Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Curating a blog

Every so often I have the need to go back and clean up old blog posts. It's, strangely enough about this time of year, most years. The research students are done and its time to clean up, round up the assets, restock the supplies in the labs, archive the tools and software, catch my thoughts, and generally look at the year in review. But back to the point....

Curating a blog. I guess I'm not having any new ideas that have not been had by others who maintained diaries or any other sort of longitudinal writing. It becomes a body of work and patterns start to emerge.
I wonder if by cleaning it up and curating it I'm actually destroying some of the historical issues that would otherwise have been interesting to me in the future. Bad spelling which was a result of starting with a blog package without spell checking (and being too lazy to manually copy/paste into a spell checker). This in itself is valuable insight into why I was blogging at the time. It was about cathartic train of though writing. Just hacking something onto the page without too much thought about why or who or what. That is being lost a little at a time as I go back over old writing, see it with current eyes and standards and "clean it up" to suit my current frame of reference. Is this a good thing?

Does anyone care or will they ever care?

In this respect paper has more authenticity. I certainly have some piles of paper with random writing on it and directories on old computers full of random writing. However its less structured. There is little sense of a timeline because so much of it has been moved around from backups and disks that its lost its original time stamps, or its actually been re-edited at some point. The other side of the coin is that the paper writing is also dateless so its not that different I guess. Mostly just random snippets of bits and pieces. Every so often I try to find the time and energy to digitize it and extract all the supposed pearls but like all piece of string projects, the value is pretty trivial compared to the work to transcribe it all.
Its not like I actually believe there are any great insights lost in it. Mostly its just childish fragments and scenarios that were meaningful to me at the time.
Midlife crises suck.

The boy is starting to get quite verbal now. He's putting good meaningful sentences together and its possible to get a bit of a conversation going. Two or three sentences anyway but he's expressing himself a little more than just frustrated screams or inarticulate noises. Every day its a bit clearer.

The girl and I have successfully built our second robot together. This one is a OWI 5DOF arm with a USB interface. It's from a kit so its not as big a challenge for her. I wanted something that would work once we has put it together rather than a home brew system that would have taken endless tweaking and frustrating debugging. She still only has an attention span of a couple of minutes at a time so we need fast results and a predictable outcome. Its been a great little project so far.
The firs robot we built was about 6 months ago. It was another kit system using Capsela components for a simple walking robot with pose-able arms. Very trivial but a good first project. We had results in about 10 minutes without any tools. Like most Capsela systems its not featured on any websites and seems to have never existed. I found it in a little toyshop an it seemed to be the only one they had.  Anyway....
Now I have to find the next challenge.

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