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Starting a blog – the end of the beginning

We’re actually getting to the origins of this blog - not exactly full-circle, but near enough. As I have mentioned, COVID-19 led me down some interesting paths, and got me thinking about how everything flowed in a way that seemed reasonable at the time, but which would seem chaotic without the context.

So, how best to explain the context? I listen to quite a number of podcasts, and have thought about trying one at some point (it’s on my mental backlog), but a more-or-less traditional blog seemed the most natural next step for me, particularly since most of the podcasts I listen to also seem to have associated web-pages / blogs. Blogging seemed to be almost entry-level, which suited me well enough.

My first challenge was that different sources define things differently, or combine multiple services. So, I found a number of apple/orange comparisons – services which provide domain registration, site hosting, CMS (Content Management System) platforms, dedicated blogging platforms, and so on, in endless combinations. Initially, I found most of it more confusing than informative.

Rather than avoiding said confusion, I actively embraced it. When learning about a “new” area of interest, I find that immersion results in a flood of random facts which make little sense at first. Eventually, though, pieces start joining up, and things start to make a little more sense.

I decided that, at least currently, I am NOT interested in hosting my own blog, and I’m not interested in spending an inordinate amount of money for hosting – at least until I know that this is something I will be interested in maintaining for the medium/long-term. (So far, so good, I guess. I’ve settled into a roughly-weekly cycle, and will try to build up a backlog of posts to give me a bit of flexibility. Ask me again in a few months.)

Since podcasts were one of the factors which led me down this path in the first place, maybe best to start there? The playlist I currently have posted (, focuses mostly Information Security podcasts, but I listen to a number of other podcasts as well. I will occasionally hear ads for services or platforms associated with web page development and/or blogging, or discussions of those services or platforms. Seemed like a reasonable place to start.

Steve Gibson of Security Now ( sometimes discusses his experience using WordPress as a blogging platform. Mr. Gibson has a lot of good things to say about WordPress, but hosts his own site, so a lot of what he has to say won’t apply in my (current) case. Also, I keep hearing a lot about bad plugins and such. Not strictly WordPress’s fault, but still a bit worriesome.

Troy Hunt also blogs, and often blogs about what he does... Didn’t take long to find his opinion: (, Ghost sounds very interesting if you’re hosting your own, and apparently very good for the hosted version as well, but it’s relatively expensive. I may revisit at some future date, but for now, not for me.

#TIL: “cruft” ( refers to leftovers, “used particularly for defective, superseded, useless, superfluous, or dysfunctional elements in computer software” Interesting!

This research actually took place over several months. One thing was that I did NOT want to pull the trigger on any major projects until I got my CISSP ( exam squared away. The last thing I needed was to be distracted at the last minute – especially after having to reschedule my exam twice. (Originally scheduled for April, but I only wrote the exam in June.)

I found some discussion regarding domain registration vs hosting, and over whether they should be combined or separated, such as Also, free vs paid plans. A number of services provide “free” hosting, but will present their ads on your side. And some services provide a “free” site, but it’s under their domain. All viable / useful options, but I always try to keep in mind the idea that if you’re not paying for the product, you are the product. (I generally associated that idea with Tim Cook of Apple, circa 2015, but #TIL that the idea is much older than that...

All things considered, I was tending towards the free ( service as somewhere to start. As with most things, you will learn a LOT from actually doing, so I pulled the trigger. Starting small, I wanted to make sure that I (at least tried to) keep good records, and give thought to how I want to organize and index things. Last thing I need is a new level of chaos...

Hm. Which email account should I use for the blog service? Can/should I research email aliasing? How about my own domain? Thought a lot about this, and finally landed on the name / domain: TIL Technology ( This eventually led me to Hover (, and to a paid plan.

I guess you could say that was the end of the beginning.




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