Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Wow. It has been one long political season. Now that the election is over, I find myself spent, drained. Surely that is in large part because "I lost". I'm sure things would be different if I were "on the winning team", but alas not this time around.

I've been in various moods in the past 24 hours, but some of my thoughts have about the past year have crept into that. Towards the end of this election I was already growing weary of the sheer volume of items arriving in my Reader.

As you can see, around 1000 items on a weekday were presenting themselves for my perusal. To get down to skimming the 300ish items to find probably 50 to share really lent itself more toward quantity and perhaps less quality. But the season was very fruitful in the thick of things. I also figured that anyone following the feed could pick and choose items of interest and maybe find 5-10 that were worth their while.

So even before the election I was planning on cutting back on the volume a bit. I did some version control backups of some things last night, and I'll be changing things up a little. Of the stray thoughts I've had regarding this blog, one has been how things have evolved over the past year or so. So if you'll indulge me, the following will be a bit of a history of this blog.

A History of High Plains Blogger

The roots of this actually probably started about a decade ago. I'm a programmer by profession, and I'd happened upon Yahoo! Groups, which was at the time an email list "forum". I participated in these basically discussing code issues for several years, learning a great deal.

The next step for me was discovering forums. Very quickly I preferred that medium because I could highlight things, edit my typos, and fix things up to be how I wanted. And I stayed pretty well on the straight and narrow and only got into code discussions. But at the same time I would "eavesdrop" on political issues being discussed on some sites' "General Discussions" or "Lounge" sub-forums. The topics interested me, but I generally did not post my opinions.

This probably brings us up to about 2004-2005. I saw a prevalence of Liberal ideas being presented with a dearth of Conservatives and such ideas represented. And so I branched out into lengthy and wonderful arguments that formed the core idea that this blog seeks to pursue. By 2007ish, I was getting tired of the repeating the same stuff in response to newcomers dredging up older threads.

I didn't really take to blogs right away, but eventually I moved away from a programming forum's associated blog because I wanted more freedom and flexibility in posting. That led me to MyOpera where I started The Observatory. The name in part reflects that I'm not out preach, but rather to observe and offer my perspective.

As I got going with The Observatory, I enjoyed adding pictures, audio, movies, and other gadgets to help dress up the commentary. In parallel, I was discovering new tools and technologies. Among them was the addictive Google Reader, which simplified how I happened upon the things I liked to read.

In this process, I had to get an account with Google, so I had its Mail and soon found its Notebook useful as well. I decided that I might want to take advantage of some of the shared functionality and made by move to this Google blog as well (although I did make an attempt with WordPress to start).

Also during this time, I was separating out "the political me", "the programmer me", and "the friend/family guy me" into separate online presences. If you hadn't guessed, this blog is "the political me". Since I had been exposing myself to these new technologies, I was also experimenting with others as well. A little MySpace here, some FaceBook there, and IRC in part driving and assisting discover. Well, it's notsomuch IRC itself, it's the folks I chat with there that have provided me with arguments, ideas, discussions, and technical help.

I take a little bit here and a little bit there and incorporate bits and pieces into this blog. For a while I had made quite a bit of use of Yahoo! Pipes as well. I've incorporated an IRC channel into this blog. But as the summer months came and went, I was spending almost 100% of my time microblogging, if that, with Google Reader. And then came Twitter, and then Twurl as a tie-ins with that.

I'd like to back away from the microblogging and get back to the more traditional type of blogging -- we'll see how that goes.

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