Posts tagged ‘blogosphere’


How the search engines fare on a site: search here

16.01.2023

Time to do some analysis on the age of the search results for this site through the search engines. I’m curious about the drop in hits. ‘Contents’ pages’ also include static pages and, in Bing’s case, PDFs. (PS.: For clarification, a contents’ page would include a Wordpress tag page, or a page for a set month containing all that month’s posts.)
 
Mojeek
Contents’ pages: ★★★★★★★★★
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006 ★★
2007 ★
2008 ★★
2009 ★★★★★★
2010 ★
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020 ★★
2021 ★★★★★★★★★★★
2022 ★★★★★★★★★★★★★
2023
 
Interesting spread, and no problems indexing PHP pages (after 2010). Some repeat results, with Mojeek having both www.jackyan.com and jackyan.com versions of the same pages. I’m surprised at the gap between 2010 and 2020, though they do appear after the 50 mark.
 
Google
Contents’ pages ★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
2021
2022
2023
 
Now that was a surprise. Only the static, HTML pages, with a lot of ex-Blogger indices (which were also HTML). Talk about being a Wayback Machine. No individual blog posts at all and a lot of really old stuff that isn’t even linked any more. I expected Yandex to do something like this, not Google.
 
Bing
Contents’ pages ★★★★★★★★★
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
2021
2022
2023 ★
 
Still bizarre. Bing claimed it had six results and delivered 10 on the first page. One blog post from 2023 makes it in here—it’s one attacking Bing and calling it near death. (Of the ones after the 3rd, it’s done marginally better, though it’s still hundreds off the norm.) During the course of the day, the 50-something results Bing had for site:jackyan.com has fallen to 10. Talk about decaying.

Interestingly, Bing gives 50 or so results on mobile—something I discovered this morning after compiling the above and before I pressed ‘Publish’ in Wordpress.
 
Yandex
Contents’ pages ★★★★★★★
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006 ★★★★★★★★★★★★★
2007 ★★★★★★★★★
2008 ★★★
2009 ★★★★★★
2010 ★★★★
2011 ★★
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019 ★★
2020 ★
2021
2022
2023
 
Some repeated results and definitely in favour of static HTML pages (pre-2010) over dynamic ones.
 
Baidu
Contents’ pages ★★★★★★★★
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010 ★
2011 ★
2012
2013
2014 ★
2015
2016
2017 ★★★★
2018 ★★
2019 ★
2020 ★★★★★★★★★
2021 ★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★
2022 ★★★★★★
2023
 
Baidu gives the wrong date for a lot of results, and there was a repeated result, too. But a pretty good site search and far closer to what I expected I would see, since it’s the post-2010 blog posts that I thought were more significant. There were a few in 2006 that got me some international mainstream media coverage and appearances on Aljazeera English’s Listening Post in those early days, but the most read blog entries were from 2016.
 
Yep
Contents’ pages ★★★★
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014 ★★
2015
2016
2017 ★
2018
2019
2020 ★★
2021
2022 ★
2023
 
Not bad for a newbie in beta, spidering both static and dynamic (PHP) pages. Better than Bing’s mix for the 10 each delivers.

Gigablast delivers none.

I can’t say for sure what caused the traffic drop based on the above, since I haven’t documented one of these searches before. So I’ve nothing to compare it to, though my vague memory is that Google would have had some of my actual posts among the top 50. A lot of the pages it does have there aren’t that highly trafficked. Could we blame Google?

Sadly, I don’t have enough data to know for sure, but on the face of it, Google’s top 50 are anomalous, while Bing continues to demonstrate that it’s largely useless.
 
PS.: Just tried site:bing.com. Bing’s results were terrible, including some real estate searches for homes in France, lots of repeated results. Mojeek and Google delivered better results for site:bing.com than Bing did.


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From January 3, blog traffic went well down

16.01.2023

Around January 3, the regular traffic to each blog post fell off a cliff here. Either my posts have suddenly become a bore and not worth reading, or something else external has happened. Is Feedburner dead? Is it because my Twitter account is locked (by me, a few weeks ago)? Is it the death of Bing? Or were the hundreds of views per post (700 being typical) overinflated all these years? Anyone else observed quite a sudden change? (I did two posts on the 3rd, one is on 309 views, the other on 98 at the time of writing. The rest haven’t picked up much since the second post on the 3rd.)

It’s not a huge deal since I blog as catharsis and when I was on Vox (2006–9), I never looked at any stats anyway. But there was a part of me quite happy that my silly musings were useful or entertaining enough to warrant those visits.

A quick site:jackyan.com search gives us these figures (claimed, followed by actual). Including this post, there are 1,252 posts on Wordpress, and quite a few in the old Blogger archive (still live), so I’d expect over 1,000 results:
 
Mojeek: 456/456
Google: 708/288
Bing: 219/58
Yandex: 2,000/250
Baidu: 2,110/233
Gigablast: —/0
Yep: —/10
 

The western search engines are really low but Mojeek once again leads with pages delivered (and showed exactly the amount of results it said it would). I’m surprised that Baidu does so well here. Yandex has a lot of index pages in their results, so take their figure with a grain of salt; and Bing repeats from page to page—though 58 here (with repeats) is more than 10 for Lucire. Are the search engines the culprits? Or a Wordpress plug-in?


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Here’s hoping Yuzo Related Posts v. 6 does the trick

06.01.2023

When we put our sites on a new server last year, one Wordpress plug-in we retained, despite a known exploit, was Yuzo Related Posts. Basically, nothing else could do related posts as well. It just worked. Everything else, inexplicably, either did not do post relationships terribly well, was too resource-heavy, or was too ugly,

Fortunately, I ran Wordfence, who were among the folks who reported on Yuzo’s vulnerability in 2019. They believed their program would guard against it. In addition, I found some code on this page at Stack Overflow, and made those changes as well.

Maybe I got lucky as we didn’t get hacked, or maybe the above set-up helped, but with the latest Linux-based hack also using Yuzo (and many others), I decided to look again. I wasn’t going to tempt fate, and I do not recommend that you do.

Wordpress’s own directory has a lot of related-post plug-ins, but once again, I had to draw the same conclusion that I did in 2022. In fact, two of them didn’t even function! So much for them having been tested.

Yuzo, of course, was toast, having been removed from the directory.

But a further search revealed that Lenin Zapata, one of the two people behind the original, did indeed rewrite the plug-in completely, taking it from v. 5 to v. 6. The latest, last updated in 2020, was v. 6.2.2.

As far as I can tell, it’s a complete rewrite, but I am no expert on such matters. What I can tell you is the directory structure looks different. The bottom entry in the readme.txt is for the original, where Mr Zapata wrote, ‘Old version (with faults): A bad day’. The new one is ‘renewed and with maximum security’.

I am taking Mr Zapata’s word for it, but I was saddened to note that Wordpress has kicked even the new version off for a ‘Guideline Violation’. Strangely, my web history says I downloaded the latest one from wordpress.org, even though the site says it is ‘not available for download’. It must be in there somewhere and even Wordpress’s own stats said there were a handful of downloads over the last week.
 

 

No wonder he stopped developing it after both the disappointment of the exploit and seeing the plug-in get kicked off. Even if it was the best and, it seems, irreplaceable. I don’t know why no one has risen up to meet the quality of the original plug-in (the exploit aside), but maybe Lenin Zapata is just that much cleverer with figuring out how posts relate and with presenting PHP-generated content smartly. Have a look below—I think it looks very good and works very well.

I’m just hoping I’m doing the right thing by using a version that hasn’t reportedly fallen victim to the 2019 exploit. I don’t like someone getting a raw deal if they’ve fixed up something on which they made a mistake. They deserve a second chance.

Do I recommend you do what I did? No, because I don’t understand enough code to be able to report definitively that it was the right decision. But if you understand this stuff, have a peek at v. 6 and see if it does what it’s supposed to—safely. Or write your own to compete with it and do what so many of these plug-ins don’t or can’t.


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De-Googling didn’t start in 2013

03.07.2022

Usual funny stuff from Wikipedia, this time on de-Googling.
 

 
If they’re Wikipedia’s “first”, then I beat the lot of them, and I wasn’t even the first to use this term. From 2010:
 

 

There’s a whole series of posts from 2010 where I deal with this—surely it was obvious to anyone in tech that Google posed a real threat with their behaviour back then?


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Targets painted, opposition misses again

03.12.2021

Our government’s response to COVID-19 has been better than many nations’, but it is far from perfect, as Ian Powell points out in a well reasoned blog post, and in his article for Business Desk. It’s backed up by a piece by Marc Daalder for Newsroom. To me, Powell’s piece makes a great deal of sense, and for those who feel the new system feels, instinctively, politically driven, then they are right. He says, inter alia:

At the time I thought that the traffic lights system had been initiated by the Ministry of Health (experts outside the Ministry were not supportive). Subsequently, however, according to senior Health Ministry officials privately, it came from the Prime Minister’s department.
   This helps explain the working it out as you go along approach that is causing confusion among many. Jacinda Ardern’s claim of the system being world leading is overcooked.

   He cites Daalder, who writes:

While the outbreak was expected to have a long tail, the Government fully intended to return to zero cases and even to maintain an elimination status after reopening the borders in 2022.
   Just two weeks later, Cabinet threw in the towel on elimination.

   We know that the government is working on overdrive through this whole pandemic, but it seems there are areas where the experts are being overridden.
   But what does our opposition do? Instead of firing at the targets that Powell and Daalder have helpfully revealed, new leader Christopher Luxon repeats the ad nauseam cries of his predecessors to open up, to put Auckland into the “green”. Any expectation that National had found pragmatism with its new leadership vanished in smoke mere days after Luxon took the helm.
   This is the identical complaint I have over Sir Phony Blair over in the UK with not only missing the targets painted on the Tories by themselves, but turning 180 degrees and firing the other way.
   We need an opposition that holds a government to account but it seems Luxon, who bafflingly refers to Simon Bridges as having ‘intellectual heft’, might be yet another ideologue, importing more of the same but in more hidden, calm language than his predecessor.
   Are there any pragmatists left in politics, or is everyone following ideology these days?


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On Cantonese, for Te Papa’s Chinese Languages in Aotearoa project

26.10.2021


 
What a real honour to promote my reo! Thank you, Dr Grace Gassin and Te Papa for spearheading the Chinese Languages in Aotearoa project and for this incredible third instalment, where I get to speak and promote Cantonese!
   Obviously I couldn’t say anything earlier, especially during Chinese Language Week, but I am extremely grateful the very distinct Chinese languages are being given their due with this project!
   My participation began with Grace and I having a kōrero last year, and how Chinese Language Week was not inclusive. The organizers of that make the mistake of equating Chinese with Mandarin, and claim that Cantonese and other tongues are dialects, which is largely like saying Gaelic is a dialect of English.
   Do read more at the Te Papa blog as Grace goes into far more depth, and brings everything into the context of the history of Aotearoa.
 

 
   It turns out that Grace had been thinking about this for quite some time and had already shaped ideas on recording the Chinese languages here in Aotearoa as part of her job as curator, Asian New Zealand histories. She is a fluent Hokkien speaker, a dialect we Cantos often write as Fukkien, though that can lead to unfortunate puns with Anglophones. She also has some command of Cantonese—certainly far, far more than any Hokkien I know.
   There was such an amazing crew on this, with Yong-Le Chong (who is a Cantonese speaker, incredibly learning the language from television!) directing and prompting me off-camera and Tim Hamilton as DOP—plus Grace and Daniel Crichton-Rouse from Te Papa producing and supervising. Luckily I said nice things about Tim’s work in Lucire (not knowing he would be the DOP) prior to this!
   I was a bit under the weather when we filmed, having had a cough for many weeks and dodgy eggs at a café two days before. Big thanks to the crew for putting up with this and for believing me when I said it was not COVID (a test had confirmed that, and it was just before the August 2021 lockdown, when the notion of COVID in the community was unfamiliar).
   My thanks to Kent Favel and Erica Harvison for their permission to film at my Alma Mater, St Mark’s Church School, and to my darling partner Amanda.
   Note that the Māori terms in this post are only italicized because of the international readers who form the larger part of my visitors; in New Zealand these are words that are commonly used, and are not italicized.


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Farewell, Twitter gadget (is there a point to them?)

24.10.2021

One good thing to having Twitter lock Lucire’s account: there’s no point having a Twitter gadget or widget on your home page any more. Was there ever one to begin with? I don’t think I’ve ever gone to a site and found a Twitter widget useful.
   It did bother me that a Lucire print cover was no longer visible on the top part of the screen with the new theme. The ‘Our latest issue’ has now been moved to the sidebar from the bottom of the page, where it used to reside next to ‘Lucire on Twitter’. It doesn’t make much difference to cellphone users, but all the difference to web ones.
   So that’s one positive development to being locked out of Twitter.
   I’ve also made a minor tweak to this blog: the left-hand column is now wider, and a few more logos appear. Previously the table width (yes, it’s that old) was 960 pixels, but I figured that most people would have larger monitors by now. The blog also has a working, albeit standard, Wordpress mobile theme, so unlike Lucire there shouldn’t be any problems for cellphone users if I changed things. It does make this blog slightly inconsistent with the rest of the site, but maybe one day I’ll stick the lot on Bootstrap as well.

PS.: The first widget to disappear was Facebook’s, in 2018, weeks before the Cambridge Analytica story. Instagram’s was taken off when we most recently reskinned the home page a few weeks ago. They’re all pointing us in this direction.


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My first tech post in a while: how I use my social-computing time

09.09.2021

Refreshingly, I’ve noticed that my more recent blog posts haven’t been about Big Tech as often. I haven’t changed my views: the ones I’ve stated earlier still stand, and Google and Facebook in particular continue to be a blight on democracy and even individual mental health.
   A lot of the posts were inspired by real-world usage of those websites, if you look back over the last decade. As I use them irregularly, and wish others were in the same boat, then there’s little to report, unless I come across new revelations that I might have a say about.
   Google is the search of last resort though it has a great translator; now that the news alerts don’t even work, that’s one fewer contact point with the online advertising monopolist. Facebook is good for monitoring who has breached my privacy by uploading my private data to the platform, and to delete off-Facebook activity (Facebook serves these pages at a ridiculously slow speed, you wonder if you’re on dial-up). Beyond that neither site has much utility.
   My Instagram usage is down to once every two months, which means it’s halved since 2020, though I still keep an eye on Lucire’s account, which isn’t automated.
   I stay in touch with some friends on email and there’s much to be said about a long-form composition versus a status update. It’s the difference between a home-cooked meal and a fast food snack. And, of course, I have this blog to record things that might pique my interest.
   Go back far enough—as this blog’s been around 15 years—and I shared my musings on the media and branding. My blog’s roots were an offshoot of the old Beyond Branding blog, but I wanted to branch into my own space. A lot of my views on branding haven’t changed, so I haven’t reblogged about them. Each time someone introduced another platform, be it Vox or Tumblr, I found a use for it, but ultimately came back here. Just last week I realized that the blog gallery, which came into being because NewTumbl’s moderators started believing in the Republic of Gilead, was really my substitute for Pinterest. It might even be my substitute for Instagram, if I can be bothered getting the photos off my phone.
   I must say it’s a relief to have everything on my own domain, and while it’s not “social”, I have to ask myself how much of Instagramming and social media updating ever was. Twitter, yes, to an extent. But oftentimes with Instagram I posted because I got joy from doing so, over trying to please an audience. It’s why I never got that many followers, because it wasn’t a themed account. And if doing what suits me at the time is the motive, then there’s no real detriment to doing so in my own spaces. These posts still get hundreds of viewers each, probably more than what I got on Facebook or Instagram.
   I don’t know if this is a trend, since setting up your own space takes far more time than using someone else’s. Paying for it is another burden others may wish to avoid. Nor do I have the latest stats on Facebook engagement, but when I did track it, it was heading south year on year. I do know that the average reach for an organic post continues to fall there, which is hardly a surprise with all the bots. Instagram just seems full of ads.
   But in my opinion, fewer contact points with Big Tech is a good thing, and may they get fewer still.


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Farewell to Feedburner

24.04.2021

This is why the Feedburner links have disappeared from the left-hand column of this website (desktop version):

   Now I need to figure out a way to get off Google Podcasts. I had no idea that Anchor syndicated to them. Certainly there was no mention of that when I joined. Google really has too many tentacles everywhere.


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Another innocent post at NewTumbl that’s too much for the moderators

02.02.2021

Even though I like NewTumbl, it’s never a pleasure to be proved right again about its user-based moderating process, where there is no appeal. Alex at NewTumbl, who empathized with my situation, says this is the latest one to fall foul of the Republic of Gilead user base—and which would have had a pass at Tumblr, the site many left because it was supposedly too restrictive:

   Alex marked it F for family-friendly—it’s a magazine cover from 1948 that anyone around then could have seen, for Chrissakes—but a moderator took this to O, which roughly equates to a PG-13, and which covers ‘sexy and sultry’ imagery.
   As Alex recounted to me in the past, even the cartoon Samantha Stevens from Bewitched was too much for the sensitive eyes of NewTumbl users.
   To the good people at NewTumbl, as you scale, you may need a panel of “super-users” who can hear appeals. I can foresee this sort of stuff driving people back to Tumblr, especially those of us who just want to post G and PG stuff. Adult content is precisely what NewTumbl didn’t want to be known exclusively for, but carry on this way and that’s the likely outcome.


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