Tag: Wordpress

The… Anti-Summer 2018 Initiative?

The… Anti-Summer 2018 Initiative?

Greetings and salutations.

As you may have noticed, things have been a little different around here recently. A little more barren.

Don’t worry, it’s not a symptom of finally running out of ideas. I did that about a year ago and wrote about my pencil set.

Nor is it some delusion that my Naruto-Arena post is the peak of my creativity (though I like that post and you should read it if you haven’t).

There has actually been plenty of exciting blog fodder over the last week.

I attended Alyson’s fourth 4th of July parade and survived the concurrent earthquake.

I also survived the subsequent 7.1 earthquake that struck California.

Though to be fair I was far out of the range of both, and you should follow my old Daily Titan colleague Lauren Jennings to see more of the damage in Ridgecrest.

My Bachelor’s degree was finally shipped.

Over the last few weeks my family has also sat down and binged a few shows:

Good Omens on Amazon Prime Video (which has a phenomenal underlying controversy) and Stranger Things season 3 on Netflix. Both of which are extremely well-constructed and receive honest recommendations.

Even if part of my interest in Stranger Things comes from our long-time investment.

Beyond all that, I’ve also been playing a lot of Fire Emblem Warriors.

The game has been far more fun than I expected, and incorporates a number of intriguing elements in a novel gameplay style for my prior experiences. Interesting elements that might make for a perfect post.

Yet I haven’t written about any of those things.

You see, let’s go back to my Summer Initiative. It was a sort of challenge to myself:

“You’re not working on the Daily Titan right now,” I said. “So why not try writing something every day to keep your skills sharp?”

The drive to write more led to an increase in site traffic and a subsequent sense of pride that has extended my near-daily posts for about a year.

So much so that I used its existence as a part of a freelancing pitch.

With all that said, you might be wondering why I haven’t written in six days.

It turns out I might have conditioned myself to care about blogging a little too much. For some time now, what I’m blogging every day has been the focal point of all my writer’s stress.

Which is kind of a problem when you have a book you want to finish.

Thus I decided to scale back as a test. Would I be more productive on my book if I stopped focusing on daily blog posts?

As it turns out, I have been.

Over the last week I’ve gotten myself to nearly 300 pages, and I believe that’s as good a sign as any that I should scale back my blog stuff until I get through the novel.

Currently my anti-Summer Initiative is shaping up to be blog posts over the weekend while keeping my weekdays free to write the book. I’d like to finish my first draft before Mom and Aly get back from New York at the end of July.

The weekend will probably have at least one week-in-review and quicker one-offs like a piece on Spider-Man: Far From Home that I’ll write after seeing the film tomorrow.

And I’ll leave myself open to the occasional weekday post. Because I’m a Fire Emblem Heroes addict and Intelligent Systems lied about fewer summer banners.

But otherwise I’m trying more life updates through Twitter and Instagram during the week — as you can see throughout this post.

So if you’re interested in keeping up, go ahead and follow me there!

Six years of progress

Six years of progress

Here’s a fun fact for all of you computer enthusiasts:

I’ve been using the same MacBook Air for everything since late high school. A MacBook Air that I inherited from my Dad.

That he got in 2010.

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Yikes

Needless to say I’ve been in the market for an upgrade. That laptop may have served me well, but it was getting long in the tooth. Slow processing to the point of freezing, difficulty running complex programs and video games… You name it.

When I graduated, my parents asked what kind of gift they could get me to celebrate. I asked if I could get a new laptop, something to benefit my workflow as I transition out of academia.

Dad managed to snag this 2016 MacBook Air that was coming out of circulation at work:

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2016 may seem outdated for a lot of you that prefer to keep on the razor’s edge of technology, but for me it’s a ridiculous leap forward.

Writing and uploading the photos for this blog post has been the smoothest process in three years, for instance.

The background image changes depending on the time of day.

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That appeases me in a deep-rooted, giggly kind of way. Like jangling keys in front of a baby.

And I have at least five times the storage space on this machine:

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I don’t know how I’ll ever fill 500 Gigabytes.

While I’ve only been using the new laptop for about eight hours or so, it has more than justified itself. Which is good considering how much of a pain it was to set the damn thing up.

Dad and I tried to directly transfer all of the information from my old machine to the new one, that way I wouldn’t lose files or progress on anything going on.

We started up the transfer when I went to work with him yesterday, as I would be joining him later that night for poker at his friend Don’s house.

You can see my whole Twitter thread on that experience here because…

It was special.

There were a good six or so hours spent at his office in Beverly Hills before we went to poker, and we set up the computers early hoping to finish before leaving.

Nothing really panned out the way we expected.

Some combination of not cleaning the old machine’s data enough, the hubris of assuming we could have both laptops connect to my iPhone’s wifi hotspot or who knows what else led to an extended transfer time.

We spent a whole lot of time watching the time estimate fluctuate between 20 minutes and 37 hours.

As a result I wasn’t able to spend any of the time at Fandango doing things on my computer, such as work on my novel. Plus my phone was less useful than usual because I couldn’t wear headphones when we plugged it in.

Luckily I brought my 3DS (because I’m still playing Sacred Stones), but that eventually ran out of battery.

The transfer wound up taking so long that we carried both computers out of the building while they were still open, and I looked like a nut during our drive with two laptops open while I played on my phone.

I only had to moonlight as a technophile hacker for a bit of the drive before the process finished, luckily enough.

Because of poker I couldn’t play around with the machine until this morning.

But now that I have, I think it’s time to use the improved processing power to finally make good on returning to a few things from my youth.

Starting with a little browser-based game called:

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Hopefully tomorrow, assuming I don’t get too caught up playing this game I just bought with my friend Sam.

But that too will be a story for another day.

Statistically surpassing 2017

Statistically surpassing 2017

About three days ago, the amount of views my blog has accrued this year surpassed the total from 2017.

With a lead-in sentence like that I’m sure you’re expecting this post to be an exercise in prideful self-fellatio.

To an extent I suppose it is, but part of the reason why it’s cool is because of interesting insights I believe I can pull out of the analytics. As I tend to look at.

For instance, here are the yearly statistics as of my writing this:

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The bar graph shows an overall trend toward increasing views, and that’s sensible considering my blog has evolved from a class requirement to a digital resume and regular part of my writing life.

In 2018 the number of views jumped sizably compared to the growth from 2016 to 2017 due to my Summer Initiative and its aftermath.

Last summer was when I shifted the emphasis of my blog from writing a few times a month (mostly archiving stories) to writing nearly every day.

The jump from 1,944 to 4,210 views makes sense when audiences have a higher volume of content to consume on an almost daily schedule.

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Notice the shift around June 2018.

And that was when I only wrote daily for half the year.

This year I’m halfway to that number and we’re only at the end of May, which bodes well for further growth. Especially if I get a few more breakout posts like my Redondo Union Archives write-up:

Post uploaded on March 25, 2019

I may be on-track to surpass 2018 in views, but other aspects are faltering.

“Likes” is one statistic I have trouble explaining due to the lack of a noticeable tracker on WordPress. I can tell you that I received 129 likes on my posts in 2018 compared to the paltry seven in 2019 so far, but I can’t tell you why that might be.

However, I can say something about the trend in daily views and viewers.

As you can see in the 2017 v. 2019 analytics, I surpassed my views from two years ago with about 30 fewer individual visitors.

I’ve also noticed a pattern of more views-per-day recently in spite of less visitors coming overall. I used to see about six or seven views at most every day, but recently it has hovered closer to 20:

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Even yesterday, where I was so busy with family Memorial Day barbecuing and playing Minecraft with my friends that I didn’t write a blog post, my site received 33 views.

The last time I hit views near that high was April 24, when I wrote about my collection of graduation gowns.

If nothing else, I hope this post can be a positive affirmation for you regular viewers that people notice when you put extra energy into something. Even when that something is as silly as a personal blog.

I find the analytics fascinating to sort through so I hope you found them just as interesting to consume!

But if you didn’t, how about you take a look at this views-per-country breakdown:

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Because the map is always a fun thing to see in my opinion.


Featured Image courtesy of Carlos Muza via Wikimedia Commons

Blog Analytics

Blog Analytics

I’m sure it seems a bit narcissistic and self-serving to dedicate a whole post to my own blog’s analytics out of nowhere. Especially considering the last time I did this kind of thing when I hit 100 Twitter followers over the summer, I didn’t have 100 for that much longer.

By now I have some number fluctuating around 110 or so, to be fair.

But that’s beside the point. I assure you that narcissism has nothing to do with this.

If anything, to lampshade myself appropriately, this is just a result of having no idea what to talk about to fill today’s gap.

Otherwise my choices would have been the mandatory internship class orientation I attended today (but it was kind of a waste of time and I already complained about school this week), my fluctuating inner conflict over going to the gym tonight (I decided to just go tomorrow on account of my big lunch food coma™ (thanks Mimi) ) or Fire Emblem Heroes (except the new banner comes out tomorrow, so you’ll have to wait a day for that).

For the reasons I stipulated in the parenthesis up there, I decided not to go with any of the above.

However, while doing some soul-searching and just staring at my blog to try to figure out what I was in the mood to write, I came across something that piqued my interest. In traffic analytics, of all things.

I’ve talked about the analytics that WordPress offers briefly in the past, during my 2018 New Year’s Eve post. In that post I looked at the large overall increase in views from 2016 to 2017 when I got slightly more interested in writing blog stuff.

By the end of this year it’s going to be an even bigger story considering the inherent jump that came from me writing a post just about every day. I’ll get to that story in about a month.

Today, however, I’m looking at more of a small-scale moment in recent history. Recent history meaning approximately two days ago.

I’m sure you all remember the silly post I did with Alyson where we opened a stupid “Wreck it Ralph 2” toy in a faux box opening channel style. Had a lot of fun with that one, it was a goofy little experiment. The video part we made has 20 views on YouTube right now too, which is neat. Especially considering that’s about a third as many views as that Sonic on Apple T.V. video I made for the post of the same topic in July.

Boy I know I said this wasn’t a narcissistic, self-serving post but I sure am calling back to a lot of things, aren’t I?

ANYWAY, all of that was to set up the analytics I noticed from that toy opening post.

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That’s a hell of a sudden spike for that one post.

Sure, we can be cynical and talk about how that’s still only about 40 people when I on average reach about 20 people. But that’s still a 100 percent increase.

I don’t know, I think it’s pretty cool to see.

Plus while I was looking at that, I happened to also briefly look back at the ‘countries’ tab of the analytics. Aly told me she let her friends know that we shot a stupid video, so I wanted to see if it was purely a U.S. demographic that picked up on the post.

What I found was that as of, say, 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 20, 2018, here was the spread of people visiting my blog:

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Mostly the U.S., as I would have thought. But also Taiwan and France!

Don’t know who’s out there reading this blog in Taiwan and France, but I’d be very interested to know how you all perceive the mad ramblings I embark on.

Oh, but that’s not all folks. I didn’t just look at today’s visitation statistics.

I looked at an entire week’s worth:

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Check out the diverse spread of yellow. I know those are just one or two people compared to the 81 individuals in America that came in over the last week, but still.

The fact that a stupid, silly blog some college student in Redondo Beach, California rambles into on a whim can reach this kind of international audience continues to astound me. It’s probably the only thing that has really, truly made me care about things like analytics and search engine optimization.

Everything I do on the old blog here I do for me. But seeing the kind of reach my personal business has is just incredible.

Gosh that definitely came out sounding self-serving again didn’t it?

I’m just going to cut my losses and leave things there. Look forward to tomorrow when I write about Fire Emblem again and probably kill all interest in anyone coming back!

Bringing things up-to-date

I’ve been a little bit sparse on content the last couple days, but I’m just chalking that up to the nature of the beast now that school is in full swing.

Just walked out of my three-hour class that actually took three hours this week, and I still have another quiz tomorrow. So I’m not exactly all that free even as I write this short bit up.

But I figured I should put something out there. That something just so happens to be a really, really short little life/work update. Because outside of just doing school things, I’ve also managed to update some of my social medias.

That’s always a fun topic to talk about, right?

Well no matter how you answered that question you’re in luck. If you enjoy talking about social media updates, here we are talking about t! But if you don’t, I’m basically at the end of this post anyway.

The biggest thing I’ve done over the last few days was bring this here blog up-to-date. Finally went through the Daily Titan page to reflect the fact that I’m not on staff this semester, the Gladeo Page to reflect my new position as Managing Editor and the Boom page to add a quick reflection of the fact that part of my work with them is live-tweeting events.

You know. Now that I did that for the Obama thing.

(You can see all of this through the links over on the right, by the way)

I also went onto my LinkedIn and added a portion about my Obama event coverage there. Which was actually kind of cool because I found out you can attach a specific Tweet into your work experience section.

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When you click on the link it opens up as the full Tweet and kinda looks fancy. I promise.

And I like it.

That’s really about all I have to say today, however. Just consider it a short little reminder to myself that yeah, I’m still hoping to do something on here (mostly) every day, and that it doesn’t necessarily have to be the Citizen Kane of blog posts to qualify.

Though tomorrow I may or may not post about my thoughts on the Nintendo Direct I heard is happening, so that should be more exciting.

Look forward to that, if so.

Figuring out the Facebooks

Figuring out the Facebooks

It’s not very often that I can get meta about the inner workings of this blog I’ve got regarding subjects beyond the simple milestones like post numbers or followers. But today I wanted to do just that because of a somewhat more interesting development affecting the blog completely beyond my control.

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According to information put out by WordPress, the service, Facebook is restricting the ability of third-party tools to automatically publish material on people’s profile pages.

If I were to read between the obvious lines, this change is more than likely a push to fix some of the concerns regarding the social media site’s use by Russian hackers to messing with the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. Because whether or not you believe President Trump on the argument that Russia was not meddling at all, or they weren’t meddling on his behalf, or whatever the current story is, clearly some shady stuff was going down.

In fact, some shady stuff is still apparently going down. So it isn’t a concern we’re likely to see go away anytime soon.

Facebook has been trying to, at the very least, put its best face forward (pun only somewhat intended) about aiming to regain the trust of the service’s users. Anyone who spends nearly as much time on YouTube as I do, for example, will probably recognize this ad that suddenly started showing up before just about every video in existence a few weeks back:

The cynic in me rolls his eyes pretty hard seeing this ad, as it’s more than likely Facebook cares more about keeping itself alive as a juggernaut business than it does making sure every Joe Schmo out there can still talk with their friends and family like ‘the good old days.’

But there’s also something to be said about the fact that they’re trying to do something rather than just letting everything burn to the ground while pretending that nothing happened.

Even if that something just amounts to customer-facing BS.

I think that’s about as political as I’m willing to get on the subject right now, however. I haven’t done any of my own significant research or reporting and as a result can’t give you all a definitive ‘Facebook is doing it wrong/right’ verdict.

All I can really say is that based on stuff like the reporting out of Vox I linked to up above and the fact that Facebook is changing its third-party integration (the thing this post was supposed to be about, what a circle!), at least there seems to be an effort to improve. Something I’m hopeful isn’t just BS, as I previously mentioned.

Unfortunately that effort to improve does make my personal life a little more difficult.

See the non-political part of this post is here to address the fact that changing integration also changes the way I need to handle my social media with regards to WordPress stuff.

As must be obvious to most people out there, my social media accounts right now are primarily means of creating a wider viewership for my blog posts. Sure I still go through and post independent things on Facebook and Twitter on occasion, but for the most part I actually much prefer the freedom of being able to write as much as I desire here and spreading that to the world instead of dealing with some restriction like 280 characters.

Now that my WordPress posts will no longer automatically publish to Facebook, I’ve arrived at something of a crossroads.

Is it worth going about the extra step of posting my blog activity to Facebook directly?

Or should I just abandon that social media branch entirely?

The obvious choice for my lazy self is the latter. However, even if I don’t think too much of it in my head, there are some benefits to getting my words out on Facebook specifically.

Those benefits more or less boil down to the posts being seen by people who do, at least occasionally, pay attention that wouldn’t be able to continue doing so via Twitter. Family is the big chunk of that demographic, as I’ll see people like my grandparents liking posts out of the blue on occasion. But there’s also some high school friends I’ve got that occasionally like or comment on my posts. Which is pretty cool, to be completely honest. I like knowing that I’ve caught someone’s fancy with something I might not have expected to.

So with that said, I suppose I should thank you all for making it this far into what is ultimately a non-discussion. I pretty much knew from the get-go that my decision would ultimately be to figure out the best way to separately post these up on Facebook.

I just figured it would be a more interesting post if I went into some of the mindset I had leading up to the decision. After breaking away from writing to hit the gym for an hour, I figure I’ve hit a place in the writing and in my energy level to end it here.

Though that said, I suppose this is going to be my first post separately uploaded to Facebook. Because of that please stand by if it takes some time for me to figure out exactly how I want that to work.

Car Troubles are Fun

To make it out to a meeting I had in Fullerton this afternoon, I had to drive my car a substantial distance for probably the first time in a long time.

That’s one of the nice things about summer vacation for me. More hometown driving, less having to go to the gas station multiple times a week.

I’ve been a little hesitant about getting back behind the wheel for a long trip lately because of some issues I had with my car semi-recently. This isn’t something I chatted about when it happened, mostly because I was sort of embarrassed about it, but I figured now would be as good a time as any. Just to keep a log of what happens in my life, if nothing else.

In an effort to not bury the lede and make sure you all can imagine what I’m taking about, enjoy this image:

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Yeah, what a mess.

Now before I get any concerned messages, I’m totally okay. This wasn’t the result of a collision or anything of the sort.

Pretty much exactly a week ago now, I got up extra early to drive my sister to summer school (she’s taking Spanish 3 to clear it out-of-the-way for next year). Because that class is fairly early in the morning, I came home and stayed in a sort of sleepy daze for a while after.

Naturally that led to the fact that it was street sweeping day completely slipping my mind. Up until I heard the sweeper start to make its way down the other side of the street.

Panicked, I rushed out to pull my car away from the street spot and onto the driveway so I could avoid getting a ticket. Unfortunately that rush led to my forgetting just how big of a turning radius my car has.

So long story short my front-left wheel dipped down into the small ditch surrounding my driveway where we have some plants growing, and as I pulled back the inside of the bumper got caught on a concrete corner and pulled out.

Fun. Stuff.

Like I said, nobody was hurt (if you don’t count my pride) and we were able to bring it down to an auto shop down the block from the house and get the bumper realigned and stuck back in for a quick 20 bucks.

Though that’s only a bandage in the grand scheme of things. Apparently we’re going to have to have the whole bumper replaced at some point.

When you add that damage onto the rear-left window’s broken motor, which has left the thing half-open for the last few months, I’ve finally begun to understand the struggles of car ownership. Particularly on a starving college student’s budget.

Luckily I’m glad I can report that the first big freeway drive I’ve taken it on since that damage was done has been a success. Nothing fell off again and all seems to be relatively okay if you don’t count the slight scraping sound of my wheel against the inward bump whenever I turn right.

It’s more disconcerting than it is dangerous, but still.

Honestly car troubles were about all I had in mind as a conversation topic today, but I think I’m just going to leave it at that. Nobody’s interested in the nitty-gritty because everyone has the same problems, I’m sure.

So in the meantime, I guess I can just say look forward to more exciting(?) posts coming out later this week.

I know at some point I’m going to have to upgrade my WordPress here to store more photos, I’ll probably write about that. Also more units are coming to Fire Emblem Heroes on the 20th, so I’ll definitely be on that. Plus I have a job interview on Friday that I’m sure I’ll talk about.

Lucky Number 300

Like yesterday, I didn’t exactly do a lot today that I would qualify as blog post worthy. However I don’t have as easy a crutch to lean on as the play I went to with my family last night.

So yeah I could spend the next couple hundred words or so talking about the almost 9,000 word transcript I did for a Boom conversation with Merry Ovnick of Southern California Quarterly. But I’m not sure a second-hand account of the discussions on regional architecture in California and Los Angeles specifically would be super interesting for anyone but me.

That probably doesn’t sound fair. It’s not an inherently boring interview or anything. In fact, it went over some interesting points, particularly about the effects of history and culture on architecture and vice versa.

I just don’t think I can do it any justice without coming across about as blandly as possible. So I’m just going to leave that to the experts and encourage you all to go read the piece as soon as it’s officially published.

With that mindset in place, I figured this was going to be a short “don’t have much to talk about” kind of post.

But then I started to set it up. When I did I realized this is actually a milestone of sorts.

My blog post yesterday was the 299’s I’ve published here. That means you’re currently reading lucky number 300 — as my headline so aptly remarks.

So yeah. Happy tri-centennial… Erm… I’m not sure what the right term would be… Post-iversary… Thing.

I guess it’s not even so much an anniversary since it isn’t time-specific as much as it is content-specific. I’ll try to come up with something better if I do one of these for the next milestone. Probably 500, or whatever it may be.

While I wish I had something more substantial to say, I suppose it’ll have to do for me to just reflect on my summer project now that we’re at about the halfway point.

I’ve honestly been surprised to see that posting something every single day, rather than putting out a post every other week or so, actually has a substantial effect on how many eyes the words get to. At least twice this summer I’ve broken my record on blog post views and likes (though both are just barely into the double digits so I can’t proclaim it’s that much) and I’ve more than tripled my following.

Even if that’s, again, a less than substantive nine or so followers up to the low thirties, it’s still pretty awesome. I’m sure it sounds cliché when I say it, but I really do appreciate all of you out there that think I’m worth taking a look at for what mostly amounts to random bouts of rambling.

That also extends beyond my direct WordPress followers into the realm of social media. Though that also comes in spurts, I like to know whenever people take a look at the stuff I’m putting out here.

Even if it’s just that Takumi that always retweets my Fire Emblem Heroes posts. I’m 99 percent sure that’s a bot account in terms of retweeting my stuff, but I’m also 99 percent sure he’s the only one who actually takes any sort of interest in those.

So shout out to you Twitter Takumi.

Just based on what I’ve seen come out of this so far, I think I’m probably going to continue writing a blog post a day even after the summer ends. That might be tougher once school starts, but if nothing else I’ll probably just be able to talk about what I learned in class on a given day or something along those lines. So who knows, I’m sure it’ll work out in one way or another.

That’s honestly all I’ve got to say on the matter, but I’m well over 500 words writing about nothing at this point, so I think that should be more than enough. Especially if I want to get something out before midnight.

Again, thanks for all the support, and here’s to many more posts from here on out! Perhaps if I actually keep up this daily business, soon it’ll be child’s play when I hit a number like 300.

That’s the dream anyway.