Get your kicks in year six of Apple II Bits

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The best course I took in grad school was Jeff Seglin‘s column-writing class. The opening exercise was to go to the local bookstore, choose several magazines, and draft pitches for articles to each. Early in the semester, I found this assignment challenging — but when we revisited it a few months later, the ideas flowed. I’m not sure what potential Seglin tapped, but he somehow got me seeing stories everywhere. Since then, I’ve rarely been short of ideas for Apple II Bits, Juiced.GS, Polygamer, or The Moth.

KansasFest 2015 really got those creative juices flowing, though again, I can’t pinpoint the inspirational moment. All I know is, when I got back from that annual convention, Apple II Bits blog posts were flowing fast and furious, until I had up to two months of weekly columns queued in advance. It was a great relief to be able to table that Sunday night scurry for an idea.

I sometimes wonder when I’ll run out of ideas and have to stop writing this blog altogether. But with all the activity of the Apple II community to inspire me, and with Seglin having given me the tools to recognize the stories therein, I don’t think it’ll be a lack of ideas that will be as challenging as finding the time and energy to keep up with it all.

In the meantime, I’ve made it six years of writing Apple II Bits, with the first post having gone live on April 29, 2010. I wrote two posts a week for the first two years — 104 posts a year! — and once a week for the four years since then, for a total of 419 posts. If Seglin had sent me to the book store with the assignment to pick one magazine and come up with 419 pitches, I would’ve failed his course. Yet Apple II Bits continues chugging along.

Six apples in two rows

My thanks to everyone who has inspired this blog’s articles and to all the readers who have taken the time to mull their words, publicly or privately. I still have a few more years in me; I hope you’ll come along.

In the meantime, here are some numbers by which to quantify the site’s content and evolution.

  • • 419 posts (52 more than this time last year), 1,993 tags (+170), 460 comments (+19) from 139 readers (+6), and 1 blogger. With the exception of the number of posts, each of these numbers is growing more slowly year-over-year.
  • • New stats this year: I’ve written roughly 155,605 words, for an average of 373 words per post.
  • • Year-to-year, our pageviews were down 4.69% and unique visitors down 7.26% in our sixth year. This is the third consecutive year of decline in traffic.
  • • Our busiest day was January 3, 2016, due to a search for information about Bob Belleville, the Macintosh director of engineering who appeared in the documentary Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine, which I reviewed for Computerworld.
  • • Our top two of three posts in the past year were from 2011: "Best computer games from the ’80s", "Taking the Apple II online with Uthernet", and "Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine".
  • • Our top referrals were from, Facebook, and — supplanting Twitter — reddit.
  • • Traffic from mobile devices was up 2%, and from tablets, up 3%; desktop traffic continues to decline, this time by 3.5%.
  • • In the past year, we blocked 9,056 pieces of spam, down from 18,590 the previous year — WOW! The busiest month was March 2016, with 1,626 pieces of spam. In six years, we’ve blocked 283,962 spam comments altogether.
  1. A tad belated (I just caught up on a bunch of posts) but congratulations on the six years.