A brief history of January

With all the blogging I’ve been doing so far this month, a few of you have given me strange looks or short notes to the effect of “Hey, didn’t know you were still writing on that thing, ha ha.”

Right. Well. Don’t get too excited.

Just before I completely corrupted the data by importing more than 2,500 Delicious links as blog posts, I took a quick count, by month, of all the posts on this blog since I started it way back in February 2005 as a freshly minted graduate student in Mass Communications at San Jose State University.

And lately, January is big deal. Clearly, I have a New Year’s resolution problem.

Onward to the data, visualized as the most boring Excel bar chart in the history of boring bar charts.

Aside from the obvious fact that 2009 and 2010 were pretty dark years around this URL, a few amusing data points:

  • January has been my most prolific month, historically, and the top month for 2010 and 2009. In 2010, this was definitely a resolution issue.
  • As for the other spikes: In May 2005, the last month of my first semester in graduate school, and first semester as a blogger, I just plain wrote a lot. This was definitely a phase where I would link to someone else’s post and express my own opinion as it related to the topic at hand. Pretty basic blogging stuff. But In February 2006, I was importing Delicious links automatically, grouped together in a single post per day if I had saved anything new. Some people still do this, but I don’t really care for it. So that month’s numbers are a bit padded.
  • In June 2007, the all-time page view champion on this here website, I only published 11 posts, making it a mid-range month, ranked 36 of 73.
  • The 15 months with the fewest posts were all in 2009 and 2010.
  • Other than January 2005, which I included here with a zero because I think that’s when I wrote my first post or two on the original Blogspot blog where this all originated, there are no zeroes on this list. That’s right, even in the throes of whatever overarching busy-ness was keeping me away from regular blogging, I managed to get one in every month. That was a surprise to me.

The real trick, of course, is keeping up the pace when January’s over.

We’ll see.

Reintroducing Newstangle, or How I learned to stop worrying and love my blog

Let’s skip the usual rambling, expository introduction and get to the lists:

  1. Delicious is dying. Or it isn’t. Or it is. Depends on who you ask, I suppose.
  2. I like saving and tagging and sharing links. You may have noticed I worked for a company that made some tools to do that sort of thing.
  3. I’m having a hard time trusting any of the also-ran social bookmarking sites with my data.
  4. For a long time now, I’ve had intentions to implement some form of WordPress “Asides” on my blog, to use in conjunction with the “Press This” bookmarklet for light linkblogging.

The desired outcome:

  1. A handsome little way to display Asides on my blog. For the sake of this discussion, let’s just call all the “Asides” posts something like “Newstangle.”
  2. All of my Delicious links, minus some outdated stuff, imported to WordPress as posts with their tags intact.
  3. Some light repair and merging of tags.
  4. A page displaying all my Newstangle posts and tags in some sort of useful, browsable way.
  5. Perhaps a search box just for the Newstangle content.
  6. To send out automatic-ish tweets when I post a Newstangle link that lead to the link in question, and not my blog post about it.
  7. To point Newstangle.com at the Newstangle links over here.

So far: I’m done with steps 1, 2, 3, and 7. Halfway done with 4, really.

Not bad for an over-coffee-and-breakfast project, right?

Ingredients:

  • AsideShop for a pretty easy way to implement a version of Asides without messing around with templates. I’m a sucker for any plugin that lets me use tokens like %post_permalink% with my own markup, rather than getting too deep into PHP copy/paste missions.
  • The particular Delicious to WordPress Importer I used was an updated version of this one, and predated this other one, which even comes with a handy theme to make it more like Delicious. Your mileage will definitely vary.
  • Batch Cat to help clean up some of the damage I did importing more than 2,500 links to my default post category, which I actually use.
  • Tag Managing Thing, an oldie-but-a-goodie plugin for editing, merging, and deleting post tags.
  • And when I get around to adding some interesting tag listing ont he Newstangle category page, I might use some variation of the cool back-of-the-book index-style Archives template that came with my new Basic Maths theme.

It remains to be seen, of course, if I can stick with it, posting short links and notes on a regular basis, mixing in longer posts — perhaps about something other than this blog at some point — more frequently than I have of late.

Now then. What’s all this I hear about Flickr?