I'm writing this at Mia's party. Everything's calmed down into mellow worship. Several people have gone home already. A few minutes I felt rather compelled to grab my laptop and make a blog entry, but I suddenly feel as though I don't have very much to say. I was just thinking about moving into the new place, which will happen a week from Tuesday. It will be nice to be in my own home again and not living with someone else. Since I'm the one who has "a real job" Mike will be living with me. It's the semantics that make all the difference.
The title. The title of this post may leave you wondering what it is that I've figured out. I've had this problem of journaling for a while now, about what gets written into it, who's going to read it, where does this leave the paper journal, etc. Some things can't be said when there's an expectation that another human will or can read it afterwards. Well, let's just say that I've almost got it figured out. I've come to the realization that UNIX comes with the perfect journaling software standard on every system I've ever encountered. This journaling system is called Sendmail. Journaling is quite like e-mail in that it's a series of semi-independant messages that all belong in the same file. This is exactly what any modern MTA does. Now, of course Sendmail is rather overkill for a mere journal where vi would suffice. Overlook doesn't have sendmail though, it's got exim. But it's got all of the features built into it that I'd need already. It automatically records the date, subject, and lots of other metadata. It's perfect. The deficiency of the paper journal was exemplified the day I bought it. Raquel came over to do her taxes and see saw it sitting there. She picked it up, said "Oh, is this your journal? Don't worry, I wont open it", and then opened it. Now, this is nothing against Raquel, she just wanted to see the inside cover and she wasn't intending to read any at all. It was funny, and it showed how easily anyone can just come along and read it. Why put secret things in such an accessible location? So the paper journal is out. Segue back to the UNIX journal. The electronic journal has a number of advantages and a few disadvantages. First, is that it's more securable. I still haven't decided if I want a record that someone else can read later, just not now, in which case I can just use standard UNIX file permissions to prevent other users from reading it. If anyone gained access to my account, or rooted me, they would have access to read the journal. My secondary option is to encrypt the contents of each message, that way even if someone gained access under my uid they still wouldn't be able to read the contents. The problem with that is that if I die the information contained therein is lost forever. I've seen how Mike and Sean both treasure their parents' journals. I've lived for a number of years and kept no records of those times. Maybe my kids will be satisfied enough with my blog, but I feel that if they read about the things I wouldn't record here they might feel that they've identified with me better. There's also the standard question of data loss and backup. Just in case my computer completely fries I'll need to have an off-site backup, or fireproof safe or something to store archives in. Maybe I'll buy a datastick for it. I wonder how long those things last. Well, since I didn't really have anything to say anyway, and several people are giving me a hard time for being in the back room with my laptop I think I'll go back out with the crowd and mingle a little.