What the Blog?

09:57pm | 07/02/2019
Daniel Tompkins

Blogs?? That's right. You haven't time-traveled. We're 19 years past the turn of the millenium. People are giving up their writing to Medium, they're leaving Facebook (not MySpace), and YTMND is disappearing. It's not all bad...

There are still a handful of incredible authors, creators, artists, designers, makers, writers— bloggers who deserve a shoutout. Most of these are independent projects— people who own their platform. One post at a time, they're keeping the Internet from melting into an ad-stickered bathroom— filled with liked, starred, SEO'd rubbish. 👍

1. Sofiya Semenova

Screenshot of Sofiya Semenova's blog.

Screenshot of Sofiya's blog.

I can't remember when I first stumbled upon Sofiya's blog. I love how she pairs each post with a "listening to" link, which redirects to a song on YouTube. Like an O.G. MySpace page, it gives the blog a fantastic added layer of intimacy. The songs are practically a soundtrack to reading the blog, and I can likewise imagine Sofiya in the zone— coding and writing to CRAY or whatever her weekly jam is.

Even though this is mostly a personal blog, she breaks down all of her projects into readily digestible content for the immediate enjoyment of any demographic.

The design is wonderful— pleasant, interactive, responsive, yet minimal. There's a good variety of art, code, writing, and design projects; but everything is well organized to suit your favorite niche.

From a quick inspect, it looks like Sofiya has built her website with Jekyll. It also fails gracefully— with a creative 404 page that I truly appreciate. If you're looking for some new and interesting content by an inspiring artist and developer, definitely give her site a visit.

2. N-O-D-E

Screenshot from https://n-o-d-e.net

Screenshot of n-o-d-e.net.

NODE has been blogging/vlogging for a while. I took a look at Wayback Machine's stored version of the site from December 2014, and was pleasantly surprised at what I found.

Five years ago, the homepage just about matches the current version— a wonderfully minimal list of links to videos, projects, and musing; but it used to be more emulative of an early terminal. The text glows as each character appears— one after the other, as though parsing through some code.

Despite a new logo— a kind of flag for the digital nation-state of NODE— the new n-o-d-e.net has stuck to its roots. The list of hacks, DIY projects, and tech podcasts are thoughtful and well-designed. It's is an insanely useful resource to a community of people who care about decentralized tech.

In the spirit of Stewart Brand's Whole Earth Catalog, the new NODE Zine vol. 1 (digital copy available via dat) successfully aggregates and documents tools for cultivating decentralized culture, including: off-grid comms, DIY wireless infrastructure, 3D printing and tutorials, walk-throughs of native NODE projects, dweb software and websites, and much more.

"The digital version of NODE VOL 01 is free, and can be downloaded on the Dat P2P network:


(If you've never used Dat before, you can install the command line tool from https://datproject.org, or the easier GUI desktop app is available at https://github.com/dat-land/dat-desktop/releases. Alternatively, you can use Beaker Browser https://beakerbrowser.com)"

3. K-Squared Ramblings

Screenshot from www.hyperborea.org

Screenshot from K-Squared Ramblings.

K-Squared Ramblings is a blog by

"A California couple into sci-fi, the Internet, and the strangeness of the world."

Kelson's blog, Hyperborea, uses WordPress. If you don't know how to code, this is one of the easiest and most popular platforms to start your blog. Although— you should learn to code! Kelson, who posts frequently on K2R, picked a nice theme— not too cluttered, with easy navigation.

The biggest reason I like K2R is that it's really a blog on blogging. There are a ton of extremely useful tips and walkthroughs from the author's own experiences— critical thinking on social media and Internet culture, tutorials on using webhooks and automating online tasks, as well as tools for aggregating and curating information online.

If those topics don't persuade you, Kelson also has some great posts and pics for amateur astronomers. I definitely recommend adding his RSS to your daily reader for some new and interesting musings on the social impacts of new tech, privacy, and decentralized culture.

4. Kevin Davis

Screenshot from kevv.net

Screenshot from kevv.net.

A new blog! Kevin Davis only has one post, but I'm excited to stop by again soon to see if kevv.net has any new additions. The one and only article, You (probably) don't need ReCAPTCHA, is insanely thorough.

I was looking for a simple yet effective way to prevent spam in my comments and "subscribe" forms— without using Google's reCAPTCHA. I love Kevin's deep-dive into the various CAPTCHA (completely automated public Turing tests) devices and methods.

From common to curious, Kevin documents the world of CAPTCHA. Give it a read when you've gotten your fifth @domstats.su subscriber, or feel like you'd rather have more human subscribers than bots.

I've been on the blog hunt. It started for this post, but now I realize that I should have been doing this a long time ago. You should too! I know Medium might feel easy and accessible, but that's because it's in the networks you hardly ever leave.

There are a ton of other blogs that I want to list here, but I've been holding on to this post for too long— so that's it. I just want to leave you with this: get outside your networks— try harder to discover new places on the Web outside of Facebook and Google. You won't be disappointed.

If you liked this list, or want to see the rest of my picks for What the Blog?, checkout my bookmarks dump— look under 'Blogs (Independent)' and 'Blogs (Journals)'. Additionally, I've found Github actually has some lengthy lists for finding some exceptional blogs. Checkout these links: