Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A look back at my experiences with blogging

The first 'blog' I ever came across was probably Phil Greenspun's Travels with Samantha. I suppose it wasn't exactly a blog, as Phil didn't post it on a web page originally. He posted it to, if I remember correctly. He also posted each chapter as he travelled, around the USA. Of course, there wasn't quite the bandwidth then as there is now, so pictures had to wait awhile. This was the early 1990s. There were few webservers then. In fact I remember certain webservers posting the hours they would be up. Phil continued his travels and his writing, which morphed into and a web consulting business.

There were a lot of online diaries before 'blogging' became a popular term. It was only around the turn of the century, when I heard about blogging. We had some folks at work that thought it might be a useful thing for people to do, as to document what they were working on. The first presentation on blogging I went to was a presentation at www2002 by Robert Scoble. At this point there was a sizable community that was blogging, and Scoble mentioned that blogging was a great way to get eyewitness accounts of events. He also demonstrated some early blogging 'software', or more likely templates at that stage. I remember him showing how it was a good thing to have a calendar pointing at your archives.

At this point, I didn't do much in the way of blogging. I put a few pictures of some trips up on my old website. They're still there but not in any sort of order. Just a bunch of holiday snapshots with a few captions. It was more about the pictures than about the writing. Most of my stuff was up on the web for friends to have a look at anyways. In fact, most of the stuff I've got up on the web is still that way.

Then I got married and moved here to Switzerland. I found I was often writing more or less the same email to people when I would email them. Often I'd forget to write a few interesting things in the next email. So that, and my old grad-school roommate sent me an invitation to yahoo360's beta, which had blogging as a part of it. So I figured I'd try out a bit of blogging there. It was an interesting thing to try, but I just couldn't deal with writing stuff in the little textarea input box. So, eventually I stopped doing much blogging there. Then I got a new iMac a few months ago, and that came with iWeb, which is pretty cool, but I couldn't use it when I was on another computer, so that wasn't going to work. Now I've ended up using this thing, but mostly because readers can see the entire entry in an rss reader, which is pretty cool. Anyways, so that's enough ABOUT blogging.

Monday, February 12, 2007

What's with the Name?

So you might ask, "What's with the name of this blog?"

Well, I was born, raised, schooled and lived in the Seattle area most of my life. I did spend two years to do a Masters degree at the University of California at Santa Barbara from '87-'89. Now, I'm living in Switzerland. Most people know that the Alps are partly in Switzerland. The other mountain range in the title is the Cascades. The Cascades are a lovely range of mountains that Stretch from British Columbia in the north, south through Washington and Oregon before they end in California. They are a set of mountains formed by the subduction zone where the Pacific tectonic plate goes under the North American continent. The Cascades get their name from the many waterways that flow down the mountains due to the high level of precipitation. There are many wonderful waterfalls in the Cascades.

So, a couple years back, I got married to my wife, who's swiss and we're now living here in Switzerland. And so, this name.

Where we live though, is at the very northern point of the Jura Mountains, but not many people know about them, and they're a short range anyways, though they're also quite nice. There are the Vosges, which are also not widely known, which are also a short ways away. Finally, there is the Black Forest, which most people don't know, is also a mountain range. All of these ranges even have skiing areas. Sadly though, this year there hasn't been much snow...

Another Blog for Greg?


You might ask: Why another blog for Greg?

Well, I've got the cooking blog, the old yahoo360 blog and my iweb blog. There's also the However, each of those have a drawback.

First, the cooking blog isn't necessarily going to be of interest to those who read this blog, which is going to be the catch-all blog about tech, travel living in Switzerland or whatever else I'm going to write about. The yahoo360 blog has an interface that's not very good to use. The interface here, while really only a little better, is better enough that I actually use it. iWeb seemed pretty cool at first. I really like it, in spite of some slightly dodgy HTML code that it produces, and that it likes to use JavaScript to set up the page. I also really like the way that iWeb deals with all of my multimedia stuff. However, it only runs on my iMac, which is how I got it. I can't install it from the iMac disks onto my iBook, and that makes it so I can't blog when I'm off for a weekend in Vals, or for a few weeks in the USA. With blogger here, I can update from whatever computer I happen to use. That's a BIG bonus. And so I'm now using Blogger. I just wish there was an easier way of getting pictures from iPhoto to this thing, but it'll have to do.
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