Apple II Bits’ octal birthday

Filed under Musings;

This past weekend, I set up my Apple IIGS in my game room and connected it to my HDTV. I popped in some floppies and played a few classic games: Choplifter, Lode Runner, Karateka, and Conan. Each was as fun as I remembered.

The excuse for this occasion was research for a Juiced.GS article. As editor of that publication, most of my contributions and responsibilities don’t require me to work on the metal, but this particular article called for the real thing.

But underpinning this academic exercise was unbridled enthusiasm for returning to my roots. I spend my days on a laptop with macOS and WordPress, all environments that I very much enjoy and which even inspire a degree of devotion. But nothing brings a smile to my face like the Apple II.

It was fitting that this game session coincided with the eighth anniversary of Apple II Bits: on April 29, 2010, I published my first blog post to this site. I’ve continued to write about the Apple II every Monday since. Whereas once such musings would constitute my quarterly “A Word or ][” column for Juiced.GS, I’ve now written 524 such columns for this website — enough to sustain 125 years of Juiced.GS.

Eight apples

Eight apple bits = one apple byte?

I’m never wanting for something to say about the Apple II, but some times are easier than others. One August, freshly home from KansasFest, I found myself bursting with ideas and wrote the next several months’ worth of columns in advance. Other times, I come home from work on Monday night, knowing what to say but having only until midnight to say it.

Regardless of the volume or urgency, there’s always a new chapter to write. Whenever Steve Wozniak is a speaker somewhere, he’s introduced as the inventor of the Apple II. Anytime a "top games of all time" list is compiled, an Apple II game makes an appearance. And wherever Raspberry Pi and Arduino hacking occurs, it’s often to connect Apple II equipment to modern environments.

I’ve always said of Juiced.GS that the magazine will publish as long as there are stories to tell, writers to tell them, and subscribers to read them. With Apple II Bits, I need only one of those three criteria: stories to tell.

At this rate, another eight years seems assured.

As always, here is the annual report on this site’s content and traffic.

  • • 524 posts (54 more than this time last year), 2,234 tags (+11), 543 comments (+38) from 164 readers (+13), and 1 blogger.
  • • I’ve written roughly 196,170 words (+19,134) for an average of 361 words per post in the past year (-59), and 375 words per post sitewide (-1).
  • • Year-to-year, the site’s pageviews were up 5.53%, and unique visitors up 19.83%. After four consecutive years of decline, this is the first year of increase in traffic!
  • • The site’s busiest day in the past year was August 16, 2017, to a blog post from four months earlier about Cliff Spohn and the Art of Atari book, thanks to a post on Ycombinator’s Hacker News. In fact, this was the second busiest day for the site in its entire eight-year history, bested only by when it was referenced by Slashdot in 2011.
  • • The top three posts for the past year were the Cliff Spohn article, "Taking the Apple II online with Uthernet", and "The art of the crack" (2011). The Uthernet article has been in the top three posts for years, but this is the first time "The art of the crack" has, uh, cracked the top three.
  • • The top referrals were from Ycombinator, Twitter, Facebook,, and reddit, in order. reddit, which was #3 in 2016, had fallen to #31 in 2017 but is now back at #5.
  • • The percentage of overall traffic that was from mobile devices was up 2.6%, while desktop traffic fell 1% and tablet traffic fell 1.6%.
  • • This past year made the first full year of distributing my weekly blog post via MailChimp, which I transitioned to from Feedburner in February 2017. My weekly email newsletter has a 45% average open rate, compared to the 21% industry average.
  • • In the past year, Akismet blocked 3,937 pieces of spam, down from 4,976 the previous year. The busiest month was March 2018, with 415 pieces of spam. In eight years, a total of 292,562 spam comments have been blocked.
  1. Chris Yannella says:

    I would love to hook my VGA monitor up to my GS.
    Looking to seup my KVM so I can switch between my PC’s
    and the GS as well. What options are out there to
    hook the GS Video and KB/Mouse to PC style hardware?

  2. Hi, Chris! I recommend checking out the options available at a2heaven and RetroConnector.

  3. Happy Octal Birthday!

    P.S. Stop writing 125 years’ worth of content all the time! You make the rest of us feel like bums.