Behind the Blog: October 1, 2012

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I have just two words as we take a look back at our September coverage: Boom shakalaka! New gadgets! Cutting edge space tech! New games! Homemade cyborgs! New anime! Hello Kitty and goodbye Russian poop! Whether you come for our askew view of news, tongue-in-cheek commentary, or just out of family obligation (Hi Mom!), GUO slam dunked the quality content all month long.

…and boy, am I beat!

Come on inside for a while. Let me take a few hours off from writing to… er, do more writing… and let’s rap about some of the things that went into and came out of our favorite posts from the last 30 days.

Did that sound gross? The into/out of part? That might sound gross. It’s not gross. Well, the poop tank is gross. I should have stopped at “Boom shakalaka!” Let’s try that again.

Welcome to Growing Up Otaku’s monthly fireside chat, Behind the Blog! Boom shakalaka!


Frequent flyers of B-the-B may remember me commenting about how our visitor numbers really died off the last half of August. I’m pleased to report that downward trend ended in the first week of September. It’s not that we’re looking to be rich or famous (which is good, because this is the absolutely wrong way to do it), but it is nice to know that when we take a few hours to share our thoughts, passions, and humor, someone out there at least heard.

On that topic, let me share a little story. I heard a third-hand report that one of our readers was recommended “A great tech site”. Delightfully, that site was none other than GUO! I can’t tell you how much that means. Thank you! As for the rest of you, get out there and tell a friend! It’s not like anyone around here knows the first thing about… um… wha’cha call it? Communication. Don’t have friends outside of us lovable scamps? You should get some! You’re a great person! I recommend buddying up with major media moguls. Then you can use terms such as “high-value acquisition” and “cha-ching” when explaining to them what a great site Growing Up Otaku is!

Anyways, traffic was back up again last month. That’s saying a lot considering our popularity boost from YouTube has completely dried up. We did have a big bump from a little gadget the cool kids are calling an ‘iPhone’ to compensate. Look forward to me sobbing next month as visitor counts go back to normal. I was hoping to see how the trends were panning out for returning visitors, but the surprise hits of some of our new posts made that impossible. Well, not actually “impossible”. Closer to “more work and snooping than I want to do”. Speaking of snooping, let’s take a look at the

Most Popular Posts for September 2012

Top 5 Annoyances of Google’s Nexus 7 Tablet and How to Fix Them

Watch Apple’s September 12th New iPhone 5 Press Conference Live Streaming Anywhere

Strategy Tips, Walkthru, and Spoilers for Indie Spaceship Sim FTL’s Final Boss Battle–Update: Now with Video!

Review: Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim (iPhone/iPad/Android) Slaying Dragons With Better Bookkeeping

Unreview: The Sims FreePlay (iPhone/iPad) These Are Not The Sims You’re Looking For

Yay, new blood on the charts! Search queries for last month indicated people were trying to get those Google store thingys off their Nexus 7s. This month? Getting headphones to work on the Nexus. You REALLY gotta push those suckers in. Apple and FTL are running neck-n-neck. Finally, it was a very close race between The Sims and our #6 post, the iTunes backup fix.

Out of This World Weekly

Moving on, The Great One pulled double duty this Sunday by crafting an all new showcase of out of this world tech as well as an out of this world summary.

WISE Mission Uncovers Millions Of Black Holes – Black Holes are scary things and it seems that we’ve just found millions more of them.  Luckily, they are very far away.  Understanding Black Holes is increasing our understanding of how Galaxies form.  Yet another major discovery by the WISE mission, with more yet to come.

DAWN Spacecraft Leaves Giant Asteroid Vesta – Now that we’ve explored all of the major planets, we can look into the giant asteroids.  Turns out this asteroid is more like a tiny planet than we ever thought.  This mission is also a great test for the Ion propulsion engine onboard the DAWN spacecraft.

3D Printing Spaceships In Orbit – Why bother going through all of the trouble making things on Earth and shooting them into space, if we can just launch a 3D Printer and make a spaceship or spaceship parts while in orbit?  This technology could reduce launch costs and make large spaceships a reality.

Better Astrochemistry Through ALMA – Scientists have been slowly finding chemicals in outer space but new technology coupled with new telescopes is going to make identifying complex molecules much easier and much faster.  Exploring space isn’t just about pretty pictures, we need to know what chemicals are making that perfect shade of green.

Solar Shockwaves Contribute To Planet Formation – We have been struggling to figure out the exact timetable and sequence of events involved in the formation of our own Solar System.  With the discovery of over 500 other planetary systems, we now have to make sure that our ideas about our solar system fit other existing planetary systems as well.  Just another step in determining exactly where Earth came from, how it came to be, and how to find another one.

Weekend Watchlist

I think it’s about time to break these out of the Features section. Eat walled garden, Weekend Watchlist!

The New Kindle Fire Family Roundup – It’s a series of videos showcasing all the new Kindles. ‘Nuff said. The Weekend Watchlist series continues to do alright for itself and I must say that I enjoy blocking a chunk of ‘TV’ programming once a week. In concept. I just hope it doesn’t come off as a cheap and easy post. It takes a bit of work to come up with a topic, sift through hundreds, sometimes thousands, of videos, and craft a bit of my usual commentary to introduce them all.

Volcan-Fuego-Rita-Maria-Roesche_PREIMA20120914_0027_37Guatemala’s Fuego Volcano, Hot Lava, and a Cool Eruption – I loved the flow of this Watchlist. Er… no pun intended. But I’ll take it! ‘Cause lava flows… Bah! You don’t know punny!

Waiting in Line to Drop Test the iPhone 5 – Funny title. Last minute change. Original was just “Waiting in Life for the iPhone 5”. Not iPhone level traffic. Consistent with the Watchlist series.

Noo-Loo Noh-Lah! Furby’s Back! – Fun Fact: Noo-loo noh-lah is Furbish for “happy dance”. Just a taste of the insane amounts of fact-checking research (and hidden references) we try to do.


Behind the Blog: September 1, 2012 – Another big hitter for B-the-B. I’m pretty sure the high numbers are because of the way I’ve been linking past articles. I worked for another site for a week and their style guide said to make internal links open in the same window, but external ones open in new windows. I liked the idea and try to keep in mind. Might also be screwing with B-the-B’s numbers.

So I Dropped My Samsung Galaxy Smartphone in the Toilet... – I got to enjoy this drama as it unfolded via panicky emails from the Mrs. As soon as she came home I asked, “Are you writing this story or am I?” She happily obliged and even took the picture herself, although I insisted on this title. It was a big hit, especially with her co-workers. She now carries her phone in her purse rather than her pocket. And, yes, the rice trick really works.

Comic: The New iPhone 5! Finally! – I created this comic a full week before the iPhone release. I was SO sure they were going to drop the number, LOL. I changed the ending of this at one point. Originally, the last frame featured Grandpop Versus throwing his wallet at the TV shouting “U take my money now!” It was the cheap, easy gag. It’s also not what I like to present GUO as. We’re all fanboys for something. I like to think of GUO as a place where it’s okay to love loving things (at least this month Winking smile). There’s more than enough negativity out there. I hope the final version reflects on the silliness of fandom in general, rather mocking a specific category of fan.

ipod touch 2012 loopPost Steve Jobs Apple Shows Less Secrecy, Less Style, More Fragmentation – Around the GUO homestead, I called this the Apple Muckraking Article. Joking aside, I am proud of this one (especially considering the short amount of time it took to create) and believe everything I wrote. I mean, a wrist strap? Seriously?!

Marvel’s Avengers Initiative: Hulk Smash Marketing Buzzwords! | Ad Copy Analysis – Ever get so fed up with advertising not making sense? Me too! Especially considering the amount of it I have to go through to keep up with the industries we cover here. That day, I just snapped. Once I was done, I went back and stuck the “Ad Copy Analysis” column heading on it as it seemed like a concept I would revisit someday. Mocking bad ads is like shooting fish in a barrel with a Russian Poop Tank. This article did really well.

zombie-tsunami-1_thumbReview: Zombie Tsunami (iPhone,iPad)–Out for a Jog with My Hungry Fiends – I had not written a review for a long time. I almost didn’t write this one when I found out the game had been out since May. But I really liked ZT and wanted to share. I’m glad I did. It was a big hit. Man, it is hard to capture screenshots in a runner gamer! I tried to make this review shorter than my old iOS reviews. I knew they were getting too long. Ironic considering what our next review would be…

Strategy Tips, Walkthru, and Spoilers for Indie Spaceship Sim FTL’s Final Boss Battle–Update: Now with Video! – The first part of our complete coverage of everything FTL. Not the first started, but the first published. HUGE success. We beat the mainstream to discovering this gem!

spam-300x300_thumb[1]Behind the Blog SE: The Spammers I’ve Seen – I wasn’t sure about this one, but had the idea kicking around in my head for a while about sharing even more ‘behind the scenes’ stuff. This is a flavor of spam most people never get to taste. The Mrs. hated the concept, but liked the article. She also came up with a MUCH better title, but it was too late by then. This got more views than I expected.

Tips, Strategies, and Cheats for Spaceship Sim Game FTL – Our strategy guide to compliment the earlier walkthru for FTL. We would not see the explosive popularity of our first feature repeated. By now every big site had something up for FTL and the gaming masses were moving on to Borderlands 2.

FTL review thumbReview: FTL (Windows, Mac, Linux)–The Story of Sim Starships in a Universe of PermadeathThis is it! The Big One! Required reading for GUO fans! More story than review, this is the largest post on the site (unless you total up our Xmas 2011 gift guide). I could write a whole article on writing this article. It’s such an odd format. Obviously, this took a long time to write and a long time to edit. When I finished, I knew either it was brilliant or stupid. Maybe both. Whichever way it fell, I am VERY proud of the final result. This was purely a labor of love. Traffic be damned, I would have written this under any circumstances. Well, some form of it. It would have been different without the GUO characters.

Shoulda removed the ‘History of Roguelikes’ part (Actually, I DID remove half of it). Had a HUGE problem drifting from past- to present-tense in the narrative sections. The Mrs. had to help me fix it. I loved the opening hook of starting with the spoiler that one of the main characters would die. SO many references! Some very subtle (“Here I am” from the end of Firefly, Jeff Wayne’s Thunder Child). I’m also pretty sure this is  the first video game article to reference TWO Frank Sinatra songs. Making history!

This was the lowest rated of our three FTL articles.

Folktales from Japan | AniMaiden'd – I love the fact that this series was created as comfort food for the tsunami victims. I love having the Mrs. contributing. It gives me an excuse to prattle on about the blog even more Winking smile. I also believe that GUO becomes stronger with each new voice.

X-Com: Enemy Unknown Demo Releases on Steam. And Breaks My Heart with Broken UI. – The tradition of naming characters in a game after people you know (as used in our FTL review) reached critical mass with the original XCOM. I was truly heartbroken by the demo to this game. Really. I’ve been angry or disappointed about a game before, but this was different.


EA’s Old Republic Giveaway has Some Odd Terms – I didn’t actually like this post the next morning. The Mrs. said it was alright and made some good points, but… I dunno.

tumblr_ld1i0j4pEL1qb1aw7o1_500_thumbeBay Gets Less Magical; Bans the Sale of Hexing, Conjuring, and Magic Potions – There isn’t anything I could write here that would be better than what’s in the post. If only I could order a creativity charm off of eBay…

Chinese Man Goes Fishing, Blows His Hands Off, Crafts Own Cyborg Replacements – If there was one story last month I could make everyone read… well, it would be the FTL review. But before I wrote that, it would be this one. There isn’t anything I don’t love about this story, from the title, to the man fishing with homemade bombs, to the DIY cybernetics. Inspirational and awe-inspiring. Sadly shocking, but this was one of the least read posts of the month Sad smile

Toonami to Begin Airing in Asia in 2013. What Does a Channel based on an Anime Themed Block Show in Asia? – Jeez, could I have made a longer title? This gag was really hard to phrase right. Still not sure I got it.

ps2-complete-collection_thumbEnd of an Era? Gamestop to Remove Playstation 2 Games to Make Room for Wii-U – By the time I was done writing this, I was very sorry it was a news story. When I started I wasn’t expecting to write a love letter to the PS2. If I had, it would have been it’s own feature. One of the problems with needing to generate content on a daily basis. This article did very well. Huh. Hadn’t even realized that myself until now, LOL.

Changing of the Super Heroic MMO Guard: City of Heroes to Close while Marvel Heroes Prepares Beta – Another awkwardly long title. Another two articles in one. Did it on purpose this time. The day after I published this, I noticed another site run the bit about the user petition to save City of Heroes as a separate headline. Missed opportunity.

All New Kindle Fire Tablets to ‘Feature’ Ads on Lock Screen AND Home Screen – This article bombed. Probably because everyone else ran it too. One of the reasons we don’t do many mainstream posts. I am proud to say that ours might very well have been one of the snarkiest on the ‘Net Winking smile

Watch Apple’s September 12th New iPhone 5 Press Conference Live Streaming Anywhere – Worked on this even past the last second as I continued for check links and coverage for the very best. We won’t ever see those visitors again, but I NEVER want someone to hit a link to GUO and feel that their time was wasted.

So, how big was the iPhone 5 launch? This was one of our top short-term traffic generating posts ever. Especially considering all those visitors came by in a single morning. We embedded 2 live streams from U-Stream. Those two streams alone had a total of 300,000 simultaneous viewers! THAT’S how big the iPhone is. Here’s a screenshot I grabbed during the event.

iphone5 stream stats

Ooo! Blog within blog. So meta. But wait! Isn’t Behind the Blog the blog of GUO? Then we have a blog in a blog in a blog. Ow! I think I sprained my reality…

Nintendo’s Wii-U Priced and Dated for North America – Because I had to. This is GUO. But… Man, am I bored with the console scene. Okay, I’ll admit to being a little excited. I mean, it’s a Wii with a bloody tablet! And I’ll probably buy one. Eventually. I’d be more excited if Nintendo hadn’t botched every press event on the Wii-U. Like the Kindle, low pageviews.

poop shooting tank patent_thumb[1]War Stinks. Especially With This Russian Tank That Fires Poop – POOOOOOP TAAAAANK!!! OMG OMG OMG! That drawing? That is the actual sketch filed with the Russian patent office! Yes, really! Guy taking a dump in the artillery shell and all! I probably don’t have to tell you how many titles I had for this story. The one I remember is “Monkey inspired tank flings poo at the enemy”.

Shifty Look Gets the Ball Rolling with Katamari Web Comic – I’ve always been a big fan of Katamari. There’s just something sinister lurking beneath all that happy, colorful fun. This was our lowest rated post of the month.

iPad Powered School Wants Their Laptops Back – Use the right tool for the right job!

Airless Tires Means No More Flat Tires And More – The Great One: “We’ve been using air in our rubber tires since the days of the horse and buggy’s wooden spoked wheels.  Turns out we’ve been doing it all wrong.  By designing a load bearing yet flexible airless tire, we can help save the environment and hopefully a few bucks while never having to worry about a flat tire again.”

Cool Stuff

double roboticsYour Next Boss Could Be a Teleconferencing Robot Head on Wheels – $2K + iPad + Boss never has to leave home. Yeah, there goes your Christmas bonus.

Hello Kitty iOS App Uses Augmented Reality to Lead Tourists on a Pokemon Snap Safari Around Japan – Man, I had some long titles this month…

Rapturous Life Sized Statues of Bioshock’s Big Daddy and Little Sister on eBay – I have a little Big Daddy/Little Sister set from Bioshock’s release. They’re awesome!

Lian-Li_CK101-01_thumb1Lian Li’s Newest PC Case is a Steam-Puffing, Track-Traveling Choo-Choo! – Everyone loves trains. Everyone uses PCs. Time to get some chocolate in the peanut butter!

Thought Controlled Tail Wags When You’re Happy and Tweets About It – So…yeah. That’s coming. I saw another site run this story a week later with the awesome titles of “Wear Your Emotions on Your Butt” XD

What’d I tell ya? Boom shakalaka! There’s a generous sampling of our 42(!) posts from the month of September and lots of clues about the thoughts that went through our heads. As always, I’d like to remind you to use our Amazon affiliate link if you’re doing any online shopping over there so we can keep the lights on. It is always a pleasure to bring our little dog-and-pony show to the world. We hope to see you throughout the month as we transition from hot summer content to cool fall features. We love you!

Thanks for reading!

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