What this is all about

Welcome. You’ve probably just stumbled across this blog. More than likely by accident; perhaps a link to it has turned up unexpectedly in a search you’ve just done for something unrelated.

In any case, a few words by way of introduction (I won’t say explanation as I think that this is a case of “for those who understand, no explanation is necessary; for those who don’t, no explanation is possible”):

I was urged (goaded, cajoled, prodded…) into starting a blog by, amongst others, my wife. She’s been blogging for some time, and in fact I have been involved in her adventures in blogging and, more recently, podcasting from the beginning.  You’ll find links to some of her efforts over in the sidebar under the rubric “Wabi Sabi Universe”.

Very occasionally as a contributor of written or spoken words, but more usually behind the scenes: hand coding the HTML for her first blogging efforts (back in the Dark Ages, before blogging was mainstream and the panoply of tools now available had even begun to be thought of), then monkeying around with TypePad advanced templates to give her blog the look-and-feel she wanted that the standard templates just didn’t have.

She was an early adopter of TypePad, one of the beta-test subscribers (“Member since 07/2003“), and back then the only way to get fancy with TypePad was to get under the hood and tinker with Advanced Templates; as TypePad has evolved, I can now make her blogs — yes, there are several on the go now — have the desired LAF with a few simple tweaks in the Custom CSS template. By staying away from the advanced templates, maintenance becomes so much easier and when TypePad introduces new features they integrate (pretty much) seamlessly; neither was the case when using advanced templates.

So, from this mainly behind the scenes experience with blogging, I’ve finally started a blog of my own. But why on WordPress? The TypePad account we have allows an unlimited number of blogs, so I could blog there (although it gets a bit tricky what with there only being one “About” page, profile and so on… I end up being set up as a “guest author”) and in fact I had started to re-purpose one of our disused TypePad blogs (www.toutes-directions.com, in case you’re interested…) to do just that.

Then I ran into Craig the Airplane man on the FeedBurner support forums. He was having problems getting his Jefferson Airplane podcast off the ground (so to speak…) and was frustrated by the unhelpful answers he had been getting from various sources. His podcast’s site is a WordPress.com blog, craigtheairplaneman.wordpress.com, so when I offered to help him solve the problems he was having with getting the RSS feed set up and accepted by the podcast directories, I realized I needed to know a bit more about the workings of a WordPress blog.

Since WordPress.com offers free blogs, I signed up for one; this is it. I tinkered a bit to give it a LAF I’m comfortable with, and I am getting used to the editing features (some of which I find annoying, but overall it seems to work well — mainly it’s the differences from what I’m used to on TypePad that cause me some grief from time to time, and I must say that WP does have some nifty things that TP lacks; the semi-static Pages for instance — I can fake them in TP but it’s a bit of work).

Having got it set up, I was able to look at the XML behind the RSS feed and diagnose Craig’s problem. I told him what appeared to be breaking the feed (a space in the MP3 filename that prevented the enclosure tag from being generated, if you’re curious) and causing it to be rejected by the ‘cast directories; he was able to implement the fix himself and successfully create a FeedBurner feed that was accepted by the directories (Bravo, Craig!).

Having gone to the trouble of setting up this blog, I suppose I really should keep using it.

As for the name, Unconventional Wisdom, and the sub-title ‘Thinking outside the tesseract — please leave “common knowledge” at the entrance.‘ — I have found that when someone starts out an explanation of why they believe something with “conventional wisdom says” or the close relative “it’s common knowledge”, it is usually something based on convenience to the believer rather than being the result of careful consideration.

A kind of mental crutch then, to avoid having to put any effort into reaching a conclusion; thus do conventional wisdom and common knowledge spring forth, fully formed, from nothing more than the fervent desire of the believer that it be so.

The distinguishing characteristic of conventional wisdom and common knowledge is the uncanny way they always support and justify the believer’s actions. After all, why would anyone bother making the effort to go beyond the convenient, conventional wisdom to potentially arrive at a conclusion that’s contrary to what they desire?

Now, I’m probably as lazy as the next homo sapiens, but I just don’t believe it’s right to not make the effort to look at all the sides of an issue, to carefully and rationally consider the effects on others as well as myself. So, even though it sometimes leads me to reach a conclusion that’s not as beneficial to me as accepting the conventional wisdom or common knowledge on the subject, I do try to make the effort.

And a tesseract? It’s also known as a hypercube, a four-dimensional analogue of a cube — it’s my way of encouraging you to think really outside the box…

But I’ve gone on far too long. More another day.


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