2007-12-06: First Year

Sunday, 2007-December-02 at 00:05

A year ago, I launched two blogs: Free and Open, Etc. and Opportunity Knocks. Within a few weeks, Opportunity‘s readership far outgrew anything I ever expected. Free chugs along, about where I thought it would be, as long as I’m posting at least a couple of times per month.

The differences are partly due to differences in the two hosting platforms. Free and Open Etc. is hosted on Blogger’s BlogSpot.com domain, which lacks the kind of author feedback that WordPress.com provides. The WordPress.com feedback makes it easy to know that there have been about 50,000 views of the Opportunity Knocks site in the past year, and that Akismet has blocked about 20,000 comment and trackback spams during that time period. With BlogSpot, one must use a clumsy third-party add-on to get that kind of information.

Differences are also partly due to the content: Free is more of a technology exploration, with fewer articles by design. Opportunity is more focused on advocacy. I cannot write about many of the things I would like to write about because of some possible relationship with my employment. It is more difficult to write Opportunity, because of this self-censoring. (As a federal employee, let me reiterate that I do not speak for any individual or organization. If you want to hear official policy pronouncements, contact the appropriate PR / PIO folks for the particular agency you are interested in.)

Most popular articles (Opportunity Knocks):

  • Opening ODF (odt, ods, odp, etc) Files — Probably 33% of site visitors land here. This is just a token of the level of interest in OpenDocument Format. I should probably write a similar article about opening OOXML files, just so there will be a ready comparison in the level of end-user interest in these formats.
  • Another ODT-DOC File Converter — I’d guess that another 20% of site visitors land on this page. Once again, searching for tools to enable them to work with ODF files.
  • VMWare Player Maximum Screen Resolution — A steady stream, about 10% of site visitors land here.
  • Open Application Full Screen (Or Desired Size) — A fairly steady trickle, running about 1.5% of site visitors, day after day, week after week.
  • What’s Wrong With Choice? — This posting first linked by Rob Weir, then by Pamela Jones of Groklaw the next day. A lot of the traffic that comes this way started because of this posting and the gracious links. At just under 3% of this year’s visitors, with the bulk coming in a few short days earlier this year. In the past few months, it pulls in 1 to 3 visitors each day.

My personal favorites are What’s Wrong With Choice? and To The Members Of The California State Assembly. Another big favorite is Sufficient, along with Toward Greater Confidence & Honesty In Prayer and Small Businesses Are The Inner Cities’ Only Hope. There are many more, but with 275 posts to choose from, it is hard to narrow the list.

I must say that I am really enjoying interaction with the broader community. At work, those of us who think for ourselves and evaluate alternatives tend to be shunted off in a corner, away from any influence on policy-making or specifying products and services to be purchased. (Note to decision-makers within EP&RD: I have two words for you: Diversify [as in avoid buying all one brand of software, and that includes office application suite software and operating system software] and Alfresco [as in put Alfresco on any servers intended for collaborative workflow instead of buying a certain proprietary competitor].)

To you, the readers, I thank you. I am hoping that this becomes even more of a “conversation” over the next year. I also thank …
Rob Weir
Sam Hiser
Benjamin Horst
Pamela Jones
Jim Robertson
Bob Sutor
Mark Pilgrim (without his example, I never would have started blogging)

No thanks to the idiot who invented the “Rainbow of Doom“.

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