Welcome to the (syndicated) version of the 118th Newsletter Leaf Journal. For those of you who are unaware, we have an official newsletter that we mail with Buttondown every Saturday. You can sign up for that via email or add its RSS feed to your feed reader (see options). In 2023, I decided to start syndicating all of our newsletters to The New Leaf Journal with a few modifications for the different forum. If you missed it the first time, you can catch up with the newsletter here and consider signing up to catch the original version when it is hot off the presses.
This syndicated version is just about identical to the original. I made a few formatting fixes and added a couple of update notes. Note that as I write this, our site was de-indexed by Bing for what will be (I hope) a temporary period. I suppose I will have something to write about for Newsletter 119.
1. Leaves from the week that was
I technically published five new articles. However, my short note about a brief caching issue on Friday probably should not count, so I will reserve that for our News leaf journal section. However, one of my normally short Leaflet posts was unusually long, so I will upgrade from Leaflet to article to bring us back to five full articles.
This story turned into a longer article than I had expected. You can see my short follow-up on Bear Blog.
- Oozing Brooklyn pumpkin in January (NAF: 1/9)
As advertised. Make sure to follow the Pixelfed link at the bottom for a higher resolution of the oozing pumpkin photo.
- Short Bio of Mary Graham Bonner (NAF: 1/10)
Introduction to a new project which will see its first formal entry in the coming week.
- Examining brown hair of popular anime characters (NAF: 1/12)
I came across a ranking of popular anime characters with brown hair and brown eyes. That is all well and good, but I take a scientific approach to to the study of anime hair colors. Because I have seen five of the nine movies/series on the list, I offered my take on how we should understand their brown hair.
I demonstrate an easy way to send a URL to the Wayback Machine from your browser’s address bar.
In addition to these full articles, I published 10 shorter posts. I included one with my regular articles and another is the syndicated version of last week’s newsletter. You will find links to the other eight posts below.
- Universal Remote and TCL TV Update
- Liking ‘to be content by making content’
- Thanking news letter for ‘productive’ link
- Clean 51 most-visited articles of 2022
- Reply to 10 ways to ruin a website
- Bookmark: Guide for Adding JSON-LD to WP
- Fixing RPG Maker MV Segfault on Linux
2. Leaves from around the web
Let’s see what was going on around the web where I am in my “saved articles for the around the web section” backlog…
- Pesticide company releases cockroach escape game in Japan
Sou Matsubara for Automation West. December 29, 2022.
‘Japanese pesticide and insect repellent manufacturer Earth Corporation has released a first-person 3D cockroach action game for smartphone browsers on its official website (the game is in Japanese only).’ There was no need for me to do a ‘2022 game of the year’ list when the winner is clear as day.
- That time we (almost certainly) got scammed by a dating app in Tokyo’s bar district
Casey Baseel. August 5, 2021.
Conclusion: “So remember, all you lonely-heart singles, if something smells fishy on your first date with someone you met online, there’s no shame in bailing out.”
- Drones Spot Sharks That Wander Too Close to Busy Beaches
Larry Pynn for Hakai Magazine (reprinted in Smithsonian Magazine). December 27, 2022.
Mass (shark) surveilance in Queensland, Australia.
- Momentum to Axe Income Tax Mounts in State Legislatures
John Haughty for The Epoch Times. December 26, 2022.
My native New York is (shockingly) not on the list. The report includes a list of the eight U.S. states that already have no income tax and states that may join them in the near future.
- Lesotho: High Court Nullifies Declaration of State of Emergency and Legislation Issued During the Emergency Period
Hanibal Goitom for the Law Library of Congress. December 28, 2022.
I am going to turn this into an article. Consider this report your preview.
- The Last Institutions
John Hirschauer for City Journal. December 27, 2022.
A great report on the debate over the last remaining state-run institutions for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Pennsylvania, written from the perspective that the wishes of some of the people in said institutions and their families were ignored.
- What Can We Learn from Barnes & Noble’s Surprising Turnaround?
Ted Gioia at The Honest Broker. December 28, 2022.
Lessons aside, I must report that I purchased a flower encyclopedia and a bird encyclopedia for 40% off at Barnes & Noble a few days ago.
- Professor sues TikTok poster who accused her in University of Idaho killings
Zach Schonfeld for The Hill. December 25, 2022.
Summary: All the tarot card-reading TikTok addict had to do was apologize and retract her claims, and all of the legal unpleasantness could have been avoided. Also see Mr. Jonathan Turley’s legal analysis if you are interested in the story.
- Plagiarism and ChatGPT
Josh Blackman for Volokh Conspiracy. December 28, 2022.
I agree with Mr. Blackman’s well-founded analysis.
- Outdoor Cats Are Using $500 Starlink Satellite Dishes as Self-Heating Beds
Margaret Osborne for Smithsonian Magazine. January 14, 2022.
This terrific story (with photographic evidence) was published exactly one year to the day of the instant newsletter.
(Note: I think we might make it to articles from 2023 next week, but TBD.)
3. The Old Leaf Journal
Let’s dig into our article archives…
- The Found Parakeet of Brooklyn Bridge Park (NAF: 1/14/21)
Two years to the day of this newsletter, I published the kind of hard-hitting local reporting that our readers are looking for.
- The Quiet End of Google Bookmarks (NAF: 7/3021)
This article included my first New Leaf Journal mention of Wallabag.
- How to Find Substack RSS Feeds and Other Notes (NAF: 6/19/21)
A former regular in the weekly top fives (and our 7th and 10th most-read article of 2021 and 2022 respectively) saw a few updates in the last week.
- Kaori Orimoto’s Hair is Blacker than I Expected (NAF: 3/5/21)
This was once upon a time our most-visited anime hair color article, posting back-to-back monthly top 12s in April and May 2021. I updated it with refined versions of the original screen captures and a few technical fixes.
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).
- The Mystery of Sōseki and Tsuki ga Kirei
Nicholas A. Ferrell. March 14, 2021.
2nd 2023 NLW Top 5 (1 in first place).
- Biden, Lincoln, and Counting Back From the President’s Birth
Nicholas A. Ferrell. April 29, 2022.
1st 2023 NLW Top 5.
- Tom Cantor’s Changed Has Poor Color Scheme
Nicholas A. Ferrell. August 3, 2022.
1st 2023 NLW Top 5.
- The Pokémon Special Split in Generation 2 – Statistics and Analysis
Nicholas A. Ferrell. January 18, 2022.
2nd 2023 NLW Top 5.
- Installing Ubuntu Touch on a Google Nexus 7 (2013)
Nicholas A. Ferrell. July 5, 2021.
2nd 2023 NLW Top 5 (1 in first place).
My tsuki ga kirei post returned to the top spot in the ranking and in so doing, makes it three consecutive years with at least one first place finish (it posted 55 combined first-place finishes in 2021 and 2022). Tsuki ga kirei now has 90 consecutive top fives going back to April 2021.
This week’s second and third place finishers made their 2023 debuts. My study of presidential birthdays made its first appearance since newsletter week 34 of 2022 with its best week in a while (6th appearance overall). My short joke post on a spam mail book, Tom Cantor’s Changed, made its second overall appearance after debuting in the Newsletter standings in the last week of 2022. They were joined by the first and third place finishers from week one, my Ubuntu Touch install review (dropped from first to fifth) and my Pokémon statistical analysis piece (fifth consecutive appearance).
We had one notable finish just outside of our top-five. After making its first appearance in our weekly standings well over one year after it was published, my study of hair color in the Kimi ni Todoke anime series came in sixth on 2023 Newsletter Week 2. While we still have a long to go in January, the Kimi ni Todoke post is in good position to notch its best monthly ranking since finishing 12th in December 2021 (it has already far surpassed December 2021 in terms of raw visits and sits in 6th for January 2023 thus far).
5. News leaf journal
If you regularly visit The New Leaf Journal, you may notice that the site had a face-lift. I decided to start using our child theme instead of our parent theme. Since I was “switching themes” (loosely defined), I took the opportunity to make some aesthetic changes to the site. The color scheme is slightly different, our main menu and widget areas are revamped, and I switched from a serif system font stack to a sans serif system font stack. You may also notice that the link and link highlight colors have changed.
Taking advantage of our new child theme set-up, I added the ability to implement JSON-LD schema for individual posts, see the guide I used here. This means that I can add information for search engines to use to display our posts in more interesting ways. For example, I added how to schema to several posts, including on Substack-RSS article (linked in Old Leaf Journal). This schema information is not oracularly visible on The New Leaf Journal itself. I will gradually add microdata to other priority posts in order to improve their presentation in search engines.
We had some very brief down-time on Friday when some visitors may have been served with a GZIP compressed version of our site instead of the actual site. I believe that I fixed the issue by changing our cache settings, but I will continue to monitor the site to make sure that the issue does not pop up again. You can see my short post on it here (the problem is always caching).
I mentioned last week that I planned to start syndicating The Newsletter Leaf Journal to The New Leaf Journal. I syndicated issue 117 on Sunday. After considering how to do this, I came up with a solution (Syndicated version note: You’re reading the solution):
- Syndicated newsletters are their own custom post type, meaning they are not included with the main New Leaf Journal feeds (but they have their own feed)
- I will post the syndicated newsletters on Sunday or Monday, 1-2 days after mailing the official newsletter
- Syndicated newsletters will be slightly modified from the flagship newsletter – namely they will have a different introduction and may include minor updates if something I wrote for the email newsletter changed before syndication
- For the time being, the canonical newsletter is the Buttondown version
- Note: This information is up to date as of January 14, 2023 – Check our Newsletter Sign-Up page for always-up-to-date information about your options to follow us
I am improving our anime screenshots in several posts. In the last few days, I upscaled our posts for the Kimi no Todoke and Oregairu hair color pieces using Upscayl. I will eventually do this for all of the anime review posts.
Finally, I came up with a very interesting idea for re-implementing post series and collections that I hope to have done in January (perhaps even this week) if everything works as I think it will. I look forward to sharing that in an upcoming newsletter once it is set up.
6. Notable leaf journal
I have been planning to review my PocketBook Color and PocketBook InkPad Color e-readers for so long that my reviews may be soon obsoleted by PocketBook’s impending release of a better (albeit much more expensive) color e-reader. Having forgotten about the project for a bit, I returned to my e-readers to try installing KOreader, a free and open source document viewer designed primarily for e-ink devices (although note it runs on Linux and Android as well). Last I had read, color did not work on PocketBook Color devices. However, after setting it up, I discovered that not only did color work in KOReader, but the KOReader app is also much snappier than the native PocketBook reading app. I still have not sat down and read a whole book with it, but I suppose this will be something to cover here in The New Leaf Journal. (Syndicated version note: Still working well!)
7. Taking leaf
Thank you as always for reading The Newsletter Leaf Journal and The New Leaf Journal. If you enjoyed the content and have not done so already, consider availing yourself to one of our options for following The Newsletetr Leaf Journal by email, RSS, or on The New Leaf Journal itself.
I look forward to sharing more articles, news, and notes on January the 21st.
Cura ut valeas.