The Vagaries of PageRank

I was mentioning to Matt very late at Denny’s in Belleville that Google wasn’t giving my blog a whole lot of love. I’d supposed that was probably because nothing actually links to it, but he suggested that I try Google Webmaster Tools and see if there’s a problem with the crawler. (Matt’s generally more up on web stuff than I am these days. My web skills have atrophied a bit).

It turns out there was nothing wrong with the crawler; nothing actually links here.

I figured, though, that I could possibly take advantage of my (considerably depleted) influence on the webs and put up some links.

I finally put up a link from my homepage, something I’ve been really reluctant to do. But I figured, what the hell? At the moment, I’m less embarrassed about the blog than I am about the homepage.

I also figured I’d slip in a sly link onto the Abslom Daak site. It was then that I realized that I let the domain name expire. For two months.

Oops.

Fortunately, I was still able to renew it. So that was nice. That’s the only site where I have any pagerank at all (and probably quite a bit less now). *sigh*

Anyway, I think I’m going to make a project out of redoing the homepage sometime in the near future, to make it a bit more professional and a bit less 1996 university student.

Also, I wouldn’t be offended by a link to the blog (or the homepage) if you’ve got a site somewhere. (Also, I know of at least one person who’s linking to my livejournal when he should really be linking to the blog. I’ll probably have to pester him in person, rather than leaving a parenthetical note at the bottom of a blog post…)

Micro-blogging

I’ve found that the two most useful benefits of having this thing are (mostly) that I can start to solidify ideas in my own head, possibly for later reference, and (tangentially) that it can spur conversation with friends, either online or in real life. Both are rather rewarding.

A lot of times, I come across something that I think is worth noting, but I don’t have enough of a grasp on it to dash off 500 or so words. I just want to make note of it, to get it out of my head and somewhere where I know it might do some good.

There are times when I just want to whip off a one-liner (possibly with a link) and send it out to the world. I realized a long time ago, however, that in the context of a blog (or journal or whatever this is), that that could be very annoying. People might get notified by RSS every time I did that and would get very sick of me. Or, at the very least, on this page, one line posts take up way more screen real estate than the one line.

My solution to the nuisance problems of the one-liner was to batch a bunch of them up and post them as bullet posts. It seemed like a nice compromise.

These days, however, there are whole web 2.0 businesses dedicated to getting people to posting one-liners. Notably Twitter, but also Jaiku, Pownce and others. Kind of instant messenger status messages gone public. With friends lists and crap.

As I hinted with my Facebook post, the idea of having to set up yet more social networks on yet more sites does not thrill me. I don’t have a problem getting a Twitter or Jaiku account, but I want to use the tools I want to use, not the tools the masses deem the most popular.

I’m kinda particular that way. I’ve been noticing it’s becoming a recurring theme this month.

At some point in the near future, I’m going to figure out a new way to do the Twitterish micro-blogging thing. I’m not going to do it, though, until I have a way to surface the data on my own site, and other places where I’m already spamming people. I kinda want to make it seamless, and I want to store history for it on my own server, so I have it even if the Web 2.0 bubble bursts and all (or even just some of) these ridiculous things go away.

My current plan is to do what I have been doing: bullets! posts. I’d use a micro-blogging service like Twitter, maybe, and have my blog fetch updates over the course of the day and post it as a bulleted list.

And I’d probably wrap the linkblog into that, because it’s really the same sort of idea.

I’d also want to find a way to propagate the one-liner to any site that has a micro-blogging paradigm and where there are people who might be interested in reading. Like Facebook and its status messages.

Of course, Facebook being Facebook doesn’t make that easy, but it looks like there’s a way to do it…

That’s the plan, anyway. Not sure if I’ll get around to it this month, but I think I’m getting there–conceptually, if nothing else.

NaBloPoMo (and Halloween and Stuff)

I’m going to gracefully bow out of NaNoWriMo this year. Much as I like the idea (I even bought the book last year!), I know I don’t have a hope of getting anywhere near the word count. I kinda want to do something, though.

NaBloPoMo is a little bit more my speed this year–just post a blog post a day, every day, for the month. I think I can do that. I never have, mind you. My peak blogging rate tends to be about every other day (and the valley’s somewhere around one a month…). I’m thinking, though, that committing to something like this will maybe help me get back in the groove a bit. My blog needs more love.

Support and encouragement is important in these endeavors. Without getting all clingy and needy and stuff, if you see something and can take the time to comment on something I’ve written, that really does help motivate me. It’s silly, I know, but it’s true. That’s the same regardless of whether you’re reading this and commenting on the blog itself, on lj or on facebook. I’ll read it one way or another.

I’m figuring I’ll start picking topics and expounding on them, but for today, you’re going to get a content-light post to start things off.

I ended up getting something between thirty and forty trick-or-treaters at the door last night. I’m pretty sure that’s more than last year.

In the very first group that came to my door, the little girl bringing up the rear tripped and cut her lip on my stoop. She was wearing an excruciatingly adorable (and well-made) princess costume, and looked as if her little world was about to shatter. I ran in to get her a Kleenex and when I came back (and handed out candy to the rest, as we all must carry on in tough times), her mother was asking her if she wanted to go home.

She would have none of that. Oh, no. She toughened up right then and there, wiped a tear and held out her little pillow case for some Cheezies and a peanut butter cup.

Back online

My server died. I didn’t really expect the site to be down that long. To my three (or perhaps four) readers, I apologize. I built this thing to be easy to rebuild, but I guess when you start messing around with the fatal combination of Linux hardware support and VMWare, all bets are off.

I’m still not entirely sure what I did to get it running again.

I’ve got a backlog of posts I’ve been wanting to write. Most of them likely won’t get written. First, I think I have to say something about this election thing. Then maybe I can find some fun things to write about.

What am I doing here?

I had cause to go flipping through the archives of my old blog. It kinda got me thinking about what I’m trying to do with the new one.

With this blog, I’d wanted to start producing what I’d hoped would be my public face to the world. This would (theoretically) be the first thing people would find when they put my name in Google. Reading it, they might get a sliver of insight into who I am. Maybe, just maybe, people would read something I wrote and think it worth linking and commenting on. Not that I’m interested in going out of my way to get links, just that it’s kinda gratifying when somebody else thinks I’ve written something noteworthy.

Astute readers (if I have any) might notice, however, that posting frequency has been decidedly low.

Well, lower than I wanted it to be (not that even astute readers would know how frequent that would be).

There are a couple reasons for this. The most important being that I haven’t actually been home very much lately. This presents a problem for blog composition. I don’t think I need to spell it out for you.

The second is that I think I might have set the bar a bit high for myself. Reading through the old blog posts, sure, I wasn’t posting that frequently, but there was a lot of good stuff there. A lot of pointless stuff too, but it’s a blog. These things can’t be helped.

I’m still not entirely sure what I want to do with this thing, but one thing I think I do want to do is post more for myself. I want to post little observations about the world around me. I want to post things that will remind me of who I was, what I was doing and what I was thinking about when I look back from some unknowable vantage point in the future.

If other people want to read over my shoulder, they’re welcome to.