For the last few Novembers, I’ve been posting at a feverish pace (for me, anyway) as part of National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo). The goal is to post every day this month as a way to jump-start your writing and building an audience.
So this year, I’ve got too much going on, I’m afraid. Got some projects that may soon come to fruition, and I’ll be able to talk about them when we get there.
Tomorrow, I’ll be downloading a fresh copy of openSUSE Linux, now called openSUSE Leap 42.1, which I’m really excited about. I’m tidying up my current copy in breathless anticipation. This follows the (coincidental) installation of Firefox v42 today. As I tweeted earlier today (with the unforgivable error of getting Douglas Adams’ name wrong):
The spirit of Scott Adams must be smiling: Firefox 42 released today, openSUSE Leap 42 tomorrow. The answers r here!
It’s a common lament: I wish I had more time to blog. What really bums me out is that I get a real good rhythm going during NaBloPoMo, and then I lose that momentum over the holidays. So I’m going to try something different this year, though I don’t really know what that will be yet.
Just because I’m not doing it, it’s not too late for you to start! November is a great time to start (or kick-start) your blogging habit. Click here to register. There are prizes!
If you participate, drop a link in the comments below.
A reasonable amount of planning went into the posts for National Blog Post Month this year. Since some of them didn’t quite get done, we’ve got some good stuff in the pipeline to share in the coming weeks. As a way to shamelessly beg to keep all my new readers around, here’s what’s coming up soon at Notes from the Metaverse:
What’s Next for Firefox? This weekend, Frederic Lardinois at TechCrunch asked this question. From one outsider to another, I’ve got some thoughts on this.
A more complete review of Firefox Developer Edition, following up on my earlier quick look.
Biosgraphy and ello: Two newcomers to the social/blogging arena.
Playing withtext editors: Text editors are a religious matter for some developers. After using the programmable text editor Atom for a bit, I hope to have some useful things to say about it.
The new crop of electronic magazines covering Linux: Linux Voice, the
I’ll still look for more community-based efforts (like the KDE Gardeners) to make free software better.
If my ambition to use all seven openSUSE Desktop Environment actually happens, I’ll surely write about it.
Usual disclaimers apply: Forward looking statements are not hard commitments. Other topics may intervene in the meantime. Also check MichaelMcCallister.com for posts about writing, building author platforms and the like.
And so we come to the end of National Blog Post Month ). For the second year in a row, I (nearly) managed to post something here every day in November. Technically, this is Post #29 — there’s another one coming before the end of the day., where I commit to covering some of the technical topics I touched on this month. Last year, I finished the month with some lessons I learned; I’m going to do the same here. It’s not worth completing a challenge if you don’t learn something from it.
By the way, if you’ve participated in NaBloPoMo, especially for the first time, I humbly suggest looking at that link to last year’s post. There’s some good stuff in there.
When choosing topics, social media is your friend
I did a little more planning of topics this year (even though November snuck up on me again), but some of the better posts came as a result of reading other people’s stuff in my RSS feed and email. I even wrote one post that described my process, which was equal parts planning and serendipity.
While both BlogHer and WordPress.com offered topic prompts every day, I didn’t want to stray too far from the typical topics here just to complete a post. I’ll pat myself on the back, and declare that a good decision.
Y’all were interested in what I wrote
As with last year, NaBloPoMo raised the general interest in Notes from the Metaverse. The most popular posts from the last 30 days remained the technical ones:
Just one of these posts was not written this month. My Installing openSUSE 12.1 post from a while back is still pretty useful for v13.2, and I hope those who read it agree! All of these could be considered “technical,” and nearly all about open source software (though I don’t think the comet-lander was running KDE Plasma Desktop).
I also made some new friends this month. Welcome to all my new followers!
Y’all are too busy to comment
Notes from the Metaverse has always shrived to be an interactive space, where readers can comment on the material they read. It largely fails in that mission, but I understand. People are busy.
I am happy that some of you are getting comfortable with the Like button, though. Using that standard of popularity, here’s what you liked best:
I enjoy most of the process of NaBloPoMo, and will undoubtedly take part again next year. I think you should too. I’ll repeat myself just this once: Last year, I wrote (and stand by):
Congratulations to all those who successfully completed the NaBloPoMo challenge. To those who feel like they fell short: it’s really all about the effort. Life intervenes. But please keep on posting! Writing every day is essential for anyone who considers themselves a writer; blogging offers the opportunity to publish every day too–take advantage of this as often as you can!
It’s one of the mantras of free and open source software (FOSS): Software is born when one developer tries to solve their own personal problem. That is, the developer is “scratching an itch,” not being assigned to code something after some corporate marketing department spends weeks/months/years trying to figure out what the world (or at least a significant market share) needs or wants.
A more difficult problem is when a project becomes popular, scratching a lot of people’s itches. The software gains features, develops more bugs, attracts more users (each of whom may have their own ideas of what the software should do), and … takes more time to work on. Time that the volunteer developer(s) just don’t have, because they have to pay the rent/mortgage, feed the family, and similar daunting tasks.
We now come to a most interesting potential solution to this problem: John James Jacoby’s Indiegogo project. JJJ (as Jacoby goes by on the Twitterz and elsewhere) has been the lead developer with BuddyPress (a social networking layer over WordPress) and bbPress (WordPress-based forum software) for nigh on to forever. As a result of his talent and skills, he got hired at WordPress’ parent company, Automattic, and worked there for some time. Over time, BuddyPress, bbPress and a sister project, GlotPress (translations for WordPress) begin to suffer from lack of attention.
Making a long story shorter, John believes that with six months of sustained, concentrated attention on these three projects, he can make a difference in these areas:
Query and caching performance improvements to both BuddyPress and bbPress (to help them power the almost 20 million user profiles and the immense amount of activity going into them from all the support forums)
Media & Attachment support in BuddyPress
Per-forum moderation in bbPress to help with plugin & theme moderation on WordPress.org.
WordPress is more community than software, yet the software that powers the community has nobody working on it full time
At WordCamp San Francisco in October, he was encouraged to seek community funding for this project. After some thought and planning, on November 11, the 30-day campaign went live at Indiegogo.
As happens so often with crowdfunding projects, JJJ hit 80% of his $50,000 goal in 48 hours. Since then, it’s been a little slack. Now he’s got another $6000 to go for the full six months.
Valuing open source developers
Just last week (before I knew about this campaign), I wrote about the value of open source communities. Now the WordPress community has the opportunity to prove its value in concrete put-your-money-where-your-mouth-is terms: Can it fund a developer (or more than one) to complete essential tasks without having to sacrifice on his/her standard of living? Can you make a living just scratching your itches?
John James Jacoby lives pretty close to me, and we’ve met a few times at WordPress Meetups and WordCamp Milwaukee. He is a terrific guy, and unquestionably devoted to the success of BuddyPress and WordPress. We should be able to come through for him in the coming days. I also hope that this followup idea from Josh Strebel from Pagely to make this type of crowdfunding project more formal and more permanent makes some headway in the process. Yeah, I’m going to kick in a pittance too, right after payday in 7 days. Maybe you have a payday coming up too? What is WordPress worth to you?
I’m typing this at 9:30PM on November 13, and I don’t know what to write about. I don’t believe in writer’s block, but I don’t (yet) have enough to say in a blog post about a topic that I haven’t already written about this month. Instead of being completely boring and writing again about the (sideways but still exciting) Philae lander, or another Net Neutrality post , I’m typing a little bit stream-of-consciousness, partly in the hope that something more brilliant will come out of my fingers.
Note: I want to share some resources/links on both net neutrality and Philae, but I’m running out of time. Perhaps over the weekend.
A Writing Tip: The Daily Dump
Maybe I’ll turn this post into something about writing. I know something about that. Rochelle Melander wrote a really good book in 2011 about surviving a challenge like NaNoWriMo or NaBloPoMo called Write-A-Thon: Write your book in 26 days (and live to tell about it). She calls exercises like this one “The Daily Dump.” It’s good practice to just get into the daily writing habit and clear your mind in the process. I’ve done this on my laptop since August, and it does help all the above. I type into Scrivener, a great piece of software that many writers love dearly. I’m working up to love, but I’m definitely at the Like stage.
Anyway, since I’m almost halfway through posting every day in November, perhaps this is not unlike what marathon runners talk about: “hitting the wall.” Suddenly you don’t think you’ve got the energy to go on, but you fight your way through it. That’s what I’m doing now. What I’m really doing is following through on a commitment I made to myself – and indirectly to you readers. I am offering up my thoughts on a variety of topics, in 300+ word chunks, for 30 straight days. In the coming days, I will recover my strength and feel the support of the people along the course with water, energy drinks, and cheering!
If you’re on this journey with me as a reader, I hope you find this post a little entertaining. Feel free to cheer in the comments. If you’re not entertained, or enlightened, you can tell me that too.
More importantly, if you’re a writer on this journey, I’m telling you: DON’T GIVE UP! The fun part is still ahead. When we all get to hit the tape on November 30 and celebrate the writing we’ve done. And the next project we’re going to do.