When I got back from Hong Kong in early September, I was dumbfounded to have received an interview request from a Japanese reader. It was her ambition to interview bloggers from all over the world for a web project of some kind. I thought it was crazy that she would want to interview me (there are far more interesting choices out there, I'm sure!), but I went ahead and did it anyway. This evening I was sent a transcript of the Instant Message interview so that I could edit my comments before it was translated. Since I am a rambling moron during an IM session, this was really nice of her. It would be cruel to have me coming off looking a bigger moron than I normally do.
Anyway, I'm going to publish the interview here, in case anybody is interested. As a side-note, I made a few minor edits on the questions so they would make more sense to the English reader...
Blogography from David Simmer II (2005年9月18日)
Your blog is cute with cartoons and things! How do you make it?
Thanks! My blog is just a Movable Type install with a few plugins added. The cartoons are drawn in Adobe Illustrator then exported as GIFs. The CSS layouts are hand-coded in either BBEdit or TextMate. All my entries are created with a program called "ecto" on a Macintosh.
You are famous for blogging. Is it fun to be a famous blogger?
Oh I'm not famous at all! On very rare occasions I will be recognized at the airport or something because I am wearing a Blogography T-Shirt, but that's it. I'm grateful for the regular readers I have, but most people don't even know I exist. I don't think about it very much because I find it shocking that anybody would care to read what I have to say in the first place.
How did you think of Blogography for your name?
This is my third blog. My previous two were complete failures, and were called "Dave's World" and "DaveBlog." When I decided to try again, I wanted to pick something unusual and not put my name in the title. As I was working on the layout, I had the television on and changed the channel until an A&E television show called "Biography" showed up. Half-way through the program, it suddenly occurred to me that "Autobiography" (a book about one's self) could become "Autoblogography" (a BLOG about one's self). I Googled "Blogography" and nothing turned up, so I check to see if the domain was available. It was, and so "Blogography" became the name of my new blog.
Are you mad because there are other Blogography on the web now?
No. Not even a little bit. The more people use the term, the more my domain has relevance and value on the internet. If somebody chooses to name their site "blogography," it's like free advertising for me because people will be typing "blogography.com" to find it, and end up getting my blog instead... who could be mad about that?
I like your blog because it is new every day. Is it difficult to think of postings to write?
Not really. I don't plan anything to write, I just sit down when I have a free moment and something always seems to pop into my head. Sometimes, when something cool or amazing happens, it's easier than on boring days... but I don't put a lot of effort into my writing (and it probably shows!). I force myself to write every day because once you skip a day, it's easy to skip another... then another... then another... and pretty soon you're posting just once a month or something, then it's like "why bother?" The down-side of writing every day is that you end up with some pretty poor entries every once in a while. I definitely have my share.
Are there things you like to write best of all?
Any day that provides an easy topic is a favorite. I especially love writing on days where I am traveling and get to see something amazing. Next week I'll be visiting China, which is someplace I've always wanted to go. Those entries will undoubtedly write themselves. I'll be saying things like... "I walked on the Great Wall of China this morning..." and be guaranteed of something cool to say about it. I also like to write rants, because being able to vent your frustrations to the entire world is liberating (I always feel bad about it the next day through).
Which things do you not like best?
Nothing. If I don't feel like writing about something, I just won't write about it. This includes my friends, family and work... because it's not fair that they should have to worry about what I might say about them. I also don't write about my more personal feelings or problems or anything like that. Some things you have to keep for yourself.
Is blogging fun or work (for you)?
Definitely fun. If it was work, I wouldn't be doing it (well, unless somebody was paying me to!). What's most fun about having a blog is the people you meet, and that's all I need to keep myself motivated to continue... making new friends, hearing new ideas, and meeting new people.
What other blogs do you admire?
I admire any blogger that puts in the effort to stick with it, and it doesn't matter what kind of blog it is. Every time I visit a site where they have posted a new entry, I admire that because I know what it takes to keep a blog going. The mortality rate for new blogs is staggering. Somebody starts one because it's trendy... then realizes it's not as easy as it looks and abandons it. So now the internet is littered with dead blogs and broken links which kind of messes it up for the rest of us.
Do you think blogging will keep (being) popular?
Sure... but probably not as we know it now. As technologies improve and bandwidth increases, we'll probably transition to video blogs or something like that. It's a natural evolution, just like the popularity of "podcasting" is now. In the meanwhile, I don't think that written blogs are going to disappear anytime soon, even though the focus may change from time to time.
Do you have a plan for the Blogography future?
Not right now. There are some rendering bugs in Internet Explorer that drive me nuts, so fixing Blogography to display properly in IE is about the only immediate thing I have in mind. Other than that, I plan to just keep doing what I am doing so long as people are still interested in reading it.
Thank you for your time.
I love comments! However, all comments are moderated, and won't appear until approved. Are you an abusive troll with nothing to contribute? Don't bother. Selling something? Don't bother. Spam linking? Don't bother.
Regarding IE rendering bugs:
I browse the web using Firefox and preview my site (which, really, doesn’t have to many gee-whiz features to it. Well, there’s always the “Gee-wiz! What makes this guy think he should be blogging?” feature).
In Firefox things always look like I expect them too.
However, it is not uncommon for IE to arrange pictures in an unappealing order.
Or to have a bold or underlined item where I don’t want it. Admittedly, I had an extra piece of HTML laying around in these last two examples, but Firefox knew what I meant.
With the site that I maintain as a “pro” (and I use that term loosely), IE is always the one that offsets some graphic element and throws a wrench in the works. Usually something incredibly minute in the grand scheme of things, but enough to piss me off. If I try to fix it, then everything is messed up in Firefox, Netscape, Camino, and Safari. However, IE still has the greater usership percentage. It’s a heckuva Catch-22 trying to weigh which way to go. I usually rule against IE in design decisions. It’s that part of me that hopes Microschlock will fail. And with Google starting their own open source competition office software with Sun Microsystems to counter MS Office…
Posting regularly has to be the hardest part of maintaining a blog. I struggle with lack of time, lack of inspiration and just plain burn-out. But I keep trying, mostly because I can’t NOT blog.