Today marks the last day of January 2024. The end of the month means it is time for our regular month-in-review article. 2024 got off to an exciting start with our first non-review article of the year being shared by a popular newsletter and making it to page 1 of Hacker News (our first Hacker News page 1 appearance since August 2022). While that dominated our ranking charts, the site as a whole did exceptionally well and even absent the unusual Hacker News event, we had a slightly better month than we did in December 2023. Without further ado, let us review the month that was.
New Leaves From January 2024
This is our 18th and final full article of 2024. Below, I list our new articles with brief descriptions. Note that I wrote all of our January 2024 articles, so I will not specify the author. I designated five articles as my personal Editor’s Choice selections, a privilege afforded to me (the writer) because I am also the editor.
- New Leaf Journal Year-In-Review: 2023 (Jan 1): Justin and Justina reviewed the year that was at The New Leaf Journal by taking a look at our 54 most-visited articles, led by our article of the year, my piece on the history of the phrase tsuki ga kirei.
- Cycling Doping Fallacies (Jan 5): My first full article on professional cycling and doping in sports made waves in The Browser newsletter and on Hacker News. Maybe I need to cover the Tour de France this summer. [Editor’s Choice]
- Correcting the Yoshi-Dragonite Record (Jan 5): A correction to an older article written as a new article.
- 2023 Anime Year in Review (Jan 6): My comprehensive review of the year that was in anime in 2023, with my top-six anime series and several category-specific honors. [Editor’s Choice]
- On Reports of Instagram in Classrooms (Jan 8): I didn’t approve.
- Carroll Gardens Library Renovations (Jan 12): Local Brooklyn reporting.
- Shopping on AI (Sp)Amazon (Jan 14): A Justin and Justina dialogue on Chinese seller SNAFUs on Amazon (or SpAmazon).
- Provocative Out-Of-Context Headlines (Jan 18): I called foul on a Nintendo Life headline for making an interview with a Ubisoft executive sound more provocative than it actually was.
- Reviewing YOGA Image Optimizer (Jan 19): The tool I use to ensure that our images are duly compressed.
- My Logitech Washable Wired Keyboard K310 (Jan 20): Reviewing my keyboard of more than 10 years. You will be surprised to learn that it is very clean. [Editor’s Choice]
- “Survive and Advance” Visual Novel Choices (Jan 23): I define a I term I use to describe a specific visual novel choice structure.
- al|together Visual Novel Rank Intro (Jan 24): A short post introducing my al|together visual novel ranking. Necessary, but admittedly less exciting than the actual ranking.
- al|together Visual Novel Ranking (31-21) (Jan 25): Ranking the bottom-eleven al|together visual novels. For whatever it is worth, I had some nice things to say about the five in the 21-25 area.
- On Google Chrome’s New AI Features (Jan 26): Enter this in the “what could possibly go wrong” contest.
- al|together Visual Novel Ranking (20-11) (Jan 27): The middle part of my al|together ranking. We start to reach novels that I genuinely liked.
- Missing Temu Ads Through Good Internet Usage (Jan 29): Wherein I argue that my ignorance of an internet thing is proof that I am using the internet correctly. [Editor’s Choice]
- al|together Visual Novel Ranking (10-1) (Jan 30): Finally, I rank the top 10 visual novels of al|together, from 10 to 1. While I doubt that any of my choices should be major surprises for people who read all of my reviews, consider this my authoritative al|together recommendation piece. [Editor’s Choice]
The Emu Café Social
For those of you not in the know, I am maintaining a second site, The Emu Café Social, for short- and medium-form content. I posted a few new articles on our sister site.
After reading my New Leaf Journal article about my waterproof keyboard, you can learn about my hardware specs from a short post about participating in the Steam hardware survey. I wrote two (Tomozaki-kun and Momochi House) anime episode 1 reviews and expressed some concerns that the second season of Tomozaki-kun (I reviewed the first here at The New Leaf Journal) may be getting in over its head (my concerns were somewhat ameliorated in episodes 3 and 4, for the record). I offered a birthday gift to the founder of WordPress and documented a Firefox extension issue. There are many more posts, but I will conclude here by noting that I shared the story of the first anime I watched in 2024 in response to a prompt, and that story is relevant to the long 2023 anime review I published here at The New Leaf Journal.
The Newsletter Leaf Journal
I (e)mail our newsletter every Saturday. Because I did not fail once in January, we have four new newsletters. I recommend reading if you have not done so already because our newsletters include unique, newsletter-exclusive content, including 21 links from around the internet.
- 168 (“Newsletter Boosting”)
- 169 (“Ranking Hacking”)
- 170 (“Newsletter Optimizer”)
- 171 (“Waterproof Newsletter”)
If you like what you read, you can sign up for our email or add our newsletter RSS feed to your favorite feed reader. See options here.
News Leaf Journal
I made a few changes to the site itself.
Firstly, I re-wrote our on-site About Page. I have done this a few times. It was due for a new coat of paint, especially with it receiving unusual traffic from our Hacker News page one appearance. I also tried to preemptively resolve questions that visitors may have (for example, making clear that I have written the vast majority of articles and the only other semi-regular author is a personal friend). I also re-added an FAQ page to complement the About Page.
In a practical change, I re-wrote our Feed Hub to provide necessary updates and make it more clear to visitors.
I am re-working our full article archives. You can see the new format in volume 1. I plan to do the entire set of archives this month.
Most-Turned Leaves of the Month
I use an open source, privacy-friendly, and entirely local page counting solution called Koko Analytics to track page views and referrers here at The New Leaf Journal (see review). Each month, I list our 24 most-visited articles of the month and also of the three month period ending with the month in question. Below, you will find our most-visited articles of December 2023 and also of the period from November 1, 2023 through January 31, 2024.
My cycling doping essay lapped the field many times over. Things were more normal behind it. Anime articles took spots two and three in the ranking. My post on height differences in The Dangers in My Heart saw a resurgence with the start of the second season, matching its best monthly finish of second from June 2023 and notching its first week-end number one in the last full week of January. My long review of The Angel Next Door Spoils Me Rotten bested its fourth place finish in December with a third place in January. Barring a change, these two articles enter as the favorites to battle it out for the top spot in February.
It was a somewhat rough month four our top-four most-visited articles of 2023. The top two articles from last year came in at 12th and 13th in the monthly ranking (my Tsuki ga Kirei article’s worst full month ranking, although its view numbers were similar to the last three months) while the other members of the top four came in at 15th and 7th respectively. For the second straight January, we had a fun anime hair color surprise. Last year, it was my article on hair color in Kimi ni Todoke blowing away its previous best performances and finishing an anime hair color article-best 7th place (Kimi ni Todoke had a quietly solid January 2024, although it did not threaten the top-24). This month, my recent article on hair color in The Raven of the Inner Palace cracked the top 10 for reasons unknown to me. It actually had slightly more views than Kimi ni Todoke did in January 2023 even though it did not match the relative ranking.
I will single out two additional articles for special note. I expected little from my article about my makeshift solution to make my optical audio cable stay in a broken soundbar slot, but it followed up a surprisingly strong December with a solid 8th place finish in our second-best month on record. I will also single out my article on the ideal phone, which faded after a strong first half of 2023 but appears to be in the midst of a revival with a solid 21st place finish on the month.
I could not have asked for a better start to 2024 here at The New Leaf Journal. Greeting a surge of new visitors with a Hacker News surprise is always fun, and for whatever it is worth, my cycling doping essay is the best of my six articles that achieved notable Hacker News success. But beyond the Hacker News surprise, we saw many articles on site do well in January, including a good number outside the 2024. I also think I published some interesting pieces in January, but time will tell whether any of them consistently attract visitors.
(Finally publishing my al|together visual novel ranking after three years of thinking about the project was the my personal January highlight.)
I have some big projects in the works for February, so I hope you look forward to them. I should have plenty of fun news to share in our next month-end review article.