The End?

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2008/03/30 10:01 -04:00, original URI:

Content of Michael Kaplan's personal blog not approved by Microsoft (see disclaimer)!
Warning: This particular blog consists mostly of self-indulgent meta-blogging crap and is thus almost entirely ignorable.
Note: You know those times when almost anything you would say is going to be the wrong thing? This is one of those times. Thus, while c
omments are not disabled in this post, they are strongly discouraged....

Apologies for the X-Files allusion in the title, as softened by the accompanying eroteme.

The question about blogging about matters so closely tied to my work when my employer (or at least my management) wants it to be made crystal clear that this is a personal blog has become an interesting one, to me.

Yet if I only posted about personal stuff, then people might find hosting it on might be inappropriate.

So clearly by some metric this blog is about my work and my job, even though the people who manage my job are denying me three times and all that.

Which is not to suggest that I am anyone's Jesus or anything; you know what I mean.

But in the aftermath of what happened and what is, I am left wondering what this blog really should be.

Or even whether it should be anything, while it sits on this server and while I sit where I do, job wise.

I have been largely coasting for the last few months on existing items I said I'd talk about and such, but without a real sense of direction.

Avoiding the question.

I could just say I miss Liz and leave it at that, but this isn't about her.

Well, not really about her, at least.

But once upon a time she did provide something of a passive compass for me that I only sometimes consulted but always knew was there, and I admit I'm having trouble figuring out where North is at the moment, without that compass.

Though I can't truthfully claim to be unhappy. In fact, I am not unhappy.

Professionally speaking I have been rather pleased and happy to find that even though my management (in a burst of wankitude/wingnuttery that I could calculate if my slide rule was not in storage in a box in Philadelphia) doesn't appreciate me, that a lot of other people and groups do -- it keeps me feeling good about Microsoft, at least. And of a lot of the people and groups in it. And I do believe on the work that happens in the group and in the building.

And I believe in a lot of other things too.

I could likely keep coasting with the blog posting for a while, as that huge mound-o-things on my To-Do list is still there. With probably a dozen written posts and twice as many half written, and then with three or four times as many that are almost fully composed in my head and all I have to do is dictate them and thereby insert the expected typos/speechos.

Though there is no rule that says that all of them, or even any of them, have to be posted.

When I think about how the Blog is aimlessly wandering without a theme, while each blog continues to have some point, I wonder. Do people notice that lack of overall direction as opposed to the original slowly changing overall direction, all in a see of for the most part directed slices of time?

The quote that pops into my mind: The assassin's gun may believe it is the surgeon's scalpel, but the assassin must know the task.

At the moment I am unsure. Not discontent with life, but perhaps a bit discontent with all of this. At the moment.

So I am left wondering -- what if I stopped blogging?

The 20 people who read regularly read would notice right away (adjusted for the fact that this is posted on a weekend), the regular but busy folk/the in-love ones/others more casual would notice within a week or three, and it might make for a great WEHT blog that someone else could write in a year or so, after looking into whatever did happen. Nothing would actually "happen" though, in the end.

That persona would be gone, and people who missed it would have to seek out me and a less passive type of connection than the blog enables for them. A terrible loss, for some.

And I might miss it, too. My soapbox and my pronouncements from on low. I could imagine missing that, some at least.

If the existing other unpublished posts never went live? Not that much of a difference, really -- perhaps the difference between the Blog being hit by a bus and the Blog passing on after a long illness.

I am reminded of how I miss Suzanne E. McCarthy's Abecedaria, which is now approaching its second anniversary of not being posted to. We miss them when they disappear, whether with bang or whimper, knowing the people might still be alive, just no longer in our lives, right? With the blog just sitting, dormant -- a testament to the disappearance without corresponding backstory.

What if SiaO just stopped? Like with no warning or indication, perhaps even in mid-

# richardguk on 30 Mar 2008 11:10 AM:

You'd be missed. Even potpourri is best fresh.

# John Cowan on 30 Mar 2008 11:16 AM:

Say it ain't so, Joe!

# Steve M on 30 Mar 2008 4:19 PM:

I usually speed-read the technical stuff; while interesting it's not often relevant to the day-job. It's the the personal stuff I like - I'd definitely buy you a beer if I didn't live about 5000 miles away!

Don't stop (please).


# Kjartan Þór on 30 Mar 2008 4:31 PM:

Greetings from Iceland, I subscribe to the RSS feed of your blog and I would miss it if it goes away. Even though I'm not actively in the localization process the things you talk about here give me food for thought.

I really hope you won't stop blogging

PS. I like the way you talk about music, tv-shows, movies and other random things on here.

# Xander on 30 Mar 2008 5:24 PM:

If SaiO came to an end, I would be most disappointed.  

# John Cowan on 30 Mar 2008 8:10 PM:

Here's a quotation from a posting (by coincidence, today's posting) from another blog I enjoy:

"As is probably obvious to readers of this blog, I’ve long since given up any idea that this blog will be focused on any one topic, or that all the topics will be of interest to anybody but myself: I’m always glad when somebody finds something here of interest, but the reason why I keep on writing is to help focus my thoughts (e.g. via posts like this one!) on whatever happens to be on my mind at any given time."

Does that help any?

# bill on 31 Mar 2008 12:16 AM:

I usually read your blog when I see you have posted (I scan  I'm not into the technical subject matter, but the posts are still usually interesting for some reason.

I never noticed you had a picture of cerebus up there.  Is that new?

# Rick on 31 Mar 2008 1:25 AM:

The fact your blog is completely random is the reason I read it.  AKA "You never know what your going to get".

Given I live and develop in an English speaking country I pay less attention to localisation (with an s) than I should.  But the random posts always keep me coming back just to see what happened today.

# Zooba on 31 Mar 2008 3:58 AM:

I would miss it. The technical information is in an area I've never had reason to work in and it gets generally ignored (can you believe I had to write for 7-bit ASCII this year?) so learning stuff is good.

The more personal posts are interesting as they show your personality - accusations of Raymond Chen being a robot come to mind (I don't think you have to worry about that ;) ).

In short, if you move then I'll follow. But I'd much prefer you don't stop completely.

# Andrew West on 31 Mar 2008 5:11 AM:

I fully agree with you about Abecedaria, one of the best blogs ever. If Suzanne still reads SiaO (and why would she not?) then I hope she will consider restarting it.

(I'm afraid I found the rest of your post a bit too self-indulgent for my tastes. It reminded me too much of Conrad's sickly departure from the Varieties of Unreligious Experience only to announce his return to blogging in the comments when enough people had expressed their appreciation of him.)

# Michael S. Kaplan on 31 Mar 2008 5:22 AM:

Hey Andrew,

There is a reason for that NOTE text at the top -- I was tempted to not allow comments as I was not trying to create a huge "we need you, please stay!" thread, as my reasons for leaving aren't really such that they could be influenced by that kind of thing.

So it a nice sentiment, but it is not necessary, really. The issues here are not solvable by such means....

(Okay, going back to "unknown" status now!)

# Bulletmagnet on 31 Mar 2008 6:20 AM:

We'd be more worried if it {#`%${%&`+'${`%&NO CARRIER

# DM on 31 Mar 2008 7:48 AM:

Have you thought of having a "personnal blog" not hosted on and keep SIAO for technical stuff?

You will be missed

# Surge on 31 Mar 2008 8:14 AM:

There aren't any rules or requirements, you write what you want and we read because most of your thoughts are interesting :). But the blog shouldn't be a burden, and if it has become so please feel free to do anything you like about it. If you decide to stop or take a break we will miss you and we won't stop caring. And I do believe some of us will seek you out...

# Peter Lake on 31 Mar 2008 8:27 AM:

Thanks for the past, best of luck in the future.

# Washu on 31 Mar 2008 1:46 PM:

I enjoy your blog, and I read it once or twice a week. Never the less, if you're finding it to be a burden, then there's no reason to continue. Take a break, maybe inspiration will hit again.

I can't say that I blame MS management for their positions, it both helps to remove liability from them, and also allows the authors more freedom than one would think off hand.

Its better to stop blogging now while you can still claim you don't dislike it. Waiting will only end up making you dislike it, which may prevent you from picking it up again at a later point.

# Mihai on 31 Mar 2008 4:08 PM:

15 posts until now, adding number 16.

You know I do enjoy your blog, personal or not.

I think that questioning your blogging and asking if it is personal or not is also questioning the whole Microsoft policy to open-up and allow blogging to begin with.

There is no doubt for me that this whole movement did god to the MS PR, on one side, and greatly benefited the community on the other side.

The main message from reading you blog, or Raimond Chen, or Shawn Steele, or others, is that things in MS products have in most cases a good reason to be as they are. Or had a good reason when they where designed. And that people care, and they are trying hard to do the right thing.

Going beyond the 20 regulars (or 15, or 50, it does not matter), your blog is sent used countless times as an answer to someone's question. Solves a problem. The doc is not always enough, or up to date, or even present. So if one of your posts helps someone solve a problem, official or not, is doing a good thing.

It was nice while it lasted, with blogs, CTPs, very public betas. But it looks like MS is starting to close-up again. Too bad.

# Mihai on 31 Mar 2008 4:12 PM:

Obviously, "did good to the MS PR", not "did god to the MS PR" :-)

# Teknodan on 31 Mar 2008 10:55 PM:

I work for the localization department of a large software company that was recently swallowed up by a much larger software company.  Your blog has been absolutely indespensible in my day-to-day work.

And the technical posts were helpful too.


# Ted on 31 Mar 2008 11:28 PM:

Just for the reason that you host my MSLU CRT rebuild instruction sets -- they'd be lost forever ;)  

In all seriousness, there's no other blog like this on the planet.

# Jan Kučera on 1 Apr 2008 3:50 AM:

Without your blog Michael, I wouldn't knew Liz.

# Diego 'Flameeyes' Pettenò on 1 Apr 2008 8:01 AM:

I'm not a Microsoft user, not by will at least; I'm a Free Software developer, yet I do like following this blog (the only Microsoft blog I read). Both because I find the technical matters of internationalisation, localisation and encoding very interesting, and because it is personal. I do the same, my blog has both technical matters (and I linked you more than a couple of time btw ;) ) and personal stuff.

I did decide about two years ago that I wanted not to be taken for a Gentoo-only kind of guy (Gentoo Linux is where I contribute the most) and replaced my blog, that was before on Gentoo infrastructure, with a personal one I host myself (first at home, now on a vserver). I blogged more freely since then. Lately I've started dividing posts into categories as many people were interested only in the technical matters... I don't really like those readers too much, but I suppose I'll have to live with them, so I leave them an opt out way to ignore my personal posts, which is _not_ the default.

Maybe you could consider this a bit, I sincerely think it would be a lost not only for Microsoft-based developers, but the development community as a whole, to lose both the experience and the personality of such a dedicated individual in the field of internationalisation.

# Aaron Ballman on 1 Apr 2008 4:12 PM:

If your boss(es) don't realize what an asset your blog is to the community as a whole, then perhaps they should leave the managing to others...  Losing this blog would mean the loss of a great resource.

# sam i am on 1 Apr 2008 7:08 PM:

if you ask me, i think it sucks. and i hope you start blogging again soon.

p.s. i will be in san diego on the 10th with all access passes to see louis xiv at hob. if you can make it there, let me know!

# Marc Brooks on 2 Apr 2008 3:11 AM:

Your blog, with all it's personal and "work" content was the first time I felt a personal connection with a blogger and the first time I really felt that Microsoft was made of individuals that cared.

As a very random blogger, I have zero room to talk... but I know how I would feel if you stopped. I would be sad in any and every language I know.

# Martin Bohring on 2 Apr 2008 3:55 AM:

Being 2 weeks on vacations and things start to go down hill.

So I am a little late in realizing you have stopped blogging.

This seems to be a trend lately.

People are harassed or threatened because of their openness.

That is a is a very bad thing to occur.

Your blog has been an invaluable resource to me (I18N)

Also from time to time I read your personal blogs

I hope you will start blogging again very soon.

Maybe as an anonymous blogger.

If the blog is about I18N we will recognize you, because you are one of the very few people with a very deep understanding of I18N.

# Ben Bryant on 2 Apr 2008 7:56 PM:

I am not sure I agree with you in the sense that sure, it is a personal post, and yes you need to continue making it painfully clear it is just you, not Microsoft, talking, because many readers just land here off a google search, realize you work for Microsoft and misinterpret what that means... but... so what? I don't get the leap from there to a lack of support from your management.

Comparing to Raymond, who I think keeps a more observational tone in his Windows posts, I like your attutude which shows more personality in your discussion of issues and even problems in Microsoft technologies. The fact that you're invested comes through and yet no attitude about Microsoft. I'm not even saying you're loyal, you just recognize Microsoft for what it is, a large company with a lot of people in it -- they may make mistakes but there are no sinister agendas.

# Laurent Gébeau on 3 Apr 2008 6:19 PM:

Your posts will miss me.

I'm not in the business of localization, but you make me discover and learn so much about internal things for dev... and poor localization knowledge of developers (you see the "é" in my name, very often scrapped, even in french program or databases...

Open us our minds , learn us more !!!

PS : See you at the MVP summit ?

# Mikkin on 4 Apr 2008 1:26 PM:

Michael, your blog is like a box of chocolates. There is indeed a unifying theme but, being the chocolate yourself, perhaps you are too close to see it.

# Bart Samwel on 5 Apr 2008 7:15 AM:

I read your blog on a daily basis, and I would be very sad to see it go. I've only recently ventured into the depths of internationalization, and your blog has a very good balance of being entertaining (both through personal posts and through interesting and funny technical posts) and informative. Basically, for me it is a window into a different and intriguing world. Of course, if writing this blog doesn't make *you* happy, I wouldn't want to force you to keep writing. I would miss it though.

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2008/04/04 Fight the Future? (#2 of ??), aka Spot the Bug(s)!

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