The end of April 2022 means that it is time for our regular month-in-review post. The New Leaf Journal celebrated it second full year online on April 27, 2022, and we published a content in many areas throughout the month. April also saw some meaningful changes and additions to The New Leaf Journal as a whole.
Below, I will recap the month that was and look ahead to what promises to be an exciting May at The New Leaf Journal.
This month in review post is our 22nd and final full article of 2022. You can find the full list of our April articles in two places. Firstly, you can see all the articles with links published in a simple list in our full article archive. Secondly, you can visit our April content in our monthly archive. While I encourage you to browse our full selection of articles and see which ones interest you (I hope they all do), I will single out six of my articles from the month for special mention.
- Bill’s Secret Garden – A Pokémon Generation 1 Urban Legend (NAF: April 6, 2022): I examine a Pokémon urban legend from 1999 and add my own anecdote.
- The Great Chelsea Fire of 1908 – 114 Years Later (NAF: April 12, 2022): A look back at one of the most damaging fires in U.S. history.
- Martial’s Epigram on Emperor Otho (NAF: April 16, 2022): A great Roman poet’s take on the death of Emperor Otho.
- Noncitizen Nationals as Visa Petitioners (NAF: April 25, 2022): My detailed look at the rules governing immigrant visa petitions filed by non-citizen U.S. nationals.
- The Best Anime Series of 2021 (NAF: April 26, 2022): This ranking was originally planned for December 2021. Better late than never?
- Justin, Justina, and the Eraser’s Birthday (NAF: April 27, 2022): I marked The New Leaf Journal’s second birthday with a new Justin and Justina dialogue about childhood birthday memories.
The New Leaf Journal has an official newsletter called The Newsletter Leaf Journal. We mail new issues of the newsletter every Saturday. Below, you will find links to our five April issues:
If you enjoy the newsletter content, you can sign up to follow the newsletter via email or RSS.
The biggest addition to The New Leaf Journal in April was our new Leaflet post-type. I had wanted to add micropost functionality to The New Leaf Journal for some time, and I briefly experimented with implementing it with a plugin in 2021. In early April, I created a new “Leaflet” custom post type which is dedicated to short posts. I explained the concept in an introductory article. You can find our most recent leaflets on our sidebar (below the content on small screens). The full Leaflet activity stream is available here.
I published 52 Leaflets in April 2022. Instead of listing every Leaflet, I will post a few of my favorites below. You can find all of our Leaflets in our full archive.
- Simplicable – A Useful Color Guide (NAF: April 6, 2022): A short post on a useful resource that I came across while researching something.
- Setting Up Mullvad’s Free Public DNS (NAF: April 8, 2022): A Leaflet with a link to a useful guide for people who want to try a new custom DNS service.
- Enter the Hatoverse – Pigeon Metaverse (NAF: April 11, 2022): I use the Leaflet section to post links to the most important stories in the world today.
- Hiyori Suzumi is Bernadetta von Varley (NAF: April 15, 2022): A short conspiracy theory that I formed after noting some similarities between the protagonist of an anime airing this spring and a character in one of my favorite video games.
- Pope Benedict XVI Turns 95 (NAF: April 16, 2022): Recognizing the birthday of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and that he is the longest-living person to have ever been Pope.
- Cross-posting from Mastodon to Twitter (NAF: April 18, 2022): Our most-read leaflet by a wide margin – this post was also among our 25 most-read articles of April 2022.
- Bat Steaks Seized at Dulles (NAF: April 20, 2022): I read it. Therefore, you must read it too.
- 1999 Yuji Naka Interview on Chu Chu Rocket (NAF: April 21, 2022): Linking to a fun article for video game historians and Sega Dreamcast fans.
- Twitter, Elites, and Bad Content (NAF: April 22, 2022): One of three microposts that touched on the fast-moving events surrounding Twitter.
- NYC “Traffic Safety Plan” for Bikes (NAF: April 23, 2022): The seeds of a soon-to-be-published full article are being planted.
- Running Searx on Localhost (NAF: April 24, 2022): Links to useful resources about free and open source metasearch software, Searx.
- Early Thoughts on Anime in 2022 (NAF: April 26, 2022): My review of anime in 2021 came so late that I could immediately follow it up with some (not-too-early) impressions of anime in 2022.
- June 2: Victor V. Gurbo at Carnegie Hall (NAF: April 28, 2022): Sharing some very neat news about New Leaf Journal author Victor V. Gurbo.
- Lukol Search Engine Shows Up in Logs (NAF: April 28, 2022): Always look into the actual policies behind “anonymous” search engines.
- “Why did the Chicken cross the rails?” (NAF: April 30, 2022): The New York Post asks the important questions.
Another useful function of leaflets is that I can use them to post news about The New Leaf Journal itself. I made liberal use of this functionality in April 2022, posting regular updates aout improvements that I made to the site. Below, I will list changes that I brought to The New Leaf Journal in April along with links – where applicable – to what I wrote about them.
- Switched from self-hosting fonts for The New Leaf Journal to calling upon system font stacks that are already installed on your device. After some testing, I wrote a serif system font stack that should cover any device that you visit The New Leaf Journal on.
- Cleaned up some leftover plugins from our previous home on Bluehost and other things that were left behind by past tools and plugins.
- Changed our author boxes from Starbox Pro to the boxes that come with our default theme in order to make the site work better for people who block scripts.
- Improved our related post section (below articles) and implemented a significant improvement to our on-site search functionality and appearance.
- Improved my personal author page to better list all the places that you can find my content online.
- Re-implemented estimated reading times for all posts except Leaflets.
- Changed page caching rules to improve site performance.
- Re-organized menus (still a work in progress).
Introducing Resources Hub
(January 16, 2023 Update: I long since removed the implementation of the resources hub described below. I do still plan to re-introduce the concept in a different form.)
In order to make The New Leaf Journal into a useful resource for visitors, I started a new section of our site wherein we list different resources for readers to try and consider. You can find all of our resources on our new Resources Hub Page. In April, I started individual resource pages for interesting blogs and sites from around the web, free and open source software and services that I use, and WordPress tools. Moreover, I am adding some of our past articles to the Resource Hub Page. The individual Resource Pages will be regularly maintained and updated.
Each month, I list our 12 most-visited articles according to statistics covered by our privacy-friendly local analytics solution, Koko Analytics (read more here). Below, you will find the list of our most-visited articles in April.
|1 (NC)||The Mystery of Sōseki and Tsuki ga Kirei||NAF||3.14.21|
|2 (NC)||Recommended F-Droid FOSS Apps For Android-Based Devices (2021)||NAF||11.27.21|
|3 (NC)||Installing Ubuntu Touch on an Asus Nexus 7 (2013)||NAF||7.5.21|
|4 (+1)||The Last Stand of Constantine XI||NAF||5.30.20|
|5 (-1)||How to Find Substack RSS Feeds and Other Notes||NAF||6.19.21|
|6 (+5)||Review of the Teracube 2e Smartphone||NAF||11.19.21|
|7 (+5)||How the Forget-Me-Not Flower Found Its Name||NAF||3.11.21|
|8 (+5)||Using an Amiga OS-Inspired Window Theme In XFCE With XFWM4||NAF||1.2.22|
|9 (+6)||An Early Review of Pixelfed – Instagram Alternative||NAF||11.13.21|
|10 (-4)||Performing Site-Specific Searches With DuckDuckGo||NAF||8.8.21|
|11 (+8)||“Uncle Susan is a Wolf” – A Graffiti Photo and Research Project||NAF||12.29.21|
|12 (-2)||Sending SMS Messages From My Computer With XMPP Through JMP||NAF||9.8.21|
The composition of the top five remained unchanged for the third consecutive month, with the only difference between March and April being the flipping of spots 4 and 5.
April 2022 saw the top-12 debuts of two articles. Firstly, the second article of 2022, my piece on an AmigaOS-inspired theme for XFWM4, debuted in eighth after posting solid performances in its first three months. Secondly, my December 2021 article on Uncle Susan is a Wolf graffiti in Brooklyn had its strongest month in making its first top-12 appearance. One surprise (to me at least) was that my January 2022 study of Pokémon stat changes between the first and second generation of games was the last article outside the top 12 after being relatively inconspicuous in its first two-and-one-half months.
One notable absence from the ranking is my November 2021 review of the Persona 4 Golden Digital Artbook. It was one of only two articles to be in the top 12 for every month going back to January 2021 (when I started regularly keeping these rankings). We entered 2022 with four such articles, but the streaks for Victor’s protective mask review and my November 2020 Pixelfed review (which returned to the top 12 this month) ended in February and March respectively. The last remaining article to notch a top 12 in every month going back to 2021 is my May 2020 piece on the last stand of Constantine XI. Its monthly rankings in 2022 are 6, 4, 5, and 4, so for the time being it looks likely to continue its top-12 streak next month. The owner of the second-longest top-12 streak is my March 2021 post on tsuki ga kirei, which has featured in the top 12 in every month starting with April 2021 and has been the top-ranked article for 10 of those 13 months (and eight consecutive).
While The New Leaf Journal’s birthday is in April, May 2020 was our first full month online. Our growth has stagnated a bit in the last three months after being consistent throughout 2021. April was marked by significant changes to the structure of The New Leaf Journal. For May, the only structural change that I am working on is reorganizing our menu and hub pages to make The New Leaf Journal easy to navigate without adding clutter or too many menu items. My main focus on May will be publishing new content to attract new visitors to the site and set us up for growth in the second half of 2022.