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Meta Personal

2008 and Down

In my continuing archival work on this site, I hit a big milestone last night, in that I finished April 2008, which is pretty much the last time I regularly hit a month with 80+ posts — it only happens again a couple of times in November/December of 2009 for some reason.

I think the reason for the reduction in posts was that it was around the time I started contributing regularly to Wired‘s Game|Life blog, for which I was doing around 5 posts daily.

This means I should hopefully be speeding up as I go through the rest of the archives, getting it all finished in the weeks to come. That won’t be the end of it all though, as there are a few other things I’d like to do, like going through the first few years again to improve tags on posts, and also incorporating my early moblog posts, which used to be done as a separate blog.

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Meta

Reaching 2007

The momentous landmark I reached last weekend was that I finally finished 2006, when it comes to fixing old posts — and I managed to do a big dent in 2007 this weekend, getting through January-May.

The reason it takes so long is that I’m pretty much going in every single post, either to fix the image (or images), to fix the blockquote tag (I used to quote things a lot in posts), or to add a little update note.

For the images, through Wayback Machine I manage to find the last 20 posts or so for each month (WM would save two page for each month’s archives). It’s a bit weird because for other years, there were quite a few times a month that WM would save the site, so I could find a lot more posts, but for some reason during 2006-2007, which is possibly the site’s most active period, it stopped doing that. And then after that, it’s a mix of still finding images because they were hosted on Flickr, or through a folder I have with images that were not taken from other sites. What a fucking process.

Hoping to give a big push to get through the rest of 2007 and then 2008, and after that it should take less time as the frequency of posts reduces (in 2006-2008 I’m looking at an average of 100 posts a month).

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Meta

7500

With this post that I put up on Friday, the site reached the rather handsome sum of 7500 posts (this very post is #7505).

I’ve never really paid attention to the number of overall posts on the site, but I just happened to notice this number in the WordPress admin dashboard, and thought it was worth sharing.

Categories
Design Meta

Website Plumage

As I continue to go through and fix my archives — I didn’t do much over the past couple of weeks, but yesterday managed to get through a few more months in 2006 — I find it interesting to get glimpses of the various themes I used on the website over the years (courtesy of the Wayback Machine).

I used to modify my site fairly frequently, usually a few times a year — sometimes a major revamp, sometimes some simple tweaks and a change of colors.

Currently, what you’re seeing here, is the default WordPress theme for 2016.

This is interesting to me, because in the past I would never have gone so basic. I would have either spent time tweaking enough of it to give it its own look, or in the later years, would have spent a lot of time trying to find an interesting theme I could use (which I would still modify). But here, since I brought back the site to WordPress (after being archive-less on Tumblr for a couple of years), I did a bit of searching at first to see if I could find a nice free minimal theme I could use, but I didn’t really find anything I liked more than just this basic WP theme.

More than just not finding it a priority to spend time on the way the site looks — my focus at the moment is the content, both old and new — I’ve taken a liking to the very basicness and minimalism of this theme. It’s black & white — a color theme I’ve mostly stuck to since the late 2000s — and it doesn’t feel overly slick or fancy. It just presents the content with no fuss.

I’m sure I’ll eventually tire of it and will want to find something else to use — something that I can find “as is,” as I no longer have any desire to spend any time modifying the guts of a theme — but for now I’m happy to keep it this way.

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Meta Personal

Back to the 70s

Well, it’s now October, and as you can tell, I’m still blogging quite regularly here. What started off as a throwback to what this site was like before has now awakened a muscle I hadn’t used in ages — that’s the blogging muscle — and it’s getting pumped and enjoying being in use again.

In terms of volume, following the 53 posts I wrote in August (which was done over 2 weeks), I ended up writing 72 in September. Although it doesn’t seem to reach the heights this site has seen — during its heydays of the mid to late 2000s, it would hover at around 80-100 posts per month, with an absolute peak of 138 — but considering that in those days a lot of the posts were made up of my TB.Grafico photolog and then my TB.Movel moblog (if you click on these links, you’ll find that the latest posts haven’t yet been fixed), it’s quite possible that this last month saw more actual written content than back in those days. At this point in my life, I’m probably more at ease with writing a post quickly.

I’m curious to see what October will bring.

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Meta Personal

2005

This weekend I managed to finish going through the posts of 2005 (all 1063 of them). As I was going through these posts, I could see that it was a really important year for me. My first professional writing work started in 2004 as I became editor of MoCo Tokyo (a spinoff site to MoCo Loco, where I was also a contributor), and then at the very end of that year I started my monthly anime and design columns for Tokyo Q, but it was in 2005 that I started my monthly “On Design” column for The Japan Times, wrote for Gawker’s Gizmodo and Gridskipper, and also wrote some other freelance pieces. I’d definitely point to that year as the start of my writing career.

It was also the year I started writing almost weekly round-ups of Japanese magazines — which years later led to me starting the now-defunct The Magaziner website. It was also the year of me and Jesper’s first big collaboration together, in the form of our “Mamma Gun” exhibition/event at Cafe Pause, part of Swedish Style/Tokyo Design Week.

I’m pretty thankful that I can go through archives of my life like this, and see exactly how things happened and evolved.

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Meta Music Personal

The New 52

No, I’m not referring to the “New 52” revamp that DC Comics launched in 2011, but rather to the fact that as we close off the month of August (it’s just past 23:00 as I write this), I’ve written 52 posts on the blog this month (this will be post 53).

The last time the site had over 50 posts in a month was in December 2009 (89), and that was truly when my activity started reducing drastically, as it then hovered around 10-20 until the summer of 2012, and then down to barely 1-2 per month in the years that followed until now. You can easily see this by looking at the monthly archive list in the sidebar of the site, which I have active right now.

The desire to start blogging again was sparked when I started work on rescuing the archives of the site earlier this month. After the initial repopulation of posts (the text at least), it’s been a long process of going through each post, trying to find the original images, either through the Wayback Machine, or through some image archives I found on my laptop. I’m up to March 2005, and counting.

Seeing what I was doing and how much fun I was having (and how I gradually went from amateur blogger to published writer) has been a blast, and it put me in the mood to try and do it again for a bit. I’m especially surprised that I got to 50, considering I started doing it in the middle of the month, with this post. As I wrote at the time, I’m still considering it nostalgia blogging, and I’m still having a lot of fun doing it.

So for the first time in about 6-7 years, the blog is active again, and that makes me happy.

FROM_TOKYO_TO_NEW_YORKI noticed that back in the day I used to finish long update posts with a note on what I was listening while I wrote it. I’ve been in a retro groove of late, and am currently listening to a compilation produced by Fantastic Plastic Machine for Uniqlo in 2005 called Synchro: From Tokyo to New York.

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Meta

Image Hunter

Yet another weekend spent repopulating old posts with images, and the bad news is that it’s getting harder. I’m starting to have a hard time finding old posts as the site started moving towards pagination within monthly archives (which I think is when I moved from Movable Type to WordPress for my blog engine), and a lot of the pages weren’t saved by the Wayback Machine. And as I peek forward, it looks like there are years where WM barely grabbed anything, so I’m not quite sure how much I’ll be able to save, but we’ll see.

The good news is that at least all of the photos that I took are saved — the ones that are part of my TB.Grafico photolog — as I found a folder on my computer that had them all.

But I do really like seeing all of the images that accompanied regular posts, and so I do hope I can still manage to find a lot of them, even if it does continue to suck up a lot of time — it takes me about an hour per month I think, and I’ve just reached September 2004.

Why am I spending so much time doing this? I think it’s the archivist/historian (I majored in History) in me that’s finally coming out and taking over.

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Games Meta Tokyo Walking Web

Gawkerless

The news of the sale of Gawker Media and the closure of Gawker.com was a sad one for me. I consider myself very thankful and lucky that early in my writing career I had the opportunity to write for three Gawker sites (Kotaku, Gizmodo, and Gridskipper). These things happened after I had the chance to spend some time with Nick Denton (as well as Joel Johnson) on one of his visits to Tokyo — having lunch and then drinks in various spots around the city. What he was doing with his new media company was incredibly exciting for me — a budding writer — and I felt privileged to be asked to contribute to what he was building.

Considering my love of games, writing for Kotaku was certainly a highlight — and it’s how I met and later became friends with Brian Ashcraft, with whom I was lucky enough to contribute on a book we did together, called Arcade Mania, about Japan’s game centers. The site I contributed to the most though was Gridskipper, a now-defunct urban travel site that saw me contribute Tokyo-related posts (which made sense, as it was similar to the type of content I was covering on my personal blog).

A lot of crazy things have happened to Gawker.com and Gawker Media over the years, and I just want to thank Nick for keeping us entertained all these years, and for the support I got at that point in my life. Can’t wait to see what he’s planning next.

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Meta

The Trouble with Comments

I haven’t had comments on this site for quite a few years — I can’t remember when I made the switch, probably around the early 2010s, but it was a reaction to the constant battle against spam, as well as noticing that comments on the site were getting lower, and I figured that feedback could be better given on Twitter or Facebook, or via email.

When I brought back the old archives to the site this past weekend, along with them came all the comments, and I thought not only would it be fun to keep all those comments there, I also decided to just leave comments open on all posts, and see what would happen.

Spam. Lots of it.

It didn’t take long before my email inbox got filled with notifications of the comment spam that was overloading the site.

Result? Bye bye comments.

I think that in the past 5-6 years, the trend for sites to remove comments on posts/articles has continued. I made the right choice then, and there’s no reason to go back on it, even if I did find a better spam fighter.