About this site

This website and its associated blog are primarily for people who

  • live or work in Howard County, Maryland
  • are interested in in-depth, data-based, non-partisan commentary and analysis of issues relevant to Howard County and the world beyond
  • are willing to put up with periodic posts on other stuff that interests me

A guide to past posts

Posts on Howard County include my “Creating the Chrysalis” series on the design and construction of the Chrysalis amphitheater in Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods in Columbia, Maryland, as well as additional posts on the overall Inner Arbor plan for the park.

Posts on politics include my “Seven Answers” series, in which—though not a candidate myself—I respond to a candidate questionnaire from fellow Howard County blogger Jason Booms; this series also serves as a survey of my political views on various topics. In a lighter vein, I did critiques of Howard County campaign signs in the 2010 and 2014 primary elections. I’m also author of the book Dividing Howard: A History of County Council Redistricting in Howard County, Maryland.

Past topics on previous incarnations of this blog have included Mozilla and open source, life as an eMusic subscriber, and my thoughts about music and the music business in general. (The music-related posts were formerly on my Swindleeeee!!!!! blog, which I’ve since discontinued and merged with this blog.) I also have a set of posts about my past experiences running the Blosxom blog software which may still be of interest to any remaining Blosxom users.

The fine print

Unless otherwise noted all content on this site is created by me (Frank Hecker) and is freely available for commercial and non-commercial use under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. For uses beyond the scope of “fair use” you must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests that I endorse you or your use. For detailed terms of use please see the full license.

All posts are my own opinions as an individual and do not necessarily represent the official positions of any of my employers past, present, or future, or of any other organization.

This site does not host advertisements, use Google Analytics or any other third-party user tracking service, or collect user information other than client IP addresses and browser versions. However third-party content such as YouTube videos embedded within certain posts may display ads and do additional user tracking; see the terms of service for such content where applicable.

How it works

This site is built using the Jekyll static site generator and Michael Rose’s Minimal Mistakes responsive Jekyll theme, designed to look good and load quickly on smartphones, tablets, and desktop PCs. It uses Toshimaru’s jekyll-tagging-related_posts plugin to list posts related to a given post based on tags they have in common.

The site is self-hosted using a Linux-based virtual server provided by Digital Ocean. It is designed to be accessed via HTTPS only, with all web traffic to and from the site encrypted using strong cryptographic algorithms.1 (Connections made via HTTP will be automatically redirected to the HTTPS URL, and modern browsers told to never use HTTP for the site again.) The site is accessible via both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses.

This site contains all blog posts previously posted to the sites blog.hecker.org and civilityandtruth.com. URLs for posts originally posted to blog.hecker.org and civilityandtruth.com will automatically be redirected to this site, so that existing links will continue to work. If you find any links that produce errors please notify me by email.

I deliberately did not implement a commenting system for this site. (I got very few comments on my older blog and most of the ones I did get were spam.) I typically publish notices of new posts on Twitter and Facebook; you can make comments in either place if you wish, or just send them to me via email.


  1. Although this site hosts only public content, and does not request entry of any personally identifying information (PII), I thought it was better security practice to make the site HTTPS-only.