ve put up 90 posts.

Andrei Chichak wrote 27 of those, 23 of them in his Embedded Wednesday series on embedded software and the C language.

Chris Svec wrote 26 posts, 20 of them in his Embedded Software Engineering series introducing microcontrollers and focusing on TI’s MSP430.

Chris White wrote 4 posts, mostly as we were getting started. He continues to helps with Squarespace oddities, ideas, and editing.

I wrote 32 posts, 3 of them re-posted from my Element 14 Linker blog, 10 in my Taking Apart Toys series, and a startling number with the advice tag.

Those don’t add up because we had at least one Staff post for which none of us got credit (or were willing to take responsibility).

It is a lot of work doing the blog. We each try to put up one post a week. We usually succeed and when someone manage two posts in a week, they all discount one as “short” or “silly” as though that isn’t good enough. I’ve tried to say that it is ok to miss a week but none of us listen very often.

We edit in two stages: idea design and wordsmithing in Google docs then copyediting in Squarespace before scheduled publishing. Despite this, typos creep in like the tiny gremlins of chaos that they are.

Comments are usually moderated by whoever’s post is being commented upon (and I am the worst for this, apologies for being really slow). Almost all of our comments have been useful and helpful.

When we spoke to Dan Luu on the Embedded.fm podcast, he said he writes on his blog for practice in communicating. That was my primary goal here as well. I wanted to get better at writing. Sure, I have a book (or two) so I’ve already gotten the merit badge but writing effectively is a challenging puzzle. Organizing information is interesting. Communicating well is difficult and worth spending time on.

Somewhat surprising to me, I find the editing to be very useful in my writing. After having nagged Andrei and Chris about something they do that makes it a little less clear to me as a reader, I usually manage to stop doing it myself. And after having them point out where I’m off the rails, well, I try not to disappoint them in the same way again. (Creativity is key!)

Managing is relatively easy, I don’t have to ask Andrei and Chris to do posts. They are self-motivated which is frankly awesome and amazing. They give this time to you, hoping it is useful and interesting. They don’t get paid. None of us gets paid.

On the other hand, giving feedback to volunteers is tricky. I want criticism to be useful to them, good for the blog, and not de-motivating. I suppose this is very good practice at management because treating engineers like they may jump ship if you are mean to them is… exactly right.

Back to the paid part: we don’t do ads on the site. We don’t have plans to at this time. The international logistics are difficult. And really, if you had to pay us to write these posts, well, it would be expensive. Instead, I prefer to think about it as communications practice. What you have here is akin to a TV show where you watch us exercise: I suspect the punch-dancing-in-VR show is hilarious to watch and thank all the stars that you are only getting to see us write (and think and create).

I’m pleased with what we’ve built here so far. I wasn’t sure what I wanted other than a space to blather among friends. I’m still not sure where this is going. Everyone knows that blogs are dead but we are going to keep writing this zombie horse.

(See, that’s funny because writing and riding sound the same. Maybe I should stop here.)

Happy half-birthday, Embedded.fm blog!