Welcome to the 74th edition of The Newsletter Leaf Journal, the official newsletter of the perennially virid online writing magazine, The New Leaf Journal. As always, this newsletter comes to you from the waterproof keyboard of the editor of The New Leaf Journal, Nicholas A. Ferrell. Our 74th newsletter comes packed with the article recap, links from around the web, and other news and notes that regular Newsletter Leaf Journal readers should be accustomed to.
My colleague Victor V. Gurbo and I combined to publish five articles during the past week. Links and summaries below.
Nicholas A. Ferrell. March 6, 2022.
The Chinese Government reported an outbreak of African Swine Fever in Xinjiang. I was confused to read this news in light of the fact that the Chinese Government had recently been staunchly opposed to describing viruses and illnesses geographically.
Nicholas A. Ferrell. March 8, 2022.
I moved The New Leaf Journal from cheap shared hosting to a VPS server on February 5, 2022 (see Newsletter LXIX). In my article at the time, I discussed briefly how I moved the site. In this new article, I describe in more detail how I used a free WordPress plugin called UpdraftPlus to restore The New Leaf Journal on our new server from a backup taken on the old server.
Nicholas A. Ferrell. March 9, 2022.
I have a running series of posts on anime hair color and styles. For the first time, the series gains a visual novel entry. MYTH, unlike many other anime and games, puts its hair color cards on the table from the get-go.
Nicholas A. Ferrell. March 11, 2022.
The New Leaf Journal’s resident fictional dialogue duo, Justin and Justina, made their first appearance since Valentine’s Day. Justina asks Justin to come up with a name for her friend’s kitten. Justin draws inspiration from the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
March 12, 2022. Victor V. Gurbo
Victor V. Gurbo contributed a lengthy article about his work on building nine string guitars. He was inspired to undertake the task after learning about blues legend Big Joe Williams, who was closely associated with his iconic nine string instruments. Enjoy learning about Williams (and a bit about Bob Dylan too), a great artist, and the craftsmanship of a professional luthier.
Let’s see what’s going on around the internet…
Chris Wellons. September 23, 2013.
In late February 2020, I published a post on RSS feeds and other feed formats. That post covered in brief the history of RSS and the alternative Atom and JSON feed formats. I noted in that post that some people consider Atom to be a technically superior standard to RSS. In this 2013 article, Mr. Chris Wellons presented the technical case for Atom over RSS.
November 10, 2013.
Our second 2013 article of this newsletter addresses why Japanese websites tend to look different than other websites - at least in 2013.
In the mind’s eye of many people, Japan is a land of tranquil Zen gardens, serene temples, and exquisite tea ceremonies. Both traditional and contemporary Japanese architecture, books and magazines are the envy of designers worldwide. Yet for some reason practically none of this mastery has been translated into digital products, in particular websites, most of which look like they hail from around 1998.
I thought it was an interesting piece in light of the fact that The New Leaf Journal’s WordPress theme, BunnyPress, is Japanese. However, it does not pain me at all to say that neither BunnyPress nor The New Leaf Journal exhibit too many of the characteristics described in this article.
Alana Hagues. March 11, 2022.
Chocobo GP is a kart-racing game for Nintendo Switch that uses characters from the Final Fantasy series. Now I have never actually played through a Final Fantasy game (I should rectify that… someday) and am not getting Chocobo GP, but the point of this story is not about the game’s quality.
“Now that the full game is out, and players have had a chance to go chocobo racing, many have called out Square Enix. Upon logging into the game, players are greeted with messages promoting in-game currencies and microtransactions, including the aforementioned season pass.”
Does everything need to have microtransactions? Whatever happened to asking people to pay for a full game once and then allowing them to enjoy its content. That’s how it worked back in my day.
March 8, 2022.
Mojeek is a unique alternative search engine because it uses its own homegrown index. This distinguishes it from better-known alternative search engines such as DuckDuckGo, Qwant, and Startpage, which rely on either Bing or Google. Mojeek announced that it has now indexed more than 5,000,000,000 pages. A close look at Mojeek is on my to-do list.
Krista Rogers. March 7, 2022.
For those who are not in the know, Psyduck is one of the better-known Pokémon. It is a yellow duck with a penchant for headaches that featured in some of the early seasons of the Pokémon anime in the late 90s and early 2000s. As for the teapot - it is one of those things that is too perfect for this world.
Emily Goodin. March 11, 2022.
As the author of the critically acclaimed TikTok No as well as articles celebrating a ban of TikTok on federal government devices and arguing that children should not be on TikTok, I am obliged to include this story of a very important national security briefing. I would comment but for the fact that my face does not want to leave my palm.
Thom Holwerda. March 10, 2022.
I have noted in several articles that I am a Linux-user. MorphOS is a commercial alternative operating system that runs on old Apple PowerPC hardware. My understanding is that it is based on AmigaOS. It looks interesting - but i do not have anything to try it on. If you have a legacy device that supports it, however, consider this your invitation to take on an unusual computer revival project.
Let’s take a look at our archive…
Nicholas A. Ferrell. September 5, 2020.
Back in 2020, I reprinted a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson and added my thoughts on the transition from summer to autumn, from longer days to shorter days. Although it is neither summer nor autumn, it is time for another time change, so I thought that this would be a fitting submission for this week’s Old Leaf Journal.
Nicholas A. Ferrell. March 13, 2021.
Last year, I published an article on Calvin Coolidge’s recollections of his mother, Victoria, who passed away while he was still a child on March 14, 1885.
“There was a touch of mysticism and poetry in her nature which made her love to gaze at the purple sunsets and watch the evening stars.”
Just over 38 years later, Coolidge would, in very unusual circumstances, be sworn in as President of the United States by his father in the same family home where he spent his first 12 years with his mother.
## 4. Most-Turned Leaves Of The Newsletter Week
I list our most-visited articles of the previous week in each newsletter. In keeping with our newsletter schedule, these “Newsletter Weeks” begin with Saturday and end on Friday. The statistics come courtesy of our local and privacy-friendly analytics solution, Koko Analytics - which I reviewed on site.
The week of March 5 to March 11 was the tenth “Newsletter Week” of 2022. Below, you will find our five most-visited articles of the week.
The Mystery of Sōseki and Tsuki ga Kirei.
Nicholas A. Ferrell. March 14, 2021.
Last Week: #2.
2022 Top Fives: 10 (8 in first place).
Recommended F-Droid FOSS Apps For Android-Based Devices (2021).
Nicholas A. Ferrell. November 27, 2021.
Last Week: #1.
2022 Top Fives: 10 (2 in first place).
Installing Ubuntu Touch on an Asus Nexus 7 (2013).
Nicholas A. Ferrell. July 5, 2021.
Last Week: #3.
2022 Top Fives: 10.
Peekier Search Engine Review.
Nicholas A. Ferrell. February 28, 2022.
Last Week: #15.
How to Find Substack RSS Feeds and Other Notes.
Nicholas A. Ferrell. June 19, 2021.
Last Week: #9.
2022 Top Fives: 7.
After two weeks in second place, my tsuki ga kirei post returned to the top of the rankings for the week of the one year anniversary of its publication. My F-Droid article, which took the top spot for two weeks, performed better than it did in newsletter week 9. This week’s ranking saw my review of the Peekier search engine make its newsletter week debut in its first full week on site. Perhaps it will establish itself as a regular in our ranking.
I have looked at privacy-centric alternative search engines here at The New Leaf Journal. In that article, I focused on full-featured search engines that could plausibly function as full alternatives to something like Google or Bing. There are, however, some very niche search engines with their own indexes that have a different ambition: to help users discover small web content written by independent bloggers and writers that gets lost in the big search engine shuffle. See three examples below:
Try some searches in these search engines and you will find sites and projects that would never turn up early in a search with one of the big players. For example, I searched “pokemon” on Marginalia and turned up some nostalgic content from 1999 about how Pokémon is Satanic. However, in other cases - you can find genuinely useful results. The RSS article I included in today’s Around the Web section came from Marginalia search, and an RSS article I included in a previous newsletter came from Wiby.
I will likely review all three of these search engines in the future.
I made some changes behind the scenes at The New Leaf Journal to marginally improve the site’s performance - although I doubt that you are likely to actually notice a difference. I have found that the speed with which our pages load depends most heavily on how fast our server responds - which is generally outside of my control. However, even our slow server responses are fast, and our site becomes interactive at around 0.4 to 0.6 seconds for users in the United States and Canada. As I noted last week, I have changed how I handle image compression. The early results are promising.
In a bit of behind-the-scene good news, Google is no longer omitting some of our articles from our index. We had some issues before due to our poor site performance on our former hosting. We had, at some points, about 15% of our articles missing from Google’s index (we did not seem to have the same issue with Bing).
This week, I plan to continue adding meta information for search for categories and tags. I also plan to add a new page full of links to interesting blogs and resources around the web - limited to those that have RSS or Atom feeds.
Thank you for joining me for another edition of The Newsletter Leaf Journal. If you have not done so already, consider subscribing via email or RSS to receive our new newsletters in your preferred format every Saturday. I will report back next Saturday in what will be our 75th newsletter.
Until next week,
Cura ut valeas.