Apple II Bits’ seven-year itch

The seven-year itch isn’t just a classic Marilyn Monroe film; it’s also a predictor for the shelf life of my own hobbies. It’s after that period of time that I tend to find myself growing weary of a particular pursuit and begin looking for new interests. For seven years, 1997–2004, I wrote video game reviews; 2001–2008, I performed in community theater; 2004–2011, I taught at a high school or worked toward a master’s degree, each satisfying my desire to be involved in education.

But I find the Apple II bucks this trend. This summer will make my twentieth consecutive KansasFest; this year makes my eleventh volume of Juiced.GS. And this month marks my seventh year of writing this weekly blog. I don’t see myself discontinuing any of these pastimes anytime soon.

Seven apples

Each year kinda snuck up on me.

What is it about the Apple II computer and community that manages to hold my interest? Perhaps it’s the nostalgia factor, dating back to my childhood in a way that writing, acting, and teaching do not. Maybe it’s that it serves as a safe space in which to develop new talents — it was editing Juiced.GS that put me on the path to getting a master’s degree in publishing, and Open Apple was where I honed the skills for my two current podcasts. It could be that, despite the discontinued nature of the Apple II, it continues to produce remarkably unique experiences: every KansasFest attracts a new crowd with whom to form new bonds and new memories.

While all those factors are true, perhaps the most compelling reason is the continued challenge. I lose interest in something when I find I can’t get any better at it — not to say I’ve mastered it, but that I’ve reached the limits of my own ability to excel. After writing three hundred video game reviews, the process had become rote and formulaic; after 28 community theater productions, I no longer worried about forgetting my lines, any more than I believed myself capable of achieving a starring role.

But every issue of Juiced.GS is like none other, both in assembling the content and in marketing the publication. I’ve tried many new ideas to grow the magazine — some worked, some didn’t. But the result is a net gain, with the subscriber base having quintupled in the last eleven years, and the magazine on the cusp of publishing its one thousandth piece of editorial content.

I have abandoned many hobbies after seven years. I don’t have a fear of commitment; I have a fear of complacency. And the one place I don’t have to worry about growing complacent is, ironically, the community and creations surrounding a 40-year-old computer.

So happy 40th birthday to the Apple II, and happy 7th birthday to Apple II Bits. Forget the seven-year itch — this is just the seventh-inning stretch!

Marilyn Monroe on subway grate

Here’s to many more.

As always, here is the annual report on this site’s content and traffic.

  • • 470 posts (51 more than this time last year), 2,124 tags (+131), 505 comments (+45) from 153 readers (+14), and 1 blogger.
  • • I’ve written roughly 177,036 words (+21,431), for an average of 420 words per post in the past year, and 376 words per post sitewide.
  • • Year-to-year, our pageviews were down 16.42% and unique visitors down 14% in our seventh year. This is the fourth consecutive year of decline in traffic.
  • • Our busiest day was September 27, 2016, thanks to referrals from my own Facebook post about the Apple IIGS turning 30 years old. The next busiest day was April 14, 2017, again thanks to referrals from my own Facebook post about monitor timelines. Self-promotion and social media work, people.
  • • Our top two of three posts in the past year were from 2011: “Best computer games from the ’80s“, “Taking the Apple II online with Uthernet“, and “Selling to Pawn Stars“. Those first two posts were also the top two posts last year.
  • • Our top referrals were from A2Central.com, Facebook, and Twitter. Reddit, which was in the top three last year, fell to #31.
  • • Traffic from mobile devices was up 4%, and from tablets, down 18%; desktop traffic continues to decline, this time by a whopping 17%.
  • • In the past year, we blocked 4,976 pieces of spam, down from 9,056 the previous year. The busiest month was June 2016, with 480 pieces of spam. In seven years, we’ve blocked 288,625 spam comments altogether.

This post was originally published on this site.