This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne (also known as Sam Minter). Comments here or emails to me at abulsme@abulsme.com are encouraged... or follow me on Twitter as @abulsme.

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100 Days of Wiki of the Day

After a bit of testing, on May 4th the first episode of popular Wiki of the Day launched, followed by random Wiki of the Day on the 5th, and featured Wiki of the Day on the 6th. Then I posted about it. It has now been 3 months since that first episode launched. Stretching it back to 100 days to include some of my testing, here is a look at how these fully automated podcasts I created have been doing. If you haven’t yet by the way, please subscribe!

I’ve been looking at it in terms of unique downloaders in the trailing 7 days. (Defining unique based on IP address plus user agent, excluding obvious robots… which has some flaws of course, but it will do…)

Anyway, lets look at the three podcasts…

popular Wiki of the Day is by FAR the most, well, popular. It has been trending upward in terms of number of listeners pretty much from the moment it launched. There have been spikes when particularly popular episodes were released. For instance, that really obvious spike in July is due to the release of the episodes on Chester Bennington and Linkin Park. That peak isn’t over, so we’ll see if we end up back on the growth trend from before those episodes, or if the growth trend stops.

With my other podcast, Curmudgeon’s Corner, the pattern is that at any given time, most people are downloading the most recent episode, and only a few people are downloading older episodes. Just recently, in the last week or two, that has started to be the case on most days for pWotD, but for most of the last 100 days, generally speaking the latest episode would NOT be getting the downloads. Instead, a handful of episodes with nice popular search terms would be getting the most downloads.

I don’t have stats running the whole last 100 days easily available, but I regularly generate stats on downloads over the past 30 days. In the 30 days ending August 2nd, the most downloaded episodes for this podcast were:

  1. Justin Bieber from May 12th with 285 downloads
  2. Linkin Park from July 22nd with 190 downloads
  3. Ariana Grande from May 24th with 125 downloads
  4. Chester Bennington from July 21st with 102 downloads
  5. Ed Sheeran from June 26th with 60 downloads

There does seem to be a theme in the current top 5. They are all music related. The episodes are on all sorts of different topics, but for whatever reason those are the most popular.

In any case, the number of downloads for the podcast is growing, and we do seem to have transitioned to the current episodes being the most downloaded episodes in the day or two after they are released, so it looks like the downloads are starting to be dominated by people who are actually subscribed rather than people finding individual episodes through searches. And that is without any ongoing effort from me, or any money for advertising or anything.

So that is good.

The “popular” variant really is the only one of these getting significant numbers. It is almost 24 times as popular as the next most popular of the three podcasts, which is the “random” variant, random Wiki of the Day. After the initial spike of people I know checking out the podcast, it was basically just me listening to this one. Because I listen on multiple devices while on several different networks, my metric often detects me as 3-5 different “people” over the course of a week. But in the last few weeks, random Wiki of the Day has been trending upward as well. It is still tiny, but there are a few people other than me listening.

The top 5 episodes downloaded in the last 30 days for this one are:

  1. Rebecca Soni from July 24th with 5 downloads
  2. Friar Alessandro from August 2nd with 4 downloads
  3. Charles Allen, Baron Allen of Kensington from July 27th with 4 downloads
  4. Cho U from July 26th with 4 downloads
  5. Béatrice de Planisoles from July 21st with 4 downloads

Notice all of these are very recent, no really old episodes showing up on the Top 5 list.

Finally, the least popular of the three, featured Wiki of the day. Least popular, but also growing slowly. A handful of people other than me are actually listening to it!

The most downloaded episodes over the last 30 days:

  1. The Beatles from July 7th with 4 downloads
  2. Murder of Dwayne Jones from July 21st with 3 downloads
  3. Columbia River from July 18th with 3 downloads
  4. Dire Wolf from July 17th with 3 downloads
  5. Blade Runner from July 12th with 3 downloads

And that is that. Also growing. Slowly.

Oh, and just for comparison I guess… over the same time period:

Curmudgeon’s Corner, the podcast I actually put about 5 or 6 hours a week of work into, is at about 100 downloads per week right now. That’s after a big spike we are seeing after we switched some stuff around on how we promote the podcast a couple of weeks ago. (We switched from Facebook and Google ads to an ad in Overcast, a popular podcast player.) We’re getting a bunch of new people checking us out at the moment. Don’t know if they will stick around if we turn off the ads, but for the moment the trend looks good.

Of course that is a bought and paid for trend line. And even with that popular Wiki of the day has 4 times the downloads Curmudgeon’s Corner does. Guess people just like their Wikipedia content!

I don’t actually mind this…  it was actually what I hoped would happen… the automated podcasts… which each contain a promo for Curmudgeon’s Corner… slowly growing listenership via people finding them via searches and such, but with no additional promotion and no additional weekly effort on my part… and maybe pointing a few people back to Curmudgeon’s Corner. They key is now that it is set up, it is very little continuing effort on my part. I basically just check the stats periodically, and listen to the new episodes to make sure nothing breaks.

And there ya go.

Anyway. Fun stuff.

Secret Project Done: Wiki of the Day podcasts

I just finished a secret project! It is THREE brand new podcasts I am officially launching as of right now. I hope you will check them out!

These are quite a bit different than Curmudgeon’s Corner, the podcast I have done with Ivan Bou since 2007 where we talk about current events each week. That podcast will continue as always. (If you aren’t already listening to that, you should of course check it out too!)

Instead, these are short quick hit podcasts. Little bursts of knowledge to enlighten your day. Just a few minutes long each. Often shorter than 2 minutes long in fact. The podcasts consist of the summaries of Wikipedia articles. Each of the three choose which articles to highlight in a bit different way. Because it is just the summaries, not the whole articles, they are quick digestible chunks of information.

I of course don’t have the time or consistency to create three podcast episodes every day, even 2 minute podcasts. So the trick here is that these are fully automated podcasts. There will be new episodes every day, even if I am super busy and swamped with other things. Now that things are all set up, they will (hopefully) just run on auto-pilot unless I decide I need or want to change something.

The idea for these had been percolating in my head for a couple months, and a little over two weeks ago I pulled the trigger and started working on it an hour here and an hour there as I had time. Basically, the daily topics are chosen from Wikipedia APIs or RSS feeds, I pull the content from Wikipedia using another API, then I generate the actual audio for the podcast using Amazon Polly and assemble the Podcast RSS feeds. I also set up a website… wikioftheday.com… that dynamically shows the most recent episodes of each Podcast, gives easy access to old episodes, and has a detail page for each episode with the text of the episode script. I did most of this with PHP since I’m pretty familiar with that, with a few Unix shell bits where that was more convenient.

It was fun to do, and I hope at least a few people will find the actual podcasts interesting too. Go to wikioftheday.com and you can check them all out and listen to a few of the episodes that have been produced so far. There are just a handful so far, but there will be new ones every day!

They are indeed read by computerized voices… a bunch of different ones episode to episode for variety… but that technology has come a long way in the last few years, and they are actually pretty decent to listen to.

I’ve started to submit the three podcasts to the directories for this sort of thing, but it will take awhile for them to start actually showing up when you search for them in your podcast player of choice. So for the moment if you want to subscribe, you’ll have to tell your podcast player app to subscribe manually using the link to the feeds. Below are descriptions of the three podcast along with the feed links. Please subscribe! And listen!

For each of the three, I exclude articles with no summaries or really short summaries. I exclude “articles” that are just lists, disambiguation pages (which John Smith did you want to know about?), and other pages of that type. I also have each of the three podcasts set to not repeat the same article within 100 days, even if it comes up again in the source feed. Stuff like that.

Anyway, please check them out, and subscribe if you enjoy them! And let me know what you think of them! :-)

Oh… and tell your friends about them too!

I appreciate it!

ALeXMXeLA Episode 100!!

We have just posted the 100th episode to Alex’s YouTube channel. You can watch above, or go to ALeXMXeLA.com to subscribe. He decided not to do anything special for the 100th episode other than continuing to play through the Portal 2 Community Test Chamber series called “Into the Multiverse” that we were in the middle of. You can watch all of our play through of this series that has been published so far here.

He continues to record new episodes faster than I have been able to push them out to YouTube. Episode 100 was recorded way back on May 29th. The most recent episode, recorded this Tuesday, will be Episode 240 when I eventually get around to getting it posted…

He has 25 subscribers now and is very serious about his channel. He may only be six, but he knows what he wants!

Subscribe and tell your friends to subscribe too! :-)

Curmudgeon’s Corner and Election Graphs Demographics

Presented without comment other than… “Interesting”.

Demographics of those liking the Facebook pages for my podcast and my election tracker:

Curmudgeon’s Corner

Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 05.32.10545

Election Graphs

Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 05.31.40248

Why Six Year Olds Shouldn’t Fly Planes

We are way behind in posting the episodes, but back in May Alex celebrated the 10th subscriber to ALeXMXeLA.com by spending two episodes flying various planes in X-Plane 10. Especially in the last few minutes of the first of these (starting at about the 17 minute mark) you can imagine what horrors you might experience if you were in a 747 piloted by a six year old. In the second episode he gets a bit better, although you probably still wouldn’t want to be on that plane. Anyway, enjoy!

Daddy’s Visitor

When I got home from work Friday evening, I told a story of something that had happened to me (and a visitor) on the way home from work. Alex insisted that I had to write it down, with pictures, and make a book right away… so that we could remember the story. So I did. I guess what resulted is my first children’s book. Although…

Anyway, here it is:

Scan 2

Scan 4

Scan 5

Scan 6

Scan 7

Scan 8

Scan 3

Uh, OK, I know, cheery ending. Oops.

Trick or Treat 2014

What’s that I see on Wednesday?

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Bad Idea?

I told him I would let him try… So there we go. Alex cutting my hair.

But we are now both on the way to the barber for our periodic joint haircuts. He really wants to keep his hair long though, so just a trim for him. He doesn’t even want that, but we are going anyway. We shall see how cooperative he is.

I want mine short again. We considered actually doing mine at home, but Brandy didn’t like my plan of “just go vroop vroop vroop with the beard trimmer across my whole head”. So barber it is… After letting Alex have his try first of course.

Last Day of my Staycation

I took the last week off from work for the purpose of working on a variety of personal projects.

The above is the timelapse from my home office webcam for my last real day of vacation. Hit play to start it. I’m currently experimenting with a fisheye lens so you can see the whole room, although with a bit of distortion. But this way you can see what Alex, Roscoe, and if you don’t blink Amy too, are doing in the room, rather than just seeing a closer view of me at my desk. :-)

It has been a good week.  I got a few things done, although of course not as much as I would have liked. I made a decision early in the week not to worry too much about it, and also use the time to just take it slow and relax a bit. So I didn’t push myself.  I’m still a bit under the weather and tired…  and I’ll probably end up trying to finish a few more things over the weekend even though that is harder when Alex isn’t in school. So I’m not sure I’ll head back to work fully relaxed and rejuvenated, but it was still good to take the week.  I should use my vacation and personal days a bit more than I do.  I always end up leaving those on the table because I don’t use them.

Anyway, good week over all.  Glad I did it.  :-)