WordPress.com storage

The nice people here at WordPress.com have upgraded our storage to 3 GB, for free. Storage of certain file types (video, audio) still requires a paid upgrade – which seems a little odd, but is not an issue for me.

If you’re thinking about starting up a blog and don’t want to host it yourself, there are plenty of options these days. I’ve had an excellent experience here at WordPress and would certainly recommend them to you.

That’s me for the year

So 2007 jumps the buffers and careers through the back wall of the station.

I’m heading south to Sydney tomorrow for 10 days of overeating, oversleeping and sitting on the beach watching the waves roll in. There won’t be a laptop or internet connection to be seen.

It’s been another great year of interaction with science bloggers from around the world. Happy holidays to you all, normal service resumes Jan 2 2008.

It’s what you say, not how you say it

Like most bloggers, I keep an eye on my blog statistics (and try not to get too obsessive about it).

I frequently see a spike when Genome Technology Online link to one of my posts. The previous post, on Facebook apps for scientists, resulted in my biggest spike ever – 798 views in a day. Somewhat surprising at first, given that it was a short, uninformative post linking to a far better blog article (Bertalan, I hope that you received some traffic!)

What this tells me is not that my post was great, but that people are very interested in what Facebook (and perhaps social networks in general) can do for scientists. Next question: what should we (the “web 2.0 for science” community) be doing better to capitalise on that interest?

Note to self

Never blog at the end of a long, difficult week when tiredness and cynicism have won out against raw enthusiasm.

My thoughts yesterday on JournalFire, an online journal club to promote science discussion, were not at all coherent or insightful, so I took the unusual step of deleting a post. Web initiatives by bright, enthusiastic people should always be welcomed and I hope each and every one of them finds an audience and makes a mark.

Normal service will resume next week.

An anniversary of sorts

It’s one year today since I installed myself here at wordpress.com. Statistics as of now: 518 posts, 616 comments, 63 060 views. Oh yes, and 14 828 spams.

I’d tried a few blog solutions before moving here: I started with blosxom, then a horrible “WordPress inside Joomla” installation, both on an old work server. Neither of those were widely accessed or read. If you’re starting out, I highly recommend a free, hosted blogging solution. It instantly removes the stress of administration and lets you concentrate on what matters – posting and discussion.

So thanks to WordPress for their service and to you for visiting. I’m enjoying the experience a lot, here’s to another year of fruitful bioinformatics discussions.

Random WordPress fun

The latest toy from WordPress serves up a random post from your blog. Just add “?random” to the end of your blog URL. I should add that as a sidebar link. Try it out here.

Other new options are a tag cloud widget and drop-down boxes for other widgets. Nice ideas but perhaps rushed to release too early. I found the tag cloud to be big and ugly (with this theme at least) and the category widget drop-down is completely broken. Still, 9/10 for effort.

Update: the drop-down issue seems to be fixed now

Too many networks

I’ve really warmed to the idea of social networking in recent months. There’s a drawback though – you end up subscribed to a lot of different websites, with (possibly) a lot of usernames and passwords. I suppose OpenID is supposed to alleviate this but this list of OpenID sites includes few that interest me. WordPress users – your blog URL is your OpenID, FAQ here.

I’ve created a new page titled “social networks” at this site (see Pages menu, left). Its main function is to remind me of the places where I maintain “web presence”, but perhaps there’s also something of interest to others there.

Home again

Bundeena wharf Happy 2007! 1/52 gone already – judging by the blogs, I’m part of the phenomenon named the great British skive by the Guardian. In my defence, I point out that many people work through most of the year without a break and save up their leave for the end.

My first task for the year is to regain enthusiasm for work. The break was spent surrounded by beaches, clear blue water and bush. The most challenging questions each day were where to swim and whether it was time to walk the dogs. Someone remind me what I do for a living?

Happily, there’s already plenty of online inspiration. Pedro shows us the fruits of his labours in a study of protein interactions. Carl Zimmer, the only contributor at ScienceBlogs worth reading regularly IMHO, has a piece in PLoS Computational Biology on the value of comparative genomics. Both Jonathan Eisen and Bill Hooker share their Open Access New Year resolutions. And over at Nodalpoint, we’re having our annual debate on the worth of the NAR Database Issue.

My hopes for the year include the complete destruction of the current academic research model and its replacement with a system centred on data quality and accessibility, rather than impact factors and individual egos :). Failing that, I’ll settle for a few publications and a permanent position.

Non-work-related goal for the year: get a decent image gallery online. On the left are a few holiday snaps from beautiful Bundeena. From top to bottom: the ferry wharf at Bundeena; a view from the bush across Port Hacking to the beaches of Cronulla and the Sydney skyline; Oscar and Lulu (sadly for me they were just for Christmas); a red-bellied black snake.

Back to it then.

Bundeena bush
Oscar and Lulu
Red-bellied black snake


It’s likely to be quiet round here until January 8th or so. Yes, I’m done for the year. Off to Sydney tomorrow for a couple of weeks in the lovely resort of Bundeena. There’ll be nothing to do but walk in the Royal National Park, swim, look after a couple of puppies and generally chill. There may be internet access, but who cares.

Happy holidays to you all, see you on the other side.