(with apologies to Descartes :-)

It looks like I haven’t written a blog posting for more than eighteen months. That’s really sad on a number of levels, I think it reflects a combination of my workload in terms of volume and content.

I want to get back to blogging. I am a scientist (still, just), I should be communicating about what I’m doing because that’ll help me do it better (and help society get value from its investment in me - that might be a bit of a pompous statement, but it’s true I think).

Much of what I have done in the last year has been writing various management documents about data, HPC, and finances. I have done some other bits, but they’ve either been as part of things that have actually turned up as papers or talks (if you look at my publication list and talks page you’ll see that there has been activity, even though my blog has been a bit empty), or as things that I haven’t felt I could publicise because of the interests of other people (my student, my colleagues in a couple of projects etc).

On top of those content issues, there have been volume issues. Much of what I have done has been against deadlines, often with little warning, and coming from multiple directions at once. I kept thinking I would get a breather, but it hasn’t turned out that way, and so the entire year I was under pressure, feeling knackered, and lots of things had to give, and the blog was one of them. If nothing else I could and should have blogged about the papers and talks, but even that seemed too much.

Clearly the workload thing is problematic (and there have been consequences which I hope to discuss here anon) but not blogging is problematic in its own right. I think the lack of blogging has been detrimental to the delivery of my job itself. I believe that when I was blogging it was good for communication, it helped me learn, and it helped me organise my thinking about things that have acutally ended up in papers and production services (at CEDA etc). I have missed out on all those things by not blogging, although some of the management work has been surprisingly good for helping me organise thinking, just as some of it has been completely nugatory. (I should blog about the good and bad of my recent management experiences sometime, there were some lessons worth sharing!)

It used to be that I also used this place for notes, but it’s clear that that role has been supplanted by evernote, project wikis (closed and public), and ipython notebooks (I can’t get used to saying “jupyter”, is that an age thing?). In the future I’d like to host notebooks alongside my blog, and include some blog articles as notebooks, but that’ll require a technology change …

So, in the best traditions of new years resolutions, I have committed to myself to try and get at least one blog article out a week (except when on holiday) - if nothing else I’ll try and give a bland summary of the week that was. Look out for week one coming here soon!

comments (1)

Chris R (on Saturday 07 January, 2017) I’ve missed your posts, Bryan, even though I didn’t understand some of them. Looking forward to the new world order, in this respect at least!