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

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, 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:

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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

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, 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.