This blog is kind of hard to describe, but people keep clicking on this "About" page, so I suppose I ought to have a go at it. It often gets categorized as a Portland blog, or as a photoblog, or often both. There's a grain of truth to that; I do live here, and I do post a lot of photos, most of them taken here. Sometimes the photos also come with a bit of research, if they're photos of an interesting place or thing or whatever, and I'm able to find out anything useful about the subject by searching the interwebs. Other times it's just photos, or the occasional video clip, although I'm not a particularly talented videographer and you'll probably get seasick watching those. Vacation photos also show up here now and then, since I figure this humble blog's Gentle Reader(s) need occasional breaks from all the rain and moss and rust and fog. In addition, I've realized over time that the prospect of posting vacation photos makes me more likely to take vacations instead of just working all the time. That's kind of sad, a bit pathetic even, but there you have it.

Oh, and every so often I switch gears and write about craptacular bad movies I've seen. In fact, this blog is named after a sort of Art Deco tunnel boring machine from a very obscure 1951 SF movie. People tend to assume that, since this is a "Portland blog", the name must be about bicycles and aerial trams. It's a reasonable guess, but no. As for why I picked the name, well, the first ten or fifteen or so names I'd tried before "cyclotram" were taken, and there was beer involved, and it seemed like a really great idea at the time.

In short (he says after two long paragraphs), I tend to look at this blog as an outlet for general curiosity, in which close-at-hand subjects (downtown Portland, bridges, flowers etc.) tend to get the lion's share of coverage. Also, sometimes there are cat photos.

You might notice that this is generally not the most personal of personal blogs. You typically won't see a single word here about what I had for breakfast, or the annoying thing a friend or relative just did, or the funny navel lint I just found, or that sort of thing. Trust me, this blog is much more interesting for the absence of all that. And I just prefer it that way: Not overly personal, yet still written under a pseudonym. It probably goes without saying that I don't do Facebook. I mean, if you're really curious you could always peek at my Blogger profile, but if anything it's even less interesting than the page you're reading now.

One thing I almost never do here is write about work. I mean, software engineering is a fascinating topic, and I could probably fill an entire blog just talking about what I do every day, along with related topics. If I was so inclined, I mean, which I'm not. I mean, this blog has a mostly-moribund sibling that focused on the SCO Group saga from a few years ago, but that was kind of a discrete special case, and one that for all intents and purposes has been over for several years now. At one point I considered morphing SNR into a general tech blog, but I just sort of didn't want to spend my spare hours doing that.

At some point in your life you've probably gotten the standard guidance counselor advice everyone else gets. You're told that if you enjoy doing something, you really ought to do it for a living, and you should always be looking for ways to turn all your interests into cash. As far as I'm concerned that's the worst advice ever given. I'm not keen on telling anyone else what to do, but I would be terribly depressed if everything in my life was just about work and making a little more money.

The flip side of that is that there are zero ads here on this humble blog. I considered it at one point, but I wondered: If page views suddenly equaled money, what would I do differently in order to get more of them? I soon decided I'd rather not know, and I'd also rather not know exactly how little money there is in this whole blog racket. So no ads.

In the same vein, all the photos are Creative Commons (Share Alike) licensed; I get much more enjoyment out of photos showing up on Wikipedia (for example) than I would from making a little extra pocket change and having to constantly police the net looking for people pilfering my work. At one point I said I was considering Creative Commons for the text here too, in case anyone ever wanted to borrow it. I'm a little sad to report that the subject's never once come up over the years, though.

So that all sounds great and highly principled and pure and so forth, but I probably ought to add a small asterisk to everything I just said. Purity is uninteresting, and I reserve the right to change stuff around if I ever change my mind. It's not like you'll show up here tomorrow (for some reason) and suddenly see a bunch of popup Flash ads and sponsored pseudo-reviews of blade servers or PS3 games, or there'll be giant ugly watermarks all over the photos, or I'll change all the fonts to Comic Sans, or anything. But if I ever do start blogging about work regularly, or someday some unobtrusive little Google ads show up on the sidebar, I just want to be clear that I only ever said I probably wouldn't do that. If I do, I'll be happy to explain, but I don't want to have to apologize.