Tag Archives: internet

To Blog or Not to Blog

That is the question posed to me by a good friend. A friend that I think should start blogging, and hopefully this post will explain to her, and you, what some of the benefits to blogging can be.

I won’t go into detail of what a blog is, you can find a good article at wikipedia for that.

Why do I blog

I blog because it is an easy way to share ideas, thoughts, or explanations. People stumble onto my blog from time to time, but the people who tend to come back are the ones who know me personally, and are interested in updates on what I am doing or what I have to say. And I’d like to thank them for keeping an interest.

Its a bit more that just standing on a pulpit and saying “I am important”. I find that there tend to be things people ask me to explain, and if one person has to ask, there are many others that want to ask, or will ask.

For me this started back in late 2003, when I was trying to explain “podcasting” to people. I found myself telling different people the same thing over and over. So I decided to write up a post on my website explaining what podcasting was, and how easy it was to do. Then when someone would ask me about it, I could send them to my website for an explanation and links to where they could find podcasts and tools to download them. That is one reason I blog about new technology, or How-To type articles.

My blog doesn’t necessarily stick to one topic, though I tend towards more technology or industrial related topics, I might write more about personal topics in the future.

Why You Should Blog

Posting information online is a way to share it with others. You don’t have to explain things the way I do, one example is letting people know what you think about an article or website you have found. It could be your catalog of news and events that have meaning to you. Or it could be a collection of random goodies (being anything you fancy).

Part of the power of blogging is it can spur discussion and conversation. If you allow it, people can comment on your posts, or start conversations there. This could lead to other interesting topics.

If you have an organization, you can use a blog as a focal point for articles relating to your cause, or a place to post “call to action” type information.

The word “blog” is not necessarily the best description anymore, since most modern newpapers that are online are publish in “blog” format. So what is the difference? Not much, other than as much journalistic integrity you decide to bring to the table.

Readers may find you, you may write something that gets noticed, and more people will read your work, or follow what you are doing/saying. You may only have 2 friends who read what you are writing, does that have value? That is up to you.

There is so much data out there, its tough to find what is good and what is not. However, with so much to choose from, people can subscribe to RSS feeds for sites they like (as in your blog), and dip in when there is a headline or text bit that looks interesting.

So for my friend, who is unsure of the benefit of blogging, the specific example of using a blog for her would be using it as a journalistic review. You read articles online all the time about topics you are passionate about. You read both articles for and against a given topic. It would be interesting to people within that cause to read what your thoughts on a give story are.

In addition to letting people know what you think, you are cataloging articles that are related to the topic, and someone who has a casual interest in the subject can find your blog, and read more about the topic.

Obviously, your interpretations will be colored with your own lens, but its important for individuals to nitpick every story, to separate the “wheat from the chaff” or the “truth from the lies”. There is a lot of FUD being spread around out there, and the wisdom of crowds can help bring the truth to the surface.

Phoning Home: Dynamic DNS Services

As referenced in the first part of my Secure Connection series, you need to know the IP address of your router. If you are behind the router, this is easy, but what if your router/cable modem/dsl changes its address. This happens from time to time, so it would be easier to just assign it a name. This is where a dynamic dns service comes in.

Without going into too much detail, DNS is how blog.infinitepursuits.org in your browser knows to go to the IP address of the server my site is hosted on. But what about a router where your address can change daily, weekly or monthly?

There are a host of services that will allow you to update this number. I personally use dyndns.org, though Open Directory has a whole list of these services.

Once you have registered an account (for free) you need to have a way of updating this information. Many routers have this built in, however if yours does not, you can run a program on your Server that can update the address for you. Dyndns.com has an updater, and if you google “dynamic dns update client” you will find many apps for whatever OS you run. I have used ddclient under linux for many years now.

That is it, now you can create your own easy to remember name for your computer.