13 May

New Google Search Options

Google added some new search options today (Google’s new search tools showcase innovation), among them on called “Wonder Wheel”.

So, of course, I wonder-wheeled square dance, and then extended from there to square dance caller and then to “square dance caller lab”. Here are the (somewhat bizarre) results:

Who the heck is Matt McGovern, and why is his page directly linked to CALLERLAB? At least he’s a caller and he’s young…in fact, a teenager. But I couldn’t find anything on his site related to CALLERLAB…it doesn’t even say he’s a member. It would be interesting to know why Google links the things it does.

Another interesting view is the Timeline. Here’s one for the search “square dance”:

Notice the peaks in the early fifties and the late seventies.

A snippet from the New York Times October 12, 1951:

OTTAWA, Friday, Oct. 12– Princess Elizabeth escaped last night from the long crinoline skirts and tiaras of state dinners and slipped into something comfortable. She put on a peasant blouse and dirndl skirt and the Duke of Edinburgh climbed into blue jeans and a wild shirt for an evening of square dancing at usually dignified Government House.

Notice that the queen could take off her crinolines and put on a (presumably more comfortable) dirndl skirt.

Here’s the timeline view for “contra dance”:

And here’s an expansion for 2000-2009:

Looks like it might have peaked around 2005-2006, and it might be trending down now, but it’s hard to say.

17 Apr

I’m ba-a-a-ck

It’s been two years…too long.

Time to get back to blogging. Not that I haven’t been thinking about it; I’ve got dozens of URLs saved up in my Evernote notebook.

But I fear WoW took its toll, plus day to day life. And then my original, hand-rolled blog was attacked by spammers. First I had to shut down comments. Then the spammers discovered my form for adding content, so I had to change that. Clearly, I needed another solution. I could have researched web security, and rewritten my code…but I think in the long run, it’ll be easier to go with WordPress; spammers, after all, never rest.

A little history: I started this blog on February 10, 2000 – over 9 years ago (practically an eternity in internet time). There have been a few gaps since then, but never one as long as the current two years. I first started using Manila software at EditThisPage.com. Then I went to my home-grown system. And now WordPress.

I was able to automate some of the transfer, but there were some glitches, so I ended up re-reading almost every post I’ve made. I checked a few links (and commented on a few that no longer existed), but I know there are many others that are dead. I’d like to go back and revisit some of the topics I covered way back when.

Now I need to try to recreate some of the functionality that I liked about the old SquareZ. The dance quotes will be easy; I just need to export from one database and import into another. However, the “on this day” stuff will be harder to implement. I’d like to do it using WP’s plugin technology so I can change themes with impunity. And I’m sure I’ll be changing the look, as I learn more about themes.

In the early days, I think I was the only blogging square dance caller around. Now, of course, there are many. Most of them are journal-type blogs (with a bunch on LiveJournal). I plan to continue my more traditional link-and-comment type of blog. Based on the analysis at this site, I would call myself a “Topical Blogger”, in that I “focus on very particular niche”…in my case, calling modern square dances and contras.

Since I have a LiveJournal account, I’ve set WP up to crosspost. Ditto Facebook. No more lurking, I guess.