Culminating with today's Sunday content recommendations post, we published new content every day for the last week for the second week in a row. Below, you will find summaries of new content, my idle thoughts, and a preview of what you have to look forward to in the week to come.
Content From the Week That Was
The title of this Newsletter succinctly summarizes our content from the past week.
On Monday, I wrote about a rotting pumpkin that I photographed on the first day of 2021. I have warned about the rotting pumpkin situation time and time again, but not enough people read The New Leaf Journal yet to respond the growing crisis. Alas. The picture looks a bit like a Salvador Dali painting, no?
Having covered a rotting pumpkin that looked like it came from a painting, I decided to cover actual paintings on Friday with a piece about a master of the miniature, Laura Coombs Hills. I discovered the topic while searching through old magazines on Project Gutenberg. Be sure to check the external links I added to full-color versions of Hills's "Persis Blair" and Helen M. Turner's girl in a green shawl - they are both quite pretty.
My first old magazine piece covered the story of a nineteenth century beekeeper, Franklin Wilcox, and his efforts on behalf of his fellow Wisconsin beekepers at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. A niche piece, to be sure, but it is fun to unearth and revive long-forgotten stories and characters from times gone by.
The other three articles from the past week were about birds. I continued my series of articles on the January 1897 issue of Birds: A Monthly Serial with pieces on the Resplendent Trogon and the Mandarin Duck. The former holds up well in terms of Resplendent Trogon facts, but could have gone without the detailed trogon hunting anecdotes in light of the fact that it was written for children. The Mandarin Duck piece had fewer facts about the duck itself, but it included some interesting information about the Mandarin Duck's place in Chinese culture. That piece too, sadly, included bouts of gratuitous duck violence that calls into question its child-friendliness.
The final bird article was about a "FOUND PARAKEET" sign that I came across in Brooklyn over the summer. What is special about the sign? Well, someone spotted the small bird, and then apparently captured it, in the large and densely covered Brooklyn Bridge Park. No small feat if you ask me.
News From the Week That Was
I noted last week that we are seeing more visitors in January than in previous months. On Thursday, we shattered our previous single-day page view record by 8%. I'm not entirely sure why, but we seem to have done unusually well on Google that day. I continue to be pleased to see that our improvement is coming from organic search, building on a long-term goal I had to not be dependent on social media. With that being said, I am continuing to explore some alternative social media platforms in addition to seeing how we can better make use of our big tech social media accounts in light of the fact that we do not prioritize them for management.
Previewing the Week to Come
Tomorrow, I will post a short article on how you can follow my Pixelfed New Leaf Journal account with a feed reader. Pixelfed is just about the only social media platform I've enjoyed using at all - and that is saying something in light of the fact that the only reason I have any social media platforms is because of this website. If you are interested in photography and have photos to share, you may find something to enjoy on pixelfed.social or on a smaller Pixelfed instance. However, since most people have neither the time nor the inclination, I wrote a brief post on how you can keep up with my additional site content without joining Pixelfed. As I will note in the article, I use Pixelfed to post photographs that go with New Leaf Journal articles along with some additional notes and commentary.
In addition to continuing my bird series, I have planned a book review along with an interesting addendum to my anime recommendations post from late December.
A Brief Anecdote
I have mentioned previously on site that I switched from Windows to Linux over the summer. Shortly after building my new computer, I purchased a 1-year subscription to ProtonVPN, a good privacy-friendly and open source VPN provider. I run it without any issue on my desktop and laptop, which both run the Manjaro Linux distribution.
I revived my old desktop computer that had been running sluggishly with Windows 10 with LinuxLite - a possible future article review project. I tried to install all the packages for ProtonVPN, but for some reason, despite following the steps, one is missing. In short, I can't initialize my ProtonVPN profile yet, which means I can't run it on that computer. I'd explain it better but for the fact that I'm really just following directions. Do note that on Linux, we start and stop ProtonVPN from the terminal instead of through a graphical user interface (I use the graphical application on my Android tablet, however).
While I haven't resolved the issue on my LinuxLite desktop yet, there was a silver lining to the struggle. I discovered that I had previously missed that you can set up the VPN profile with an ad blocker at the VPN level. Now, for my ordinary browsing, this makes little difference. I have ad blocking enabled in my Vivaldi browser settings and I use the Ublock Origin for extra support. I don't like ads.
It does, however, make a difference for my desktop RSS reader, QuiteRSS. QuiteRSS has a built-in web browser with an ad blocker, but the ad blocker is mediocre. For example, despite having it enabled, I was swamped by a deluge of ads when I tried to read a Washington Times article. For that reason, I would open links from my RSS reader in my regular browser instead of its built-in browser. After enabling ad blocking at the VPN level, I now have no ads at all when I read articles in the QuiteRSS browser. Great improvement.
I will probably write about QuiteRSS and my views on RSS readers in general in the future. But for now, if you'd like to try a nice desktop RSS reader, you can download it from the QuiteRSS website.
Thank you as always for subscribing to The Newsletter Leaf Journal and following The New Leaf Journal. I hope you look forward to another week of what I hope will be interesting content.
Cura ut valeas.
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