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.

reading material

Two new blogs to watch –

Ogiue Maniax – there’s no paucity of intelligent analysis on anime, but for some reason this stands out from the crowded field.

Schoolgirl Milky Crisis – insider commentary on the anime industry, with the most hilarious title ever. I must take serious issue though with his utterly ludicrous insinuation that Whisper of the Heart was superior to The Cat Returns.

I also enjoyed this old (1978) essay from Philip K. Dick, now available online, entitled “How to Build a Universe That Doesn’t Fall Apart Two Days Later.” PKD was always fascinated by teh nature of reality and the question of what is authentically human (He would have been a fan of Galactica, for sure). In this essay he wanders around the question of what is reality for real, rather than just what is reality in fiction. It is a strange read, and an intimate one.


is it just me, or does the otakusphere seem filled with political posts these past few weeks?

I am not knocking anyone’s choice of blogging subject material, but I am finding it harder to use the otakusphere as my release valve for the bitter and divided one-sidedness of the poli-sphere (left and right alike). I am not above that fray – in fact I am actively and proudly a partisan myself – but one of the great things about the otakusphere is that it is one of the few common grounds left on which we can meet our putative idoelogical opponents on without acrimony.

At any rate the solution is simple; if you don’t like what others are writing about, don’t read it. But I am looking forward to this election season being over so we can all go back to discussing the important things.

engineering a debate

Steven was previously mulling about a change in his comments policy, and today just pulled a post because it (apparently) triggered some rather heated debate. I’ve noticed that Steven in particular tends to attract a lot of this sort of comment abuse – perhaps a better term for it is “signal saturation” because unlike spam or trolls, this isn’t a noise problem, it’s too much signal.

One thing I’ve noticed is that these incidents always tend to occur in the context of an engineering discussion. Whether it’s the scalability of solar energy or the relative merits of liquid vs solid fuel for rockets, it always boils down to numbers. In contrast to engineers, we scientists tend to have less of an attention span, ending up on wild tangents rather than being able to focus on one topic long enough to disagree on fine details such as these. I wonder if these predilections are hard-wired into our career profiles.

At any rate, it’s because I don’t have people crawling over every word I post with rebuttals and counter-factuals that keeps my blogging fun. If I were in Steven’s shoes, I’d probably close comments entirely. As it is, I am thankful that my comment threads are pretty tame and invariably filled with interesting things and perspectives rather than nitpicking galore.