Unsung Blogger of the Week #11

This week’s featured blogger is Mark Draughn. He has been maintaining his blog Windypundit for over 3 years now. The text of the email interview follows: 1. Please write a brief profile of you and your involvement with blogging I live and work from home as a software developer on the north west side of Chicago, Illinois, USA. I’ve got a BS and MS in Computer Science from IIT (Illinois Institute of Technology, not the one in India). I had started on a Ph.D., but I decided to relax and enjoy my life instead. I started Windypundit in July 2002 (when it was still not completely lame to name your blog something-pundit) as a generally  commentary and opinion blog. Although Chicago is the “Windy City,” I don’t confine myself to Chicago-related topics. This year  I’ve started teaching myself photography, so I’m posting some of the better pictures, either as standalone photoblogging or as editorial content. 2. How do you publicize your blog? I only just started thinking about this. Sometimes I get readers –and eventually links—from sites where I’ve posted comments, but I don’t post comments just to get traffic. If I post original content (not just my opinion) such as my photographs of Chicago-area buildings threatened by abuse of eminent domain, then I’ll send a few links to others who’ve blogged about the subject. Also, I’ve recently joined the
“Life, Liberty, Property” community at TTLB. 3. Which techniques have worked for you and which ones
have not? The LLP community at TTLB has raised my position in the TTLB
ecosystem. I went from a rank of about 13000 to about 3200
in a week. On the other hand, syndication through Bloglines hasn’t really paid off. Only a couple of people subscribe. My biggest splash in the blogosphere was a total accident. I used to be a subscriber to Keyhole’s software for displaying satellite photos on a virtual globe. Google bought them and released an upgraded product called Google Earth. As a subscriber, I got a beta copy, and I installed it and blogged about it that evening, including pictures and a list of new features. Unknown to me, I had just broke the Google Earth story. “Content Is King” is a cliché because it’s true: I got Slashdotted and saw a three-hundred-fold
surge in visits over about 2 days.
[Google + Keyhole = Google Earth – the slashdotted post. -Ed.] I suppose if I wanted to, I could exploit all that attention by starting a digital mapping site, but I’m just not that interested in mapping. Most of the traffic died off pretty quickly, but to this day, I still get more visits to that single page than to the whole rest of the blog. 4. What do you consider as your best post so far? You can
include upto 3. A lot of people have told me they like my Memorial Day post.
[Some superb pictures here from Naperville’s Riverwalk. -Ed.] Here’s one of my angrier political posts about the seemingly
saintly folks at MADD.
Finally, here’s a little piece about “The Greatest American”
and all the different ways to be great. 5. What are your Top 5 Unsung Blogs ? (please include
only those that are not in any Top 100/500 lists). Google Blogoscoped – Lots of interesting stuff about Google
and search technology, by Philipp Lenssen.
Drug WarRant – Pete Guither arguing for peace in the War On
CrimLaw – Links and stories by Ken Lammers, a criminal
defense attorney in Virginia. [Make sure to read “Dial G for Murder“.
Google can be too much of a good thing sometimes! – Ed.]
Capital Freedom – Solid free-market thinking…that’s not
too hard on the eyes. Anne Arkham – Other than the Windy City, we have nothing in common, but she’s an interesting read. [Interesting
indeed. Anne has a post on her meeting with Bill Clinton. -Ed.]
6. What are your current book recommendations ? (1 or 2
is sufficient). Way before Freakonomics, there was The Armchair Economist: Economics And Everyday Life
by Steven Landsburg

Currently reading In The Red Zone by Steven Vincent
7. What are your current movie recommendations ?
(1 or 2 is sufficient) Nothing these days looks good. I’m currently going through
the first season of “The Wire” on DVD.