Welcome to The New Leaf Journal edition of our official newsletter, The Newsletter Leaf Journal. Beginning with issue 117 of the newsletter, I have decided to start syndicating our newsletters to The New Leaf Journal. In addition to offering another way for people to read our newsletter, I like the idea of having copies of all of our official content on the site proper, even though I still recommend following the official newsletter. What you will find in this section is largely the same content as our official newsletter, but with a few alterations to make it amenable to publication here at The New Leaf Journal. I may also include a few site-specific notes for things that have changed since mailing the regular newsletter.
With limited case-specific exemptions, I anticipate publishing The New Leaf Journal version of the newsletter 1-3 days after the our flagship newsletter, which goes out on Saturday. Thus, I recommend signing up via email or RSS (I have no preference and for whatever it is worth, I would personally choose RSS) to follow the official newsletter. However, if you already have too many subscriptions in your life, email, RSS, or otherwise, you can remember to check our second version of the newsletter here on Sundays-Tuesdays (I may make the time consistent in early 2023).
1. Leaves from the week that was
I published six articles since last reporting to you in 2022. While we have had weeks where we published more than six articles, I think this week may have had the highest word count, save for that one week in April 2021 when I decided to write an 18,000 word article about Emperor Otho.
But I digress. Let us review the content.
- December 2022 at The New Leaf Journal (NAF. 12/31)
This was a half-hearted month-in-review. I barely published it before the calendar turned to 2023. At the time, I had just finished one long article and was writing an even longer article. I was able to organize all of our December content into categories, so I think that it has some utility.
- Kaori After Story – Visual Novel Review (NAF. 12/31)
Kaori After Story is a short sequel to a longer English language visual novel called ACE Academy, which I reviewed over the summer. I had actually played Kaori After Story during the summer, but I decided to put the review off until December because of the game’s Christmas-New Years Eve setting. (That may have been a mistake.)
- Justin and Justina review 2022 at the NLJ (NAF. 1/1)
New Years at The New Leaf Journal means that it is time for Justin and Justina to review the year that went by. I only started working on this on the evening of the 31st and putting together the stats for the top-51 most-visited articles turned out to be a bit more taxing than I had anticipated. I was able to finish in the evening of January 1 – at which time I turned to law work that needed to be done the next day. The review came out well, and it also summarizes our newsletter week stats from 2022.
- Designing video games to produce benefits (NAF. 1/3)
I read a quote by a psychologist discussing video games created “for the specific purpose of addressing psychological issues and boosting emotional health.” This quote interested me enough to write a piece on the best way to create a game that may cause ancillary benefits for those who play it.
- The Best of Anime in 2022: Year in Review (NAF. 1/5)
After publishing my 2021 anime review in April 2022, I committed to being timely this year. Thus, after my New Years Eve and New Years adventures, I set out to write another article that turned out to be a touch over 8,500 words and required additional research and screenshot collecting. My screenshots are much better than those in previous anime articles, however. This is thanks to (A) my figuring out how to take browser screenshots and (B) Upscayl.
- When real people “tell, don’t show” (NAF. 1/6)
Justin and Justina somehow had the energy for their second dialogue in a week – this one addressing the “show, don’t tell” rule for writers. Justin has questions whether this rule is true-to-life based on his own experiences. As I note in the dialogue, this is one case where Justin’s perspective is inspired by my own (that is not always the case).
I also published a number of Leaflets and assorted short content. I will discuss a few here while reserving the rest for our News leaf journal section.
- My Kimi ni Todoke article and Netflix (NAF. 1/3)
My August 2021 article on hair color in the Kimi ni Todoke anime series (admittedly a niche topic from a niche of one) has been a surprisingly solid performer for a year and a half, placing 43rd and 42nd on our most-visited article list in 2021 and 2022 respectively. I noticed it was doing better than usual, and then discovered that Kimi ni Todoke had been picked up by Netflix. While I do not have Netflix, I think that it is a good thing that more people will be able to watch one of the better-known shoujo romances of its day. I offered my qualified endorsement.
- Optical audio cable story update (NAF. 1/5)
All the way back in 2020, I wrote about setting up a second-hand soundbar with an optical audio cable after failing to get HDMI ARC working. The optical audio cable slot on my soundbar broke on Tuesday the third, so I had to scramble to update. See my first ever bookmark post referring you to my external update. Expect a full article on the multi-part saga this week.
2. Leaves from around the web
Let’s get to work on my “saved links for newsletter backlog”…
- AI-generated art sparks furious backlash from Japan’s anime community
Andrew Deck for Rest of World. October 27, 2022.
Setting aside the manner in which some express their fury, the concerns have merit.
- Why do seats at some Japanese station platforms face away from the trains?
Oona McGee for SoraNews24. December 20, 2022.
I guessed the reason from the headline. But the joy I felt from guessing correctly was overshadowed by how depressing the answer is.
- Japan’s most popular sake brand runs full-page ad asking people to stop paying so much for it
The headline leaves out some context (albeit, context is overrated) – the sake brand specifically criticized unauthorized retailers who were selling the sake above the manufacturer’s recommended price. Still good, however. But in light of the article I linked above, there may be plenty of other reasons for people to stop paying for so much sake..
- The Best Online Essays & Articles of 2022
Ted Gioia at The Honest Broker. December 19, 2022.
I found a few interesting articles to read and bookmark from Mr. Gioia’s list – including the first article in the instant section.
- Rotary Keyboard
Squegeefish. April 13, 2022.
I’ll be darned… that really is a rotary keyboard.
- Taxpayer’s are paying billions for the renovations and construction of NFL stadiums. Here’s how
Darren Geeter for CNBC. December 22, 2022.
I hate “here’s how” and “here’s why” headlines with a passion, but I will give credit where it is due – this article delivers on the headline. (Stop funding these abominations.)
- Reverse engineering yet another ebook format
Nemanja Mijailovic. December 25, 2022.
I have criticized absurd anti-ownership schemes of ebook distribution. Mr. Mijailovic took things to the next level. Bravo.
- Buying an entire Egghead Software store
Raymond Chen at The Old New Thing (Microsoft Dev Blog). August 24, 2005.
“During the development of Windows 95 (which released to the public ten years ago today), application compatibility was of course a very high priority. To make sure that coverage was as broad as possible, the development manager for Windows 95 took his pick-up truck, drove down to the local Egghead Software store (back when Egghead still existed), and bought one copy of every single PC program in the store.”
- “[T]rauma and lived experiences,” the newspaper says, “are not open for debate.”
Eugene Volokh at the Volokh Conspiracy. December 26, 2022.
I reflected on the story and determined that this is actually more inane than the CUNY story I covered back in August (and it has worse real-world consequences, to the extent that anything that happens on a college campus is “real world”).
- How to annotate literally everything
Dima Gerasimov. 2017.
An interesting post on different options for annotations. I use Wallabag and Hypothes.is, and am testing a way to save my Hypothes.is annotations locally. This whole list of articles, however, are all tagged in my Wallabag account.
3. The Old Leaf Journal
Let’s dig into our archive…
- ACE Academy – Visual Novel Review
Nicholas A. Ferrell. June 29, 2022.
My Kaori After Story review would not have been possible without my review of the visual novel it follows from.
- Transferring Photos From My BlackBerry Classic
Nicholas A. Ferrell. January 6, 2022.
This was genuinely creative on my part.
- The Unicorn in the Snow in Brooklyn
Nicholas A. Ferrell. January 2, 2021.
This is one of my more unique photo posts. Come for the unicorn and the snow, stay for The Century Dictionary digression.
- The Wit and Losses of Robert Morris
Nicholas A. Ferrell. December 21, 2020.
In order to lose great wealth, one must have had great wealth.
4. 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).
In terms of unusual happenings, our first newsletter week ranking of 2023 is certainly one of our most interesting ones…
- Installing Ubuntu Touch on a Google Nexus 7 (2013)
Nicholas A. Ferrell. July 5, 2021.
- The Mystery of Sōseki and Tsuki ga Kirei
Nicholas A. Ferrell. March 14, 2021.
- The Pokémon Special Split in Generation 2 – Statistics and Analysis
Nicholas A. Ferrell. January 18, 2022.
- The Last Stand of Constantine XI
Nicholas A. Ferrell. May 30, 2020.
- Understanding Hair Color in the Kimi ni Todoke Anime Series
Nicholas A. Ferrell. August 19, 2021.
My 2021 Ubuntu Touch install piece had amassed 56 weekly top-fives since being published in July 2021, butit never took the top spot until this week (note, I changed Asus to Google in the title because that is more accurate). It didn’t have its best week in terms of numbers, but it had a good week in the right week. The Ubuntu Touch piece is the 15th article to lead a newsletter week ranking going back to the first week of 2021.
The tsuki ga kirei article had an average week in recent terms, moving from third to second with a strong Friday. It made its 89th consecutive appearance as it moves closer to 100. Meanwhile, my Pokémon generations one and two stats review made its fourth consecutive top five while my 2020 review of Constantine XI made its 34th appearance going back to 2020.
There were no major surprises in the top four, but we did see a big surprise at number five. It appears that Netflix acquiring the Kimi ni Todoke anime generated enough appearance to propel my review of hair color anime into our weekly top five. It had a good enough week to already be close to its best all-time month. While I doubt that it will keep up this pace, it may be en route to a good year in light of the fact that it performed fairly well for a peculiar article written about a 10-year old anime series.
(Mobile operating system installations, Japanese literature, classic video games, Byzantine history, and and anime hair color – let no one said we do not have readers with many interests.)
5. News leaf journal
We have a good amount of news this week…
- I made some further inroads in sub-dividing our new categories, but I am not done yet. I plan to work on tags after finalizing our current category structure.
- I added many new custom post types to our WordPress install on Monday. On Tuesday, I tried to set up a new way of cross-posting from one type to Mastodon. A custom plugin I wrote broke our site for about two hours. After three backup restores, everything was not only working, but we were finally receiving Refbacks properly.
- I added Syndication Links support. I can now indicate in posts where I share articles externally. Scroll to the bottom of my balancing bear article to see an example. I will gradually add syndication links over time.
- Deciding against writing my own plugin, I installed IndieBlocks and added a microblog.
- Our previous header menu was a mess, so I re-wrote it. You can see it on all of our pages.
- Because our header menu is now no longer terrible, I changed our side-bar menus. I removed the former navigation menu and included on the sidebar a display of recent posts on every page. Whether it shows recent full articles or recent Leaflets and Microposts depends on where you are on the site.
Still to do…
- Finish re-organizing categories
- Improve tags
- Make some tweaks to our site presentation
- See if I can implement better microformats 2 support without breaking the site
- Publish new sections
- Build linkblog
Attentive vistitors will note that I added our blogroll to the header menu. While I think that I did fine work creating a table-based blogroll – I added actual blogroll functionality to the site – but I will look at using that to implement the blogroll in a more organized way. At the moment, am deciding between two solutions for actually displaying the blogroll.
Additional updates (added January 9, 2023)
- Added newsletter section to New Leaf Journal (this is proof)
- Added capability to include additional schema information in posts, which will make the search engine presentation of said posts more exciting
6. Notable leaf journal
This newsletter is already long, and I think that I fulfilled my word-count quota without going all in on the notable leaf journal section. I will thus invite you to learn about two of our new plugins, described in the previous section:
I think that both of these plugins will extend our project in small but meaningful ways.
7. Taking leaf
Thank you as always for joining us for The Newsletter Leaf Journal. 2022 ended in a busy way, and 2023 has had a busy start. I think the site is now better than it ever was before, and I look forward to completing my checklist of changes so I can focus fully on publishing new content to reach new potential visitors. As our weekly top-five indicated, we have something for just about everyone.
Until next week,
Cura ut valeas.