Posts from July 2005

Garden Update

I enjoyed JD's post You Are What You Eat earlier today and thought it would be fun to do my own photographic inventory of our garden.


This year we have two of the biggest tomato plants I've ever seen. sk mentioned she's had to hack them back several times to save room in the garden for other stuff.


We've already had a couple of cucumbers from the garden this year, and there's a whole pile of them out there.


Haven't had good luck with bell peppers either here in Oregon or in California, but they're doing fine so far. I think this is going to be a yellow pepper.


We've got tiny little watermelons on the vine. We haven't planted them before, so it'll be interesting to see how they do. And here's a shot of the dogs from tonight for fun.


We have a blackberry bush that's full of berries right now, but once it's done we're taking it out. The blackberries have taken over that part of the garden, killing the raspberry bush this year. And they have the most evil thorns of all the berry bushes. Next year it's all about strawberries—I'll get the bush-type berries at the farmer's market.

Nebraska weather

I just got back from a quick trip to Nebraska, and I posted some photos at Flickr: pb's photos tagged with nebraska. I was complaining last Thursday about 90 degree weather in Oregon, but Oregon doesn't have anything like that kind of heat plus humidity. I knew I'd been spoiled by west coast weather, but I didn't realize how bad until now. I was constantly amazed seeing people playing softball in 100+ degree weather, but then I did that sort of stuff when I lived there. Weather tolerance is relative I guess.

Life Update

Life update:
  • Television - Increasing, needs improvement. Reading this.
  • Caffeine - Gone. I miss good coffee.
  • Bark Pile - Huge, still in driveway. I blame 90 degree weather.
  • Book - Home stretch.
  • ORblogs - New feature: Hot Topics.
  • Dogs - Funny. Still small.
  • Weight - Up, dammit.
  • Photography - Stagnant.
  • Weblog - Lists only.

Webvisions and ORblogs lunch 2

Webvisions was fun, and the ORblogs lunch was great too. I don't mean to blog-drop, but how often do you get to dine with folks like Alan, Cat, JD, Matt, and Michael? It was great to hear what everyone's up to, and I'm hoping we can all get together in person more often. We agreed that it would be fun to have an official Oregon weblogs event sometime.

Today a truck dumped seven cubic yards of bark in our driveway. We did ask for it. But you don't know how much seven cubic yards is until you see it. Sitting in your driveway. Ahh well, lots of landscaping to do. The garden is going to look great. (I keep forgetting to take before pictures.)

Goodbye Weblog Bookwatch

On April 14th, 2002 I launched the Weblog Bookwatch—a look at the most frequently mentioned books across the blogosphere. (original post) Since then, the bookwatch has dutifully scanned the blogosphere day in and day out, noting book ISBNs (and Amazon CD ASINs) and the blogs where they were spotted.

In 2002 there were a fairly manageable number of blogs to scan. Between April and December 2002 there were 36,790 unique citations across 5,207 unique weblogs. Just to give you a sense of the size today, the Bookwatch scanned 47,512 weblogs today between the hours of 12am and 6am. I have a database with over two million citations in it, and it's growing exponentially.

I got an email from my ISP today informing me that I was over my bandwidth limit. I thought that was odd, did I get Slashdotted and not know it? My logs didn't indicate any spikes. Nope, the problem was traffic from my machine. In other words, scanning close to 50,000 weblogs every six hours tends to use some bandwidth. That got me thinking about whether or not I can afford to keep the Bookwatch running.

But what about all that sweet Amazon cash? It's true that the book links on the Weblog Bookwatch are an associate link to Amazon—and I get a cut when people buy books through them. But it has never been a big money maker. In Q2 of 2005 I made $118.67, which isn't even close to covering a month of hosting with my current setup.

I've enjoyed clicking through the sites to read what people are saying about books that show up on the page. But the Bookwatch can't keep up with the entire blogosphere anymore, and there are a couple of great services with more resources that track book mentions across weblogs (and much more!): All Consuming and Technorati Books.

I learned a lot about weblogs and gathering data while running and tuning the Bookwatch, and now it's teaching me about when an experiment should end. So as of today, the obidos-bot has crawled its last site. It's been a fun app, but it's time to say goodbye to Weblog Bookwatch. Thanks (again) to, Blogger, and Amazon for publishing data in an easy-to-use format.

Webvisions and ORblogs lunch

I'm going to be heading to Portland on Friday for the Webvisions conference. If you're in the area, and interested in where web design is heading, this one-day event is a great way to stay in the loop. There's also talk of an ORblogs get-together during the lunch break, and I'm hoping to meet some of the folks behind the sites I read regularly.

It's official: I'm old

I've seen the shirts. I've heard the references to skills in magic and a delicious bass. And I finally the saw Napoleon Dynamite this week and I didn't get it. There were a few surreal moments in the film that I enjoyed—especially the scenes at the chicken farm. But a few sparks does not a movie make. My only conclusion is that I've passed some cranky threshold and I'm not to be trusted.