Apple II Bits' ninth–and penultimate?–year


Filed under Musings;
2 comments.

It's a week of milestones: yesterday, I concluded the second season of my Transporter Lock podcast; this Friday, I finish my eighth semester of teaching; and today, April 29, marks exactly nine years since the launch of this blog.

Nine apples

And then there were nine.

Every Monday since 2010, I've shared something about the Apple II. Sometimes it's an anecdote from my own life that I somehow had never put in writing before, as with last week's tale about Rocky's Boots. Other posts look at the Apple II's influence on modern media, such as the state of Oregon's tourism marketing. Still others are commentary on current Apple II events, such as 4am's archiving efforts. Whether the source is my memory, my experiences, or my Google Alerts, I'm never wanting for content.

What I am sometimes wanting for is time and energy. Back in 2012, I found myself dealing with too many commitments and family health issues that all contributed to the possibility of burnout. I've been approaching that edge again lately: a weekly blog, two podcasts, a teaching position, and more start to add up. While some of those commitments are over as of this week, I expect my time to soon be filled with cycling and getting a dog, neither of which are small undertakings.

That's nothing new, though, and I've always managed to juggle everything before. What's different is how taxing a year I've had, with three family funerals, a scary surgery, and other personal challenges. Some artists and therapists recommend journaling, and to the degree that Apple II Bits is a regular, creative outlet, it does bring me some relief. But it requires active energy and output — something that, as of January 2018, I now give to my day job, which is demanding and fulfilling in ways I've never experienced. Add all that up, and sometimes I just want to relax without having something to show for it when I'm done.

But I'm not ready to call it quits! Apple II Bits will continue for at least another year, for several reasons. First, the blog is in easy reach of one decade of publication — perhaps an arbitrary milestone, but one that I'd nonetheless be proud of. Second, Apple II Bits is often where articles are inspired or workshopped for Juiced.GS, a magazine that itself is nearing a milestone: 2020 will mark its 25th year in print. Now is not the time to kill a source of content that would make that landmark achievable.

Finally, I'm aware that dedication can ebb and flow, and you don't give up just because you're in a temporary lull. Once the days and my bike rides are longer, and last year's hardships have faded further into memory, I suspect I'll be gladder for the regularity of Apple II Bits. If I'm not, then I can reassess after hitting that ten-year mark.

I've had a lot of variables in my life, and very few constants. Apple II Bits is one of the latter. Someday, one of those variables may supplant it — but not today.

In the meantime, enjoy this annual roundup of statistics and analytics about the blog.

  • • This site's content consists of 575 posts (51 more than this time last year), 2,282 tags (+48), 570 comments (+27) from 168 readers (+4), and 1 blogger.
  • • I've written roughly 215,820 words (+19,650) for an average of 385 words per post in the past year (+24), and 375 words per post sitewide (0).
  • • Year-to-year, the site's pageviews were down 19.35%, and unique visitors down 22.763%.
  • • The site's busiest day in the past year was July 19, 2018 — though I can identify no particular page or origin that generated this traffic.
  • • The top three posts for the past year were "Taking the Apple II online with Uthernet" (2011), "Lisa operating system source code" (2018), and "Best computer games from the '80s" (2011). It's rare for a post to be popular in the years of is publication; maybe I should write about the Lisa more often?
  • • The top referrals were from Twitter, Facebook, A2Central.com, and Google+ (RIP). Reddit, whcih was #5 last year, tied with YouTube at #38 this year.
  • • The percentage of overall traffic that was from mobile devices was down 3.5%, while desktop traffic rose 5% and tablet traffic fell 1.5%.
  • • The blog's weekly email newsletter has a 39% average open rate, compared to the 17% industry average.
  • • In the past year, Akismet blocked 62,509, up 58,572 from the previous year. Monthly spam was consistently below 1,000 until December 2018, when it jumped over 10,000 and stayed there. The busiest month was January 2019, with 14,351 pieces of spam. In nine years, a total of 355,071 spam comments have been blocked — 21% of that in just the last year.
  1. Bill Tomlinson says:

    Ken, This Blog is one of the highlights of my start of the week. Although I understand and empathize with your reasons, NOT having an Apple II Bits entry would be a future to terrible to contemplate! Like Apple II Forever, Apple II Bits Forever!

  2. Hugh Hood says:

    Ken,

    "sometimes I just want to relax without having something to show for it when I'm done."

    Don't worry that this is abnormal. I was once asked what I enjoyed doing in my spare time away from work.

    My response — "absolutely nothing at all."

    Also, I can relate concerning your sentiments about family funerals being an emotional drain.

    In 2017 I attended (5) family funerals, including my father's and my mother-in-law's. When it rains, it pours.

    I'm a fan of both Apple II Bits and Juiced.GS. Please know that I don't take them for granted. Thank you, sir!

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