Eight and a half years ago, I embarked on this blog not knowing what it might ever become. My reasons for starting it were both to document and share my life and to inspire me to do new things worthy of documenting and sharing. Even with those lofty goals, I could have never dreamed it would go on as long as it has and been as meaningful to me as it has. Through travel and comics, videos and poems, and pictures and data, Blog du Wren has been a wonderful constant in my life. So I only thought it fitting to take this post, post #1000, to look back.
Travel: Through road trips, bikes trips, business trips, or oversea adventures, more than anything else*, BdW has been a record of my travels. A rough count reveals that BdW has been with me through 30 or so countries. Among my favorite travel posts are the post-trip galleries and slideshows, a complication of all the photos I took on a particular trip. Just looking back now, I'm reminded of what amazing things I saw and did. To have a place to store travel memories is just one of the great services BdW has procided me.
Coding projects: I know I would have never dabbled with as many computer-coding related projects had it not been for this blog. And besides ending up with some really neat web-apps, games, and interactive posts (not to mention this blog itself), I also furthered my knowledge of web programming, a skill I have been able to actually use for work!
Data keeping: Much in line with coding, BdW has become a storehouse for a nerdy amount of data. From where I've slept, to the trivias I've done, to the books I've read* and more, I feel like I'm constantly checking back with BdW to remember or analyze some piece of data or another. And then there's the data on the blog itself: # of posts, # of comments, frequency of posts, popular referrer URLs. Data analysis is another job applicable skill that blogging has taught me.
Friday Comics: Though not much a part of the blog recently, there was a good five years when my poorly made comics were a staple, almost every Friday. The project even resulted in 2 books (which are still available for purchase today (here and here)!)
Accomplishments: An accomplishment means so much more when you can share it with people, and that's what BdW has allowed for so many of my accomplishments. From one-time, hey-ma-look-at-me doozies (like the epic Wheel of Fortune win) to well-documented, long worked on accomplishments (publishing crosswords, building of the cabin), it feels like it all happened here.
Everything else: Running maybe a close second to travel, totally random posts make up a good chunk of what's here and what's fun to remember. All my random beards, soap box derbying, becoming a "professional juggler", the great egg off, circus guild calendars, poetry series (Roses Are Red and Night Before Christmas), knitting, attempts at writing, shoenicycle, homemade salt—the list could go on. These random projects and posts are the meat of this blog.
One thousand posts over 8 and a half years. Not everyone is so lucky as to have that kind of chronicle of their lives, and lucky is exactly what I feel when I think about BdW. Lucky to have the record, lucky to be able to share, and lucky to have the inspiration. And while the posting frequency has fluctuated, I hope I can be so lucky as to be celebrating post number 2000 down the road. And I hope you'll be there to celebrate it with me.
|Saturday March 7 2015||File under: blog|
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|Well, after over 5 years from implementing google adsense on both this here blog and over at People's Guide to Anacortes, I've finally reach the payout threshold!! I thought it would never happen, and I'm overjoyed. On the one hand, it is like winning an unexpected $100. On the other, it works out to about $.0002 per hour from the time I've spent maintaining, posting, etc.
What's almost as fun as the fat check I will be receiving is the data. Watching ad revenues from month to month (and often day to day), is one of my go to time wasters on the internet. Now that it's reached a kind of completion, I ran a few numbers. While there isn't much of a super clearly defined trend, this chart seems to indicate that I might expect another check in a bit less than 5 years.
Over two thirds of the clicks have come via People's Guide to Anacortes which has a clicks per visit ratio over 15 times higher than that the of the blog. It makes sense because all you blog readers* just come to check in on what's up with me while visitors to the People's Guide are actively looking for lodging or other commercial activities.
Anyway, here's hoping that the money keeps rolling in.
|Friday November 9 2012||File under: blog|
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One thing that has been on my mind lately is the change happening in the world of blogs these days. When once it seemed everyone had a blog, now the numbers dwindle. Even the ones that do remain sometimes have trouble keeping up with a decent frequency of posts*.
While somewhat disheartening to me, I understand. Keeping a blog is hard work. And now, with facebook and twitter, doing more or less the same thing is much easier. Heck, for twitter, you only have to come up with 140 characters. That's a far piece different from uploading images and coding up a well formed blog post.
While I don't mean these thoughts as a criticism of this shift, I realize that the blogosphere is still the place for me, both to post and to read. With that in mind, I've updated the Blogs du Friends to trim off those blogs that fell victim to this change and to add on some new friends.
Anyway, my thoughts on blogs, as you can imagine, could go on and on. If you ever want to discuss it, let's talk. Until then, thank you for reading.
|Tuesday November 8 2011||File under: blog|
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|As some of the more astute readers may have noticed, this morning was the second Friday morning in a row that there was no Friday comic. I'm afraid it won't be the last, either. I've found myself bogged down with work of late and it looks like said workload won't lighten for the next month or so. For the two of you out there that still tune in for the comic, I apologize. I liked doing them probably way more than you liked reading them. As for the rest of you that have become bored with the Friday Comic series, consider this a respite. My hope is that I will return in October(ish) with a few new ones, at least to complete a year's worth. Lord knows I won't be able to keep it up forever.|
|Friday August 29 2008||File under: blog|
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|Oh, the weather outside is frightful,*
But the fire is so delightful,*
And since I've no place to go,*,
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.*.
(If this blog post seems more boring than usual, then perhaps you haven't yet clued into the * phenomenon*. Now is your chance to get in on the fun. Whenever you see a "*" throughout one of my posts (and sometimes comments too), hover your mouse over it and you will get the additional text. Each browser has its own peculiarities in displaying these. IE disappears the tool tip quickly. Firefox cuts long sentences short*. (To view the whole thing, right click and select "Properties".) There have been reports of Mac browsers not able to display them at all, although I haven't been able to reproduce that problem yet. If you are having trouble viewing these little gems, drop me a line with the the browser you are using and the operating system (e.g. OSX 10.4), and we'll see if we can get it all worked out. Hopefully in the near future, I will write a custom rollover function that will be a little more cross-browser compatible.)
|Saturday December 1 2007||File under: misc, blog|
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|As some of you may have noticed, over the past 2 months or so, BdW has not been exceptionally reliable. Sometimes it was super slow in loading. Other times, it wouldn't load at all. It has been a source of frusteration for me that I've constantly been trying to deal with by alerting my web host. While he was always quick to respond (as soon as I could track him down), it still meant lots of downtime which isn't good for anybody.
Now, though, I am pleased to announce that I have moved to a new host*. From preliminary tests, it is a big step up. Pages compile uber-fast and the ftp access is also quite snappy. I have yet to figure out how to set up other domains (so troothpicks will continue to stay over at Cheapstream for the time being). Anyway, I guess the point is that things should work better now. If you notice a problem, please tell me. And if you know someone that quit reading because of these previous technical issues, please encourage them to give me another try.
With the move to a new host, I figure it would be a good time to launch some minor upgrades which I will just quickly mention. First and foremost, I've introduced searching by tag. That way, if you want to find all posts about, say, food, you can just click "food" under "filled under:". I also tweaked the way the pagination buttons work to account for space. It is a temporary fix, but I think it is kind of neat. (Scroll down to the bottom and hover over the page numbers.) Lastly, I changed the RSS to be a little more standards compliant. If you've got upgrades that you would like to see*, please let me know.
|Tuesday October 23 2007||File under: coding, blog|
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|Inspired by IHJ post about improvements and upgrades (kudos to Chris for the homegrownedness of them), I thought I would share a few of the improvements that have gone on here since the last upgrade. Most have been kicking around for a while, but have mostly gone unnoticed because of placement, etc. (not that any are fancy enough to warrant fanfare...)
Link Blog: Following Ryan's example (see right hand column under all the pictures), I've added a link blog. This is for the interesting/useful sites that I come across in my daily web meanderings that I want to share but don't want to make a dedicated post about. The most recent links can be found down the left hand column or you can view them all at the archives.
Ads: So I added ads. I'm hoping that they are unobtrusive, helpful, and possibly even profitable. I'm up a whopping $1.98 currently. Feel free to click on them. Every now and again, good stuff pops up there. Currently, they are located far down the left hand column on the main page, at the bottom of People's Guide to Anacortes, and at the bottom of any permalinked page.
Permalinks: I've improved the way BdW permalinks. A "permalink" is a link that will always point to a given post (even if it is years down the road). Now, the page will have only the one post and the comments associated with that post along with an abbreviated left hand navigation column. Permalinks are great for when you want to send a specific post to a friend* or link to a specific post from your blog. To get the permalink, just click on the title for any post.
Comment Encoding: Over the years*, there have been some issues with cutting and pasting links into the comment area. I think I've got all that worked out, so paste away.
Coming Soon: I've got a couple more support pages coming soon, including an about page that will hopefully be useful to new visitors and a resume page to showcase all the web design work I do. Since I know you will be holding your breath, I'll be sure to point out when I get those launched.
New Match Em! sets: Unfortunately only one reader submitted their own match set for addition into Match Em! (Thanks Joe!). I added in a couple more sets as well, so be sure to check them all out.
|Friday August 17 2007||File under: coding, blog|
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|As some of you noticed recently, Blog du Wren was "validated" with a barrage of blog spam. Many questions have arisen from this about why, how, etc. I thought now would be as good a time as any (better even, because I don't have anything of value to post about) to examine the phenomenon of blog spam.
Wikipedia has a great write up on Spam in blogs, although it is a bit skewed towards eliminating it rather than explaining it. Basically, an automated script goes around posting comments on blogs with a link to their own site in hopes of raising their site's search engine rank. (Search engine ranking is based on how many sites link to yours, among other things.) These scripts recognize a site as a blog (or guestbook, etc.) by their format and programming (which leads to my feelings of validation because BdW is put into the same formatting/programming arena as the professional blog software packages).
What has been very interesting is to see where these spam comments come from. With the IP tracking I added as part of the BdW 2.0 revamp, I have the ability to look at the comments last known transfer point. This is what I came up with: RUSSIAN FEDERATION, CHINA, INDIA, PAKISTAN, POLAND (with repeats from Russia and India).
In an attempt to spare us all from this initially interesting but quickly annoying phenomenon, I tweaked the way I do comments. Since every little change I make might make everything stop working, I would appreciate if you keep your eyes open for any bugs, esp. you mac users out there. Cheers!
|Friday March 30 2007||File under: blog|
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|Huzzah! Huzzah! Blog du Wren has reached a milestone. This is the 100th post. It warms my heart to see how far it has come since it's humble beginnings. Together, we've shared announcements, travels, food, and double comments out the wazoo. In honor of this momentous occasion, I thought it might be fun to have a look at some of the statistics behind BdW.
Thanks to everyone (readers, comments, beta-testers) who has helped make this the success that it is.
|Thursday March 8 2007||File under: blog, stats|
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|I'm proud to announce the release of BdW 2.0. Upgraded features are:
*New domain name (www.blogduwren.com)
*Quicker load times and no lagging comment loads
*Recent comments tracking
*Pagination for easy access to archives
*Better browser compatibility (yes, even for Macs)
*IP logging on comments (for all those anonymous commenters)
*New comment logging code (now with a 60% less chance for double posting!)
*Perma-link (because one of these posts is bound to make it to digg)
Because I coded everything myself (woot!), there might be some glitches in the switchover process. If you come across any bugs, please let me know (via the contact page). Otherwise, please update your bookmarks and RSS feeds as the nwlink address will no longer be current. I hope you enjoy!
|Monday February 26 2007||File under: blog|
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