Today, July 4th, is Independence Day in the USA. For most this is a wonderful summer holiday involving picnics and fireworks. As with Christmas, the real meaning behind the day may be distant or lost. And I’m not here today to write about the True Meaning of Independence Day (United States). For the record, we adopted a rather important historical document 237 years ago today. If you live here and can read, you’re expected to know all about it.
It so happens that today is—or rather would have been—my 15th wedding anniversary (crystal). A decade-and-a-half ago, on a paddle wheel river boat, I got married. There was cake and fireworks.
It also so happens that today marks this blog’s two-year anniversary (cotton).
That’s not a coincidence. I’d already started a baseball blog, so the idea of having a blog, of being a blogger, was familiar. But the baseball blog turned out to be neither fun nor easy. More to the point, it was confining. ‘A new fan writes about baseball,’ wasn’t enough of a topic. I wanted to write about anything.
Besides, a canonical piece of advice for any writer is, “Write what you know!” I didn’t (and don’t) really know baseball. Not like those who’ve grown up loving the sport do. I’m just a seriously interested new-comer.
So I’d been thinking about starting a real blog. Starting it on July 4th, my (would have been) wedding anniversary was a deliberate act to give the day other meaning. (In fact, July 4th is overloaded with other meaning. An uncle that I really liked died on July 4th, and my best friend’s wife’s birthday is today.)
Now it’s two years later.
Yesterday I posted blog article #255, a number that any computer geek will recognize as hugely significant. In binary, with eight bits, you can count from zero (00000000) to 255 (11111111). It’s a bit like how your odometer counts from 00000 to 99999.
[In the computer world, the eight-bit package, a byte, is a fundamental unit. You might think of the bits as inches and the byte as a foot. Even the idea of a yard—a unit consisting of multiple feet—has an analog in most computer architectures. In fact, most modern designs rarely deal with individual “feet” (bytes) anymore. But even so, the eight-bit byte remains a foundation element in computer data.]
A byte has a much smaller count than your odometer (a count of 256 versus counting off 100,000 miles), but the concept of a ‘full count’ is the same. The key fact is the need for the counter to ‘roll over’ and start again at zero. We can also compare this to the year 1999 rolling over to 2000.
We humans find these “odometer” moments interesting and compelling. The fact is, the real century change happened from 2000 to 2001 (the latter being the actual first year of the 21st century). Yet most celebrated on the last night of 1999. (Some of us celebrated both!)
This post, my 256th, is a roll over post. In binary, the counter just went from 11111111 to 100000000. For a guy who made a living as a computer programmer, that’s kind of a neat coincidence. (And the post count is entirely coincidental.)
I’ve also created 27 pages, which you access through the menu bar and drop downs at the top of the blog. (Some readers seem not to have figured out that every heading in the menu does lead to a page. I’ve noticed significantly more hits on the Who? and Why? pages—which are on the drop down—than I do on the actual About page. All three of those headings are clickable!)
[If you’ve wondered, the red links lead to posts or pages in this blog. The blue links lead to pages outside this blog (usually in Wikipedia, which I love).]
As has been happening to most of us here, I’ve had a lot of new followers show up. This seems to be due to WordPress making changes to its reader that make it easier to follow blogs of interest. It’s the increasingly familiar, “If you like this, you might also like…” meme. The influx seems to begin in April (no fooling).
I have an email folder where I store all the emails I get about follows. I’m pretty sure I’ve kept them all (but it’s possible I deleted a couple along the way). At the moment, there are 377 notices. The first 135 follows came first 21 months in the life of this blog. The rest—all 242 of them—came in the last three months!
That’s a twelve-fold increase in the rate of follows! I was averaging about six follows a month. Now I’m averaging 80! (I realize that’s actually not many compared to what a successful blog pulls in. I’ve heard some bloggers are seeing as many as one-thousand new follows in a month!)
The new folks seem a mix of legitimate new followers (welcome! welcome!) and some we’ll call spammers (go fuck yourselves). Judging by the (low) number of hits on each new post, most of my followers aren’t living up to their name. (Too bad! You don’t know what you’re missing!)
I don’t really mind blogs with the intent of selling something. I like them better when they sell the artist’s own work. Blogs that just shill some manufacturer’s products are crap in my eyes, but it’s a free blogsphere, so whatever. I do mind commercial use of this blog, but I can’t do much about those Likes and Follows. I guess the assholes behind those are already used to the fact that we hate them and would gleefully see them dead.
Recently, I noticed a huge uptick in the amount of spam comments (which WP does a very good job of filtering out):
I was seeing 100+ spam comments per day! I was going to ask if any of you had noticed the uptick, but then I noticed that nearly all of the traffic was directed at my Contact Me Email page. I disabled comments on that page, and the volume dropped to normal levels (about a dozen+ a day).
So happy Fourth of July, the United States Independence Day (try to not blow your fingers off or get food poisoning from the potato salad)! And pity about the non-anniversary, but hooray for two years of fun blogging. The binary counter rolls over to start counting the next bunch. In some regards, so far it’s been practice. Now I can get serious!
I’ve made some wonderful friends here in the last two years, people from all over the world, fellow bloggers I cherish. I have friends in such far away places as the Philippines, Australia, Belgium and Wales!
There are friends much closer to home as well, here in the USA and in Canada and Mexico and parts south. The internet was always a great place to find like minds! This blog has started many delightful conversations!
So to seriously misquote Saint Adams, “Hello, World! Pass the fish!!”
July 4th, 2013 at 6:10 pm
Two years of blogging, congrats!! I also do that thing where I start things on certain dates to give them alternate meaning. Also, 255! *high five*
July 4th, 2013 at 8:37 pm
Thank you! Of course, the Rare Rara would be able to fully appreciate the import behind numbers like 255 (and now 256!). Speaking of dates, I’ve been craving some Tex-Mex. I declare tomorrow to be Cinco de Julio Day (7/5/13…an odd date)!
July 4th, 2013 at 9:40 pm
Yes, tomorrow would be a prime opportunity to celebrate! 😀 And tex-mex, that’s my specialty! 😀 I’m on board for Cinco de Julio! 🙂
July 5th, 2013 at 8:16 am
So are you cooking, or are we going out somewhere? 😀
July 6th, 2013 at 5:48 pm
I ate tex mex in honor of your invented day, Wyrd! 😀 Just thought I’d let you know. 🙂 Next time, just come on over!
July 7th, 2013 at 10:02 am
I should have this time! All I managed were nachos.
July 5th, 2013 at 8:51 am
I swiftly raised my hand up high when you mentioned the Philippines up there. Yes! (in my smug assumption you’ve included me on your list of new pals from that country) 🙂
What a find this blog is – as it has inspired me to bend my humble brain in loftier directions.
Happy 2nd Anniversary, Wyrd Smythe! Logos con carne undeniably demonstrates wordsmithing at its best.
July 5th, 2013 at 9:04 am
You know what they say about assumptions, but in this case you’re spot on. I was indeed giving a shout out to my new friend from Manila!
I’m delighted you enjoy the blog. A big point is writing for those who can appreciate it!
Thanks for the congrats and flattering words!! 😀
July 5th, 2013 at 9:31 am
It’s easy to appreciate your writings which are consistently marked by talent and spirit, WS.
I just got back online after a few busy days at work and – at this moment – am actually not yet done digesting the maths concepts in your preceding post :-). But I got immediately charmed by the cute mice photo.
It’s good to know “retirement is aces for you, so far.” I wonder how you’ve been relaxing hard, though. 🙂
July 5th, 2013 at 6:51 pm
Simply a matter of dedicating oneself to the task!
July 7th, 2013 at 9:09 am
Lovely wedding photos, by the way. You looked dashing.
Oh, your wife has got blonde hair. You said you preferred brunettes. 🙂
July 7th, 2013 at 10:25 am
I do prefer brunettes (all other things being equal) and prefer black haired women even more. But it’s just hair color, and it’s truly a trivial thing. Physical beauty can turn my head, but it’s the whole package (which includes the crucial elements of personality and capability) that turns my heart.
In fact, when I first met her face-to-face, we’d already exchanged thousands of lines of email and had already started getting into each others’ head and heart. We’d never seen each other (or any pictures). My first reaction (remember that I’m hugely into faces) was that she had one of the most singularly unattractive faces I’d seen. My mental jaw really dropped! Immediately on the heels of that reaction was the idea that how you see a person changes as you know them. I’ve know women who became vastly more attractive to me as I came to care for them.
And it happened with her. Over time her face became the face of the woman I loved and I delighted in seeing it. It’s not that physical appearances don’t matter, so much as other things matter a great deal more.
Ironically, my first girlfriend was a blonde, and so was the last one (my ex-). I’d have to think about this to be 100% certain, but I believe everyone in between was not.
July 5th, 2013 at 10:39 am
Hey my friend 🙂 I love this post…congrats on 2 years blogging..you got lots of followers..and yes I have noticed some people get a thousand people in a month..how? What they doing? Me I got you and about 150 ( I think) others..I will check, but its only grown I would say since about May. Slowly but more these past few weeks. Hope you enjoyed your 4th of July celebration..here in Wales we are celebrating 2 whole days of sunshine ! Dare I put the umbrella way? Lol . Fab post by a fab blogger who I call my friend . Hugs C x
July 5th, 2013 at 1:45 pm
Sunny everywhere; wonderful! I think the blog thing is like how the rich get richer. Once you have a popular blog, you get ever more popular. It’s having lots of followers (I believe) that gets you ranked among the “recommended.” That leads to more followers!
We’re off in the corner having fun with our mere hundreds! 😀
Enjoy the sunshine… but always carry a brolly!
July 5th, 2013 at 3:03 pm
Happy Cotton Birthday to you, dear wyrd smythe! I am at the library on vacation so will check back once home on other posts!! Take care, Robin
July 5th, 2013 at 3:06 pm
Thanks!! I’m wearing cotton, so I’m cool! (hee, hee, hee)
Enjoy your vacation! Talk to you later!!