According to Technorati, there are 112.8 million weblogs (as we’ll see, this is probably a highly dubious number). I’m going to take a wild guess and say that the grand majority of them aren’t very active. Even among active ones, I’m betting that most don’t have much of a readership. Like this blog! Part of this is that blogs fall into a power law distribution, with a small set of bloggers getting the majority of the traffic. The rest of us are in the long tail, and it can be hard to find each other.

Enter Technorati, a service that seeks to track weblogs in numerous ways. You can go there and search on a subject to see what other blogs are saying about that subject. And if you’re a blogger, you can see what other blogs are linking to you. They give each blog an “Authority” score which is based on how many people have linked to you (I think there’s more to it than that, but I don’t care enough to look into it that much), and then they rank all blogs by authority. To give you an idea of how this works, Kaedrin has an authority of 20. The top 10 blogs on Technorati have an authority of somewhere around 10,000 to 25,000.

Here’s the problem: Technorati sucks. It definitely doesn’t track all the blogs out there (not that big a deal, such a task is probably pretty tough), but it’s definitely sure to pick up every new bottom-feeding spammer blog. In other words, every time I write a new post, it gets linked by two freshly minted spam blogs. Those show up fine. Meanwhile, a real blogger (who is listed on Technorati) links me, and Technorati doesn’t pick that up (I find out by looking at my referrers). And the same thing happens when I link to other people. For some reason, Technorati decides some of my posts are not worthy of tracking. For instance, my last post isn’t showing up in Technorati.

This happens every once in a while, and I think I’ve figured out why. It seems to happen when I post out of order. I generally post twice a week, but sometimes I start an entry early. Last week, I started writing my review of GitS:SAC on Tuesday. I hadn’t finished by Wednesday, so I wrote and posted another entry while I finished off my review. On Sunday, I finished my review and posted it, but Technorati didn’t pick it up (despite repeated pings and other attempts to allow the post to show up). Now, none of this shouldn’t matter, but apparently Technorati thinks it does, because this exact situation has happened several times. Maybe it’s because Movable Type numbers my posts, and if I post entries out of order, perhaps it confuses Technorati. For example, last week, I posted entry 1421 after I posted entry 1422. If this is why Technorati can’t figure out that I posted something on Sunday, it’s pretty damn stupid. It can’t be that hard to fix this. Technorati claims that they track posts by scraping the page and also by using RSS feeds, but if that’s the case, they must be doing something really dumb to get tripped up by postings showing up out of order.

So basically, Technorati doesn’t track all the good weblogs, but it keeps up with all the spammers’ weblogs. For some reason, it doesn’t register a post that was written out of order either. So what’s the point? I guess it works ok for bloggers who get lots of links. If you get a lot of links, the signal drowns out the noise of the spammers, and you don’t miss the posts that Technorati doesn’t pick up because you’ve got plenty of other links to go through. But for those of us on the long tail, it’s nearly useless. It doesn’t hurt anything, I suppose, so I’ll continue to check every once in a while, but I’m not getting my hopes up. I don’t think I’ve discovered any new blogs through Technorati that I hadn’t discovered first from my referrers.

Goblin Bloggin’

Since time is even shorter than usual, the Green Goblin is filling in with a video blog. Enjoy.

The project I’m working is almost over. It launches next week and I’m sure I’ll be busy for a little while after that, but then we’ll be back to blogging as normal.

Blogging Cliches

About a month ago, the Kaedrin Weblog reached the 7 year point. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been blogging for so long, even though I perhaps don’t write as many posts as your typical blogger. Every now and again, I like to take a step back and look at what I’m doing and where I’m going, and now seems like a good time for that. The last time I did this was back in January, and that’s when i modified my posting schedule to post at least twice a week. So far, this has worked out reasonably well, though I will admit that my Wednesday entries tend to be somewhat lacking. This is due, in part, to an unexpected work schedule (which, come to think of it, should have been expected.) Honestly, I don’t know how some bloggers do it.

In any case, via Steven, I came across Jeff Atwood’s post about Thirteen Blog Clichés. Let’s see how I’m doing:

  1. The Useless Calendar Widget: I’ve never had one, and to be honest, I never got why they existed in the first place. Indeed, the longer I blog, the more I realize that the standard date-based navigation of blogs leaves a lot to be desired (just look at the unwieldy list of monthly archives on my side nav). Maintaining a list of good categories (or using tagging) is a much better way of navigating through a blog. It’s pretty rare that I ever even load a monthly archive page, and I never do so when I’m looking for a specific post (categories and search are much better for that). I must admit that my categorization scheme needs a lot of work, but it’s still a much better way to navigate than dates.
  2. Random Images Arbitrarily Inserted In Text: Well, I don’t do this, and to be honest, it’s not something I’ve noticed very often, though I perhaps assume such images are simply advertisements and ignore them…
  3. No Information on the Author: While I do have an about page and an about me page, they’re both outdated and could use some updating. Also, my name is on every post, so I think I’m covered.
  4. Excess Flair: I don’t have much flair, though there are perhaps a couple of things. For instance, the image on the right navigation, which links back to some of my better old posts, would probably be considered flair, but I think it’s a fair trade, as those posts would otherwise just sit, unread, in the archives. Not that I know whether or not people are clicking on it (and, uh, I haven’t updated it in a long time), but still.
  5. The Giant Blogroll: I’ve kept my blogroll relatively small pretty much throughout my blogging history. This is perhaps due to the fact that I’ve never had that huge of an audience and was thus not forced to reciprocate via blogroll links, but even then, it’s probably worth keeping the blogroll short (due to Inverse Network Effects, among other things)
  6. The Nebulous Tag Cloud: As previously mentioned, I think tagging is a much better way of organizing content for usable navigation than date-based archives, but I agree with Jeff that the trendy use of “Tag Clouds” is kinda silly and unusable. The other issue with tagging is that it can get a little ridiculous. For instance, look at the tag cloud for my del.icio.us bookmarks:

    The tag cloud for my del.icio.us bookmarks is absurd.

    That’s not just useless because of the tag cloud, but becaues I have so many tags. One of these days, I’ll create tag bundles which will make it a lot easier to navigate. Of course, there are other benefits to tagging on del.icio.us, notably the social networking aspects, but such benefits wouldn’t be present on a blog. As such, I’m not sure I’ll ever move to tagging for my blog (though I will probably start being a little more granular in my categories and sub-categories).

  7. Excessive Advertisements: I’ve never had any advertisements on this site, though I do link to Amazon with my Associates ID (which allows me to share a small but fun percentage of any sales made).
  8. This Ain’t Your Diary: And indeed, this blog ain’t my diary (though it would probably make posting every day a little easier, it would also probably be incredibly boring.)
  9. Sorry I Haven’t Written in a While: One of the biggest obstacles I’ve faced in building an audience for this blog has been my low posting frequency. Ever since instituting my weekly schedule, I think this has gotten better, but even twice a week is perhaps too little to get people excited (or maybe it’s my tastes). And to be honest, some of my Wednesday entries could probably be a little better.
  10. Blogging About Blogging: The ironic one, as both Jeff’s post and mine are actually embracing this cliché, though Jeff sorta extends this to people who only blog about blogging, which is a little more understandeable. Personally, I kinda like reading about other bloggers’ writing habits, but a blog which posted exclusively about blogging would indeed get old.
  11. Mindless Link Propagation: I’m guilty of this, particularly on some of my Wednesday posts when I’m short on time. I do try to make sure these links aren’t posted all over the place before posting them, so perhaps those don’t count, but even then I’m probably still guilty of this.
  12. Top (n) Lists: Aside from participating in the Friday is List Day meme, which isn’t really what Jeff’s talking about, I’m not sure I’ve ever written a top (n) list. It is kinda odd that such lists have come to dominate the social networking sites like Digg and del.icio.us popular, but it seems like this is a good way to create attention. I’m sure I’ll write one at some point, but it won’t be one of my standard blog conventions.
  13. No Comments Allowed: Jeff says A blog without comments is not a blog, but I disagree with that. In any case, I have comments. Jeff makes an exception for people with massively popular blogs, and Steven attests to that (as does Shamus). Personally, while I certainly wouldn’t mind a little more traffic, I’ve written before about how I don’t mind being a small blog. Jeff also notes that “the comments are often better than the original blog entry itself” which is something I’ve never found particularly true. Not that I don’t appreciate comments, and indeed, the best comments tend to come on posts that only get 5-10 comments. Actually, comments on Kaedrin are actually pretty darn good, I think. So maybe he has a point. But on any post that has over 100 comments, it quickly gets absurd. Even if there’s great content in there, it gets old fast.

All in all, I’m doing pretty well when it comes to these, though my blog still isn’t all that popular.

Programming Notes

Two things I planned to write about this week (and in the coming weeks) have been delayed or otherwise cut short. First, due to some sort of Netflix screwup, I never got discs 2-4 of Vandread: Second Stage (disc 1 was great). Instead, I got 3 movies I wasn’t expecting but want to see anyway (I still haven’t figured out why, as the Vandread discs were next in my queue and they have a status of being available “Now”). With any luck, I’ll have the rest of the series this week. This is the first time Netflix has ever messed up for me, so I guess I shouldn’t complain, but still.

The second thing I was planning to write (a lot) about was the Philadelphia film festival. However, due to long hours and work and an otherwise hectic schedule, I doubt I’m going to get a chance to see the movies I wanted to. I might be able to make the trek to the city to see one or two films. Then again, I only saw 4 films last year (along with the Adult Swim thing), so I guess it won’t be that much of a wash. Still, I had wanted to see more this year (and was even considering taking some time off), but the way certain projects have fallen at work, I just can’t. There’s always next year.

So blogging will be somewhat light in the coming week (I do still have another entry for tonight though). You never know, though. Sometimes my periods of highest blogging productivity are when I’m busiest in other areas of my life. Inspiration often seems to strike when you have the least amount of time to act on it. One of the ironies of life, I guess.

Link to Someone New, Part 3

Time is short and it’s been a while since I’ve done this, so here are three posts from blogs I’ve never linked before:

  • Domino Computation: A computer is basically a series of switches. Granted, they’re very small switches, and there are millions of them in most computers, but the basic theory of the linked post is that you can do some computation using primitive means – in this case, dominoes. It’s a pretty amazing post if you’re interested in this sort of thing, and the author has lots of pictures and even videos of how he set up his domino calculator.
  • pdb Vs Matlock Jr.: pdb owns a video game and movie store and likes to make fun of his customers, as in the linked post which has a very Acts of Gord type feel to it..
  • Dreary Queen: This blog focuses on the corporate logo niche. In the linked post, they tackle Dairy Queen’s new logo, which is very lame. “Dairy Queen’s ellipse is one of the most highly recognizable marks, it is (was) unique, memorable and impactful. Despite this equity, Dairy Queen considered it was time to change and make the wrong moves in all the wrong places”

That’s all for now.

Liveblogging on Sunday

A lot of people don’t like to watch the Oscars anymore. For the most part, their reasons are sound: it’s a long, boring, essentially meaningless awards show in which a bunch of self-congratulatory Hollywood insiders kiss each others arse (to put it nicely). Personally, I find that I’m able to deal with it mostly because I liveblog the event and usually get drunk. It’s one of those rare occassions where a live event coincides with my blogging schedule, so I feel obligated to oblige. Anyway, I just wanted to let everyone know that I’ll be updating all night on Sunday. Feel free to stop by and comment. I’ve been doing this for the past couple of years, and it’s actually kinda fun. See previous installments here: 2006, 2005 and 2004. See you Sunday!

Say Hello, Dammit!

I’m apparently about a month late to the party (what else is new?), but National De-lurking Week is a neat idea, so I figured I’d give it a shot. Like a lot of bloggers, most of what I write here is primarily for my own benefit. At the same time, it’s always nice to know that someone is reading, and I wouldn’t publish it on the internet if I was writing only for myself. However, one of the frustrating things about blogging is that it can be difficult to know who is reading. I have been lucky enough to have a small group of regular readers, most of whom comment regularly on the blog (thanks guys!). And I’ve picked up a few more regular readers over the years as well, though many of them tend to be lurkers – people who regularly visit, but don’t comment.

This post is aimed at that second group of people. To be honest, I’m not even sure how many there are, but if happen to be a regular reader of this blog and haven’t commented, please do so! As Sheryl puts it:

…I just read a Psychology Today article which notes a direct correlation between weight loss, and commenting on your favorite blogs, so leave a comment because it will make you skinny. Not that you’re fat, because you’re not!! So tell me how long you’ve been reading my blog, or your favorite book, or the first word that pops into your mind when you hear the word shish-kabob, and remember, if you don’t leave a comment, you’re letting the terrorists win.

And heck, if you’re a regular commenter (or someone who doesn’t comment often), feel free to comment about whatever you like. After all, I have a feeling there aren’t going to be so many comments on this post, and I’d love to hear from everyone.

It's National De-lurking Week. Say Hello, Dammit!

Update 2.11.07: Well then, this was not so much of a success. This is mildly strange, as I can see from my referrer logs that there are people coming here that have not posted. Either they’re not reading this post, or they’re being rebellious. Strange. Thanks to all who commented, though:)

Link to Someone New

Once again, time has run short (big game* stuff), so I’ll simply resort to throwing a few links at you under the pretense that I’m fighting the closed loop of blogreading that many fall into (previous installment here). So here:

  • Pointless Attack of a Random Person from Wikipedia: A humorous and exceedingly random blog really gives it to Paul LaFarge. Who the hell is that? Go and read.
  • Fantastic Films?: Kelson gives a brief preview of some movies to look forward to, including an adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust (a film I didn’t even know was being made – I must be slipping in my old age). This blog is also notable (to me, at least), because the author uses Opera. Awesome.
  • The Wii Sports Experiment: This guy bought a Wii and lost 9 pounds in six weeks from the exertion. The only change he made to his daily routine was to play 30 minutes of Wii a day. This man is justifying the purchase of a Wii for thousands of husbands, everywhere.

That’s all for now. Sorry for the lameness of recent bloggery. Things have been busy lately, but are finally slowing down again. More to come.

* I should trademark the phrase “Big Game” so that people can’t say that either.

State of the Blog

Another year has ended, and I’ve found it occasionally helpful to take a step back, examine what I’m doing, why I’m doing it, and where I’m going from here. I’ve been blogging in one form or another for over 6 years, and things have evolved considerably since I started. One characteristic of the blog that has changed since its inception has been the frequency of posts. While I’ve never been a “post every day” kind of blogger, I came pretty close a few times during my first year of blogging. I’ve scaled back considerably since then (for varied and sundry reasons), though I have tried to stay consistent by establishing a weekly schedule. Of course, posting once a week (on Sunday) probably isn’t frequent enough to really garner a large audience… but I’ve written before about why I’m fine with that. My reasons for writing are still largely the same:

One of the reasons I write here is to learn. Many of the subjects I write about here are unfamiliar to me, and I use the process of writing about them to learn. This usually means that I will need to familiarize myself with a bunch of material, or spend a lot of time thinking about something and figuring out what it means and how to write about it. This usually takes a lot of time and effort, and I prefer to have a few uninterrupted hours to compose something like that. This is why I post on Sundays, because I have the time then. I honestly don’t know how other bloggers do it, especially the really popular ones who still manage to have a large output of original material. As I mentioned above, I tend to view blogging as an exercise in thinking, a way to learn, and a way to have fun.

Naturally, this isn’t the only reason I write here – having readers is an integral part of blogging, and the past year has been good to me, thanks to links from generous bloggers (who happen to populate my blogroll). My readership is still relatively small, but growing, which is good.

In any case, I noticed that I posted 12 times in December 2006. This is paltry in comparison to most successful blogs, but it’s the most I’ve posted in a single month since August of 2001, and I think I’m due (perhaps long over-due) for an expansion of the weekly posting schedule. So I’ll be posting at least twice a week, once on Sunday and once on Wednesday. I’m sure you’re all entralled by this announcement. This actually isn’t all that different than what has been happening naturally, but I’ve found that making this sort of thing formal is important. Hence this post.

Link to Someone New

A while back, Shamus wrote about the tendency for blogs (and bloggers) to get stuck in a closed loop, constantly reading and linking to the same group of blogs. I’m as guilty as anyone (plus, I have a tendency to not link other blogs at all), so in an effort to combat the blogging equivalent of inbreeding, here are links to three blogs I’ve never linked before:

  • 79 Soul: The Year in Review, 2006: My friend Roy (aka Samael, who you might remember from his various appearances on this blog) has actually started blogging over at his buddy’s site, and has posted a year in review that includes references to movies, music, and graphic novels.
  • The Amateur Gourmet: Chutzpah, Truffles & Alain Ducasse: I have no idea how I stumbled upon this, but it’s great. The amateur gormet chronicles how he managed to scam his way into an absurdly expensive restaurant for a free meal. In comic form. Go and read, it’s excellent.
  • Russell Davies: how to be interesting: I think most bloggers are already doing a bunch of these things, but it’s an interesting (pun not noticed at first, but it actually works kinda well) post anyway.

That’s all for now. I hope everyone has a happy new year!