Welcome to the (syndicated) 149th edition of The Newsletter Leaf Journal. I mailed the original on Saturday, August 19, 2023. In addition to our usual links to our new (and old) articles and links from around the web, this newsletter brought with it news of our apparent return to the Bing search engine after a seven-month absence. You will find the newsletter reproduced below as it was originally mailed to newsletter subscribers. (See our options for following The Newsletter Leaf Journal here.)

Leaves from the week that was

We published two full articles since mailing Newsletter 148.

I was looking for information about Nintendo’s 1990 Golf game for Game Boy (why not?). It was like 2004 all over again. The only hope was Game FAQs.

Victor V. Gurbo returns with a post on the life and legacy of the late Robbie Robertson.

I published for Leaflets and Leaf Buds (all by me)…

Leaves from around the web

Let’s check in on what’s happening around the web…

A happy return to vinyl.

11 months after a happy return to vinyl… Mr. Gioia criticizes the music industry’s handling of the vinyl revival.

I was not expecting the answer to be modified cassette cases.

Choo choo…

The U.S. State Department would benefit from losing internet access.

I agree with the principle and I do have multiple email accounts. The best tool, however, is SimpleLogin for creating email aliases (I have the premium subscription).

“Camels, samovars, sewing machines, prayerbeads, guns, cars, snakes, camels and fruits. What do these have in common? Fifty kilometers from Baku, hidden from the public eye, lies a mysterious place called Sofi Hamid.”

Where we learn the longest word you can spell using all of the first row of letters on a QWERTY keyboard. I won’t spoil the answer, but the answer is not typewriter.

I concur with Mozilla that this is not the job of a web browser.

If someone had this much time to foreshadow the death of this “young, eighteen-foot Edmontosaurus,” seems like this person could have warned the poor dinosaur to take cover. Talk about putting the “story” first.

The article includes an update, and that update includes the distinguished John Marshall.

There are no words.

The Old Leaf Journal

Now for our archive…

The intersection between Japan’s citizenship and nationality laws and the world of sumo.

Thanks to the Around the Web section, you now know how to store all of those Game Boy cartridges.

From last year – my photograph of an armadillo in San Antonio. (I hope he or she is weathering the hot San Antonio summer this year.)

Seeing a mushroom floating on a stick down a stream prompted thoughts from Victor on those strange little happenings.

I did not publish this article back in 2021 with great expectations for page views. However, it is unexpectedly our 15th most-read article of 2023 as of its two-year publishing anniversary.

A browser for old computers which uses DuckDuckGo for its search results. You will see the reason that I selected this article in our News Leaf Journal section…

Most-turned leaves of the newsletter week

I list our most-read articles from the previous newsletter week (Friday to Saturday) in each edition of The Newsletter Leaf Journal. These statistics come courtesy of Koko Analytics, our local, privacy friendly page-counting solution (see my review). Below, I present the 5 most-visited articles for 2023 newsletter week 33. (Note: All stats are for 2023 only.)

  1. The Pokémon Special Split in Generation 2 – Statistics and Analysis (NAF; Jan. 18, 2022)
    24 appearances. First top placement.
  2. Tiki paralogue trick in Fire Emblem Engage (NAF; Feb. 3, 2023)
    24 appearances. 11 top placements.
  3. An In-Depth Look at Norton Safe Search (NAF; Oct. 18, 2022)
    First appearance.
  4. The Mystery of Sōseki and Tsuki ga Kirei (NAF; March 14, 2021)
    32 appearances. 10 top placements.
  5. Height differences in anime romances (NAF; March 22, 2023)
    8 appearances. 4 top placements.

My 2022 review of the Pokémon special split made its debut in the top spot in our weekly ranking in its 31st total top five appearance (including 2022). While it has been a consistent top performer for a year, it had not often threatened the top spot in our weekly ranking. However, the trend of late has been more articles receiving visits but fewer visits at the top of the list. That has opened the door for more change in our top five. The Pokémon article is the 4th article to top the ranking in as many weeks and the ninth number one of 2023 – note that only eight articles topped the ranking in all of 2022 and seven in 2021.

The only notable in the rest of the ranking is the debut of my 2022 Norton Safe Search review. It was close to ranking last week and has posted top-15 finishes in the previous three months, so its top five appearance is no surprise. I am curious to see how it develops in light of the fact that we have had some success with reviews of unusual search front-ends – see my Peekier review topping our May ranking despite the fact that Peekier stopped existing in February.

News leaf journal

The New Leaf Journal has been mostly inaccessible to people using Bing and Bing front-ends (e.g., DuckDuckGo, Qwant, and Ecosia). See my article on our Bing ban and my explanation of how Bing affects many privacy search tools. I can report that Bing began re-indexing The New Leaf Journal in late July. Bing and DuckDuckGo referrals were so infrequent that I did not check until yesterday (being August 18) when I saw an unusual (albeit small) number of Bings and DuckDuckGos in our Koko Analytics logs. Bing Webmaster reports that we now have just over 900 pages in the index (which is less than Google and Yandex, but a good start). If you search for The New Leaf Journal, you will find us in DuckDuckGo (I did not test Bing directly).

I am cautiously optimistic that things will be back to normal at Bing, but I have not actually heard back from anyone at Bing about the resolution of the issue. Moreover, even if Bing has completely removed the block, it may take a while for our Bing ranking, and by extension Bing front-ends such as DuckDuckGo and others, to return to what it was immediately before Bing blocked our site in January.

(I will add that I did nothing since the Bing ban but make minor technical fixes that I always work on regardless of our indexing status, so I would have to consider our re-indexing as the final vindication of my original position on the matter.)

Notable leaf journal

I will offer a future review preview here (there are many of those as my article backlog grows). If you use Android or an Android-based ROM like LineageOS, /e/ OS, or GrapheneOS, I recommend considering an open source application called Obtainium. The developer accurately describes the app as “allow[ing] you to install and update Open-Source Apps directly from their releases pages, and receive notifications when new releases are available.” In short, Obtainium supports installing open source apps directly from source. For example, if an app that is available on F-Droid also posts releases on GitHub (or another repository), Obtainium makes it easy to install updates directly from the source. In two cases, I have used it to manage updates from non F-Droid apps on SourceForge. It does not handle background updates, but the notifications work well and all of the installations and updates have been seamless thus far. It is, for the moment, my go-to method for installing apps on my LineageOS phone.

Taking leaf

Thank you as always for reading and following The Newsletter Leaf Journal. If you enjoyed the content and have not done so already, I encourage you to subscribe to our Saturday newsletter by email or simply add the newsletter’s RSS feed to your favorite feed reader (no sign-up required for the RSS option). I also syndicate the newsletter to The New Leaf Journal during the following week. See our options here.

While August has been slow thus far, I have a few projects that I am committed to publishing in August – so we can hope I find the time to get (most) of those articles in. The signs of movement with respect to Bing are positive – and I hope that we are fully indexed so that people who prefer to use Bing, DuckDuckGo, and other Bing-based search engines can begin stumbling upon our articles more regularly (maybe some will be surprised to discover that we are still online). Of course, you can avoid all of these search engine problems by subscribing to this newsletter and our slate of RSS, ATOM, and/or JSON feeds.

Until August 26,
Cura ut valeas.