Fun

I’m not very good at blogging. Writer’s block has always been a bit of a thing with me, but even more so when writing expressly for myself. I rebuilt this site in the Spring of 2014, with the full intention of blogging—I’d noodled with Tumblr and other platforms for writing, but could never get over the underlying sense of “euch.” I wanted to own my work. So I built myself a platform; but it still didn’t seem right.

Last October, Brent Simmons wrote about blogging engine options. While his home-grown site had served perfectly well, it felt stale and didn’t meet all his needs. So he decided to make something fun to learn with, to fool around with; to write an “app with an audience of one”.

And all of the sudden it all seemed to click into place.

— Which is really just a long way of telling how I ended up building this site. It’s a Meteor app running on a virtual private server. Why Meteor?

  • The Meteor Development Group seems to be doing a bang-up job, and there’s an active development community (even here in Cincinnati).
  • The prospect of one language everywhere—even if it’s JavaScript—is awfully tempting given that an awful lot of my work ends up written in JS. I have a handle on the basics; I want to get better.
  • It’s modular. Meteor encompasses a mess of smaller, interconnected projects that can be swapped out and extended as necessary. And, incorporating existing Node packages couldn’t be simpler.

Meteor’s proven itself several times over to me. Various work and personal projects have been a snap to slap together with Meteor, and although I’m starting to feel some of the rough edges, I don’t plan on changing anytime soon. As I mentioned above, I’m not fond of others owning my writing or work; so if this site has any sort of mission, it is to remedy that. Once I have something more tangible than a nebulose notion I’ll be writing about all that here.

Having said that, the site is far from perfect. As is the case with virtually every JavaScript front-end framework, things like accessibility, performance, and progressive enhancement are non-entities. I’d like for that to change—either with Meteor or without it. And, I’ll be honest. There’s plenty else that needs polish.

— So, why do all this? Because I forgot I am my most important audience. Of course I’m writing here to share thoughts and ideas, but that depends entirely on my own experience. All the technical bits and bobs have been a blast, and I’m delighted to say that programming and writing here is a thrill. Which matters. My writer’s block isn’t born of what I might have to say; it’s that I might not say it well enough.

I am young and naïve and prone to mistakes, but that shouldn’t get in the way of fun.

Matt Policastro

I'm Matt Policastro, a data scientist at Clearhead. I build analyses and software to improve experiences and outcomes. I like bicycles, coffee, and building neat stuff. Welcome to my site.

Read More