The content of this blog is my personal opinion only. Although I am an employee - currently of Nvidia, in the past of other companies such as Iagination Technologies, MIPS, Intellectual Ventures, Intel, AMD, Motorola, and Gould - I reveal this only so that the reader may account for any possible bias I may have towards my employer's products. The statements I make here in no way represent my employer's position, nor am I authorized to speak on behalf of my employer. In fact, this posting may not even represent my personal opinion, since occasionally I play devil's advocate.

See http://docs.google.com/View?id=dcxddbtr_23cg5thdfj for photo credits.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Giving in to Google Blogger / wishing for Wiki

I suppose that I am giving in by creating a Google Blogger page. Giving in in two different ways:

(1) I would really prefer to have a publicly visible wiki site, rather than a blog.

(2) I really should be running my own public website, with both wiki and blog, rather than piggybacking on Google.

I've been running websites and wikisites inside the companies that I work for for a long time, on company intranets. I keep meaning to set up my own public website on the Internet. I have, from time-to-time exposed some of my servers (personaly servers, that is, not company servers). But I am lazy, and paranoid about security. Perhaps I should be using a web hosting service, one that supports wiki software such as twiki; but I am reluctant to spend money on this sort of vanity publishing.

As we say in Portand: "Free is a very good price". Hence Google.

I prefer wikis to blogs. Or, rather, wikis is a superset of blogs. I've written my own blogs using fairly vanilla twiki, mildly customized, for a while. I'm aware of quite fancy blog sites and systems built on top of wiki.

I've thought long about the differences between blogs and wikis. I've posted about this on my intranet wiki/blog; I may move some if that here, but not now. Just briefly, the main difference seems to be:
* wikis are oriented towards editing, revision, and eventually creating reference material
* blogs are transient - an article is typically written at a single point in time
* although blog articles may be revised, that is not the usual situation
* whereas revision at any time is the essence of wiki
* blogs are typically oriented around a primay author
* others may comment on a blog page, but such commens are typically distinct from the main posting
* wikis are oriented around collaboration
* although multiple users may comment on a wiki page, in "discussion mode"
* it is often the intention and hope of a wiki site that such comments may be folded into a consensus rewrite of the wiki page (although the separate commens should certainly be retained in revision history, and perhaps in a separate "flow of consciousness" wiki page)

This makes it sound like there should be no such thing as a single user wiki. That is wrong: I find a single user wiki (and, for that matter, a single user blog) very useful. Helps organize my thoughts. Plus, I hold sufficiently diverse opinions inside my head that I can frequently have a conversation with myself on a private wiki page or blog page.

Single user wikis are quite useful on devices such as PDA phones, as means of organizing information.

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