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16 March 2006 — Foldedspace at Five (24)

This weblog is five years old today!

Can you believe it? Five years and 1190 entries and who-knows-how-many words. Today I'll discuss the state of the blog, including plans for three new weblogs, an explanation of the Google Ads that you've seen around here the past couple weeks, and more.

Site Improvements
By popular request, I'll soon be making several small changes to foldedspace. First, I'm going to change the rotating images in the upper right corner. If you've got some favorites — the dead skunk, say — please let me know. (Also let me know if there are some images you're sick of seeing.) As I get time, I'll be adding other images from the past couple years of foldedspace. I'll also be updating the links in the sidebar. Some of the URLs are out of date. Some sites have changed names. Tammy's probably moved her weblog a dozen times since I last checked the info. That sort of thing. If you have a weblog I should add, please let me know. (This means you, Mr. Bodoni.) Drop me a line if there are other changes you'd like to see.

Hotlinking
In web parlance, hotlinking is posting an image (or mp3) on your site without actually hosting it on your disk space. For example, I can post the image below:


But the image is actually hosted by Lisa, on her server, and she is paying for the disk space. Also, every time somebody loads this page, she is paying for the bandwidth to display the image.

Now, in principle, I don't mind people hotlinking to my photographs or the songs I've uploaded. I even hotlink to things myself sometimes. However, with the advent of sites like MySpace, and the increasing popularity of certain web forums, hotlinking is out of control. While I'm in no danger of running out of disk space or bandwidth, I can foresee a future where this is the case. Meanwhile the hotlinking corrupts my statistics so that all I see are hundreds of hits from MySpace and no actual useful information.

I've created a whitelist of friends and family with blogs who are able to hotlink. If you're a regular reader, I've probably added you to the whitelist. If you have hotlinked to something on my site, and it's not working, please let me know. I'll add you to the white list.

Google Ads
For the past ten days, most of the archive pages (and only archive pages, never the front page) have displayed Google Ads, which primarily take the form of little text ads at the top and bottom of each entry. (I saw my first actual banner ad yesterday.) I originally posted these as a test, a trial run before implementing them full-scale on my new web sites (see next section). However, after ten days of use, I'm tempted to leave the ads in the foldedspace archives.

Now that you've had a chance to become accustomed to them, what do you think?

They don't a gross amount of income, but they generate enough for me to take notice. The Google Ads user agreement prevents me from discussing details, but suffice it to say that at the current click-through rates, the ads would fund a yearly gym membership, or pay for several comic book compilations each month, or cover a daily chantico purchase. As I say: not a lot of money, but enough to make me consider keeping them.

Ideally, they'd appear only on archive pages more than a week old. Would that make them less offensive to you regular readers? Or is any sort of advertising offensive? (Nick has told me point blank that he finds any ads anywhere on the site tacky. I understand his point, but I also think that if he were making money off a hobby, he'd change his tune.)

An important note: please do not click the Google Ads just to be helpful to me. Google keeps close watch for what they term click fraud, and any sort of mass clicking is dealt with harshly. If there's an ad that interests you, then by all means click on it, but don't click on a bunch of ads just to help me out.

New Web Sites
I am starting not one, not two, but three new web sites in the near future. In fact, most of my spare time has been channeled into preparing for these lately: writing up site plans, erecting weblogs and forums, preparing content. These new we sites are:

Four Color Comics (fourcolor.org), "comics for grown-ups". I've created this site in order to provide comics information to those who aren't obsessed about the newest, coolest superheroes. I discuss compilations of older comic books, and mention newer comics that are geared toward a more mature audience. I've been testing this site for about three weeks now, and am beginning to get a feel for it, but still think there's a lot of work needed to get it ready. Target "live" date: April 1st.

Get Rich Slowly (getrichslowly.org), "personal finance that makes cents". Nearly a year ago I wrote a weblog entry summarizing the lessons I'd learned from reading a stack of personal finance books. That entry became this site's most popular post ever, and has garnered lots of amazing comments from people about their own quests to achieve financial independence. I recently realized that there's a place for a weblog devoted to sensible personal finance information, not just get-rich-quick schemes or stock market analysis or real estate tips. I hope that this will be such a site. Target "live" date: April 15th.

As-Yet-Unnamed Animal Intelligence Blog. Long-time readers know that I believe animals are far more intelligent than most people credit. I hope to create a weblog devoted to the subject of animal intelligence. The site will feature lots of cute stories about animals who do amazing things, of course, but it will also feature serious news about research into animal behavior. This is actually the oldest of my ideas (I've been kicking it around for two years), but the least well-formed. And I'm dying for a name. The Animal Mind? Animal Dreams? Bird Brains? I don't know... Target "live" date: May 1st, ideally, but that's a pipe dream.

I regret deciding to tackle all three of these at once. The third — the animal intelligence weblog — will probably be delayed for a couple of months, I fear. I want to be sure all three have a chance to get off to good starts. This process would be aided by the presence of co-authors. If you have any interest whatsoever in contributing on a regular basis — whether daily, weekly, or monthly — to any of these weblog projects, please let me know. Joel has been awesome already, contributing reviews to Four Color Comics.

Lurkers
Any lurkers want to come out and wish foldedspace a happy fifth birthday? I rarely request delurking, but sometimes it's fun to see who's out there.

Thanks for sticking with me for five years. (Or four or two or one, or whatever.) I hope to be doing this still in another five years. Stay tuned.

On this day at foldedspace.org

2007Six Years of Foldedspace   In which I share my favorite entries of the past six years.

2005Blogiversary   In which I create a new music mix to celebrate this weblog's fourth anniversary, then promise to mail it to anyone who wants a copy but never do. I am such a flake.

20043   In which this site turns three.

2003Cousins   In which I have many cousins. In which my cousins have many children.

2001First Post   In which I begin a weblog.


Comments
On 16 March 2006 (08:55 AM), jenn said:

Wow! I'll be the first to wish you a happy blogiversary. Thanks for getting so many of us started. At my tech conferences there are lots of teachers, and even techies, who have just discovered blogs within the last year. I feel like I have a very good understanding of blogs and their educational potential. Thanks for the heads up.


On 16 March 2006 (09:10 AM), Colleen said:

Happy 5th! You are definitely an early adopter.

How is that D70 working out? I severly damaged mine (or what I thought was severe damage) and should be picking it up tomorrow from the repair shop. I managed to only cry once.

~Colleen


On 16 March 2006 (09:16 AM), Janet Eder said:

Happy Blogiversary!

I have enjoyed your blog very much over the years. They've brought me much enjoyment over the years, many laughs.... like the one this week on chore cloud vs. chore list, and many ideas to think and rethink about. Thanks JD!


On 16 March 2006 (09:28 AM), J.D. said:

I thought I'd share some stats. Here are the number of entries I've written each year. The earlier entries were shorter. You're all aware of how I do go on now, though.

2001 - 74 entries
2002 - 203 entries
2003 - 313 entries
2004 - 289 entries
2005 - 261 entries
2006 - 50 entries (on pace for 243)
Total: 1190 entries

Of these, 1082 entries were made B.C. (Before Crash). Only 117 of these 1082 entries have been moved, by hand, over to this current weblog. The rest have to be accessed via the old archive list. I move a few over each week, so that eventually most of the important stuff will be in the new blog, searchable and all that.

How about visitors? Well, here are my average visitors per day (to the front page) in the month of March:

2001 - 1 visitor (me!)
2002 - 30 visitors
2003 - 190 visitors
2004 - 507 visitors

I switched hosts in 2004, and when I did, the metric by which visitors was measured changed. I went from 500 visitors a say to 100 visitors. (I somehow think the latter is more accurate.) using the new measure, I've received the following traffic:

2005 - 196 visitors
2006 - 405 visitors

Of interest, though, is that I now have 1568 hits per day to my site feeds. I don't know how to interpret that. How many times does each person request the feed per day? I probably pollf or it twenty times myself, simply because it automatically updates in my RSS reader.

My flotch gets 183 hits per day to its feed, which surprises me. Amy Jo's weblog, which is fairly new, already gets 119 feed requests per day.

The most request page on my site? My cats category page, which gets 1500 visitors per day. Good grief.

Also of interest is that the web stats provided by my webhost differ significantly from those provided by Site Meter. Who knows which are correct? All I can get is a rough sense of the traffic, which grows regularly.

Now I need to go make some boxes!


On 16 March 2006 (09:41 AM), Greg said:

---delurk---
Happy Anniversary. I'm well into year 5 myself, and am constantly amazed at how quickly the time seems to have flown by.
---relurk---


On 16 March 2006 (10:06 AM), Scott said:

Happy Anniversary J.D.!


On 16 March 2006 (10:44 AM), Joel said:

I don't mind the Google ads. As they seem to be fairly ubiquitous on the web (especially since I use gmail), I've grown pretty resistant to them. They only catch my eye when they're hilariously non-relevant.
As far as the money goes, I'd encourage you to get the comic compilations rather than the chanticos.


On 16 March 2006 (11:36 AM), deepThoughts said:

Delurking to wish you a Happy Anniversary!

When I started following blogs less than a year ago, yours was among the first few I found interesting and I am amused to discover that I share my birthday with your blog anniversary :)


On 16 March 2006 (11:46 AM), tammy said:

I'm here but then thats no surprise.


On 16 March 2006 (11:49 AM), kristi said:

Happy Anniversary!

My husband first pointed your site out quite a while back. As a fellow Oregonian, he knew I would enjoy your words regarding our beautiful home. Now I find myself sending links from your posts rather often to friends and famiy ("organizational cloud" will be a regular reference around my co-workers and peers).

As for the google ads, not a problem for me. I don't really see them anymore anywhere.


On 16 March 2006 (12:32 PM), Rich R said:

Congrats J.D.

Looking forward to more!


On 16 March 2006 (01:38 PM), Lee said:

Happy anniversary!

I'm one of those people who hits your site several times a day to see if there are updates. I've got a boring job, what can I say?

I look forward to your personal finance site. Last year I did a similar project and read many, many personal finance books, and coming to the conclusion that most are crap. (You should read some of the ones aimed at women...dear god.) The best I found was "Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes". I say "best" because this book best answered the questions I had, but I haven't found other books that focus on behavorial economics.


On 16 March 2006 (01:44 PM), Blogeois said:

Images? You have images? It's your words I come here for. Alas! I share my feelings about ads with Nick but then again, I might change my mind if I were bringing in a little money from them.

Happy Anniversary and here's to the next 5!


On 16 March 2006 (02:06 PM), Amy Jo said:

Happy Blog Anniversary! By the way, what do you mean by 119 feed requests per day? I assume that very few people are reading my blog because no one but my persnickity friend Mike comments with regularity.


On 16 March 2006 (04:32 PM), john said:

Five years old, wow!

I guess I've been reading for about a year now. I first stumbled upon your site after going to Mickey Finn's one night and playing the trivia game that was going on at the time. The next day I googled the name of the guy who was running it and apparently you were there that night too.

I'm really looking forward to the comic site.


On 16 March 2006 (09:27 PM), Joanne said:

I've been a regular reader since late Feb. I have similar memories growing up in Canby country, and it's enjoyable to ponder those days - thanks for sharing.
I've been trying to locate those phonics cards on E-bay for the past 6 months (your 1st Grade memory) - I just don't know what they're called. I am trying to purchase some of my childhood back. Did you ride your bike to Charlie's Grocery Store?


On 16 March 2006 (09:42 PM), Joanne said:

I forgot to congratulate you. You should celebrate - it could be a new annual tradition! My opinion about the Google ads - keep them - every penny adds up, and it's fun to splurge with free money.


On 17 March 2006 (06:13 AM), Amanda said:

De-lurking to say happy blogiversary!


On 17 March 2006 (08:36 AM), Lynn said:

Happy happy day! Thank you for introducing me to the world of blogs!


On 17 March 2006 (03:31 PM), Mom said:

Congratulations, J.D.! You also brought about my introduction to blogging, and I blog to a great extent because of you. Thank you for setting a good example, son. :-)


On 17 March 2006 (07:24 PM), Drew said:

Bah humbug.


On 17 March 2006 (08:29 PM), tammy said:

Man, JD. I just clicked through your links and reread this and my goodness how in the world do you keep up with it all! You must live on the computer! I get about 2 hours a day on mine; one full hour in the morning before the kids wake up and then tiny little five to ten minute checks during the rest of the day that I'm guessing add up to about an hour. I dont know whether I envy your computor time or not. All I know is that I will be a very old lady before I get time like you have to spend on the internet. Sigh.


On 18 March 2006 (09:41 PM), Lisa said:

Congrats on five years. That's impressive!

As for the Google ads... I don't really mind them, but I wish that they were somehow visually separated from the title of the entry--a grey box like you use for the blockquote or a line or color change or something like that. As it is, I find my eye casting around a bit to find where to start reading, and some sort of visual cue that hits the eye and begins being processed by the brain before I start reading would be nice. (If that doesn't make sense, I can explain more and wave around my arms a bit. I learned about this stuff in a print production class a while back.)


On 19 March 2006 (01:42 AM), John said:

Happy fifth birthday!

Sorry for not commenting sooner; I've spent the last couple of days out of town with spotty connectivity, and accumulated a backlog in my RSS reader. Anyone else here using Google's reader? Isn't it a pain to try to "catch up" with it?

J.D., five years is a long time on a paper calendar, but on the Internet time scale, it's forever! Thank you for the time you put into foldedspace, and enjoy whatever revenue you might get from the ads.

Since I've been volunteered, I'll bring up the matter of my own weblog with you in email. Like so many aspects of my life, it's a little complicated. :)