This blog is a dumping ground for all the random thoughts, bits of humor, and relatively useful information that I think are interesting enough to share with the world. It’s my “fingerprint on the web,” my own personal bike shed. What do I mean by “bike shed”? The term derives from an email on the FreeBSD mailing list:

C. Northcote Parkinson wrote a book in the early 1960s, called Parkinson’s Law, which contains a lot of insight into the dynamics of management. Parkinson shows how you can go into the board of directors and get approval for building a multi-million or even billion dollar atomic power plant, but if you want to build a bike shed you will be tangled up in endless discussions.

Parkinson explains that this is because an atomic plant is so vast, so expensive and so complicated that people cannot grasp it, and rather than try, they fall back on the assumption that somebody else checked all the details before it got this far.

A bike shed on the other hand… Anyone can build one of those over a weekend and still have time to watch the game on TV. So no matter how well prepared, no matter how reasonable you are with your proposal, somebody will seize the chance to show that he is doing his job, that he is paying attention, that he is here.

In Denmark we call it “setting your fingerprint.” It is about personal pride and prestige; it is about being able to point somewhere and say “There! I did that.” It is a strong trait in politicians, but present in most people given the chance. Just think about footsteps in wet cement.

Poul-Henning Kamp, October 2, 1999

So the “bike shed” is a metaphor for this weblog. I can point to it and say, “See? I did that!”