Fledge retires… enter Otakun

I have a little announcement of sorts, which is entirely meta and has no real significance whatsoever other than the purely semantic. I’ve decided to retire my “Fledgling Otaku” nickname and adopt a new pseudonymous persona, “Otaku Kun”. If you’re so inclined, you can abbreviate that as otakun instead of fledge – and my email contact is also updated accordingly to otakun at haibane dot info.

I started this blog almost four years ago almost entirely due to the influence of Steven den Beste, who I consider my anime blogfather and inspiration for embracing anime. It’s Steven who christened me “fledgling otaku” and I’ve been enormously proud of that. However, with 4 years and nearly 900 posts, I think it’s time to stop pretending I’m a newbie and admit that I’m an addict, not just of anime but of all things otaku/geek. The category list at right bears witness to the absurd breadth of my compulsions.

I’ve also resolved to blog more regularly here, because I’ve found that much of what I’ve written has been invaluable as a reference in sharing these works of art and fiction with my friends. I want to try and capture as much of it as I can, and maybe even share it with my kids as they get older. So i will be posting more often, at a minimum.

However, I also want to try and shake things up a little. That means for one thing a fresh look and redesign, which I’ll get around to soon. But also I’d like to build a cadre of peers here to encourage more discussion and participation, because in every case I’ve found that when you folks engage and leave comments, I learn so much more, and am able to derive that much more enjoyment and appreciation from all of this. It’s a value multiplier, and I’d like for it to become the focus. I have some ideas in that regard but I’ll save that for later.

So, at the risk of giving myself multiple personality disorder, this is Fledgling Otaku, signing out. Otakun, the floor is yours!

The @Otakusphere comes to Twitter

I have created a Twitter account, @Otakusphere which is an aggregate of all the blogs I link to in my sidebar and which are indexed by the Otakusphere Search Engine. The advantage of this over an RSS feed is that each link takes you to the original blog instead of viewing the post in the blog’s feed. It’s actually being aggregated via an Otakusphere Room at Friendfeed wich makes it very easy to manage the source feeds which pipe into twitter via Twitterfeed. If you’re on twitter, follow @otakusphere and if you aren’t, you can subscribe to the aggregate RSS feed.

Drastic my Anime

Finally got around to adding Drastic my Anime blog to the blogroll (and the Otakusphere search engine).

I’m increasingly disillusioned with google reader for keeping up to date. Its better than visiting sites manually, but I’d rather have a twitter-based model. I am thinking of setting up a twitter feed dedicated to the same blogs as the Otakusphere search engine (henceforth abbreviated as the OSE). Will work on this and report back when I’ve got something to show…

The Otakusphere Search Engine

It’s somewhat ironic that after having finally settled on a blogroll length of manageable size and purpose (namely, just the blogs I read on a regular basis), my embrace of a RSS feed reader essentially rendered the idea of a blogroll moot. But as a reference of sites I recommend, it still has value. I find myself relying on the sites on my blogroll almost exclusively when researching anime series to watch, as well as finding the diversity of topics beyond anime very well-matched to my tastes (such as games, movies, science fiction, etc). I have increasingly found myself doing custom google searches on site:chizumatic.mee.nu or site:nickistre.net etc etc all the time, which became somewhat cumbersome. So, in search of a better solution, I decided to roll my own search engine for my personal slice of the Otakusphere. Using Google’s backend, now, the search box on Haibane.info searches every site on my blogroll (see the Otakusphere section on the sidebar to the right). You can also access the Otakusphere search engine directly without visiting Haibane.info by visiting http://bit.ly/otakusphere ((which redirects to a very ugly Google URL. The google folks very badly need to read this screed by Dave Winer on the topic)). You can even embed the search box on your own site – see below the fold for the relevant HTML code for cut and paste.

The Otakusphere search is of course very highly tuned to my needs and tastes. However i do want it to be of more general use, so i woudl like to solicit suggestions for high-value sites in the Otakusphere for inclusion. I’m looking for sites that have a lot of in-depth reviews of anime titles in particular. Note that since most of the sites I am already including tend to link to smaller sites with detailed reviews ((particularly Pete at Ani-nouto, who is very skilled at finding excellent quality reviews from the furthest reaches of the Otakusphere)), these sites will get indexed too, since the Otakusphere search also indexes pages linked from the core sites. Still, there must be other great aggregators of reviews out there that i’ve missed, so please do let me know.

I assume that very few people are going to use this as often as I do. In a sense, by using it I am being counterproductive since searches on my site will now lead more often away from my content than towards it. Still, since I blog primarily for my own benefit, that’s exactly the way i want it to behave. I hope it’s of some use to others as well.

Continue reading “The Otakusphere Search Engine”

Old Home Bulletin Board

I’ve been meaning to mention that if anyone really wants to get into in-depth Haibane Renmei discussion, the Old Home Bulletin Board is still the best place for it. I’ve linked a few times before but figured it deserves a mention of its own. It isn’t the most vibrant arena around but it has a lot of loyal regulars. If you’re new to HR then finish watching and then go check out OHBB asap!

I do have a gripe; lately they have required that you must be a registered user and logged in to even view the posts. This level of security strikes me as obstructionist; the usual convention for web fora is to require registration to post, but anyone can read. I hope they reconsider. I hope it wasn’t due to some issue with their hosting; if so then I for one would be happy to help then out.