Blogging is hard

January 6th, 2008

I've already written some stuff here. I read it again and wiped it out. It was self-righteous. I hate self-righteous. I could talk about how I hate self-righteous, but I won't, because that would be self-righteous. See? It's hard to blog without being self-righteous.

I mostly wanted a technical blog, with an occasional sprinkle of life in it, like a picture or something. But mostly technical. Tech blogs I like fall into two overlapping categories: informative and entertaining. Sometimes both. Myself, I sure manage to deliver both in the physical world. "Could you see that bug I bump into?" "Yeah, let's look at that, aha, oh, not this code, SHIT, this thing sucks, it's a torrent of shit, man, it's a ShitTorrent we have here. Ewww, this is so disgusting, wait, what do you mean _next==-1, -1 MY ASS, what the hell... um... get_what?! Here's that stupid fucking bug! Have a nice day." See? Informative and entertaining. Sometimes I even gather little audiences looking over my shoulder when I debug, all because profanity is my number one debugging tool. Catches all the bugs in a snap. Trust me.

And that is loads of fun. Trouble is, it's not necessarily the kind of thing people want to get as a response for their next HTTP request. So I think I'll go for "informative" as first priority. If it works out at all. I have this problem with scaling communication. According to my estimations, the quality of my communication is inversely proportionate to the number of people listening (or people that I think are listening). That is, you get 100% face-to-face with nobody around, 50% if there's two of you and so on. All the way down to a whopping 1% of my exceptional rhetorical skills when I think I'm talking to an audience.

With this kind of personality, blogging is pretty hard. Seems like there's no reason to bother, then, but I think I will, because there's stuff in my brain that wants to come out. I recently spoke to a guy with lots of experience, in a broad sense. He's previously told me a couple of times how it would be wiser to keep my mouth shut in certain contexts. But this time, he said, "sometimes it's extremely hard to hold it when I hear something stupid". What I think happens is, our brains are really cells of a larger brain (shaped like the Internet, of course); when stuff wants to come out, they have to let it out.

And this is going to be in English, because writing about programming in Russian or Hebrew, which are my other options, is frigging ridiculous. Fellow Russians and/or Israelis, stop doing that! You ought to put so many English words into your text, like "threads", "namespaces", "closures", that you end up switching languages twice per sentence. Or you can use those moronic translations of such words. That still counts as switching between languages โ€“ one good one and one stupid one. Just write the whole thing in English; makes it way more machine-readable, too (you know, vi). And if your English, like mine, is really just a first-order approximation rather than the real thing, it's not your problem โ€“ you won't notice. The native English speakers shouldn't have had their ancestors conquer that much land; now, they'll just have to put up with the consequences.

1. mathrickJan 7, 2008

GOGOGO! If we get the same 1% we got in the FQA, it's gonna be totally awesome. It makes me wonder what those remaining 99% of entertainment are like, quite possibly you could put Monty Python out of business (if they were still in business, that is).

2. Yossi KreininJan 7, 2008

OK, there's a reader. Ought to blog. I can do it. I CAN DO IT!

The worst part of writing is waiting for the first positive comment.

3. c0reFeb 16, 2008

Heres another !

4. IncitฤtusApr 21, 2008

Using loanwords is something very different from switching languages. Loanwords are, by the way, quite ubiquitous both in Russian and in Hebrew (and, even more so, in English). By your criteria neither of these languages should be used for most purposes.

(Writing about programming in English is a good idea for different reasons, though.)

5. Yossi KreininApr 21, 2008

If it fits, it's a loanword, if it doesn't, it's ridiculous. I don't have precise criteria for "fits"; off the top of my head, it fits when:

1. Lots of people use it, not just a couple, so it's part of the language or a sizable dialect, and looks natural because it's familiar. Basically it's an established loanword, not a wannabe loanword.
2. It can be spelled/pronounced properly in the new host language. If it's an English word and it has a "th" in it, you're in trouble. If you spell it in English inside Hebrew or Russian text, it's no longer a loanword โ€“ you didn't actually loan it. If you spell it with a phonetic "t" instead of "th", it's butt-ugly.
3. It fits the new host language morphology. "Lelankedge" is one ridiculous Hebrew verb which doesn't make a good loanword.
4. If the word is a relatively new loanword (the first criteria isn't quite met), the rest of the sentence should better be composed of more conventional words. In programming you can have a sentence full of words each of which isn't an established loanword.
5. Some things aren't words, they are keywords, at least it's so in programming. Here's a sentence in "English": "strdup mallocs strlen bytes and then runs strcpy". You can't make loanwords from that stuff.

In practice, these things make me cringe way too much. Different people have different criteria though. In particular, if you're attached to your mother tongue, you'll go to greater lengths in order to write your stuff in it. I care less about the language I use, because for me there's no good way to choose between Hebrew and Russian anyway.

6. JayceeFeb 22, 2013

Your english is fine. Well written.

7. EschewPanacheOct 16, 2013

OK, decided to start at the beginning and glad I did. This is another positive!

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