Behind the Blog: March 1, 2013–Grinding for Stylish Consoles

Behind-Blog-button-2_thumbWelcome back to BtB, my little monthly jibba-jabba on what’s happening on this side of your screen.

First up, let’s look at some site numbers. February saw our view stats continue to decline. This time, at least, I know what happened. Traffic traditionally trends down a bit this time of the year. Google also rolled out a new format for their image search. A reasonable chuck of our views come from this form of search. Previously image search would actually take you to the page that hosted the picture you clicked on (you know, like you would expect a search engine to work). The new version keeps you on Google. It is yet another example of the Internet giants creating their own walled gardens to keep visitors on their own site and clicking on their ads. While our visitors from image search would occasionally spend some time browsing and checking out our stuff, the vast majority would grab the picture and bounce. So, not a big loss for us in term of building an audience but this change is bound to be devastating to any site based on visual art. Just another sign of the sad trend of the grand landscape of the Internet being reduced to three AOL-styled locations that most users will never leave (Google, Facebook, and Amazon).

Behold my segue! Speaking of Amazon, we’re not exactly on track to get the blog bills paid. If you’re looking to do a little online shopping via Amazon, kindly think of using one of our referral links. Like that one! Or the Amazon search box in the right sidebar. Thanks. It doesn’t cost you anything. but Amazon kicks us a few cents back for spreading the word. Like you didn’t know about Amazon before…

In other news, it takes WAY too long to search for how to spell segue! Stupid freaking Segway scooter!

Top view generating articles remain favorites like the Nexus 7, Zombie Tsunami, and FTL. The shocker was the sudden spike in traffic to our old review of Deadman Wonderland making it the most viewed article on the site last month. Curious indeed!

It looks like there are a few articles I’d like to discuss this month. I guess the first, and most important, news is that Lou’s Out of This World Weekly column was a no-show last weekend for the first time ever. Worry not! He just got tied up and tired out from some recent family obligations. He ain’t goin’ anywhere.

If you’re looking for a little more discussion about gaming, do go back and check Remember to Play While You Play–Shaking Off the Obligation to Grind. I had a great discussion with my old buddy StarChaser about social obligations in gaming regarding Borderlands 2 in the comments. Also, in terms of disclosure, I don’t typically grind PlanetSide. The tank race was just so cool I wanted to share it and kinda drifted into a topic I wanted to rant on for a while. I also don’t roll with an outfit (PlanetSide’s version of guilds). Just a bit of literary license to glue the article together. Ah, the science and art of storytelling!

STO KHG MK12 costumeSpeaking of grinding, I finally got my Mk XII Klingon Honor Guard set in Star Trek Online. THAT was one of the many new grinds in STO have a actually been bothering me. I talked about one of those grinds earlier. Anyway, here’s some bonus stylishly sexy space lizardman action –---->

I got out two comics this month. I think that might be a record. It’s nice that this project never ended up on a schedule. Just bang one out when the mood strikes. I do want to go back and put some more work into the templates these are based on. I just noticed that the six panel template still has some alignment errors (No! Don’t go back and look!). I also want to spiffy it up with a new name and header. Still haven’t decided on that new name yet. I’m leaning towards “Technical Difficulties”, but we’ll see. If you have any ideas I can steal, go ahead and drop them in the comments and walk away slowly.

The Weekend Watchlist for Surface Pro had a ton more writing than most entries in this series. Surface Pro actually got bumped two weeks in a row from when I originally started working on it, so I had a lot more time to think about stuff.

PlayStation 4 is a thing that’s going to happen! Cool stuff. Puppies and rainbows for everyone! Always fun to get excited about the latest entry in a popular device line. Well, at least when they don’t come out every year. Ugh, SO getting bored with the annual versions of phones and tablets. Just put out a new one when you actually HAVE a new one. Anyway, I thought about doing another article recapping all the other details that trickled out in the following week, but figured anyone craving this info would have already gotten it somewhere else. If not, you can get the official word straight from the horse’s mouth in this press release.

It was a very un-Sony show. Not a ton of flashy music video type presentations. Substance over Sony Style. Go figure. They still had plenty of PowerPoint, however. Before this announcement hit I was telling the Mrs. that no one was going to come out with a new console and play the ‘for gamers’ angle. I was sure it’d be all video streaming and social and ‘your total video entertainment system’ box. Surprise! Good on Sony for catering to their most hardcore (and vocal!) fans first!

Finally, there was that post about the Six Strikes anti-piracy program. Yeah, I totally copied that. Copying the copyright police logo was just too good of a gag to let slide. I did originally try to write my own article on this, but was stuck in the hospital waiting room while the Mrs. had some outpatient work done. I find it hard to write with noise. I also find it hard to type on an iPad. Needless to say, the article wasn’t going very well. I was exhausted when I finally got back to working on this post that night. Copying a post about copyright made me giggle AND gave me an easy out. Plus, that Lifehacker article was great. There was to be a companion piece about how HBO tried to get links to HBO taken off of Google via DMCA takedowns. I’ll try to get back to that soon.

As for the Mrs, she’s still kicking. She’s got another anime article still sitting in draft I need to get on her about finishing. No serious health problems (we think) at the moment, but lots of tests to see what trouble she’s cooking up next.

And that ought to about do it for this month’s Behind the Blog. Ya know, there’s a lot more writing in this new format than the old one but, ironically, it take a lot less time. Go figure. It’s also liberating to just blah-blah-blah rather than working in a format. We’ve been running a bit short on staff and on time this past month, so if you dig our vibe and would be interested in becoming a regular contributor drop me a line. If you’ve got stuff to say, can say it well, and don’t mind languishing under the yoke of my editorial criticism, I’ve got a place for you. We love you!

Thanks for reading!

PS: I just noticed GUO’s search is broken. Sigh… I’ll look into this. Update: Google broke it. I’m not the only one.

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