random mutterings

Following a tweet this morning:

I’ve fallen down something of a rabbit hole. I made references in my response to that tweet to usenet and newsgroup creation groups. Of course, I popped into google groups and found usenet posts of my own from the early 1990s in aus.net.news and aus.sf, some of which are a wee bit cringeworthy. Oh well, it’s all about the learning…I tell myself.

Tonight, I revisited one of my earlier blogs, 2002 this time, and found an entry that I could turn into a tweet:

as sure enough, it’s still running and is in its 23rd year. I am saddened, but unsurprised at how many links no longer work. Yet shocked to discover that my link to mutt, an unix based email program, not only works but is still being updated in 2017. The link still works for pine, another email program, but development ceased in 2008. Even slrn still exists (last update in 2016) and can be grabbed in linux via apt-get.

a shipping crane by the waterSpeaking of apt-get, a tool for installing software on linux, I am liking having linux running as its own machine. Been a long time since I’ve had it on a dedicated device. I’ve set up my new box as dual mode with windows but I’m barely touching the windows side and I’m already musing on wiping it altogether. Running it in a virtualbox always had an edge of frustration, it was slower, a little clunky, and some things just never worked as you were dealing with linux and virtualbox. Now it’s just linux and stuff mostly works; muscle memory in my fingers seems to guide me through.

In other news, I am conscious I should blog more on whisky stuff. I’ve been learning lots in the last year and have a good sense of what I like. The most important lesson however is to keep trying new things and being open to things that you might otherwise expect not to like. I’m very fond of whisky matured in sherry casks, but port casks not so much. Yet I am currently sipping a delicious drop from McHenry’s in Tasmania, matured in ex bourbon barrels and finished in a port cask. So utterly delish. Also I think I need to dedicate a post to Highland Park as I’ve had so many of their releases, yet know there’s so many I haven’t had. Have also been enjoying their new 10 year old Viking Scars which is a relatively cheap whisky at $75.

Here’s my blog entry from October 2003 that I suspect includes my first mention of eating seahorse. I had a busy month in December 2003 with much to think about including the dreaded digital divide and longevity of URLs ironically. A year later, my final post noted that of the then top 100 movies screened in Australia (by box office takings), I’d seen 92. I know now that it’s not 93 as I have definitely not seen Ghost. Whereas December 2004 is full of thoughts regarding my first NLS, and my first attempts at live blogging. I think I live blogged using a psion 5mx (which I still have) connected via infrared to my mobile phone which in turn handled a dial up connection to my ISP. Also thoughts regarding how to set up some sort of group blogging thang for the following NLS though I think we ended up using ALIA’s forum for discussion in the end. December 2004 was also when I finally registered my own domain that now points here.

I continue to enjoy browsing the casualness of my blogging in those early days; blogging was about random bits and pieces, content in response to links I stumbled upon. A sentence here, a paragraph there; mutterings on this and that. Was fun. Is still fun.

#blogjune 2017 recap

Done and dusted for another year. Here we are 4 days later and this is my first post since June finished. Stats are a funny old thing, the only ones I have to count are for folk who specifically visit my page. I have no idea how many other people are reading my posts via feed readers such as feedly. It’s possible to make a rough estimate as feedly does show a subscriber count for each of its feeds but I’m unclear as to its accuracy, having read conflicting accounts. All in all, it sounds like work is required to get accurate figures and my care factor is a little too low for that :-)

blog statistics

Looking at the graph above, direct access seems to have dropped off a little in 2017 but has been mostly stead for the last few years. With that said, the 2017 figure is based on the year so far ie the first six months. That suggests, even I can manage to keep blogging, that 2017 is shaping up to be my best year since at least 2014, and potentially since 2012. I think 2012 was the first year that wordpress broke down the difference between views and visitors, as noted by the darker shading in the column.

In terms of my #blogjune blogging, I managed to just scrape in:

  • 30 posts
  • 10,700 words, averaging 357 words per post

3 posts less but 700 words more than my 2016 effort. I think I managed to blog about most things I thought I would though I never got round to blogging properly about whisky, though I had a few ideas in draft. My top 5 posts were:

which seems a mix of interesting and pedestrian, so here’s the next 5 as well:

which is a more interesting list of titles :-)

housekeeping

Housekeeping seems to be an emerging theme as June gets underway with various comments from Paul, Warren, and Kathryn.

When you’ve been doing this stuff a long time, sometimes you don’t get round to the basics as life keeps getting in the way. I particularly liked Paul’s comments around ensuring that he owns his content and but also wants to control how it appears ie not at the mercy of someone else’s advertising revenue. That was in part why I finally got round to paying for a subscription to wordpress last year so I wouldn’t have their ad streams appear on my pages, plus it meant I could properly map my domain.

A couple of months ago when the renewal reminder for wordpress popped up, I realised I was paying too much. Turns out I’d signed up to the premium plan for $99/year and actually the personal plan for $36/year was sufficient. I sent off a query to their helpdesk and was staggered to receive a reply almost instantly. Had a good chat with their support rep who confirmed that everything I need would still be available in the personal version. They swapped me over and my renewal recently went through at the lower rate. Still simple.

One day I’ll get my own hosted server running somewhere but that day isn’t here yet and I’m not sure what I want in a server. I’m sorta aware that if I keep doing big data-ish stuff I need some sort of clustered server approach which is different from a few years ago where I just wanted somewhere to blog and store a few files. I could go the old school route and make my home NAS externally accessible and that would give me a personal site of sorts. However I’m not keen on that as it’s my primary server for backups and I’m happy to keep it restricted to the house network only.

I’ve also had a paid subscription to flickr for a long time for similar sorts of reasons. That means when I want to use photos in other systems, I’ll mostly add to flickr first then link to the flickr image eg from facebook. I get a bit lazy on twitter though. Consequently I’m still somewhat distributed but I’m keeping my content spread fairly tight and stick to paid services that have continued to be reliable.

#blogjune 2017

Aaaarrrrgggggghhhhhhh!!!!!!

Sometimes consistency has its own meaning, even if screaming is involved.

It’s June once more, and once more it’s time to blog at a furious pace usually signifying little. However it continues to be fun and that is sufficient to continue. I am too much the old school blogger, rambling on from the days of web-logs, never been particularly successful at sticking to any semblance of professionalism in this space. This place is as it is.

It seems useful to start with a tally update and it worked well enough last year. My #blogjune stats to date as it moves into its eighth year:

  • Trampers on the Kepler Track, NZ.2010 – 34 posts
  • 2011 – 24 posts
  • 2012 – 23 posts
  • 2013 – 4 posts
  • 2014 – 30 posts
  • 2015 – 14 posts
  • 2016 – 34 posts

Somehow, in my 7th year of #blogjune I managed to blog as frequently as I did in my first year. That’s a little scary. Somewhat hopefully, my performance since while not fabulous has been almost steady, with a total of 22 posts between last June and this June:

  • 2 in July
  • 2 in August
  • 2 in October
  • 4 in November
  • 2 in December
  • 3 in February
  • 2 in March
  • 5 in April

I found May a little tricky this year, knowing that #blogjune was just around the corner. I have some leftover drafts from last year and a few ideas listed for this year including:

  • whisky
  • documenting all my snails
  • filmfest…always filmfest
  • books and bookbuying
  • mechanical keyboards
  • data/coding stuff

I wouldn’t mind throwing in some random snark too. We will see what version of reality eventuates.

#blogjune 2016 recap

So that’s it then, blogging over for another year. Here’s where I promise that I’ll start blogging again and do so more often. Like I do most years and then fail to deliver :-) With that said, I did manage to increase my blogging rate a couple of months ago and have had a steady increase in advance of June this time round. That suggests I might have enough ticker to keep going. I could point to the list of 20 or so ideas on my list of potential posts but I can do that most years…even in 2014 where I only blogged 4 times during June. It’s less the ideas and more the inclination; getting round to writing and expanding the idea on one device or another.

As I often state, I blog for me and noone else, to inhabit an online space of my online. However I do like to look at the stats though I care not whether they’re good or bad. 2010 was my best year ever on this platform, coincidentally that was also the first year of #blogjune and 2012 seems to be the last, really good year before the drop off and general decline. Stats perked up in 2014 but that was also my second best year for blogging with 30 posts in June.

blog statistics

#blogjune has been running for 7 years now and I’ve managed to make it to 30 posts for 3 of those 7 years, including this year. I’m pretty happy with this year’s effort:

  • 33 posts
  • 10,000 words, averaging around 300 words per day

In 2010, my first #blogjune, and my most prolific, I managed 19,000 words in 34 posts, around 560 words per day. I’m sorta curious what my stats are like for each June rather than the annual tallies, graphed above. However, I haven’t worked out how to export the data easily and to be honest my stats, like my care factor, are pretty low :)

My top 5 posts were:

I also started, or attempted to start a series on alcohol, or at least whisky:

I have another post semi-written on whisky and feel like I can probably write a few more. One idea that’s on my list is to go through all the beers I’ve rated via untappd and list them, pointing out my favourites. Perhaps I should also write a post on how much I drink which is actually less than you might assume from all my alcohol references.

 

keeping up

14393830833_95240a8076_nOne thing I’m finding with this iteration (this is the 7th) of #blogjune is that it’s easier to write posts the more I do. This occurred in the first iteration too and I managed 34 posts that year. 3 days ago I accidentally upped my personal ante and blogged twice and have blogged twice a day for the last 3 days, and it’s been relatively easy. Weirdly easy. I had another post ready for #2ndpost today but will leave it till tomorrow so that I can post this one.

This is getting wronger every day. I did have a plan to comment at least once on blogs of other participants each day. That hasn’t been so successful and dropped back to liking posts after a few days.I think I am still managing to read a few blogs every day whereas in 2010 I tried to keep up with all the blog posts. With that said, filmfest does make keeping up with anything hard. I think I’ve seen around 20 films over the last 7 days, a bit full on but only 3 days to go.

my domain…finally

snail.wsMany, many, many moons ago I bought my own domain https://snail.ws/ – .ws as Western Samoa was the only domain where I could get “snail” :) In fact I first acquired that domain in December 2004 when I handcoded my blog on my ISP’s server. As is not unusual for me, I never set it up entirely properly and it functioned primarily as a forwarding address…and has done so for 12 years. Once you got to the destination address, the snail.ws disappeared from the address bar and the current page was shown: in the old days that was on zipworld, and for the last 9 years it has pointed to snailx.wordpress.com.

As far back as 12 December, 2004 I was looking at setting up the domain properly. I revisited that desire 7 years ago on 16 January 2009 and still didn’t quite get round to it. Part of the reason is that I always meant to get my own server through one of the various hosting companies. Many are relatively cheap costing around $100 or so per year. I figured once I had the server, I could set up the domain properly, and have my blog as one of the sections. I explored hosting options on several occasions, found good options and never quite got round to biting the bullet.

I’ve been using wordpress.com as my platform for nearly 9 years and have never paid for an account, existing well enough on the free account. I’ve been very happy sitting here and it’s felt a wee bit rude not paying them for it. I happened to be looking at their account options the other day and it’s only US$99/year to move to a proper account, which would include being able to map my domain properly. I may yet get round to setting up a proper server, but wordpress has clearly been fine for  a long time. It all ended up being very easy:

  • paid wordpress US$99 (AUD$136)
  • added wordpress’s 3 name servers to my domain on GoDaddy
    • ns1.wordpress.com
    • ns2.wordpress.com
    • ns3.wordpress.com
  • set snail.ws as my primary domain on wordpress.com
  • wait a couple of hours

I finally have snail.ws properly mapped to my wordpress account…only took 12 years :-)