Combining the two kinds of curated monthly posts

For a long time now1 I’ve put together a bunch of links that I’ve found interesting, and done this every month.

In the beginning, I had two separate blogs (I can’t reconstruct the rationale behind this, but … this is how it was …), one focussed on “all things computing/software engineering/programming”, and the other for “general life”.

Over time, I moved around different platforms, and eventually consolidated these2, and yet the two different “kinds of curation” remained.

I looked at this a year ago, and at the time, justified this by thinking, “… people don’t want random stuff forced in their faces, surely they would want one or the other and not both?!”.

And yet, this is my blog, and it is about what I find interesting, and it is a waste of my time to create this split between “two selves within me”, and I’m sure my readers3 will understand — so for better or worse, there’s going to be one set of curated links every month4.


  1. checks archives … about five years? ↩︎
  2. not quite, there are some … fragments I’ve given up on importing, and other fragments I … haven’t owned up to, but this is still mostly true ↩︎
  3. yes, checks stats … all five of you ↩︎
  4. though I can still have maybe two sections within it … we’ll see ↩︎

Update:
I thought about it some more, and actually do see a rationale for a different kind of split, keeping this WordPress blog as a general, catch-all, “what’s going on in my life, what do I think about this-and-that” kind of place, and have a separate (Notion? Ghost?) site for the kind of “collection of interesting fragments” sort of thing. Sigh, all I need is more time …

Random note: 437943

I realized the only reason this is WordPress is that (1) it allowed me to import older material from an old Tumblr, and (2) I’m still in the “write-somewhere-then-export-to-Wordpress” model, with a separate “source of truth (right now, Ulysses).

If I were starting this today, I’d probably have a “living Notion site” that I’d edit in-place, without the write-then-publish cycle.

On the shortened blog name

In the beginning, “Abacus Noir Form” was a play-on-words for ”A Backus-Naur-Form”, which I soon realized was funny in my head, but not necessarily meaningful to anyone else.

General inertia kept things as they were for a few years, until I finally changed this recently, chopping off the “Form” at the end.

Now that I look at it, I sort of like it, so I’ll keep it for a few years more.

Retro-active content

Just finished importing two old Tumblr blogs (each from roughly 4-5 years ago), one under my name and one … not.

So there’s suddenly a lot more content at this blog, in 2014-2015 !

(of course, it lacks tagging etc, but, it exists … all part of my current plan to aggregate bits and pieces of my digital life into this WordPress blog …)

Continuing thoughts about the “static blog”

After some deliberation, I feel there’s no point in either (1) keeping a separate static-only blog and this blog, or (2) keeping two separate WordPress blogs, because

  • I don’t have the mind space for that. It’s straightforward to have one place for everything
  • If I did want to have a place for code snippets today, they would either belong in a shared dynamic environment, such as repl.it or nextjournal.

So, I’m going to rely on Categories to keep different posts siloed away, and see how that goes …

Previous, unpublished post:

(Found this in my drafts folder, might as well throw it out …)

I’m still thinking through this … when I first looked around, I thought Tumblr was a good candidate for the sort of “snippet-heavy” (gists, quotes, screenshots) that I anticipate throwing into my static blog.

Given that WordPress is actually something I use (for this blog, right here!) and the fact that a new “block-based” editor/design just rolled out, I’m now wondering if I should import my existing Tumblr into a new WordPress blog and just use that instead.

It’ll mean I’ll have two separate WordPress blogs … but that doesn’t seem too bad. This raises the obvious question of … why not have just one blog? Well, because they seem different (in my head, anyway): one is more of a “semi-organized summary of life and interests”, while the other is a sort of “scrapbook of anything connected to programming, computing, commentary and snippets, bits of explorations”.

Anyway, I’ll decide something soon (I hope!)

Short-form blog posts

It has to be okay to write one-paragraph posts, otherwise I’ll never end up getting what’s in my head out somewhere.

I just don’t happen to be an essay-writing kind of person, I can’t bring myself to write long blog posts, it isn’t something that comes out of me naturally, seems like a lot of work to make happen, and what’s the point1 of second-guessing myself or waiting till I have the “right amount” to write, when the whole idea of having a blog in the first place (for me, at least) is to de-clutter my mind and (secondarily) to share what I’m thinking with anyone who cares?

There has to be something between the pithiness of Twitter and the multi-page topical essays that other people seem to favor … for me, it’s a 1-3 paragraph thought form, and I’m content to reuse this blog to host them.

  1. On the downside, this may be perceived as spamminess, but that’s for you to decide. I guess every post should be greater than 280 characters 🙂

Revisiting blog post categories

I’ve been writing three monthly posts for a while now (a couple of years, maybe?): a monthly summary of what I’ve been up to, and then two sets of “interesting links”.

These have been (arbitrarily, the first time, and then carried on ever after) separated out roughly into Programming/Math/Science, and everything else.

This dichotomy bothers me — just have one bucket for “stuff I found interesting this month” so I’m just going to have one monthly round-up of links.

I do have a static weblog as an outlet for sharing links/extracts/snippets, so that can still count as a “programming-only channel”.

A history of personal (static) blogs

I’ve accumulated a few static blogs over the years, each starting out, running for a while, and then petering out.

The first version, with Hakyll

The second version, with Jekyll

The third version, with Hugo (still alive, apparently!)

A good question at this point is, why did I ever bother, and why do I want anything other than this (WordPress) blog?

If you go through the content in the old repos I pointed to above, most of it was sort of “snippets”, notes about this or that, fleeting documentation, little experiments.

This sort of stuff is both too noisy (I feel) in the middle of regular summary updates, and yet something I like to have around. So, meh, I can do some sort of fancy tag-based separation in WordPress, or … I can just dump it all into a different place and never worry about the overlap.

Also, Cryogen, the Clojure-based static site solution I’m using for this, seems cool. So there’s that.

Note: Another good question here is: what should I do about all the previous existing content? There’s actually a ton of markdown-posts in each “version” of the blog(s), so I should eventually migrate all of that over.