In lieu of ac­tu­al con­tent for the month of February, al­low me to present to you some junk I just threw together.

I cre­at­ed a lit­tle ‘me’ fav­i­con for writegeek a good while ago, but it nev­er re­al­ly oc­curred to me un­til this evening that it was in black and white, and not for any good rea­son, at that. I guess it match­es my cur­rent theme, but that wasn’t my in­tent — or my theme — at the time I cre­at­ed it.

So I added some color.

Here is the orig­i­nal version.

Here is a new ver­sion I was con­sid­er­ing. While it bet­ter rep­re­sents the shape of the, um, pointy thing my hair does, it makes my hair as a whole look thin­ner than it ac­tu­al­ly is.

Here is what I ul­ti­mate­ly went with: the orig­i­nal ver­sion with col­or. I think it’s a pret­ty good rep­re­sen­ta­tion of my hair, and re­minds me why I didn’t try to get too re­al­is­tic in the first place.

Creating a fav­i­con is a pret­ty cool chal­lenge… at 16×16 pix­els, talk about a lim­it­ing medi­um! Its lim­i­ta­tions help, though; I’m not re­al­ly vi­su­al­ly tal­ent­ed, so there isn’t any ex­pec­ta­tion of any­thing com­plex. It seems like, for the most part, there’s re­al­ly on­ly one way to do things.

It’s al­so pret­ty amaz­ing what a cou­ple of pix­els’ dif­fer­ence can make.

Thoughts? Feelings? …Improvements?

The plugins behind the blog

I ap­pre­ci­ate the slick pub­lish­ing plat­form that WordPress pro­vides for my writ­ing. Perhaps even bet­ter is its plu­g­in sys­tem, which lets me make it do just about any­thing I like.

Since you wont find me churn­ing out PHP code of my own any­time soon (I ‘ve ac­tu­al­ly been mean­ing to take an­oth­er stab at to wrap­ping my brain around Python now that ver­sion 3 is out), I re­ly on the WordPress com­mu­ni­ty to do so for me. Fortunately, with near­ly 10,000 plu­g­ins avail­able, they seem up to the task!

When I set up my WordPress in­stal­la­tion ear­li­er this year, I promised my­self that I wouldn’t go over­board the way I usu­al­ly end up cus­tomiz­ing and ex­tend­ing most of the oth­er tech tools/toys in my life. Even while show­ing re­straint, I’ve man­aged to ac­cu­mu­late just over 20 plu­g­ins at this point… whoops! 1 That said, every plu­g­in I’m us­ing has helped make this blog what it is to­day… from one that mir­rors com­ments that peo­ple post on Google Buzz, to one that gives me a per-post space to brain­storm as I compose.

Thus, I’ve cre­at­ed an ‘About Plugins‘ page that prop­er­ly rec­og­nizes each one.

  1. The plu­g­ins ac­tu­al­ly seem to be im­pact­ing the blog’s per­for­mance; I need to take a clos­er look in­to just where the in­ef­fi­cien­cies lie.

Why I don’t worry about blog stats, not even a little bit

I don’t ob­sess over this blog’s traf­fic stats. Doing so would be an ex­am­ple of kick­ing my own ass.

This graph is unimportant.

So while I use both Google Analytics and the WordPress Stats plu­g­in, I don’t care a whit about the num­bers. I don’t even have to check them to know that they are mean­ing­less; they’re close enough to ze­ro that they might as well be. (Words I’ve nev­er spo­ken: “I had 12 pageviews to­day, up from 10. High and to the right, baby!”)

I can’t sep­a­rate bot traf­fic from hu­man traf­fic, and for all I know, I’m prob­a­bly re­spon­si­ble for some in­ci­den­tal pageviews… at least if I hap­pen to load pages when not signed in to WordPress. And why should I care about pageviews, any­way? It’s not like I’m look­ing to sell ads.

So why do I con­tin­ue to use not one, but two so­lu­tions to not give me num­bers? For the qual­i­ta­tive da­ta. I can’t get enough of those.

My two fa­vorites are as fol­lows: re­fer­rers and search terms (which are, them­selves, re­fer­rers, any­way). Both of these give me in­for­ma­tion that is ac­tu­al­ly use­ful, right now. Search terms tell me about a case where some­one was look­ing for some­thing and found my post’s ti­tle and/or sum­ma­ry promis­ing enough to ac­tu­al­ly click through. And re­fer­rers, clear­ly, show me who (if any­one) is dri­ving peo­ple my way.

(Even in my past life on Multiply, I hooked my ac­count up with Site Meter‘s free ser­vice to see if they could show me any in­sight­ful stats. I took a look through what they of­fered and found that all I re­al­ly cared about were the re­fer­rers… which were, more of­ten than not, hi­lar­i­ous. Web brows­er, OS and screen res­o­lu­tion can be in­ter­est­ing for see­ing how my vis­i­tors stack up against Web users as a whole, but what am I go­ing to do with that sort of in­sight? Fix IE6 CSS is­sues? Ha.)

The qual­i­ta­tive da­ta that these ser­vices col­lect from my blog have shown me that peo­ple have found my post about the crap­py Vivitar Clipshot, some even won­der­ing if it’s OS X-compatible. (Hint: it isn’t.) A bunch of dif­fer­ent search terms brought peo­ple to my logo/visual puns post. And one search that didn’t even log­i­cal­ly match up with con­tent I’ve post­ed, re­cent­ly learned words reap­pear­ing, gives me a great idea for a fu­ture post!

Should I be wor­ry­ing more about ap­peal­ing to the mass­es, or about cre­at­ing the sort of con­tent that peo­ple who ac­tu­al­ly do vis­it are in­ter­est­ed in? That’s easy. The search­es and re­fer­rers have shown me that (please cue the schmaltzy mu­sic) I’ve touched people’s lives… even if I didn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly give them any­thing of val­ue, and per­haps even wast­ed their time with con­tent that wasn’t rel­e­vant to their in­ter­ests. I made a difference!

Happy Valentine’s Day

To my small in size, but large in stature, read­er­ship, I would like to take this op­por­tu­ni­ty to re­mind you that I love all of you. <3

(n.b. This of­fer of one (1) unit of pla­ton­ic love ap­plies to cur­rent read­er­ship on­ly, as of the mo­ment of pub­lish­ing. Whether this of­fer will be ex­tend­ed to fu­ture read­ers re­mains to be seen, and is ex­press­ly not guar­an­teed. While ex­ten­sion to fu­ture read­ers is de­cid­ed on a reader-by-reader ba­sis, sub­scrib­ing to my RSS feed would not hurt your chances, and al­most cer­tain­ly puts you on the fast track to my heart. Offer not avail­able where pro­hib­it­ed. Your mileage may vary.)

An introduction

Hello, Internet. It’s Everett, and I’m blog­ging. I’m sort of new at this.

And at the same time, I’m not.

See, it was 2001 when I first be­came aware of the fact that peo­ple on the Web were writ­ing reg­u­lar­ly up­dat­ed, reverse-chronological con­tent about what they had for break­fast. I was a col­lege fresh­man. I took up my key­board and start­ed a blog1 that no longer ex­ists, on a ser­vice that I didn’t like very much (but is still around today).

After a few months there, I start­ed a LiveJournal that ex­ists to this day, but hasn’t been reg­u­lar­ly up­dat­ed in a num­ber of years. I was once a paid user of LiveJournal, an ac­knowl­edged con­trib­u­tor to the project and, sim­ply, a hu­mon­gous fan.

Something changed in my life, a few years lat­er, around the time I fin­ished col­lege. Perhaps I no longer felt the need to tell the world what I was hav­ing for break­fast (of course, to­day that’s Twitter’s job), or maybe my life got a lot less note­wor­thy (if it had ever been). Maybe LiveJournal’s mul­ti­ple changes in own­er­ship tar­nished its im­age. Or maybe all the cool kids moved on to pure so­cial net­work­ing ser­vices, which were com­ing of age at that point.

It was prob­a­bly a com­bi­na­tion of these things, plus an­oth­er big one: I was hired to work in a public-facing role at blogging/social networking/photo sharing/etc. ser­vice ex­tra­or­di­naire Multiply.com. To be clear, Multiply didn’t si­lence me; I made sure I was al­lowed to con­tin­ue blog­ging else­where be­fore tak­ing the po­si­tion. But hav­ing a re­al job, one that had me among oth­er things, blog­ging, sim­ply wasn’t con­ducive to after-hours blogging.

With all of this in the past, I think it’s time I start blog­ging again. Everyone’s cat has a blog, in which they dis­cuss what they ate for break­fast, so why don’t I?

Okay, now I do.

  1. Though I was at the time un­aware of the term “blog,” which was by no means in com­mon use in 2001