#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 :-)

#blogjune is still going


picture of authorI think that’s how I normally start my annual attempt at blogging throughout the month of June. It’s rare for me to make it through all of June blogging every day. My #blogjune stats so far:

  • 2010 -34 posts
  • 2011 – 24 posts
  • 2012 – 23 posts
  • 2013 – 4 posts
  • 2014 – 30 posts
  • 2015 – 14 posts

My non June blogging continues to be erratic and infrequent. For a while there it was rapidly approaching quarterly. I was recently revisiting one of my old, old blogs and trying to get a sense of how I managed to post so much. All I can say is that it was a different time: perhaps I had more time and some of it was in that sense of moving from an annotated bunch of links to informal bits and pieces to occasional thought out pieces.

I have managed to increase the tempo a little of late, writing 3 posts in April; leaping to 7 in May. In fact as June drew closer I was unsure whether to continue blogging in May in order to maintain momentum or start saving stuff for June in case I run out of puff. I was in the right sort of mood last night so I sat and wrote 3 posts and they’re ready to go. June is filmfest month which will provide some useful fodder. Books, I can always blog about books.

The two challenges for me, as always, are lasting to the end of June and continuing on after.

sciffy bits

I started #blogjune with high hopes of a daily whinge and occasional rant.  I started well enough but then got caught up writing another response about blogging relevancy in response to conversations about blogging as a thing. It was mostly finished in one hit, with good stats on the “golden age” of lib blogging, it just needed a paragraph or two more. As per my usual practice, I had to put it off because life, then procrastination, thus it became a bottleneck and nothing else got blogged. It still sits unfinished and the conversation has moved on though I think it’s still useful to point out that I was whining about my own erratic and infrequent blogging back in 2001 :-)

So sciffy stuff. Con posted an article on 10 SF books that people pretend to have read. Of the list, somewhat surprisingly, I’ve read 4. Top X lists can be interesting beasts, and Con commented that such lists can be good for finding authors you haven’t heard of. I blogged a list of top 100 SF novels in 2012 of which I’d read 32 with plans to read more. 3 years later, I think I’ve only read one or two more. Oops. Both lists have good stuff and I should read more of them. Some books are in common to both lists.

I have however been reading lots of stuff that doesn’t appear on top X lists…or perhaps I’m looking at the wrong lists. I decided to re-read all the Raymond Feist novels…which ended up being a wee bit exhausting and I eventually gave up around Book 15. I’m now re-reading the Vorkosigan Saga and on to book 4. Perhaps I should be looking at fantasy lists, though of course the real answer is the lists themselves shouldn’t matter beyond Con’s original point to find new stuff to read.

The reason I’ve been re-reading series’ stuff is that my other reading had slowed for a while and it’s nice to be able to steadily chunk through novel after novel. Lying in bed reading novels rather than playing handheld games or reading endless article feeds. Revisiting old friends and stories has been fun too and it’s nice to discover that the writing still sucks me in. Have been meaning to re-read Dune too, though I think I’ll do it as a standalone.

a little tidying

Haven’t done much coding in the last month which is problematic as I should do stuff every week in order to avoid skill rustiness, not to mention learning new stuff. A few weeks prior to christmas, there was a lightning storm and the house got hit by a power surge which killed off the PS3, PS4, 55″ TV, DVD player, and router. All the fun stuff. I did have basic surge protection via cheap powerboards but it clearly wasn’t effective. I hadn’t managed to transfer my house insurance to the new house so we weren’t technically covered. However NRMA (with whom I have contents insurance) informed me that they have a 60 day grace period when moving house and were happy to backdate it to cover the lost equipment though I needed to get quotes.

This proved tricky for the playstations and at times frustrating. Thanks to instructions online, I was able to remove the game discs from each of the dead consoles. I have managed to find someone who can repair the PS3 and I’ll follow up with them in the next few weeks. The PS4 proved harder and after a frustrating hunt, it turns out that the EB Games store I bought it from were happy to exchange it for a new machine as it was covered under their own 12 month policy. The TV will cost about $300 to fix and the electrician is waiting for a part to arrive. The router only needed a new power cable which cost all of $5. The DVD player was over a decade old so I’m not going to worry about claiming that and we’ve instead bought a PVR that can handle DVD/Bluray.

However the main pain point with the dead consoles has been the loss of the save files including 300 hours of Skyrim on the PS3. I remain hopeful that the PS3 can be fixed and may just need a new power supply. It is possible to backup the save files to an external hard drive but not easily from a dead machine. I suspect it would be more efficient to get an annual subscription to Playstation Plus ($70/yr) and backup the save files to my account on the playstation network automatically.

I have since bought heavy duty surge protection powerboards from Belkin and have all the gear running off them now. These boards include guarantees to replace all connected equipment if they fail. I have finally set up my mac and QNAP NAS in the new home too. I’ve also done full backups of my mac pro and windows laptop. That’s the first time I’ve been able to backup the laptop in over 12 months so I’m feeling rather relieved. The NAS is set up as RAID 5 which means that one of the four discs (each disc can hold 3 terabytes) can fail without affecting the backup. I will eventually back up the backup to 2 external drives, one of which will be kept elsewhere in the house and the other at work. I will probably refresh these on a monthly basis.

While the laptop has become my primary day to day device and my email archive, I suspect I’ll continue to use the mac pro for managing my photos and playing with code. It’s an older machine dating back to 2006 and doesn’t support the last couple of OS releases from apple. However, it still has a lot of grunt and I daresay will remain a viable machine for years to come. In addition to backups, the NAS holds most of my photos as well as my itunes library. However I need to do some more work on configuring it to suit the family rather than just me :-) Eventually, I want everyone to be able to use it as a home server with varying degrees of access.

end of june

Here we are, the end of June and thankfully not quite the end of days. I just did a quick tally of my performance over the years for #blogjune:

  • 2010 – 34 posts
  • 2011 – 24 posts
  • 2012 – 23 posts
  • 2013 – 4 posts!
  • 2014 – 29 including this one

Hmmm…I think I’ll try and squeeze out another shelf by shelf tonight to make the 30. The first #blogjune, in 2010, was pretty special but they’ve all been fun, and last year was just the wrong sort of year for me.

It’s nice to go back and read my summary post from 2010 and realise so much of what I said still applies today…but different. In those days, folk tended to comment directly on posts whereas these days, there’s a mix of routes. Some will like a post, some will comment on the post, some will engage via twitter or facebook.

I haven’t been as engaged myself in commenting on other people’s stuff though. I wonder if that reflects that outside of June, I am blogging little and barely reading blogs. In 2010, I voraciously read everything, and had done so for years. The last few years I seem to read a lot less; the last year or so I have been somewhat absent while dealing with life stuff. I’ve gone through a period of massive change regarding how I deal with online spaces. I no longer spend all my evenings at the computer at home; I have other people in my life now, and do other things.

I have discovered that there are activities beyond the screen…I even play board games. Often! I’ll blog another day on that one. Speaking of which, I managed to start #blogjune with something of a blogging plan in evernote, to which I added ideas as I thought of them. A bunch of those ideas are as yet unwritten. Hopefully I can continue to blog, though in not quite so hectic fashion. My experience from previous years informs me that I shouldn’t be too optimistic about future blogging practices.

The shelf by shelf posts will continue as they’ve been good for me, and a way of developing a visual record of what I have. It’s been fun revisiting shelves and remembering things; recording old anecdotes on connections and histories and memories. I don’t live in that space as much as I used to and I miss my books the most.