The Blog Turns... 10 Years!
Today is 10 years since I wrote the first post for my blog. Ten. Freaking. Years. It’s almost hard to believe that I had something remotely meaningful happen in my life 10 years ago.
So.. uhm, what else do I say? When I started this blog, I had still been living in Russia; writing about programming in English was a strange choice many questioned. I’m glad that I started it that way. Gosh was my English bad back then, but at least I got some practice in.
This proved helpful but not for language acquisition really. This blog helped me to become a better writer. There is a lot of written communication required of a high-level software engineer in Silicon Valley. When friends ask me what [programming] language I use at work, I usually reply “English”. It’s true! There were periods when I churned out a new ‘design doc’ every week at Google, and these periods turned crucial in my career. If for nothing else, this was the main thing this blog helped me with.
Maybe I should go over the greatest hits? According to the Google Analytics, my most popular pages over the last year were:
How to Get Binary Search Right with basically job interview advice. But I cheated here a bit. See, when I joined Google Ads, I got the ability to use one dollar a day on Google Ads traffic.
Here’s the demonstration of what $1/day spent on Google Ads can do for your content.
Without the ad spend, the post is getting almost no clicks. I still think it’s a good post but alas.
Easy parallelization with Bash in Linux with my favorite
seq 10 | xargs --num-procs 5Bash trick.
Limiting time and memory consumption of a program in Linux, my most successful open-source project that emulated cgroups before they were stable.
Take Apart that Giant Case: A Compact, 1.5kg Thunderbolt3 eGPU Setup detailing my experience with tearing down and rebuilding an eGPU case.
Busting C++ myths: virtual function calls are slow showing how virtual functions work in C++ and why one shouldn’t fear them (I’m afraid some of my claims there were unfounded, but so are the fears of virtual function calls).
SF Muni LED Sign at Home with Raspberry Pi, my most famous project that featured on Reddit and at a bunch of makers’s websites.
Consistency Models Explained Briefly, where I filled the gaps in Google search and detailed what Quiescent Consistency means. This page is linked from some of the lecture slides in advanced CS courses; a lot of students visit it, and I’m truly honored.
And a lot of other things. I really like my attemtps at short witty stories like Zeno’s Flat Screen TV Paradox, or “Lesson III”, or “A dying Tux in an Airbus”, which sometimes get featured on Reddit. But nobody reads those. Most people who google are looking for answers, and they’re finding them on the “how-to” pages like the “AWS Beanstalk Speed Run”.
If I were to truly chase popularity, writing a blog is no longer the way to do it. I should make a youtube show or record a podcast. That’s just how content is consumed now. The closest I got to youtube was this video I recorded for one of my blog posts. Truth be told, I actually wrote that blog post not for the readers of the blog (I have very few anyway). Primarily, I made it as an illustration to an internal Google user study ran by the Maps team when they were considering taking away the ability to drag the point around with the mouse.
That could be promising though. There are successful shows that would’ve been blogs 10 years ago, take “Two Minute Papers” for example. But I’m not here for clicks.
This blog is primarily a way for me to organize my thoughts and to just… let it out. This blog is also an interesting recap on my career progress. Let’s plot the number of posts over the year.
At the beginning, I was just letting it all out. Everything was new and exciting. A new merge sort algorithm–blogged! A new C++11 feature–blogged. Someone aligned the comment to the right, like in the math books–blogged. I faled a job interview–blogged. In that last post I also said I’d never work for Google, and there I was, working there for almost 7 years, ha.
Back then, everything was new and exciting. And then it tapered off. I made 0 blog posts in the whole year of 2015. Arguably, 2015 was the most intense year of my life; while I could say I had other things going on, I did get these things done! Why didn’t I blog?
The answer was simple although I had to search hard for it. Software was no longer new and exciting. I looked at this (and at a bunch of other things) and I realized I’m stagnating. I decided to change my career. It tooke me two years, but instead of your run-off-the-mill mid level tech lead, I’m a machine learning engineer now. I’m working on self-driving cars, building models of traffic, making ML projects with Raspberry Pi, and posting solutions to little math problems.
The software is exciting again. I feel young. And I’m anxious to tell the world all about it.
P.S. To all the readers who have been reading my musing, and who did come here through an RSS feed: thank you. I’m grateful that you’re reading these posts, and I only wish you commented more. Or just shoot me an email, like some of you did. E.g. Martin who helped me fix errors in the post about Binary Search–Martin, I remember your name 6 years later; huge kudos to you and to others.
Author Paul Shved
Modified November 30, 2019
License CC BY-SA 3.0