Over at the Evernote blog today, podcast #35 is online and contains an hours worth of interesting stuff, all relating to Evernote. I’d urge you to listen to the whole thing. I am on the podcast1, discussing paperless lifestyle topics. You can head over there to listen to the podcast, and if you don’t feel like listening to the whole thing2 and just want to hear me, I come in around the 28:00 mark.
Evernote is holding another Paperless Challenge and as part of that event, I have a guest post over on the Evernote blog today. The paperless challenge is the perfect opportunity for people who’ve wanted to go paperless to get started. In addition to the sharing of ideas with other people participating in the challenge, there will be prizes and other events. Head on over to the Evernote Blog for more information. And you can find the Paperless Challenge event on Facebook.
If you’ve never visited the site, 27GoodThings, you should check it out. Three times a week, they have some featured guest list 3 things to read, 3 things to watch and 3 things to use. (9 things x 3 guests = 27 good things.) There is an impressive list of guests so far. I was invited to be a guest this week and my 9 things are up on their site today. Head on over there to see my suggestions.
Over at SF Signal, Paul Weimer, Mind-Meld Master, has asked the question:
What books do people expect you to love or read, but you don’t? Why?
I answer this question, along with many others, including my friend, Damien Walters Grintalis. Head on over to SF Signal to read what I had to say. (Hint: it has to do with a certain Robert Heinlein novel.)
And thanks to Paul for putting together such a great mind-meld.
They say that to become a good science fiction writer, you should read a lot of science fiction. I suppose the same can be said of blogging. One way to learn the skill is to read a lot of what other people write. Actually, I really enjoy reading other people’s blogs. I thought I’d list some blogs that I’ve discovered in 2012 and become hooked on. Keep in mind that some of these blogs have been around before 2012–I just discovered them this year.
- Lifehacker’s “How I Work” series. This weekly blog series interviews notable people online about the tools and tricks they use to get their work done. Or, as the series describes itself, it “asks heroes, experts, brilliant, and flat-out productive people to share their shortcuts, workspaces, routines, and more.” I really enjoy this series and have gained a lot of good tips and insights from these posts.
- Grady Henrix’s Great Stephen King Reread on Tor.com. Another weekly blog that started in mid-October. This series is totally addictive for fans of Stephen King. Grady doesn’t just recount the books, but has some excellent insights into the novels and stories. He also places the work in question in context of the writer’s life, which makes it all the more interesting. I think the original intent was to cover the first decade of King’s career. I sure hope the series continues beyond that.
- Brain Pickings by Maria Popova. This blog is a mishmash of everything interesting and curious. You never know what you are going to get, but there is at least some cool new discovery I make every day on this blog. Like this cool map of New York. Or this book of My Favorite Bookshelf. Very useful for random discovery.
- The Bloggess. I started reading this one recently after watching a Google Hangout on blogging featuring Patrick Rothsfuss, John Scalzi, Wil Wheaton and the Bloggess, Jenny Lawson. Some great stuff here.
I’m opening to suggestions for blogs to explore in 2013. Leave your suggestions in the comments.
Just a reminder to anyone who might still be reading this blog over on LiveJournal: I am decommissioning my LiveJournal account this Friday. For reasons why, see this post. If you don’t want to read this blog directly here, or you have a link to my LiveJournal RSS feed, here are a couple of alternatives that will continue to work:
I have been a member of LiveJournal since 2005. It was where I started blogging in the first place, and I used it regularly until about 2008 when I switched over to the self-managed version of WordPress upon which this site is based. I liked LiveJournal when I used it. I switched to WordPress because it provided me with a lot more control over what I wanted to do. Since that switch, I’ve used a WordPress plug-in to cross-post everything here over to my LiveJournal account.
Beginning today, the cross-posting will stop and at the end of November, I am removing my LiveJournal account.
I am doing this for several reasons:
- I never use LiveJournal anymore. I find WordPress to be better for my needs so I never even visit LiveJournal.
- This blog is already cross-posted to tumblr and has a well-established RSS feed. LiveJournal seems superfluous.
- There is almost no traffic over at the LiveJournal blog. 16-20 visits per day at the most. Between this blog and the RSS feed, on the other hand, I’m getting between 2,500-3,000 visits each day.
- It is one less thing for me to maintain.
If you are reading this post on LiveJournal and you enjoy the blog, please subscribe to the RSS feed or read it here or on Tumblr. Although no new posts will go to LiveJournal after this one, the LiveJournal account and blog will remain in tact until November 30th, at which point I will delete it.
And, on the very rare occasion that this site has been down, you can still read posts via Tumblr and RSS.
A little bit of light diversion for a Friday afternoon. There are two ongoing series online that I’ve really been enjoying:
- Lifehacker’s How I Work series. Lifehacker’s main site is down right now, courtesy of Sandy, but their update site is running on Tumblr. Every Wednesday, Lifehacker comes out with a featuer called How I Work, in which they do a kind of interview with someone about the apps and gadgets they use to get their jobs done. I look forward to this every Wednesday. The most recent, on Halloween, features Zach Anner, host of Riding Shotgun.
- Tor.com’s The Great Stephen King Reread. Over at Tor.com, Grady Hendrix is doing a “reread” of the first decade of Stephen King’s output. And his reread is a great read for everyone else. Hendrix goes in depth into the stories and novels, often with some stories behind the stories, and some valuable insights into the writer and the work itself. There have been four installments so far, including the introduction, and I’ve had a blast reading them.
I also wanted to plug a couple of fundraisers going on in the SF/F world:
- Strange Horizons Annual Fund Drive. There is just about 2-1/2 days left in Strange Horizons annual fund drive. Strange Horizons is a pioneer SF/F magazine, having been available online longer than most. They publish great fiction, articles, and reviews. Check them out, if you haven’t seen them before, and consider making a donation.
- The 2013 John Picacio Calendar Kickstarter. Hugo Award-winning artist John Picacio is holding a Kickstarter to raise money for his gorgeous science fiction art calendar. It is definitely worth backing, if you enjoy quality artwork. (I am so looking forward to my signed copy of the calendar!)
That’s all I’ve got. Resume your regularly scheduled Friday afternoon.
Some time shortly after midnight, this site passed it’s 300,000th page view this year. This does not include people who view the site via RSS or through LiveJournal, Tumblr, LinkedIn or other places that the site is crossposted. I’m talking about visits directly to the blog itself. That is just incredible to me, and I will illustrate why. Here are my month-to-month page views since inception back in February 2010, when I moved the site from LiveJournal into WordPress:
When I started, I was getting less than 300 visits per month. You can see over the course of nearly 3 years that I’ve had a steady increase, followed by the occasional jump to the point where last month, I had over 48,000 views. You can see the progression somewhat more dramatically in the year-end totals. On the year, I’m averaging 1,011 page views per day. Last month, I averaged 1,600 per day.
Taking a look at Google Analytics, I see that since January, those 300,000 page views have been made by over 92,000 unique visitors. That’s a good-sized town! It’s just incredible to me.
People occasionally ask me how to get started blogging and how to get an audience. I try to tell them that you need to have something worth saying, of course, but even with that it takes patience and time. People sometimes don’t want to believe that, but it worked for me.
Perhaps most rewarding is the fact that people keep coming back. They leave me comments telling me how much they like my posts. It’s a love-fest, and like Isaac Asimov used to say about his own readers, I’ve got the best readers in the world! Thank you, thank you, thank you.
And keep coming back!
For some reason, beginning last night, this site seems to be inaccessible to people connecting from AT&T networks. Nothing changed on this end. I spent time with the host support and verified that it isn’t the host. I can access this site just fine from non-AT&T networks. But when I try to access from my iPhone over 3G, or from my office, which has an AT&T backbone, the site returns a 502 error, or some standard browser error.
I spent additional time with AT&T support today, but they don’t seem to understand the problem. They say it is the host. I explained that the host is perfectly accessible and from the same device so long as I am not connected to an AT&T network. Their bottom line was that there was nothing they could do. As you might imagine, this is very frustrating. The good news is that according to Google Analytics, AT&T network makes up just under 3% of the views on the site, so at worst only about 3% of visitor are affected.
The workaround, for folks trying to access this site from an AT&T network is to use the Tumblr for this site, or the RSS feed for this site. I have no idea when and if this issue will be resolved, but I’ll keep my eye on it. In the meantime, I can see that plenty of people are still able to access the site just fine because my stats for today are mostly normal for a Wednesday.
I apologize for this, but I have no idea how to fix it. I’ve provided the links to alternate feeds for the site, and I’ll monitor the situation. And I did post a message to Twitter so that folks who can’t access the site know what’s going on.
Of course, if you have any suggestions, I’m all ears. Thanks for your understanding.
Just before Worldcon last month, crossposting of this blog to my Tumblr site stopped working. Apparently, this was caused by a change in the Tumblr API. The old widget I was using (Tumblrize) would not work with the new API and there were not plans to make it work in the future. I switched to a different widget, and as of today, the new widget appears to be working. So those of you read this blog over on Tumblr should start seeing posts again.
Indeed, you may be seeing too many posts. When I made the previous post, it seemed to post to Tumblr four times. I’m not certain why that is. I removed the extra posts, but I’m still investigating and playing around with the setting, so forgive me if you see duplicates over there.
Last Wednesday, I stayed up way past my bedtime to be a part of the panel discussion that makes up today’s SF Signal Podcast, Episode 150, talking about the crazy time we all had at the 70th World Science Fiction Convention in Chicago a few weeks ago. And by “crazy time,” I mean, you know, squeeing over all of the Big Names we saw or talked to. And by “we” I a mean John DeNardo, Brent Bowen, Josh Vogt, JP Frantz, Patrick Hester, and your humble blogger.
Have a listen. I think it was a fun podcast.