Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Annoucing YATB (Yet Another Theory Blog)

Jon Katz has a blog Random Bits

We've put it on our blogroll.

What will it be about? To quote Jon himself:

The blog will cover random topics, but especially crypto. It was started because there are currently no (active) crypto blogs and I hope this will become, to paraphrase Lance, a meeting place for the crypto community where we would have some discussions, sometimes quite heated, over the issues of concern to our community
Some advice for Jon and any new blogger:
  1. In your technical posts try to have the first paragraph so that if someone doesn't want to read the rest of it they still get something out of.
  2. Spellcheck!
  3. Will you post every day but almost never make comments on the blog (Bill and Lance model)? Will you post once a week but make lots of comments on your own blog (Scott Aaronson model)? Will you post class notes? (Luca does that. Scott sometimes.) Will you be controversial or stear clear of controversy? (I'll let you guess who does what, it varies at times.) Do you have guest posts? What is your policy on anonymous commenters? There are no right and wrong answers; however, you should have answers.
  4. If you have an idea for a blog try to write it up as soon as possible while you still are enthused about it. If it doesn't work then put it aside--- it may combine well with another idea later.
  5. Keep a backlog of blogs that are timless.
  6. Don't get upset at lack of comments, stupid comments, comments that misinterpret your post, or off-topic comments. You will get all of these.
  7. If you try to make each blog perfect you will have a hard time getting anything out.
  8. Technical posts are harder to write then others and may get tiring (though Lipton's doing just fine with them). Pace yourself on those.


  1. "timless", Bill? How about that spellcheck? Not that spellchecks would work all the time: "stear clear"... :)

  2. No, he spelled it correctly. But in the interest of balance, may I also suggest keeping a backlog of blogs that do mention Dr. Roughgarden?

  3. harder to write then --> harder to write than

  4. What's the point of using an unattractive acronym (YATB) with no purpose?

  5. Great comments--I wish I had seen them before I started.

    Also would suggest whatever you do, stay away from Lance/Bill mode, since they are the best at what they do.

  6. Kudos on your list of tips for new bloggers -- greatly appreciated! I'd like to add a tip of my own that will hopefully benefit your readers.

    When I started my "Jerusalem Mosaics" blog (dedicated mainly to cryptanalysis of classical cryptographic systems) a few months ago, ideas for blog postings came rushing in fast and furious. The ideas came both when I was sitting at my home computer and away from home. To be honest, I was worried about forgetting and losing ideas.

    I still get ideas frequently both at home and on the road. The problem remains: how do I avoid forgetting these ideas?

    My tip? When an idea occurs to you, wherever you are, e-mail yourself with a conspicuous subject (e.g. "Blog: Excellent exposition of Hidden Markov Models").

    Back at your home computer, just move the e-mail to a dedicated blogging folder and your idea is safe. Review the folder whenever you're looking for a blogging topic.

    I've built up a reservoir of ideas to last me through the upcoming months, and am overjoyed when I see a long-forgotten idea sitting patiently in the folder, waiting to be published.