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ex machina

a rambling request for comments.

i was talking with a friend today who asked when i was going to go back to writing about the kinds of things i used to write about before july fourth; as it happens i've been thinking a lot about that very issue, so the request motivated me post a few thoughts about it and give readers and opportunity to give me some feedback on what they'd like to see in the future. for over four years "ex machina" was my little spot in the larger vast wasteland for posting my thoughts on pretty much any ol' topic. when i started posting "the eric update" i thought after a few posts to keep family and interested "old timers" up-to-date, i'd settle back into the familiar routine, occasionally posting nicu photos and commentary to keep people abreast of developments. i certainly had no clue that "the eric update" would quickly gain worlwide attention and that 8 months later there would be thousands of people visiting every day who only know me as the "micropreemie" dad who likes to take pictures and not the superdork who writes about boring things that exactly two people might be interested in.

basically, i'm trying to think of ways to go back to writing about topics other than a chronicle of odin's adventures while remaining mindful that new visitors coming to the site for the first time from, say, the premature birth faq or daddytypes ( or innumerable links from preemie forums ) might be a little confused if they find a long and winding post on how the rise in popularity of folksonomies may or may not be due to the "worse is better" principle. relatedly, i'm wondering how many people are interested in long and winding posts on odin's sleeping habits. while i've always been interested in keeping a visual record of odin's adventures similar in concept to 10 years of my life, i'm as surprised as anyone to find myself giving and getting parenting advice on infant sleep habits.

so, i guess this is a long way of soliciting input from visitors on a potential sitewide redesign/reorganization. scenarios might include stopping posting frequent "eric updates" on ex machina and simply uploading the occasional photo to flickr. or maybe i'll retire the conflux and {bio, medical} informatics sections, while keeping the frequent "eric updates" here and moving all the dorky stuff to the main page. or maybe i'll turn the lights out altogether on the vast wasteland and keep my opinions and photos to myself :-)

to put it another way, i'd be mighty obliged if you took a moment to tell me why you visit this humble site and what you'd like to more or less of so i can factor it into my grand plans for a redesign that will hopefully happen before the end of the decade.

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3/11/2005 11:29:00 PM 18 comments


As one of the two people eagerly waiting to hear what you think about folksonomies, I really expected to get tired of Odin updates after the first month or so. To my surprise, I'm still not the least bit bored by them, no matter what. In part, that's just because I've been reading you all these years not because I like to read about the things you talk about, though I do/did, but because I like the way you write, about web tech and about crinkly orange books.

At this point, I'd say that Odin owns ex machina, and you can't take it away from him, but if you want to carve out a new techie den to let the old Eric have a place of his own, too, I'll be there.

By Blogger Phil Ringnalda, at 12:01 AM  

I came to your site in the midst of Odin's journey in the NICU. Now that he's home and healthy, I still come every day to see the adorable photos and just to relish his "normal baby" activities. A lot of that is personal, being the mom of a 34 weeker who is now almost 3.
Why should I care that a cute 8-month-old slept through the night? I don't know why I do. But then again, why do I (and so many others) care how many diapers Trixie has used in her 1 year, 7 months and 11 days on this planet?
I agree with Phil, that Ex Machina is now Odin's and you can't take that away from him.
Personally, I'm not interested in all the geeky stuff (no offense), but I really would miss a daily Odin update. Just my thoughts....

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:35 AM  

I'm a future NICU nurse--a little over a year, now, until I graduate and get liscensed. I guess that's the main reason I read. It was fascinating for me to see what I'll be doing eventually.
Now, I read to see how he turns out--I'm a big fan of knowing the outcomes.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:31 AM  

I follow blogs on writing, acting, tech, food, Eric, and other subjects, and I notice that the blogs I stay with are the better-written ones. You write well enough that I'd be interested in reading what you have to say on a number of topics, so if you resume writing techie stuff, I'll certainly take a look. That said, I'd miss not hearing abut little Odin, although if it's not every day that's okay too. Follow your muse.

By Blogger Neil, at 1:42 AM  

I came upon your blog from the initial boingboing post, and I've gotten hooked on little oden's progress. Please don't stop updating us on him!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:15 AM  

Ex Machina is certainly now the Odin Corner of the vast wasteland, but I'd be happy to see yet another corner carved out for the geeky stuff. And start updating the informatics page again!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:14 AM  

hey, it's nice to see people commenting despite continual blogger comment flakiness. and familiar "faces", too! i figured most of the "old timers" had long since jumped ship :-)

i won't have much time to comment on the comments as we're off for a field trip to chicago! and i just now discovered that they're having st. paddy's day parade, which should make getting into and out of downtown, er, interesting.

"And start updating the informatics page again!

ha! a vote for the informatics page from a really, really old timer :-) i was thinking about "retiring" the section, but maybe i should give it some more thought...

By Blogger e3, at 8:51 AM  

I am so glad you asked. If you had told me last June that I would eagerly look every morning for the news of a baby in Michigan, I would have put you right on the whacker list. In the olden days, I used to read you on and off. When Odin interupted that, I was interested and then I was really interested and then I was totally hooked. And, I still am.

I have no children. I have never had children. I have never been interested in children. I am a 56 year old woman who pretty much regards children as large, usually annoying pets that other people insist on keeping around.

So I am totally mystified by my fascination with your accounts of Odin. Best I can figure, somehow I have the whole thing confused with some technology advancement.

Regardless... if I had to pick one Odin or tech talk - lordhelpme - I'd have to vote for Odin. If a comment can shake its head in amazement, this comment is doing it.

By Blogger susandennis, at 10:47 AM  

I say, write about it all... especially Odin. I'm one of those BoingBoing viistors, a fellow 'preemie, and an appreciator of good blogs. It's always good to get back to oneself, while giving the people what they want. :-)

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:13 PM  

I logged onto this site around the time that my cousin Dolly told me about Odin's coming to visit her and great uncle Al for sauna some time last fall. It's been very interesting and educational and so heartwarming to follow his adventures from the time of his very early birth. I have a friend who had a preemie daughter born just last month who weighed in at 1lb, 1 oz and they have a website going through CaringBridge so we all can follow her growth and development here in Minneapolis. I was also able to forward her your website so she and her husband won't feel a bit alone in their own adventure.

Ex machina is all greek to me, and like the others who have posted have said, I've come to associate it with Odin, so it probably does belong to him now...especially since he is no longer hooked up to those machines. So keep those updates coming.

Maryjo (an ex yooper)

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:02 PM  

I stumbled across this site last July. I've never known it as anything other than "the Eric page." I check in often, because pictures of Eric make me smile. If you feel the need to taper off somewhat, so be it, but I truly enjoy your commentary!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:34 PM  

I'm probably agreeing with most of the other comments, but I'm totally hooked on Eric's updates. I'm not a tech/geeky fan. Even though Eric is home and doing well, I still always look at his updates and can't wait to see what he is doing next. If you feel the need to do both - my vote is to have a seperate blog for the tech stuff and keep the baby blog going!!!
Tina from AL

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:16 AM  

thanks for all your great comments and occasional compliments. it's nice to see that there are still a few people visiting on the weekend and not just while they're are work :-)

it does appear that the overwhelming consensus is that odin owns "ex machina", so i guess i'll probably move the new (old) stuff somewhere else. jeeez, the kid comes along and takes over my sandbox....

By Blogger e3, at 2:07 PM  

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

By Blogger Sandi, at 9:12 PM  

Of course he comes around and takes all your stuff. He stole my heart too and that is why I read :-) Well, really he has to share it with my miracle twins and their little sister who is on the way but who is counting.

By Blogger Sandi, at 9:13 PM  

Hello! I found your site when Odin came home, and immediately read all of the preceding posts.

What struck me most about the Odin updates was that although you guys went/are going through a LOT of stress and worry, you never ever seem to regret having a kid or direct any of your angst toward odin. Have you read some of the parenting blogs out there? They have perfectly normal, ahead-of-the-curve kids, with normal births and they whine and complain on and on. Then they disappear from my bookmarks.

In short, it's your writing (and your heart in the writing) that kept me here. Since you explained the trials and tribulations and victories of micropreemie life so well, I'm sure I'll learn even more when you start talking about geekier things again.

By Blogger Kimberly @, at 10:48 AM  

I, for one, would sorely miss hearing about Odin's adventures. That said, I am not into the technical stuff and didn't start reading ex machina until after Odin was born - I think I found you through Daddy Types or something. I would be fine with a less than daily story (I think you mentioned something at one point about going more into a "Trixie Update" mode with less frequent stories), but I really enjoy the daily pictures. I share Odin's story with my grandmother as well, over the phone, as she doesn't have a pc that supports internet connection (gasp!).

Anyway, yours is one of my favorite blogs. It's amazing to me that you can take something as normal as bathing or a peds appointment and make it interesting. I'd like to still be reading about Odin when he's starting kindergarten, and on down the line, or at least seeing pictures and captions. :-)

By Blogger KelliAmanda, at 12:01 PM  

I love seeing Odin's little round head: don't take it away. I also love techie stuff, and since you're becoming one of my "imaginary friend families," I'd like to know more about the other parts of your lives.

Mary (and my daughter, "The Beetle")

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:27 PM  

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[ rhetoric ]

"it is hard to be brave," said piglet, sniffing slightly, "when you're only a Very Small Animal." rabbit, who had begun to write very busily, looked up and said: "it is because you are a very small animal that you will be Useful in the adventure before us."

the complete tales & poems of winnie the pooh

[ about ]

this site chronicles the continuing adventures of my son, odin, who was unexpectedly born on the fourth of july at 25 weeks gestation, weighing 1 pound 7 ounces.

he's quite a fighter and you can always send him a postcard to the most current address listed here if you're inspired by his adventures. see the postcard project/google maps mashup to see a map of the postcards.

if you're new, you can browse the archives to catch up. and don't forget to watch a few movies that i made while we were in the neonatal intensive care unit. or if you want the abridged version and you can find a copy, you can read about his adventures in the november 2005 issue of parents magazine.

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