Happy 23rd anniversary, Jarrett House North

The first post on this site was on March 14, 2000. I date my actual “blogaversary” to a post called “Quarterly Update (i)” that appeared on June 11, 2001, because that’s when I really started blogging in earnest, but the first iteration of this site came on line over a year earlier. It was then hosted on my Power Mac 7200/90 in a locally running Manila instance, so it’s a continuous miracle that it ever got on the web at all.

My writing has ebbed and flowed here over the years, but right now I’m just grateful that I have someplace I can share my thoughts.

Fun fact: the anniversary of Jarrett House North is on the same day as Kottke.org’s anniversary, just two years later.

Blogaversary 15

I haven’t done one of these in a while, but I should acknowledge the inevitable passing of time with a note that June 11, 2016 was my 15th blogaversary. While about five (or more) of those years were spent on hiatus, it’s nice to look back over the last six months and see that, with a few exceptions, I’ve kept the forward momentum from my New Year’s resolution and blogged more or less daily.

There’s something about the discipline of writing daily that helps the brain. I’ve found writing becoming easier. And more: I’ve written some things in the last six months that I’m actually proud of. I think there’s something to the principle that frequent writing leads to better writing, if only because we’re more likely to write something well when we’re in the habit of writing already. The Muse needs someone whose fingers are already near the keyboard.

Blogaversary 10 (a little late)

True to form for this year, not only did I miss writing about my blogaversary on June 11, but I haven’t written much in almost a month. But yes, ten years ago I was a lonely intern at Microsoft, and decided to start writing on line for my family, and Google.

One of the nice things about the blog turning 10 is that I no longer feel like I have to write for anybody. Which is good, since I don’t think anyone other than my friends is still reading. So expect to continue to see occasional links, posts about Glee Club history, and miscellany.

Who knows? Maybe now that I’m a professional product strategist (yes, still working for Veracode, just doing my product management job plus more), I’ll start to write about technology strategy again. We’ll see.

The thing that most strikes me, looking back to ten years ago, is that blogging used to be a thing technologists messed around with. Then it was a subculture for 20somethings. Then, for a few minutes, everyone in the online space did it. Now everyone is sharing their life, but generally doing it through one of multiple competing proprietary spaces, and generally doing it in bite sized chunks.

What has most changed, though, is that no one finds it odd any longer that people would want to have a voice on line. Maybe the majority of folks are choosing to share that voice only with their closest friends, relatives, and that one guy in high school that they sorta remember and friended so as not to offend him, but that’s OK. I think we won the fight between the consumer and producer mentality, when it comes to people producing things online.

Blogaversary 9

Happy blogaversary to me! This year, I’m not going to do a year in review like I did in past years. I’m going to look ahead.

Nine years ago today, I was an intern at Microsoft, on the other side of the country from my wife and family, confused about my work, my direction, and my life. So I opened up a web form and started typing. At first I just wrote about my life and what I was doing, but over time the writing, which I tried to do every day, started helping me think more clearly, and I started to think about what I wanted to do. I wrote about software strategy, customer relationships, music, family life.

Nine years later, I’m living the dream. I have a great job at a company that’s going to take over the world. I have a wonderful family. I sing with one of the best orchestral choruses on the planet.

But I’m not writing much any more. I’ve been pretty much microblogging for the past year–my Delicious feed is most of this blog. I think I want to change that.

We’re going to try an experiment, this first month of my tenth year of blogging. I’m going to try to write something every day. It may not be long, or meaningful. It may not even be good. But I need to try to get back to making my thoughts into words on a daily basis. Like last time, I think I’m going to be surprised at what comes out.

Background reading: My past blogaversaries in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009.

Eight years and counting

True to form for this year, I’m almost a week late with this anniversary observance, but June 11 marked the eighth year of Jarrett House North as a blog. My site, originally started as an occasionally updated static vanity page on March 14, 2000, morphed into a blog during my summer internship at Microsoft in 2001, picked up steam as I finished my MBA, got embroiled in online metrics during my first year at Microsoft then got deep into blogging practice in 2004, did serious houseblogging in 2005, recovered from the aftermath of running the Sony Boycott blog in 2006, kept the pace going in 2007, and crunched the numbers in 2008.

So here’s a retrospective in quantity and quality:

Plus, I half feared that getting engaged with Twitter and Facebook in a serious way would kill this blog, but so far it hasn’t.

Not bad for an eight year old blog. That’s like an 80 year old in blog years.

Blogaversary 7: by the numbers

Sometimes I think I should title this after the first real post on the blog: Quarterly Update (XXVIII). I was so optimistic back then, June 11, 2001, that I never promised anything more than occasional updates. Fortunately, I kept writing, and somehow the habit stuck, through seven years.

Right now the seven years of this blog represent the second longest time interval I’ve spent doing one thing in my adult life (the first would be, of course, being married to my wonderful wife). The blog has been through three different hosts and two different platforms, starting with Manila on UserLand’s EditThisPage.com, moving to my own Manila site and domain name at Weblogger, and then just a month or so ago migrating to WordPress. Along the way, there have been four major redesigns: a Bryan Bell theme, two scratch-built CSS themes, and the current tweaked theme from Excel.

Posts by Month to Jarrett House North
According to WordPress’s stats, the result has been around 4,100 posts, give or take, along with a handful of longer pieces and a bunch of images. The quantity per month, and per year, has fallen off since 2002, but hopefully the quality is increasing (see the chart below for details).

A few fine points on the chart:

  • As always, my blogaversary date is fungible. I began regular posting in June 2001, but there were a small handful of posts in 2000 as well. If I wanted to, I could say that the blog is older than the Tin Man, who began in January 2001, but that wouldn’t be fair.
  • The main sea change in my posting rate happened at the end of 2005, when I took on the Boycott Sony blog in addition to my posting here. There’s not likely to be an event like that to make me slow down here again.
  • My posting frequency was falling off a little this year, until I migrated to WordPress. Now there’s an uptick that I think will continue to go.
  • There’s an inverse relationship between periods in which I was happy with my work and posting frequency. I’m really glad to say that, since 2005, I haven’t been going crazy with the posting.

Of course, the post counts are easy to skew. I used to post two and three sentence posts, now I save that for the linkblog.

So why do I keep posting, anyway? I’ve always liked sharing things I found with people, and apparently people like to read it. Plus there’s my other, time-delayed audience: Google. It’s really rewarding to see what people have found useful in the blog, a long time after I wrote it. Now that the blog has comments again, I’m looking forward to having a more interactive relationship with you, my readers.

My hope is that I will keep doing this for the next seven years, and beyond, and that you’ll stay with me for the ride.

Blogaversary VI

Six years ago today, I sat at a computer in the Seattle suburbs and updated this site, thinking I would manage to update it again only under extreme duress; hence the optimistic title Quarterly Update (I). A funny thing happened shortly thereafter, and I got the blogging bug. And I haven’t been quite the same since.

Oh, this blog and I have had our ups and downs: three redesigns in the first three years; periods of six posts a day and periods of a post every six days; posts about my family, technology, music, and beer; and our dogs and our house. And occasionally I might have written something worth linking to.

I’ve been through periods where I watched my hit counts and my referrers several times a day. Where I despaired if my month over month readership fell. Where I treasured reciprocal links like signs of friendship.

These days? Well, last year I was a little bummed over the fact that my frequency of posting was falling off. In retrospect that was an inevitable fallout of the Sony Boycott blog period, when I was updating two blogs several times a day. But I also think it was a year ago that I first decided that the important thing wasn’t post frequency or readership, blogrolls or PageRank. It was the writing.

So from here on out I think I’ll just keep writing. One post at a time.

After all, this blog isn’t a sprint. It isn’t even a marathon. (For one thing, no one’s kissing the writer in Wellesley.) It’s more like breathing.

Blogaversary 5

As e.e. cummings once wrote, Is 5. He wasn’t talking specifically about my blog, but today, on its blogaversary, he might well be. It was five years ago today, during the summer of 2001, that I got the bug to start writing in this website I had set up, originally on UserLand’s EditThisPage.com service, and I haven’t stopped writing since.

Five years is pretty much forever in blog years, and my blog has started to show its age a little bit. It was last redesigned over two years ago, and the content hasn’t been nearly as compelling in my opinion recently. Part of this is that my job has been very demanding, which is of course a good thing, but over the last six months or so I’ve been lucky if I’ve blogged once a day.

Generally the issue for me is time. I have approximately negative two hours every day for thought, and it’s really making my writing suffer. I hope that next month when I am on some of my retreats with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus to spend some time writing and thinking about my writing and figure out the direction I need to go with the writing.

In the meantime, I think the one thing that will likely stay on the blog is my music writing. Just as soon as I find time to write a couple reviews that I owe for BlogCritics.

But you know, it hasn’t been such a bad five years, as a brief look back over other blogaversaries shows:

  • 2002: “Hard to believe that it was a year ago today that I started this weblog in earnest. At the time I certainly didn’t think I’d stick to it; the title (“Quarterly Update (i)”) indicated a certain… lack of optimism.”
  • 2003: “Since my first blogaversary, graduating from business school, moving 3000 miles, and buying a house, the blog has been a lot less technical and hopefully a little more human (apologies to those for whom either prospect is daunting).’
  • 2004: “I was just getting ready to lament that I hadn’t done so much technology blogging this year, but I really don’t know that I missed it too much.”
  • 2005: “Dear blog, sorry I forgot our blogaversary. Yes, I know you’re mad. This is the second year in a row I forgot …”

Okay, so maybe not the most illuminating tour. Perhaps I’ll just shut up and start working on the next post.

Belated Blogaversary

I can tell I’m really busy. On June 11 I missed observing the occurrence of my third blogaversary. (I was a little prompter about it on Blogaversary 1 and 2.)

It’s been an interesting year. I started to get serious about photography, discovered Kinja, started blogging about work, and bored all of you stiff with dog and house stuff. Oh yeah, and the redesign. And BloggerCon. —Heh. I was just getting ready to lament that I hadn’t done so much technology blogging this year, but I really don’t know that I missed it too much.

Second blogaversary

Today is my second blogaversary. Two years ago I started this blog in earnest and quickly got embroiled in XMLRPC, scripting, and other stuff. Since my first blogaversary, graduating from business school, moving 3000 miles, and buying a house, the blog has been a lot less technical and hopefully a little more human (apologies to those for whom either prospect is daunting).

Some things remain the same: the first post was about listening to Radiohead’s Amnesiac, and music has continued as a theme. The second post was about beer, and I’ve since broken out food and beverage as a separate department (and one that I haven’t written for in a while). The third: about the Mac and streaming audio.


Hard to believe that it was a year ago today that I started this weblog in earnest. At the time I certainly didn’t think I’d stick to it; the title (“Quarterly Update (i)”) indicated a certain… lack of optimism.

I hadn’t counted on the power of writing to overcome some of the loneliness of separation from my family and friends on a new coast, in a new job, in a new industry. Nor on the power of habit to keep me writing, and how practice would improve my prose. Nor on my sister jumping on board. Nor on the blog jumpstarting my programming, nor on my becoming an award nominee. Nor on becoming a realtime blogger.

This weblog continues to be a way for me to stretch in directions that I can’t predict and never imagined. I trust it will continue to be so as I move to Seattle at the end of the month.