Category Archives: Announcements / Meta

Website Reorganization

Today I’m announcing the reorganization of The Technical Geekery.

What does this mean? I’m going to be moving some things around and adding some
things, but more importantly, I’m going to be clarifying my mission statement
and the purpose of having my website. That has always been somewhat tenuous. The
site has, to me, felt split between two personalities: the Computer Tips
personality (in the blog) and the Random Crap personality (in many of the other
pages). Not that I feel that the Random Crap is, well, crap—it’s me, it’s
stuff I want to share and I think other people might appreciate, and it’s stuff
that belongs on my website, but the way it’s done right now just doesn’t *feel*
right, at least to me.

I also want to add some entirely new stuff to the website. Lately I’ve stopped
writing on the blog except on an irregular basis. I could try various means to
try to make myself do it, but I realize that that’s not the problem—there’s a
deeper one. That problem is, I think, that I’m feeling limited. I have all sorts
of things that I could share with the world, some of which I’m guaranteed to be
very interested in when it comes time to write an article—but I have to write
something in a very specific area, about tips for using a computer.

As a reader, you will continue reading about computers. But you will also hear
about other things related to technology, such as balancing the usage of paper
and computers and storing information using various software and methods. I’m
planning to set up some blog categories so that if you’re only interested in
some of the topics, you can read those and leave out the rest.

I’m keeping the name The Technical Geekery. The site still revolves around
technology; I don’t feel that much has changed. The way I see it, this is much
more of an expansion than anything else. (By the way, for some time the site has
also been accessible at http://sorenbjornstad.com. There’s a chance I’ll change
that into a personal landing page at some point in the future, but The Technical
Geekery will certainly be featured prominently on it if I do.)

If you’re interested in seeing the new mission statement and more about the
changes, read on. If not, I hope you enjoy the new Technical Geekery as it
progresses in the next few weeks.


In reorganizing, I tried an experiment and wrote down all the pages on my site,
then tried to group them into common topics. Here are the categories I came up
with, along with what of my current website is in them:

EFFICIENCY – Anki, Dvorak, some blog posts
SECURITY / SAFETY – blog posts
COOL SOFTWARE / TECHNOLOGY – Anki, NetHack, Interesting and Useful Websites
MY CREATIONS – stuff under Miscellaneous
META – stuff under “About TTG and Me”

And then I wrote down some things that I’d like to add, and made categories for
them:
RECORD / INFORMATION-KEEPING
BALANCING TECHNOLOGY
CONTROLLING YOURSELF

I feel that everything fits together now, a feeling I’d been totally lacking
before. I have yet to add any new content however, so there’s always the chance
it won’t work—that will have to wait and see.

This is my working new mission statement:
The Technical Geekery is a collection of ideas for improving life through
technology. Those ideas fit into seven major categories:

EFFICIENCY has always been an interest of mine. I firmly believe that attempting
to use all of one’s time in the most “efficient” manner possible is not
intelligent (for instance, there is real value in sitting on a bus “doing
nothing”: using the time for something else isn’t always bad, but resting and
thinking can be one of the best uses of your time). However, I also believe that
one should not spend more time than necessary or useful on tasks. For instance,
I’m a big stickler for using keyboard shortcuts: there is no value whatsoever in
choosing “Edit -> Copy” from a menu every time you need to copy something rather
than pressing Ctrl-C and losing yourself several seconds.

SECURITY / SAFETY while computing is something I’ve been interested in. When I
was about four years old, I discovered the “set password” function in Microsoft
Word and was unreasonably excited about it (I was protecting gibberish text that
I typed by mashing the keyboard with those passwords). These days, I’m a big
advocate for using good passwords, two-factor authentication, and being on the
lookout for phishing attempts, even if I don’t feel the need to encrypt
everything I possibly can.

COOL SOFTWARE / TECHNOLOGY is what I live on on the computer, being the geek
that I am. The stuff that I find the most useful or that has changed the way I
work or my life the most (hopefully) makes its way onto this site.

CREATIONS / UNIQUELY ME covers things like board games, funky poems, and
recordings and things I wrote when I was younger. This has only an indirect
relationship to the rest of the website, but it’s one way that I make my
website, mine, and I post things that I hope other people will enjoy.

RECORD / INFORMATION-KEEPING is something I am somewhat obsessed with. I have tried all sorts of methods for wrangling my thoughts, ideas, to-do items,
appointments, journal entries, and everything else you can think of. In the
process, I’ve had some interesting revelations—and found some methods that work
really, really well for me.

BALANCING TECHNOLOGY is about when you should not use high-tech methods. It’s
about when I shut down my computer and write in a notebook or stop using the
fancy software I started using some time ago because it just wasn’t useful
enough. In a world increasingly dominated by technology, I feel thinking about
this is just as important as thinking about the ways to use more technology to
improve our lives.

CONTROLLING YOURSELF, while it may sound like it belongs on a therapy website,
is about the ultimate in low-tech methods, using only your brain and body. In an
odd way, however, this is also the ultimate in high technology: if you can
calculate in your head, you’ve transcended the need for even the best
calculator you can imagine. Of course, there are also times when the costs
exceed the benefits, so it’s about those times as well.

OTHER includes things that I wrote before having a clear purpose for my website
(and don’t want to delete), as well as anything else that I want to publish
somewhere but doesn’t really fit. Proceed into disorganization at your own risk.

Six Years of Computer Tips

I’ve been working on this little book that combines a lot of the tips I’ve written in this blog and recently. (I didn’t post it earlier because I was still working on Friday, and also because I gave copies to several people who get this newsletter as Christmas presents).

Anyway, you can check it out online as a PDF here. I’m fine if you want to send copies of this book on to your friends as long as you don’t try to sell it (there is a copyright notice in appendix D, which also tells you that copying it is fine).
If you happen to have a bit of spare time and want to try binding it into an actual book, here’s a version with the pages arranged properly. Instructions are at the end of appendix D. (I did neglect to mention that you need to print double-sided–I thought that would be obvious, but just in case…)

An Introduction

This newsletter will provide some sort of computer tip, information about computers, or other computer-related topic about every week. I had originally intended to send the text directly as an email, but then I had a problem. I wanted to provide a way for people to ask questions and make comments, but doing so would require me turning the group into a mailing list, which would create a large volume of email that many people wouldn’t care about or know what to do with. So I reconsidered and decided to post the actual text on a blog, located (here) at http://tips.thetechnicalgeekery.com.

Every week, provided you’re subscribed to the newsletter, I’ll send out an email containing the title of the week’s tip and the quick introduction/description line. (You can subscribe from the sidebar of this blog if you aren’t already.) I’ll then provide a link to the actual post on the blog. When you’re done reading, if you have any questions or comments, I encourage you to add a comment at the bottom (you don’t have to register to do so). I think that having a way to answer questions about anything I wasn’t clear enough about or forgot to cover in the article will make the newsletter a lot better. If you make a good point, I might modify the original text so that it’s better for anyone who stumbles across it in the future.

I like to include screenshots in my tips where they help people figure out what I’m talking about. For instance, interested in the program I write these tips in? If you’re not already, let me tell you that I’ve had multiple people accuse me of “breaking the computer” when they see me using this software on a public system. (If you’re still curious after seeing the screenshot, I plan to cover this program in a future article.)

You can browse or search the archives of previous tips anytime at http://tips.thetechnicalgeekery.com like you could any blog.

As always, comments/questions welcome, and how about you go read the first tip?