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Core Networking and Security 100th Blog Post

Four years of blogging about Core Networking and Security (and IPv6)

This is my 100th blog post for the Network World Cisco Subnet community. As I reflect on the last four years of writing this blog, I think about the fun I've had sharing ideas with you and hearing your feedback. In this blog I list the most popular articles and review how IPv6 adoption has changed over the years. I share with you my writing process and ask for your input on future blogs.

Most Popular Blog Topics

There are many talented Network World bloggers who share their insight with the world and, as a result, their blogs are very popular. This blog may not have the catchiest titles or be on news-worthy topics written by a journalist. My blog is not the most popular, but it gets a decent number of hits for a column on computer networking and security. This blog draws between 1% and 2% of all of Network World's blogs visits. My articles tend to have a "long tail" and get hits many months after they were posted. My blog gets between 10,000 to 20,000 hits each month out of the million or more hits that all Network World blogs receive.

Here is a list of the top 10 articles, in order of popularity.

1.) Windows 7 IPv6 Support 

2.) Seven secret weapons for network management on a budget

3.) Tagging the Native VLAN

4.) IPv6 Subnet Calculators

5.) Cisco ASA Version 8.3

6.) Allow Both TCP and UDP Port 53 to Your DNS Servers

7.) IPv6: Dual stack where you can; tunnel where you must

8.) Ethernet on a Ring

9.) Cisco USB Console Ports

10.) Testing NAT64 and DNS64

IPv6 Retrospective

Even though my blog is titled "Core Networking and Security," I often write about IPv6. I have written a lot on the topic of IPv6 in the past years because IPv6 is a passion of mine. From the hit counts, we can see that my non-IPv6-related articles are most of my most popular blogs, but a few IPv6-related articles have made it into the top 10.

I like learning about IPv6, teaching about it and helping organizations deploy it. I want to avoid being typecast as "that IPv6 guy." I don't want to be like Bob Denver (actor who played Gilligan on Gilligan's Island) and not be able to write about anything other than IPv6. I actually have a broad range of interests in networking-related technologies and I always like learning new things (frankly, who doesn't).

When I started this blog in 2009, the U.S. Federal government had already passed its June 2008 IPv6 mandate. It was clear that these "unfunded mandates" lacked teeth and adoption of IPv6 was not enforced. Regardless, others in the IT industry realized the importance of IPv6 and we started to see IPv6 adoption on the Internet. Cisco, Microsoft, mobile phones, firewalls, web application firewalls, SLB/ADC Systems, IPSs, web browsers, e-mail systems, and other applications now have IPv6 capabilities. Internet Service Providers, like Comcast, and Tier-1 ISPs, have continued their IPv6 deployments and IPv6 Internet traffic volumes have continued to increase. World IPv6 Day, IPv6 Week, and World IPv6 Launch were three events that had a dramatic impact on actual IPv6 usage. Today more IPv6 training is available and IPv6 certifications now exist. The U.S. government agencies now have IPv6-enabled on many of their Internet-accessible web systems. It is a pleasure to see IPv6 finally being used in the "real world."

About the Writing Process

My articles tend to be lengthier than a typical blog post. In many cases, they are more like magazine articles. Each blog article takes me between 5 and 10 hours to write. Compared to the 1400 hours (over the course of 12 months) it took me to write my portion of IPv6 Security, these 100 blog articles have taken somewhere between 500 and 1000 hours to write, but they were spread out over 4 years. That comes out to an average of around one blog post every 2 weeks.

At any given moment, I am incubating between 5 and 10 different topics. I try to avoid writers block and do not try to force myself to write on any particular topic. Whenever the spirit strikes me, I start to write, but when I am not in the mood to write, I put in on the back burner. I am a morning person, and some mornings I wake up thinking of a great idea and just dive into getting my ideas organized into an outline and start writing. Most of the time I am busy during the week, and so most of my writing takes place on weekends.

I always start by dumping my ideas onto paper with a quick brainstorming session. Then I organize these thoughts into a rough outline. Then I re-organize the outline and start to flush out certain sections. I do not write the blog from start to finish. I write paragraphs, re-arrange them into a logical order, and continue to polish and perfect the sections. I always try to provide links to other resources or other sources that spawned my ideas. I re-read my blogs many times to try to catch my mistakes and do my own proofreading. My feeling is that all this effort helps ensure the blogs have a high level of quality and are easy to read.

Future Topics

It is difficult to come up with unique ideas to write about. I think it is better if bloggers try to develop their own ideas rather than just regurgitate other people's blogs. I have my own ideas on what I want to write about, but they may not necessarily be what others want to read. I would like to hear from you about topics that you think I should write about. Send your ideas to scott {at} hoggnet.com and I will consider them for future blogs. However, I highly encourage you to write your own blog on networking topics if you want. Sharing what you know with the world by writing a blog is a very rewarding and gratifying experience. Please send me a link to your blog because I would like to read what you write about.

In Closing

Lastly, I would like to thank Network World and the Cisco Subnet for giving me the opportunity to share my ideas with the networking community. I have been reading Network World magazine since the early 1990s. In fact, a job ad in the back of an early 1996 issue of the magazine lead me to move to Seattle for a network engineering position. I like reading what other Network World bloggers have to say and what the Network World magazine correspondents write about. I have thoroughly enjoyed writing for Network World and hope to continue in the years to come.

Scott

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