Writing: Online

Hello, world!

I'm trying something new: writing online.

I already have a Twitter account. I tweet every so often, but I'd say I'm pretty bad at tweeting and 280 characters only goes so far.

So consider this the kick-off to Stuff That's Too Long to Tweet™. I hope some people find it helpful or at least entertaining. Even if they don't, I'm going to have fun with it.

This first post is the kick-off and it's also documentation for myself on how I'm going to add & edit content and why. Like why post on this minimal personal website.

It's so easy to write online these days. There's Medium, Reading Supply, WordPress, and a gazillion static site generators. But, I'm going to do it here. It's the fastest way for me to get started: copy template.html, replace some placeholders, write some <p>s and <a>s and stuff, and git push. It's fast to start, fast to write, and fast to load. There's no transcompiling, no fighting WYSIWYG editors, no complexity. And hey, I can always switch it up later because it's tried-and-true, basic, semantic HTML and CSS (go ahead, look at the source). Getting started and actually writing are the hard parts.

This website has been around for about ten years, though it hasn't always been under version control or had this domain name. I started it when I realized the University of Waterloo computer science department hosts students' websites for free (or tuition, I guess). I'd figured I'd put some fun stuff here to show others, but in the end, it became a repository for my résumé and an index for some other accounts that I have on the web. Now it can be more.

I think the beauty of posting stuff here instead of, say, Medium, is that it's unequivocally mine. I choose what goes in it. I design it however I want. I can host it wherever I want (GitHub and Render). I can build it however I want and I can customize it however I want. There are no terms of service and I don't collect my readers' personal information. There are no paywalls, no cookies, no GDPR or CCPA cookie popups, and I don't run ads. And I'd like to keep it that way.

To end, I'd like to acknowledge my friend, Phil Liao, who has been encouraging me to write online for a while. He started Summer of Shipping, an online community that connects tech mentors with college students whose 2020 internships were impacted by COVID-19. I'd also like to point out some other personal websites whose content or aesthetic have inspired me:

Give them a visit and happy reading!