I use a cast of characters in my posts that ask questions, provide viewpoints, and so on. Generally, the idea is that the post text itself is written from the perspective of me, the real me, while the cast is around as well and acts as an audience, interjecting with questions, comments, additional explanations or the occasional hot take and shitpost.

The purpose of this dialog is not only to have fun and bring a little variety to my writing. The cast also allows me to insert various asides and aspects of a topic in an organic way, allowing for interesting interplay. For example, Ian might interrupt an explanation with a rant about why something’s bad, only stopping when Hailey shuts him down, because she wants to get to the point.

In the same vein, thinking about what these characters might have to say about something in my writing, what questions they might have, helps me reflect on my writing and what an actual audience might think about it.

For this purpose, the characters are written to represent certain archetypes and various ways in which a problem could be approached, or a topic might be explained. In a way, these are fictional representations of some aspects of my own personality and interests, but only loosely.

The avatar images are generated using DiceBear, specifically the Adventurer Style, desigend by Lisa Wischofsky, and licensed under CC BY 4.0.

Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

The characters and the concept in general are still very new, and will definitely evolve over time, so please bear with me!

The concept is heavily inspired by Xe Iaso’s blog, which also uses a cast of characters in a very similar way, and fasterthanlime’s blog.

The Cast


Ember Ember is an experienced computer scientist working in academia. They’re a calm person with a deep passion for their field of study and passing their knowledge on, taking the time to explain things thoroughly and in an understandable way.

They love to dive deep into the specifics of any given topic, caring very little for practical results, pondering complicated questions, deciphering the theory and background to deeply understand why something is the way it is and how it could be improved.

When working on problems, Ember values planning, thoughtfulness and deep understanding over hacking and hotfixing. However, this preference for doing things properly may sometimes mean that they tackle problems in unnecessarily difficult ways, if those ways are cleaner and follow the underlying theory more closely. They also tend to get hung up on simple problems with an obvious solution by exhaustively researching whether there might be a more elegant solution.


Azriel Azriel just started off into the world of science and technology as a student of computer science. He’s curious about pretty much anything and loves asking questions about weird details and exploring the backgrounds of topics.

His goal after finishing his studies is to either go into academia or become an independent consultant, he’s not sure yet, but he knows he wants to keep learning and trying out new things, both practical and theoretical.

He tends to lose focus when working on problems: when hitting a roadblock, a hard problem, he sometimes gives up without really trying to surmount the obstacle, and rather goes on tangents about other, fresh, interesting problems that pop up. So he might need help keeping focused on a topic and seeing it through to the finish line.


Hailey Hailey is an aspiring software engineer. She wanted to enter the industry because she loves creating software, and loves tinkering with computers until they do her bidding.

She’s decidedly less interested in arcane theoretical models and backgrounds – she wants to see results and generally prefers to get to the point and just start trying things.

However, when tackling a problem, she is dedicated and absolutely willing to put in the work and get deep into a topic, but only if she believes it’s necessary to achieve her end goal.

While her “just do it” attitude means that she often gets presentable results really quickly, her solutions are often pretty shaky. She sometimes does need to be reminded to do things properly, so her solutions don’t implode on the first unexpected condition.


Ian Ian is an IT professional who has seen enough of the industry to recognize that everything’s fucked up beyond repair and that computers and especially software were a massive mistake. He will shitpost and rant relentlessly about this any chance he gets, at least if nobody shuts him down in time.

However, he has more to offer than just cynicism, his experience with the dark side of software and the industry often is an invaluable asset. He has seen a lot of problems before, and knows how to fix them.

While he would never say it out loud, and prefers to pretend that he just doesn’t care about anything at all, he actually enjoys his job and the brokenness of it all. He loves diving into badly written software and systems, working through the issues while cursing loudly and finally fixing it thoroughly.


a picture of me, Nicolas That’s me. I generally don’t appear explicitly as character in posts, as the posts themselves are written from my perspective anyway. My role as author is to try my best to write a good post, while answering questions, navigating and mediating the interjections of the cast.


a picture of me, Nicolas, with crudely painted mustache, glasses and hat Bernard is my biggest (and perhaps only) fan. He’s also definitely not me.