Wednesday, December 1

Ancient King Close to Home

Rantwick, as is his habit, likes his "King Maple." Even this year, though he was a bit tardy, his post shows it here. He hasn't yet said which "RAT" he might be at this year. Myself, I've been marooned in Ocean Shores over the winter, only returning to DFW recently. The trip was somewhat surreal since pandemic responses ranged from one extreme to another along the way. When we left, fall color hadn't really made its appearance in the Pacific Northwest. Arriving back home, it seemed somewhat summery, with warm days and even warm nights. Until recently when we hit a cold spell.


At this point, I'll digress. Many millions of years ago, long before any Maple trees existed that could claim to be any sort of king, there was the Ginkgo.  Gingko fossils have been found that are 170 million years old (the Middle Jurassic Period) and almost identical to the Ginkgo biloba; native to China. The Ginkgo biloba is found around the world. It is the last remaining species of its order. Certainly it is an ancient tree.


Ginkgo trees are not usually considered to have spectacular autumn color. According to Wikipedia, "the leaves turn a bright yellow, then fall sometimes as quickly as one day. However, if the leaves remain, the tree truly can be considered as a king of the forest. It's been that way since the dinosaurs dominated the animal kingdom. At the top of this post is such a King. While perhaps not the largest tree in the neighborhood, it is rare to see one so colorfully yellow with almost all of its leaves. That is the result of a fall freeze followed by many more moderate days without much rain or wind. Long live the King!

Close to Home

Strangely, this particular king isn't in a distant arboretum or otherwise hiding away. While I've noticed it in past years, it is nicer than ever this year. Where is it? It's across the street from my own house in Colleyville, Texas! You can't get much closer to home than that. Below, you can see the King, with 2 of its courtiers - 2 Maple trees that it puts to shame. If you look closer, you can also see a few Christmas decorations. Autumn arrives late in North Texas!

Wednesday, July 21

Wordpress is a Quiet Giant


Wordpress Logo
There's something not many people know. While Wordpress may be thought of as a blogging platform by those of us that operate a blog, it is really much more than that. According to Wikipedia

"WordPress was originally created as a blog-publishing system but has evolved to support other web content types including more traditional mailing lists and forums, media galleries, membership sites, learning management systems (LMS) and online stores. WordPress is used by 41.4% of the top 10 million websites as of May 2021..."

 Among other sites, Variety, Bloomberg Professional, BBC America, MTV News, and New York Times all use Wordpress. Just yesterday, I noticed that the Canon Printer support site also had the blue Wordpress logo as well. Unfortunately, Wordpress's flexibility and power also means there's a lot to learn...

Saturday, July 17

Avoiding the Zombie Blog Situation

Despite not having posted here since March, things are cooking beneath the surface. I actually purchased a domain name. I'm also studying Wordpress. Stay tuned for further news, as I've not decided whether to and what to move to the new domain. I purchased 3 years of hosting and can have unlimited websites. I suspect I'm going to use subdomains rather than registering separate domains.

This is not my first foray into building a website. 20 years ago I wrote the website for the Seattle Jaguar Club. Thanks to "internet archive's" "Wayback Machine," a sample of it back in the day can be visited here.

Monday, March 1

What Will Become of Blogs?

For quite some time, it has seemed as if many blogs I've known and loved have dropped off the face of the earth one by one. At first, there were many new ones appearing and, certainly, people do get tired of writing on almost any topic.

However, the reality is that social media giants (not naming any in particular) have been reducing interest generally in blogs.

Below is what Google Trends says about interest in blogs. For those that don't know, blogspot (blogger) is a Google product. Wordpress is a competing product.

Google Trend over time for the Seach Term "blog?

As can easily be seen, Google trends show the term "blog" peaking in popularity in August, 2009. This blog started at the end of July, 2009. As of October 2020, blog is used less than 20% as much as it was at its peak. Things are even worse for blogspot, which is only about 5% of its peak popularity as a search term. Wordpress has not suffered as badly, but even it is down 2/3 from its peak.

Relative Popularity of "Blogspot" versus "Wordpress" over time

Perhaps the writing is on the wall for those not using Facebook or Twitter or any of the other overwhelming social media.


Tuesday, December 8

The Best Pilot Gordo Ever Knew

Chuck Yeager with Northrop F-20 from Getty Images

In the movie, "The Right Stuff," Gordon Cooper was asked "Who's the best pilot you ever knew." Thinking of Chuck Yeager, he eventually caught himself and said "You're looking at him." However, Chuck truly did have the right stuff. He passed away yesterday at age 97. No airplanes involved. There's a "Right Stuff" movie trailer featuring him, here. Wikipedia has a biography of him here. There's a mini documentary on him below. God Speed Chuck Yeager. There aren't many like him any more.