New Year, New Website

Posted Saturday, January 1, 2022 by Sri. Tagged JOURNAL

I've wanted to redo my old website for quite some time, but it has been a daunting challenge because there are no pre-made systems that handle the million-plus words I have in the way I want. So I thought I would start a brand new site as a blank slate so I could look forward. There are several reasons why I am doing this now.

  • The main reason is that I've come out as non-binary transgender in some of my public circles, and I have been slowly transitioning my personal identity away from male pronouns and titles. "David" and "Dave" are names I no longer wish to use, though professionally and legally I am bound to them still. As I figure out what it means to socially transition, I've been calling myself "Sri"

    "Sri" is the name of my old Star Trek Online / WildStar characters from 2007

    (pronounced "Sree") and have chosen to spell it like "Dsri" to have a sense of continuity with the old name and be a little more unique.
  • I've also wanted to make a knowledge management system that works the way I think, but until recently I didn't have the development experience to make that happen. Now I do, having spent the last few years learning how to write experimental programs for learning science research.

  • Finally, a key insight from last year's Groundhog Day Resolutions was that I may have achieved what I needed while chasing a different goal: to have an informal creative community that makes me want to share what I'm leaning and doing. This community is, of course, the DS|CAFE Virtual Coworking Discord that I've been maintaining for the last 5 or so years. I originally thought that I had to learn how to make a lot of money first so I could travel and research without the need to work a 9-5 job.

I'd like to organize this website around building contextual modeling; I realized last year that this is how I engage with the world. I spend huge amounts of time establishing models in my head before I can do anything, and they are at the core of my learning cycle. Back in 2011 I wrote about Explore Learn Build Share which "felt right" but wasn't quite concrete enough for me to convert into sustained action.

Having contextual modeling as my "core focus" is great, but I am not sure how to build the site around it. In the past few years there have been movements toward open notebook science and digital gardening, and I'd like to combine that with the community aspects of webrings. Technology-wise, I've looked into Hugo and Ghost as replacements for Wordpress. Ghost is a blogging system which seems too inflexible for digital gardening, but it would be good for disseminating news. In the meantime, I'm learning how to use Hugo, having scratched out a minimal theme using Tufte CSS as the typographical base. It's a start!

With that, I hope this is the beginning of an auspicious year of content creation!