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To Begin With…

A few weeks ago at the Wintellect Devscovery conference in New York I was struck by a trio of coincidental insights. The first was from Scott Hanselman’s keynote, during which he suggested that there’s really very little reason why every developer shouldn’t have a personal blog. The second came from John Robbins’ session on debugging, where he reminded us that paper, pencil and our own brains are the best debugging tools we have.

I’ve gone through several methods of “thought management” over the years, ranging from the old Black n’ Red notebook to Microsoft OneNote. A while back one company I worked for required engineers (programming was engineering back then) to maintain a daily log of work and notes in an A4 Black n’ Red, and those books were ultimately the property of the company – how they expected to be able to assimilate or search that information I have no idea.

I like OneNote a lot, but it suffers slightly from the classic “fat client” problem, in that OneNote itself is an installed application that works primarily with local notebook files. It’s possible to put OneNote notebooks on a network share or a Live Mesh folder for sharing outside your LAN, but of course even then you need to have OneNote and/or Live Mesh installed on every machine from which you plan to access your notes. No kiosks need apply. And if you’d like to publish some of your more lucid thoughts…

So now, since I have some personal projects gathering source control dust, I’m going to try a personal blog for my notes. It’ll mean I’ll need to write up my notes a lot more coherently than I usually do, but as Robbins suggested for my third insightful reminder from that conference, oftentimes you solve a particularly gnarly problem after the first ten seconds of trying to explain it to someone else.

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