Thursday September 11, 2008
Let's see, at the moment, I have:
- 15 books in my "to blog about" stack—that is, books I've already read but not written about, not books I have yet to read
- 36 entries in my "notes" file outlining additional posts, some quite detailed, and some of which are nearly as old as this blog
- 134 lists of phrasal pattern variants produced by running snowclone.pl on those patterns
Hmm. I really ought to post something. Wonder how I'd go about doing that? Maybe there's a button or something.
Wednesday December 13, 2006
Tweaking the Feed
A few months ago I switched this blog's RSS feed to FeedBurner, and at the same time, I made a small tweak to the feed, one which I've been wondering if those of you using feed readers find handy or annoying. At the bottom of every post in the feed, there's a line that says "Comments(n)", where n is the number of comments that have been left on the post. The effect is that when comments are left on a post, the text of the post changes, causing it to show up again as unread in some feed readers (notably Bloglines). I thought this might be convenient for people who want to follow comment threads, but it's possible I've out-clevered myself.
What do you think? Helpful or horrible?
Sunday November 26, 2006
Friends in High Places
Quietly and without any fanfare, an important milestone has been reached. Can you feel it? As of a couple of weeks ago, every one of the linguists on my Ph.D. committee has been mentioned on Language Log.
Can you say the same? No. No, you can't. (Unless you can, in which case feel free to leave a comment and declare your membership in my exclusive club.)
Saturday November 25, 2006
I feel out of touch. In the early history of the linguistiblogosphere, way back around 2004 when dinosaurs ruled the 'net, it used to be easy to keep track of all the different language blogs—mostly because it was just Language Hat, Language Log, and a few others. Now that every man, woman, and child on the face of the Earth has a blog, I have a hell of a time keeping track of everyone who's writing about language and linguistics any more.
Help me out. If you have a language blog, leave a comment with a link and a description of your interests. Feel free to leave one even if you know I already know about your blog—who knows, you might attract a few more readers.
Earlier this month I noted in a comment that this blog had received a visit from author John Crowley. A little Internet sleuthing revealed that he has a LiveJournal: John Crowley Little and Big. It appears he was directed here by a comment on this post in which he asks for examples of the use of novel language(s) in SF. His readers provide several suggestions that should be of interest to people who come here for the "Linguistics in SF" posts, including a few I've written about and a bunch more that I haven't. I guess my inexorably growing to-read list just got a little longer...
Here are a few sites I've found out about recently, some by email, some by noticing links here via Technorati or Google. They all share a common theme: little vignettes made out of found snatches of language. Great minds think alike, they say—it must be something in the water. (There's water in the tubes, right?)
Sunday November 5, 2006
If you're interested in the origins of language, check out Babel's Dawn, a newish blog devoted to the subject—or rather, to "the origins of speech", a distinction the blog's author Edmund Blair Bolles defends in his inaugural post. See also his discussion of the controversy about starlings learning recursive grammars (which I wrote about here). In that post, he mentions an aspect of the debate I hadn't heard about: Chomsky apparently responded to a question about the controversy emailed to him by a blogger on MySpace.
[Babel's Dawn actually began about a month and a half ago, but I'm just now catching up with my blog-related email, very late as usual. Apologies all around.]
Tuesday August 22, 2006
Over the last few days I've been noticing a steady stream of visitors to this site who have found it via Google searches for threepio's buddy (for which this page is currently the number one hit). Anybody know what that's about? Is there some new Star Wars parody going around that I haven't heard of? I've gotten a big kick out of the last three, and I wouldn't want to miss out.
Thursday July 20, 2006
The Hat Returns!
Our long linguistiblogosphere nightmare is over. Having recovered from a couple of weeks of technical difficulties, Language Hat is back in business. Go, visit, read!
[A No-Prize to whoever identifies the reference in the title of this post first, BTW.]
Friday June 2, 2006
Two New Fridays
Two visitors to this site who share some of my interests have called my attention to new regular Friday features on their respective blogs. The first feature is The Dagger Aleph's Video Deconstruction Fridays, in which DA examines a classic 80's music video in unnecessary (and therefore entertaining) detail. This week it's Pat Benatar's "Love is a Battlefield" that gets the treatment. The second feature is Unused and Probably Unusable's Heinlein Fridays, in which Eh Nonymous writes about issues related to the law and lawyers in Heinlein's fiction. This week's post is full to bursting with interesting bits from Job: A Comedy of Justice, Have Spacesuit, Will Travel, I Will Fear No Evil, and Starship Troopers. (For a future topic, might I suggest the parallel world with the "eye for an eye" legal system that the main characters visit in The Number of the Beast?)
Thursday June 1, 2006
At this moment, when I try to search on Technorati for other blogs that link here, I get a page with the following error message, to which I've added a few explanatory hyperlinks. (The first sentence isn't actually visible in my browser, but it is present in the page's source.)
Sorry, we are experiencing a bit of a spiritual conflict:
The Flying Spaghetti Monster has arrived and we have all been taken to planet Zeus 94 to kneel before Zod. All this is a little much for us to handle at the moment so come back later please. And leave a quarter in the collection tray on your way out.
WTF? Have they been hacked, or is somebody just being clever? And what's "planet Zeus 94"?
Tuesday May 16, 2006
First, a heads-up: I've switched this blog's RSS feed over to FeedBurner, so please point your RSS reader to the new URL, http://feeds.feedburner.com/TenserSaidTheTensor. To encourage you to do so, I've changed the old RSS feeds to contain only an excerpt of each post, but don't worry, the new feed contains the full text as before.
Sunday May 14, 2006
To grow, blogs depend on links from other sites. If nobody else ever adds you to their blogroll or links to you posts, it's very hard to increase your readership—there's always a steady trickle of search-engine hits, but recommendations and links from other bloggers seem to result in more visitors, more of whom eventually become regular readers. Over the last month, I've been fortunate to receive links from four big bloggers, and I thought it might be interesting to analyze the traffic that resulted from each link.
[Fair warning: this post will be mostly inside baseball—bug out now if you're not interested in the gory details of blog stats.]
Tuesday May 2, 2006
To Ad or Not To Ad?
I've recently been mulling over a significant change to this blog, and I figured I'd write a bit about it and see if anyone had any thoughts or advice. The short version is, I've been thinking of adding Google ads. Now don't panic yet—they're not going to be in your face and all over the place. In fact, if you're a regular reader of this blog, you'll almost certainly never see them.
Saturday February 25, 2006
Looking Backward: 2006
As I mentioned around this time last year, I'm not exactly sure of this blog's date of birth because I posted for a week or two before opening it to the public. However, it was definitely before February 16th, 2004, because that's the date on the first comment and the first trackback. That makes two years and counting, which I find hard to believe but gratifying.
Tuesday February 7, 2006
...And Why Wouldn't You Be?
If you're like me (and why wouldn't you be?)...
When I realized I'd accidentally come up with the same (briliant!) line twice, I began to wonder if someone else had ever used it. Fortunately, we live in the Age of Google, so I didn't have to wonder for long.
Tuesday January 24, 2006
The Paper of Record
Holy cats! I just discovered by browsing through my referrer logs that a page on the New York Times web site contains a link to this blog. Have I hit the big time, or is that page automatically generated? I suspect the latter.
Saturday January 14, 2006
The most important stage of my (as yet non-existent) master plan for turning this blog into a media powerhouse is figuring out exactly what sort of products my audience of literally dozens of faithful readers tends to buy. I recently discovered that Amazon's search engine Alexa provides exactly that information, and I thought I'd share it with you. Can you stand the excitement?
Thursday October 20, 2005
Top Secret Plans
For months now, Chiara has been dropping hints about Top Secret Plans over at Ampersand (where it's all her, all the time). A few days ago, she surprised us all with the Big Reveal: she wants to relocate to London, to work there and to use it as a base for travel around Europe. However, as always with such things, it's complicated. Citizenship, passports, professional societies, and other bureaucratic obstacles have loomed, inconveniently, so she needs advice about the mechanics of living and working in another country. Well, I know for a fact that some of you are expats and exchange students—why not head on over to her journal, read about her situation, and then offer her the benefit of your expertise? You know you want to...
Sunday September 25, 2005
Site Meter is one of a number of web sites that provides stat counters for web pages, including blogs. This allows the owner of a site to find out how many visits the site receives, what days of the week have the most visitors, and so forth. What's more, it can provide some interesting information about the software and hardware of the site's visitors: their country, time zone, default language, operating system, and so forth. Earlier I was looking at one of these statistics for visitors to this site, namely the monitor resolution, when I noticed something odd.
Sunday September 4, 2005
I'm not sure if it's due to some kind of database reshuffling, but as of the 25th of August, I'm an Adorable Little Rodent. Woo-hoo! That date is a fortuitous coincidence, too, because that was the day I turned...wait for it...35. Yes, you heard right: I've already wasted half of my threescore-and-ten.
Tuesday July 5, 2005
As I've mentioned before, I check Technorati regularly to see who's linking to this blog. After the jump is a list of some recent links from interesting sites.
Tuesday June 21, 2005
This blog has been around for over a year, but until recently nobody had offered to give me anything for free because of it. A few days ago, however, Tenser, said the Tensor finally started to pay off. I received an email from someone at a publishing house offering me a free copy of a new lingustics book, and you know I said yes! It's a small start, but I have a feeling this might be the first trickle of a torrent of swag that would embarrass the Hilton sisters.
I know what you're thinking, and of course I realize they're sending me the book hoping for a review—but see, that's how I get my foot in the swag-door. Once it becomes clear that The Tensor knows how to play ball, I expect other providers of goods and services to notice and start sending me free stuff in the faint hope that I will direct the attention of my literally dozens of readers to their products. For example, I'd be entirely willing to review this car, this boat, or just about any kind of electronic gadget (it doesn't seem right that those bastards at Gizmodo and Engadget should hog all the free stuff). Help me help you!
My point is this: I've seen the future of blogging and that future is selling out, so I'm putting myself up for sale—let's get the auction underway. The opening bid is one hardcover book; do I hear more?
[Note: This post was typed with my tongue lodged firmly in my cheek and I don't actually expect to be compromising my ethics any time soon. If I do review the book—which is pretty likely, it looks interesting—I'll be sure to mention that I got it for free in the spirit of New Media transparency.
All bets are off if a Veyron shows up on my doorstep, though...]
Monday May 2, 2005
I failed to mark the occasion at the time, but I thought I'd mention that this blog past its first anniversary a couple of months ago. Its birth date isn't very well defined, because I actually posted for a week or two before I opened it up to the public—I wanted to make sure that I wasn't going to post three times and then run out of things to say—but the first trackback (from Language Hat) and first comment were both on 2/16/2004, so it must have been around then.
Wednesday March 23, 2005
Here's a few new or new-to-me blogs I've come across recently, either in my referrer logs or elsewhere:
- HeiDeas, the blog of Heidi Harley, an Assistant Professor of Linguistics at the University of Arizona. Apparently, her comment on this post pushed her over the edge and she took up the blogging habit. It's worth noting that it's supposed to be pronounced "high-deas" and not "Heidi-ass"—at least, I think so. Welcome!
- Blogos, which "covers language through multilinguality and translation, localization and global markets, individual skills and emerging technologies, enablers and barriers, knowledge and speculation." Blogos has actually been around since April of last year, but I just found out about it recently. Lots of interesting stuff about the intersection of technology and languages—who knows, there may be such a thing as Applied Linguistics after all.
- abortiva, the blog of Matt, who describes himself thusly: "By day I pretend to be a linguistics student at my local state funded university. By night I pretend to be a linguistics student at my local state funded university, except at my house."
- tentaizu, which appears to be primarly a photo blog by Patrick Gage Kelley. Not really language-related, but his photos are interesting (like this one) and he's had the good taste to blogroll me, for which I am always grateful.
Saturday February 5, 2005
Another new language-related blog has cropped up: Mithridates. So far, the author has revealed nothing about him- or herself, but I feel safe in predicting that he or she is not, in fact, the king of Pontus in Asia Minor. Welcome to the blogosphere! (hat tip to the invaluable Technorati)
[Update: Further research (i.e. organizing the disused shortcuts on my desktop) reveals that Mithridates (the blog) used to be Sobokai Blog, at least as of December 20th. So, not so much new as renewed.]
Friday February 4, 2005
As I've mentioned before, I pay close attention to the visitor and referer stats for this blog. Although it's only a hobby and I have no plans to start including ads or anything like that, I'm still interested in getting more readers—I wouldn't write these posts if I didn't want people to read them, and I've got almost a year of old posts that don't get much traffic. I've noticed over time that most visitors only visit a single page, but don't explore further. This is true of visitors referred by search engines as well as visitors from the occasional Logalanche or Hatalanche. A few weeks ago I made some improvements intended to encourage these new visitors to stick around, and this is a brief report on the effectiveness of those changes.
Thursday January 27, 2005
Technorati Laughing Man
I noticed the other day that Technorati, the indespensible site for finding out who's talking about you behind your back on the web, has a new icon that's strangely familiar. There's a feature on Technorati that allows owners of blogs to create accounts and add personal information about themselves, including a picture. If you don't upload one, there's a default picture that looks like this:
Sunday January 23, 2005
A few weeks ago, I was looking through my referral logs like any attention-craving blogger without much traffic, and I noticed a link from a post in a blog called ebalogaalne. Unfortunately, I can't tell you what the post says, or even what the blog is about, because it's in Estonian.
Thursday September 16, 2004
Entangledbank says he's written his FINAL POST, but I'm hoping he's not serious. Don't do it, man! You've got so much to blog for! (But congratulations in any case on completing the Big One.)
Friday August 27, 2004
My referrer logs these days are an endless stream of hits on this post, which is at this moment the number one Google hit for "1920 x 1200 wallpaper". That's not a bad thing, although the fact that one computer-related post can swamp all my other traffic goes to show you how tiny a corner of the blogosphere linguistics blogs are. In any case, I've been keeping track of other odd search strings that led people to this site.
Sunday June 13, 2004
You know those little cartoon versions of people's faces that have been showing up all over the web recently? Like the icons here, or here, or here. I played around with a web site, whose name I've forgotten, that would automatically generate one of those based on a set of selections (hair, face, eyes, etc), but it wasn't very flexible. I know there must be several different sites like that because I can see that there are several different art styles, but I'm not having any luck Googling for them, because I'm not sure what keywords to use. Can anybody suggest some good sites for making icons like that?
Wednesday June 2, 2004
A Small 'Net After All
As I've mentioned before, I'm obsessed with this site's visitor stats. I'm not addicted, you understand, because I can stop any time I want—but here's the list of all the countries I've received visits from along with the total number of visitors. (No, this doesn't have anything to do with linguistics—although I'm given to understand that they speak languages in most of these places.)
Wednesday May 26, 2004
Was anyone ever planning to point out to me that I spelled "pidgin" as "pidgen" in the title of this post? I've fixed it now, but it's been sitting there wrong for more than a month, in front of God and everyone.
Tuesday May 18, 2004
They must have tweaked something over at Site Meter. The page for the languages of visitors to this blog used to show 100% English, but now it shows several others. They all have very low percentages, so I'll bet they were being rounded down to zero. Still, this represents the first stirrings of my worldwide academic/publishing/media empire, and I want to welcome my international visitors.
Sunday March 14, 2004
I got mentioned in a post on Language Log and my traffic more than doubled. That's right, I'm now solidly into the double digits. Boo-yah! It's the linguistics blogosphere equivalent of an Instalanche—it's a Logalanche!
In any case: Welcome, Language Log readers. I hope you enjoy what you find here.
[Now playing: "PDA" by Interpol]