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Entries: 40,736
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Friday, 14 October, 2011

The End

After nine years, the J-Walk Blog has closed and will no longer be updated. However, the site will remain online (at least) through November, 2012.


Thanks for all of your support over the years. I'll see you on G+ and The Spreadsheet Page.

Permalink | Posted in Site News @2:49pm | Comments (0)

Thursday, 13 October, 2011

My Exit Interview: Part 3

I just have a few more questions. Shall we continue with the interview, Mr. Walkenbach?

Sure. Whatever.

Given the opportunity, the wish list, the ability to mess about with the Space-Time Continuum, who from the past or present would you invite around to your place to enjoy a meal with and what would be your menu of choice?

Dorothy Killgallon. Liver and Onions.

What is the thing that you have done that has made you the proudest?

I don't know.

Did something change in your lifestyle (health concerns, aging, jamming, writing, exercise) that made continuing the blog less important?


If it's Obama vs Romney, who will win?

I have no idea, and I don't even care.

jwmontana Do you happen to have a photo of yourself sitting in front of an ancient computer?

As a matter of fact, I do.

On a deserted island, can have music by only three artist, who would they be?

I hate questions like that. Next.

What's something you know you do differently than most people?

Nothing. I do everything just like everyone else.

Cheers, Bon Voyage and what the heck will I fill my time with at work now?

That's your problem. Maybe try doing some work for a change.

Can I come spend a night at your place when I make my trip across the United States on my bicycle from Cape Canaveral?


Do you have any interview questions you'd like to ask individual commenters?


Is it true that your books were a major influence on writers as diverse as Tom Clancy, Douglas Adams and the guy from the book with the movie with Tom Hanks?

Are we finished here?

Yes. The bottom of the barrel has been scraped. Thank you for your time, Mr. Walkenbach.

Don't mention it.

Permalink | Posted in Site News @8:27am | Comments (38)

Wednesday, 12 October, 2011

My Exit Interview: Part 2

Are you ready to continue the interview, Mr. Walkenbach?

Sure, go ahead. Ask me anything.

What blogging software did you use over the years? Which is your favorite?

I started out by using Microsoft FrontPage, of all things. It's not blogging software, but I wrote some VBA macros to make it look kind of like a blog. Then I switched to something else, and ended up using ExpressionEngine -- which is my favorite.  But I still used FrontPage to compose the posts. A few years ago, I also started using Microsoft Live Writer to compose the posts. It leaves much to be desired, but it works fine.

Besides deleting the spam comments & having to put up with the ignorant carp from nitwit, et al, what was the most tedious part of maintaining this blog?

Nothing, really. It works very smoothly and is incredibly easy to use.

Will you consider doing a "Best of the J-Walk Blog"?

I considered it, but it's way too much work. Rather, I'll make the complete blog archives (including comments) available to anyone who wants.

jwhs Do you happen to have an old photo of you from college?

As a matter of fact, I do.

You've been using Google + for several months. Is that like blogging, or do you consider that place as something completely different?

It's like a blogging in the sense that I post stuff, and read people's responses (if any). But I don't have to do any site maintenance, spam removal, or comment monitoring. So it's quite a bit easier.

Ok.. I have a serious question that you've dodged with prior inquires. Before your switch to G+, were you really going to permanently close the Blog?

Yes. I fully intended to end it after 10 years. But G+ just caused me to change the timeframe.

When will your Google+ thing shut down?

I don't know.

Which blog are you going to be commenting on?

Probably none. I still read a lot of blogs, but it's via RSS. In other words, I hardly ever visit the actual blog.

What has been your favorite content source for finding info for the blog? 

If you just want to see the same types of links that I post, you'll find them at Reddit, Fark, and Metafilter. What's missing, of course, is the nice group of commenters that hang out here.

Is there any part of you that will miss the redundant comments by Evil Klown, Wok, Nitwit, and their ilk?

No. They sometimes provided a different point of view, but by and large it was like listening to a broken record.

Have you prepared a press release for the end of J-Walk Blog? You should.

I have not, I will not, and I shouldn't.

Was Pamn involved in the decision to end the blog?

No. She learned about it by spotting the "End of Blog Countdown" in the sidebar.

How did you meet Pamn?

It was through an online dating service when we were both living in San Diego. That was 10 years ago.

How will you now channel your urge for alliteration?

Do you mean highbrow headlines such as Hundred Hackneyed Handwritten Headlines Have Happened Here, Habitues Hail Historic Handiwork? Those days are gone.

Be honest--you're going to miss the puns, aren't you?

No. Puns are allowed on G+.

Are you getting tired of these stupid questions, Mr. Walkenbach. Shall we continue this interview later?

Yes, please.

Permalink | Posted in Site News @8:08am | Comments (27)

Tuesday, 11 October, 2011

My Exit Interview: Part 1

Here are my responses to some of the reader-submitted questions.

Good morning, Mr. Walkenbach. Please have a seat and we'll begin the interview.

Thank you.

Why are you ending this blog?

I was hoping to make it last exactly 10 years, but then I realized that I was getting kind of bored with it. I always said that when it was no longer fun, I'd end it. So I chopped off the final year. When this blog ends, it will be nine years exactly.

How do you think the J-Walk Blog changed the world?

For nine years, it provided people with some amusement. And maybe, exposure to some controversial topics that they may not have been exposed to otherwise. It also gave Google about 49,000 additional pages for the index.

Plus, it provided a way for people to meet others. I think there are quite a few readers who have actually met in person.

inhawaii Do you happen to have a photo of you striking a stupid pose in front of a volcanic rock wall in Hawaii.

As a matter of fact, I do.

Did you have an agenda in mind when choosing topics for postings?

Not really. I just posted item that I found amusing, interesting, or absurd. Often, I posted items just to see how people would respond.

From the time you started this blog, have you changed your mind on any major issues?

Politics. I used to be completely apathetic about politics. Then I got excited about the 2008 election, and actually voted. Now I'm apathetic again.

Do you still find sites that strike you as being too weird, or have you become jaded by all the craziness?

There is no end to interesting site on the Web. When I think I've seen them all, I find more.

Have you run the numbers? Take all of the income from this blog, and subtract the expenses. Are you in the black?

As long as you don't count personnel expenses, I think I might be about a $1,000 in the black. Over the course of nine years, that works out to about $9.25 per month.

Will you ever reconsider blogging here (or similar)?

Unlikely. I think the popularity of blogs is on the decline. Or maybe it's just this one.

Why did you decide to move to the desert?

Because San Diego was too crowded and too congested. And the value of the two properties we owned were at the their peak. So we took the California real estate money and ran to a nearby place, Tucson.

Any urge to live somewhere else ? Do something else?

Sure. I can work anywhere, but I'm finding the pursuit of my main hobby somewhat limiting in Tucson. So I wouldn't mind living in a place that has an active old time music scene. Portland would be my choice, I think. But Pamn hates the weather there, so we'll probably stay in Arizona.

How did you get from your attained college degree to being an Excel book author?

It was a complete accident. I was always interested in computers, and I wrote lots of software reviews. One day, my editor at InfoWorld asked if I would consider writing a book. I was hesitant, but I did it. That book was a completely flop, but it didn't stop me from writing about 50 more.

If you were just now graduating from High School, what path would you take?

I haven't a clue. My entire career path has been an accident, so I'd probably just do the same I did.

How will you now fill the long, gaping, empty hours of the day when you are not plucking your banjo or engaging in those intense, brief spurts of Excel tome authoring?

I'll probably do what I already do, but maybe with a bit more banjo. The only difference is that I won't take the time to make blog posts. I should really spend that extra time trying to learn to play the fiddle. I might even update my Excel site.

Who are some of your favorite fiddler players, well-known or not?

In no particular order: Rayna Gellert, Wilson Douglas, Dan Levenson, Anna Roberts Gevalt, Chance McCoy, Alan Jabbour, Art Stamper, Clare Milliner, Erynn Marshall, Mary Jane Epps, Chirps Smith, and many more that don't come to mind immediately.

When did you first realize you had become a crotchety old coot?

I think it dawned on me about three years ago. I've now accepted it, and live with it on a daily basis.

Would you like to take a break and continue this interview later?

Yes, please.

(To be continued)

Permalink | Posted in Site News @9:47am | Comments (41)

Tuesday, 04 October, 2011

Interview Me

Several months ago, Curtis brought up the idea of a doing a "going away" interview with me. I turned him down, for reasons I don't remember. But now I've been thinking about doing a going away interview, to be posted on the final day of this blog.

One idea I came up with was to interview myself. But I'd probably ask only the easy questions. So, I'm asking the few remaining readers to submit interview questions. Just post your questions as a comment here. I will answer them, and post the complete interview on October 14.

Here's an artist's rendition of me thinking about an answer to a probing question:


Permalink | Posted in Site News @6:40pm | Comments (64)

Thursday, 29 September, 2011

Battle Of The Blogs

It's a movement. The Steel White Table blog is calling it quits in 10 days. This blog ends in 15 days.

I'm tempted to end this one in nine days, just to see if SWT would change theirs to eight. But I won't. There's something satisfying about making a blog last exactly nine years. My original plan of ten years would have been better because it's a nice round number. But nine is also a round number for people who are missing a finger.

I think most blogs never officially end. The owner just stops making posts.

Permalink | Posted in Site News @5:20pm | Comments (28)

Tuesday, 27 September, 2011

October 23

I've been in touch with my hosting company, and my hosting account will expire on October 24. So October 23 is the last day this blog will be accessible. Coincidentally, that's also the anniversary of the beginning of the War of Jenkin's Ear (1739) -- and, of course, Weird Al Yankovic's birthday.

I plan to create a complete archive of all posts and comments, and make it available to anyone who wants it.

Permalink | Posted in Site News @10:30am | Comments (52)

Sunday, 18 September, 2011

Should I Change The Questions?

The anti-spam answer has been 12 all week. Example:


Are you bored with typing 12 every time you post a comment?

I can specify as many as eight random questions for that anti-spam question that must be answered before commenting here. Right now, all eight questions have 12 as the answer.  It works perfectly because it thwarts the automated spammers, and it makes it easy for regulars to post a comment (they don't even have to read the question).

Please provide your input. I realize that this blog has only 26 days remaining, but I want to make them quality days.

Permalink | Posted in Site News @5:18pm | Comments (48)

Friday, 26 August, 2011

Prove That You’re Human

I implemented a new commenting feature today. Before you submit a comment, you must answer a question to prove that you're a human and not a computer posting spam.

We'll see how that works.

Permalink | Posted in Site News @9:56am | Comments (77)

Thursday, 25 August, 2011

We Have Returned

The Great Road Trip of 2011 has ended. It was a fun 3,432 mile trip, and it's great to be back home in Tucson. For the record, here's where we stayed:

  • Henderson, NV
  • Fallon, NV
  • Klamath Falls, OR
  • Portland, OR
  • Centralia, WA (3 nights)
  • Corvallis, OR
  • Crescent City, CA
  • Windsor, CA
  • Palm Springs, CA


Driving through California made me remember why we left that state. I can't understand how people can handle that bumper-to-bumper freeway traffic every day.


Permalink | Posted in Site News @4:31pm | Comments (30)

Wednesday, 10 August, 2011

Blog Closed For A While

closed Sorry folks. It's becoming impossible to run this blog without having to deal with a constant barrage of comment spam. So I'm going to shut it down for a while, and resume when we get back from our road trip -- probably around August 28.

In the meantime, I'll be on Google Plus -- which is still by invitation only. If you'd like to set up an account (very easy to do), try one of these links (each is good for 150):

Permalink | Posted in Site News @7:45pm | Comments (0)

Tuesday, 02 August, 2011

Closed Due To Spam

It looks like the spammers are taking over the comments. They are coming in faster than I can delete them.

So I'm turning off comments for the night. This might be a regular thing from now on. Or, maybe I'll just close this blog ahead of schedule, and declare a victory for the spammers.

Head over to Google Plus if you like. You can read, but you must have an account if you want to leave comments. Accounts are by invitation only for now. If you need an invitation, email me.

* * *

Wednesday morning: Comments are enabled.

Permalink | Posted in Site News @7:16pm | Comments (20)

A Prolific Day Of Blogging

This morning I made 9,382 blog posts. I incorporated all of the posts from the old archive into the current database.

It's a kind of tedious process because the import file format must be perfect. One error, and it bombs. But it worked just fine, thanks to my Excel VBA code.

I just did a calculation. Over the life of this blog (beginning October 15, 2002), I've averaged 12.5 posts per day.

Permalink | Posted in Site News @9:44am | Comments (11)

Sunday, 31 July, 2011

Blog Archive Status Update

For those people who are wanting a complete archive of all nine years of blog posts and comments, the news is good: It's definitely do-able.

archive Within a few days after this blog shuts down, I'll make the complete archives available on a 2-gigabyte USB flash drive.  I'm thinking it will cost about $10, including postage. If that seems too expensive, you can always copy the files to your hard drive, and re-use the flash drive.

Even better, even the old archives (pre October, 2005) will be nicely integrated into the archive. Currently, those old posts aren't really part of the blog. But today I figured out how to import them into the system -- something I should have done about six years ago. All it took was a free program called TXT Collector (to concatenate all of the files), plus an awesome VBA macro written by yours truly.

The archiving will be done using HTTrack -- a fine piece of open source software. Even images posted in comments will be in the archive, so you won't miss out on a single thing.

It's been fun having a project to work on.

Permalink | Posted in Site News @5:28pm | Comments (28)

Saturday, 30 July, 2011

I Keep It Simple

Here's Google's reading level analysis of the articles at The J-Walk Blog.

reading level

If you're curious, here's an example of a post with an advanced reading level: Violent Stooges.

Permalink | Posted in Site News @2:43pm | Comments (5)

Thursday, 28 July, 2011

Blog Archive Plans

In 78 days, this blog will be put to rest. I'll keep it online for as long as my hosting contract lasts. But several people have indicated that they'd like to have an off-line archive.

I think I figured out a relatively easy way to do that. I create a temple template that creates a page with one month's worth of posts. I can display that in my browser, and then do as "Save Page As" and get an HTML document along with a directory of all the images. I was surprised to discover that embedded videos also work, as long as your connected to the internet. It's a manual process, but it takes only about two minutes to generate and save a month's worth of posts. So I'll just be working on this, a bit at a time.

The main limitation is no comments. It would be nice to be able to save all of the comments, but there's really no easy way to do that. Maybe I can take requests and generate lists of comments made by specific people. They would be totally out of context, but they might be interesting to read.

So that's what I plan to do, and anybody who wants it can have it.

Permalink | Posted in Site News @4:35pm | Comments (75)

Friday, 22 July, 2011

Blog Closure

The plan was revealed in Weekend Open Mic 20110722.

In 84 days, I need to find a nice zebra butt image to post. If you have any concerns or question, use this post. I didn't mean to hijack the Open Mic post with Google Plus stuff.

Permalink | Posted in Site News @7:35pm | Comments (84)

Wednesday, 20 July, 2011

Usage Poll Results

Here's the tally from yesterday's Usage Poll, in which I asked everyone to follow some simple instructions, written at the 3rd grade level. I asked about the type of system you use, and your location.


Of the 215 responses, 12 were unusable. I had to correct at least 10 others. But, the vast majority of people followed the instructions. And to those people, I tip my hat and give them a polite round of applause.

61% use a desktop system -- by far the most common. And 66% were responding from home. The Desktop/Home combination accounts for 41% of the respondents. As you can see, desktop systems are used only at home and work. Apparently, nobody takes their desktop computer to a coffee shop or uses one in car.

About 7% access this site using a mobile device (including an iPad).

Permalink | Posted in Site News @10:31am | Comments (14)

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