As of last week, this site is being served to you by a shiny new SSD-backed VPS at DreamHost. I was hoping it would be running NginX as well, but try as I might, I couldn’t get WordPress in a subdirectory to play nice with NginX. Speed Force worked fine, but it’s at the top level of a site. Ramblings and Re-Reading Les Misérables aren’t.

Fortunately, the new virtual servers are faster and cheaper (newer hardware, after all), and with the rest of my sites running NginX I end up with about the same overall memory footprint for two VPSes so that I could put this back on Apache. I suppose that saved me time converting the zillions of .htaccess rules I’ve amassed over the years. And with the faster systems, they’re able to handle more complex/simultaneous actions without timing out or spiking memory.

I’ve been making more of an effort to post here this year, though it’s been a long time since the site had many regular readers. I’d like to do more long-form writing, but that’s just not in the cards these days.

Some highlights:

Century Blvd - railroad bridge remainsLos Angeles/California: I’ve been following the demolition of a bridge near LAX to make way for a future Metro station, wrote a series of thoughts on the California drought, and looked at a slowly emptying mall in Anaheim.

Lunar eclipse mosaicScience: I caught two eclipses this year: a total lunar eclipse with the family, and a partial solar eclipse near the office. Katie did her own controlled experiment on wireless signals and seeds following up on some of the questions that should have been asked in that school experiment that went viral back in spring.

Katie as Alice (OUATIW) cosplayEntertainment: I’ve been reviewing Les Miserables adaptations, including two movies, a comic book, a live parody and a children’s book. I also finally saw productions of Ragtime and Into the Woods. (Good ones, fortunately.) Comic-Con (San Diego), WonderCon, and Long Beach Comic Con of course, including Katie’s awesome Alice (Once Upon a Time in Wonderland) cosplay at SDCC. And then there was 5 things to do with a smart watch at Comic-Con (#1 is to wear it with a Dick Tracy costume).

Troubleshooting is what brings people in the most. Finding the missing Windows 8.1 update was the most popular post of the year, though it’s 15th on the list behind older posts, most of which are also tech tips. It seems wireless networking on Linux is still more challenging than it ought to be.

22 Egress 1/2 MileMostly I’ve been trying to continue the occasional series that have been here for so long: funny signs, interesting/odd photos & observations, comic conventions (though less of that these days). Admittedly that means there’s a lot of overlap with my Instagram and Flickr streams (even more now that my phone is good enough to be my most often-used camera), but I try to add description and context when I post here. On that note, an old photo of a long-gone freeway “Egress” sign got some surprise attention from Reddit at one point.

Rainbow over El Segundo Giant's Chess Set Restroom for ME 9 Cent Only Stores Exploring the Creek Sunset Palm Tree Female Magneto at WonderCon Use Vertical Transportation

Before the quick-status type social networks like Twitter and Facebook took off, it seemed like everyone was starting a blog. And every company seemed to want to get in on it: it wasn’t enough to have a forum, you had to have your own community, including — you guessed it — a blog.

Things change, of course. People move on to new interests. Businesses fold and are replaced with others. Online social activity has largely gravitated toward a small number of hubs. Hubs like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram. Old blogs are left unmaintained, and die. And those island communities like My Opera, or the Newsarama forums, or Comic Bloc, have also dried up, activity moving to the hot spots. Why go to the trouble of building your own social network when you can create a page on Facebook and be part of that one for free? That’s where your users/customers/fans are anyway!

So those special-purpose sites are going away too.

In addition to K-Squared Ramblings, I had a blog on LiveJournal (still there, but I haven’t updated it in years), and a blog on (also still there, but I changed its focus). I also had blogs at Spread Firefox, My Opera, and ComicSpace. I wrote for Opera Watch. I could swear I had something hosted by Flock even though I hardly ever used it.

I’ve been slowly migrating a lot of that material from those blogs to this one.

  • I had two convention reports on LiveJournal, and a zillion of them here. I copied over the two posts and cross-linked them.
  • After SpreadFirefox and Opera Watch shut down, I pulled what I could from and posted the more useful/interesting bits here.
  • When I finally figured out I wanted to make Parallel Lines a photo blog, I went through the earliest posts and brought over one or two posts that were worth keeping.

The latest is My Opera shutting down. It was announced back in October, which gives you an idea of how often I go there these days. Fortunately, they announced the closure early and provided tools to download your blog posts (with comments) and files.

Looking through 27 posts, a lot more of them than I thought turned out to be cross-posts or otherwise duplicate content. I found just seven with unique content that might be worth importing (one of those was only unique because my corresponding Spread Firefox post was already gone!), either for current or historical interest, and three duplicates with their own comment threads that might be worth merging. I particularly wanted to save On Broken HTML, and was amused to find this rant against combined stop and reload buttons, a fight that’s been completely lost.

Some content has gone the other way, though: After I launched Speed Force back in 2008, I started putting most of my comics-related thoughts there, or cross-posting them. And just last year, I started my Re-reading Les Misérables project in the pages of this blog, before breaking it off as its own subsite. The difference is that those are both self-hosted sites under my control. As long as I have access to web hosting and domain registration, and as long as I have backups, I’m set.

Wow, is the year over already? Here are this blog’s five most popular posts of 2012.

Don’t Use Third-Party Links in Email – Object Lesson: Comic-Con Registration (March)
Being both a comics fan and a long-time email administrator put me in the perfect place to analyze what went wrong when Comic-Con International tickets went on sale. I got linked to by a couple of high-profile sites, resulting in a lot of views during the first few days after the debacle and making March 3 the blog’s busiest day of the year. It quickly trailed off to almost nothing, and didn’t even get a blip when tickets for next year’s con went on sale. It’ll probably be forgotten next year.

Tablet Tip: Using Bookmarklets with Chrome for Android (August)
The two things that seem to pull in perennial traffic are popular images and troubleshooting articles. In this case, I describe how to use bookmarklets on Chrome for Android, since the normal way (clicking on a menu/icon) doesn’t work. (Two words: auto complete.) This one started slow, but since mid-September it’s pulled in more and more views every month.

Nexus 7 + USB Cable = Finally! Photo Uploads Without a Laptop! (October)
This post detailed how I was able to connect my Nexus 7 tablet to my camera, to thumb drives, and to keyboards and mice. It turns out all you need is a $1 cable adapter and a $3 app. This has been another slow but steady post, with a spike in visits shortly after Christmas. These two troubleshooting posts are actually in the top three for December (

Photos: Solar Eclipse from Los Angeles (May)
I went out to a hilltop park in Palos Verdes to watch May’s solar eclipse, which was an 85% partial eclipse in Southern California. I stumbled into an impromptu eclipse festival, with lots of individuals and groups who had all brought different equipment and were happy to share. A link from brought in a lot of visits for the first week or so, and then it trailed off with a couple of spikes, one in June (not sure why) and another during the November eclipse.

WonderCon in Anaheim – A Great Weekend Comic-Con (March)
Another post following the typical event pattern of a sharp initial spike and steep drop-off, but this one hasn’t vanished quite so thoroughly as the others…probably because of the uncertainty for most of this year as to where next year’s con would be. What I find particularly interesting is that more people have viewed this post than my write-up of this year’s San Diego convention.