January 1, 2021
Happy New Year, everyone! Now that 2020’s over and I have a full year’s worth of data, I figured it’d be fun to look back at how we did as far as our Google rankings and traffic across our network goes. Of course, nothing here is especially mind-blowing as far as the numbers go, but fuck the numbers, it’s just curious to see what people are looking at. There’s lots of line graphs and pie charts too, if you like those. And…I might…
October 27, 2020
I’ve become mildly obsessed with how compression algorithms of various stripes work over the past year. They really do make every bit of our modern computing existence work so smoothly, from gzipping packet data to speed up slow connections to storing vast archives of high quality music on flash drives the size of a ChapStick. Some simply rearrange the data in clever ways, and others take advantage of our weak eyes and ears to throw out 90% of what was once there–and we hardly notice.
Of the lot, the humble PNG is so ubiquitous, it might not even warrant mentioning. Every format has some magic up its sleeve, however, and in the case of PNG, the way they’re encoded usually makes it possible to shrink them after the fact to the tune of up to a few megabytes with no loss in quality. If you make sites, you might wanna take notes.
I recently decided to run a battery of tests to determine just how well PNG works, on what, and what optimizes the best. I’ll give you the rundown on how it works (in-depth but no math, no worries), and then I’ll give you some hard data and lovely charts to peek at, and finally, show you how to get smaller, lighter PNGs at home, no tricks, no catches.
September 24, 2020
Song titles are funny. They’re usually hardly unique, and tons of bands from all across the music spectrum have songs with the exact same title. Spotify’s search is an absolutely useless landfill for this stuff; the song you want will invariably be so unpopular that 200 other identically-titled songs (and in some cases, artists and albums) will come before the one you want. Lovely.
The inspiration for this one came about when I realized I actually know three different songs with the title “Undone”: the Failure song, the Weezer song, and the Josh Joplin song. When I checked through Spotify search, it turned out to be a very popular song name indeed.
So in short, I got curious enough to add the 50 most popular ones to a playlist, listen through, and rank them. I originally wanted to do every single song on the platform named “Undone”, but that’s just not feasible. Even the top 50 was a solid three hours worth of music, and has been hell to put together.
Alas, the Joplin track didn’t make the top 50; if it did, it would’ve probably ranked at #2. Nonetheless, we’ve got a lovely mix of yeehaw music, white girl piano pop, boppy electronica, acoustic torment, Backstreet Boys, and even a few artists who might not even exist. We’re starting at the bottom here, so apologies for the rampant negativity at first. It does get better. Here we go…
August 17, 2020
I’ve said before that I don’t read a whole lot of books. Not to say I don’t have a few on my radar, it just takes me a while. Same goes for video games; I have plenty to play, but I’m usually too busy off in my own world to try them out. Given that it looks like the US will open back up some time after the heat death of the universe (read: plenty of time to myself), I’ve been trying to rectify that.
Today’s topic is one that combines both these worlds in a really curious way: meet Nick Montfort and Ian Bogost’s Racing the Beam.
July 9, 2020
Last summer, I wrote an essay on creating characters with purpose and how adoptable culture seems to miss the point of having lads in the first place. At the time, I remember wanting to do an entire series on these kinds of creative pitfalls, and recently, I’ve been reminded of another stumbling block–this one affecting me probably more than anyone else, amazingly enough.
Let’s talk confidence.
July 8, 2020
The era of Firefox 2.0 on somnolescent.net begins again.
May 9, 2020
Been thinking a lot about simplicity, entropy, and how we’ve come to rely on computers in the past few decades. Here’s an essay about how technology should augment us in being people and nothing more.
April 1, 2020
Last year, I wrote a semi-sappy, emotionalish retrospective of my time spent on Neocities and how it lead to me meeting Caby. I think I sounded more guilty than I actually felt. There’s a lot more that went into “orange fox bad” than you can just sum up as “angry me” or “dumb kids”. Frankly, it was kind of the perfect storm of insanity. We still giggle about it.
This year’s mariversary (two entire years since I made my site there!), I thought I’d do something more fun. Every so often, I’ll see someone hold up Neocities as an example of the spirit of the old internet kept alive. I’ve talked at length about how bullshit that is, no, we’re not getting into it again. What never gets brought up though is how utterly broken Neocities actually is. Neocities is best described as a second-week Ruby on Rails prototype, yet Kyle Drake was ballsy enough to get people to pay for it anyway. Including me.
And prime example of why it’s so fucked: despite me getting banned, all my Supporter’s sites are still active. All of them. I thought it’d be fun to go back through all the ones I can remember and explain why I made them. Time for memories~
January 3, 2020
Amateur and fan writing is something I’m no stranger to. In fact, it’s what I’m most familiar with. I don’t read a lot of books, but I do peruse toyhou.se and places for my own amusement and occasionally in the hopes of actually finding something good to read.
Of course, it being the internet, most of it isn’t great. Good writing habits are rarely taught in schools, at least here in the US. Past basic grammar (and even that’s not much), creative writing tends to be side-eyed and pushed aside, and otherwise bright people trip on the fundamentals, let alone anything involving tone, pacing, or dialogue.
Here’s just a few things I notice a lot in people’s writing, plus examples. (Don’t go looking for these people to bug them, thanks.) No judgement if you do any of these; I’ll tell you how to fix them as best I can.
December 28, 2019
The first official year of Somnolescent has had me figuring out little webmaster things I’d previously had no experience with. So far, it’s been really good, no doubt helped by our excellent hosting and a little bit of common sense on the part of all the Somnolians.
Nevertheless, we’re really only just getting started here. As the world continues to churn around our collective, I’ve a few major upgrades I’d like to perform on our internal and external server infrastructure going forward. I’ll explain more under the cut.