So I got myself a wordpress.com blog. This unnerves me a little, because I already have several blogs — the threat of blogiferation looms large. On the other hand, each blog has its own character, indeed, needs to have a strong personality to attract readers. This is something I learnt from my first and primary blog, serendipity: it started out as a blog without focus, but has since, almost automatically, undergone a narrowing to language and linguistics topics.
This first blog, and WordPress, have also taught me a lot. I had next to no programming experience, but soon started hacking WordPress and learning about the plugin API, to turn my site into a bilingual blog. I hacked WordPress some more and created the Eggcorn Database, which isn’t a blog but a lexical database. And I’ve played with other CMS, installed and customised WordPress, created themes, opened yet another, pseudonymous, blog for my personal thoughts — to give those people who are interested in them a place to go and at the same time keep the stuff some might find objectionable a few clicks away from a Google search for my real name.
Blogging has turned me into a bumbling (but improving!) writer, but also, to my surprise, somewhat of a geek. At the same time, and only loosely related to becoming a blogger, I’ve developed a keen interest in language and its reflection on the web and in computing: automatic text handling, encoding issues, typography, multilingual web design. In addition, I’ve made the total switch from Microsoft Windows to GNU/Linux, first Debian, then Ubuntu. All this has been possible because of the existence of free software. It has given me a lot, so maybe it is time to give something back.
Thus, Debutante Geek is my answer to this. I will post tips and tricks that are useful for the average competent blogger or free software user, point out sites or applications I find particularly useful, write up my thoughts about the technology that surrounds us. The blog is geared towards users like myself: not the über-geeks, but beginners in many respects, yet with a desire to master the tools that this confusing and alluring new technology-permeated worlds offers us.