Humble Beginnings

About this Website and Blog


I recently decided to redesign and revive my old website and in the process, I decided that I would like to make a habit of writing blog posts here on my own websites. I’ll likely be covering a range of topics mostly around research especially in healthcare technology. I’ll also share my experience with software tools and workflows for example “How I am using emacs and ox-hugo to write this post” or “using NLP and python to extract interesting information from patents” and …

How it all started

I first started working on this website back in 2013. At the time, I was a PhD student at Drexel University working on solid-state nanopores biosensors. I wanted to make a website to showcase my research portfolio and interests and in the process learn more about web design, HTML and CSS as well. I figured I could host it on Drexel’s personal web pages and that’s how this project simply started. After some initial research, I thought it would be nice to make the website script-free (only HTML and CSS) and only use my own work meaning that everything from design elements (logos, buttons, etc.) to HTML blocks had to be my own creation and not someone else’s work1! The first draft of the design was ready in a few days, but design and coding took some time especially because I had to learn CSS from scratch and my design was tricky to implement because I had hexagons and diagonal borders (see this link for example) which was not straightforward, especially with HTML and CSS only. The first version was published later in 2014 and soon after I added a skeleton for my native-speaking language, Farsi. However, in the meanwhile I got very busy with my PhD research and keeping everything up to date with two languages was simply more work than I anticipated, so the progress slowed down. I then graduated in the middle of 2016 and moved to Northern California to work for a small start-up, where I found myself spending an average of 12–14 hours a day at work2. That left me with no time to work on any personal projects including this website. You can see the old design in archive.

A New Beginning

The project was abandoned for years with no updates while I was working for start-up companies in Silicon Valley. Then in 2019, I decided to leave the start-up scene and its ridiculously long working hours for greener pastures in a bigger, more stable company with more humane hours, and once again I found some time to consider personal projects and decided to bring this website back alive. The idea was further reinforced by the fact that the hosting server I was using was shut down by Drexel University. I decided it would be better to use a whole new set of tool chain, since the old website with HTML and CSS was not easy to maintain, plus the fact that this was again a good opportunity to learn new tools and skills. After some brief research I decided that I want to use Hugo combined with GitHub and Netlify3, and after some more browsing, looking at other people’s examples (e.g. Aidan Scannell’s Page), and reading online instructions (like this one), I decided to give “Academic Theme” from wowchemy a try and the result is what you are looking at.

Going Forward

Using Hugo and Netlify, made it really easy to update my website in more than one language as well. In fact it is easy enough to update that I have decided I can keep a blog here. In the past I have written scattered notes here and there on different social media platforms but going forward I’d like to keep everything here on my own website. My new goal in this project is to make a habit of writing short posts on interesting topics and build a collection of thought, ideas, tutorials over time. I will likely write about various topics I am interested in like biotech, nanosensors, and healthcare technology. In addition, I will be writing posts on some software tools like interesting work flows in emacs including the one I am using to make this very post right now or how to use midjourney to make interesting backgrounds for your website, or using python and NLP to extract detailed technical information from Google Patents, and …

While this is going to be a multilinqual blog, not all posts will be available in all languages. My thoughts, experiences and perhaps even my personality is not always identical in environments with different languages, and therefore, the contents of my posts will reflect that reality.

  1. The only exception was the map widget ↩︎

  2. I Don’t suggest trying that yourself. It’s not good for your physical or mental health! ↩︎

  3. Note to self: write another post about choice of tools and how to build a website with hugo, github and netlify! ↩︎

Armin Darvish
Armin Darvish
Lead Scientist

My research interests include nanosensors, nanopores, single-molecule biophysics, bioelectronics, proteomics, genomics, bioinformatics, data science, …

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