Ten years — time for a change


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Every spring brings new milestones. In the last month, I published the first issue of Juiced.GS's 25th volume. I published the 100th episode of my Polygamer podcast. Sabriel and I concluded another season of our Transporter Lock podcast. And this week, Apple II Bits turns ten years old.

Ten apples stacked in a pyramid

Can I stop counting yet?
(Photo courtesy Jaren Jai Wicklund / Shutterstock)

When Apple II Bits turned nine, I wondered if my energy and focus would support this blog beyond its tenth birthday. Now that we're here, I find I have the same passion for the Apple II and a wealth of topics to blog about now as I did then. But other changes, I could not have anticipated.

First, at KansasFest 2019, I received news that eventually led me to become a digital nomad. I now move to a different city every few months with whatever I can fit in my Prius — which doesn't include an Apple II. What it does include are new challenges that encourage me to be creative and reflective. How do I decide where to go next? How do I choose what to bring with me? What's off the beaten path? These are all unique questions that I'm excited to be discovering the answers to answering.

Many of those experiences and discoveries are shared on my digital nomad blog, Roadbits. I've been publishing stories about life on the road three times a week. These posts are directly relevant to my own life and are of interest to my friends, family, co-workers, and others interested in remote work. Before the first post ever went up, Roadbits had more subscribers than Apple II Bits accrued in a decade.

It's also a different kind of writing from what I'm used to: more personal and introspective. Without easy access to an Apple II, I often rely on sharing second-hand news that I found elsewhere. With Roadbits, I'm writing about what has been or will be directly applicable to my life, and what it means.

The second big change in the last year is coronavirus. The pandemic has threatened the wellbeing, economies, and routines of everyone I know. While the threat of COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on my nomadic itinerary, the more noticeable daily impact is on my mental health. The recent Onion story "Man Not Sure Why He Thought Most Psychologically Taxing Situation Of His Life Would Be The Thing To Make Him Productive" rings very true.

Although nomading and self-isolation have both given me more free time, coronavirus has created a higher "activation barrier", requiring more enthusiasm for me to accomplish something. And right now, new and exciting projects are more motivating than doing something routine.

Roadbits is new and exciting — but so is finding new ways for me to support the Apple II. Mark Simonsen of Beagle Bros once called himself a "serial entrepreneur": he starts or purchases new businesses, builds them up, and then sells them. Like him, I get a rush out of new projects. That's why I'm currently in the process of acquiring, repairing, redesigning, or resurrecting four different Apple II websites you've all heard of. Some of these efforts are one-and-done; if I do my job well, then you'll never know I had a hand in it. Others will be noticeable surprises with visible bylines. It's too soon to say which will come to fruition.

What does this mean for Apple II Bits? Nine years ago, friend and fellow Apple II user Sarah W lent me the book Transitions: Making Sense of Life's Changes, in which the author proposed an interesting model. Instead of viewing events in a chronological order from beginning to ending, we should consider the opposite: one thing must end before another thing can begin. While we may grieve the passing of an era, we can also welcome the reclaimed time and energy it brings us, and the new purpose we can give ourselves.

To that end, today is the end of my weekly commitment to Apple II Bits. I came to this decision a month ago, which is when I realized I still had a lot of personal stories left to tell and little time in which to tell them: the truth of Maxster. Beta-testing Wolfenstein 3D. My vanity license plate. Knowing today's deadline was looming gave me the incentive to finally tell these tales.

The good news is that this is not my last post! I have still more Apple II stories to tell, and I would do myself a disservice to cut myself off from this outlet. But from now on, I'm going to blog only when I have something to say and nowhere else to say it. (Some of those projects I'm working on may change the latter half of that equation.)

If you follow Apple II Bits, thank you — I hope you'll continue to do so. If you want regular new Apple II content, please subscribe to Juiced.GS.
If you are interested in following my personal adventures, both online and off, please consider subscribing to Roadbits.

Whichever road you take — Apple II Forever!

… Though of course, I'd be remiss to not close with the annual report of this site's analytics:

  • • This site's content consists of 627 posts (52 more than this time last year), 2,502 tags (+20), 630 comments (+53) from 181 readers (+13), and 1 blogger.
  • • I've written roughly 240,407 words (+25,587) for an average of 492 words per post in the past year (+107), and 383 words per post sitewide (+8).
  • • Year-to-year, the site's pageviews were up 10.11%, and unique visitors up 14.94%.
  • • The site's busiest day in the past year was November 15, 2019, thanks to "Pete Perkin's Apple II clone" and "What Apple II games are timeless?"
  • • The top three posts for the past year were "Pete Perkin's Apple II clone", "Taking the Apple II online with Uthernet", and Best computer games from the '80s" (2011). It's rare for a post to be popular in the year of its publication; maybe I should write about Pete Perkins more often?
  • • The top referrals were from Baidu, A2Central.com, RCRPodcast.com, and Retro Roundup.
  • • The percentage of overall traffic that was from mobile devices was up 14.5%, while desktop traffic fell 14% and tablet traffic fell 0.6%.
  • • In the past year, Akismet blocked 26,703 spam, down 35,806 from the previous year. In ten years, a total of 357,497 spam comments have been blocked, with the worst year being 2013 (104,995).
  1. Hey Ken, thanks for detailing your decision – it sounds like the right thing to do. You don't want to keep doing something on a regular basis if it's going to become a burden. Reminds me of my N-scale train layout. I finally realized that I was never going to finish it, so I sold it all and converted the room to retro computers. I still have some Lionel trains, but it's important to realize when your hobby interests change. Best of luck with all the new websites – can't wait to see them!