What’s with the banana icons

Pop quiz: did you notice the tiny 16×16 banana icons Terminalist in the comment threads? I have added them about a week ago and was wondering if anyone will notice anything. Few people did. I explained this in the comments before but I figured I might as well kill a post and explain them here.

Basically, these are regular reader badges. If you have been regularly commenting on my posts here, you should have one. You can test it out by commenting here. If you don’t have one, and want it, let me know and I will change that. This is basically a little token of my appreciation for continuously contributing to this blog and making it more entertaining than if it was just me blabbing all the time. Oh, and if you for some reason don’t want a banana badge send me an email and I will take it off.

The whole thing basically works just like Gravatars do – it is tied to your email. For now I am just manually adding emails to the list. I considered making it automatic – for example based on number of comments you have posted but I figured that having a count query for each comment could put a strain on my already slow website. Besides, don’t think WordPress db has an index on the email column, and while I could add one it seemed that manual addition was the way to go. At least for now.

Btw, I’m totally open to suggestions regarding the icon. Basically it needs to be 16×16 but other than that, we could make it anything. I originally wanted to use a star icon, but didn’t have one handy. I did however had this tiny banana icon already on the server – so I used it for testing. In the end I decided that bananas were funnier than stars to begin with. But if you have an awesome icon that we could use, or feel like making one let me know and I swap it out.

Here is a question for you: which posts of mine do you enjoy the most, and which do you usually skip over? Which sort of thing do you think I should do more, and what should I cut out. Usually the way I get a feel for what people enjoy reading is by looking at the number of comments – which is not always indicative of how many people read and enjoyed the post. I know that I often read some excellent blog posts and don’t comment on them because I don’t have anything interesting to add to the discussion. So here is your chance to let me know.

For example, does anyone actually like when I review SF books here? I like to post these because every once in a while I get good recommendations for my reading list. Also, I like to read book reviews from bloggers I like and respect because it is usually easier to calibrate my taste against theirs than against random Amazon reviews and what not. On the other hand, I’ve been told by several people that they usually skip over these posts. The blog doesn’t really have a theme as such, but the core topics are probably:

  • SF/Fantasy Movie and TV Show Reviews
  • Video Game Reviews
  • SF/Fantasy Book Reviews
  • Programming how-to posts
  • IT related how-to posts
  • General technology related rants
  • SF musings – theorizing about future and etc..
  • Random humor
  • Copyright/DRM related rants
  • I don’t remember

That’s sort of the breakdown I have in my mind right now, though it fluctuates and changes over time. Essentially I write about whatever strikes my fancy at any given time. But, I do take suggestions and advice from the readers seriously. I already got some comments about this in the de-lurking post last week, but his is another chance for you to state your preferences here.

So if you would have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them. For example, if you would like me to review a particular game or movie. Have me write a post on what I think about particular topic. That stuff definitely helps – I can put int on my queue and use it whenever I get a writers block.

Also, if you have any requests (like comment editing plugin – I know, I’m looking for a decent one right now) please post them here as well.

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29 Responses to What’s with the banana icons

  1. Reacocard UNITED STATES Google Chrome Linux says:

    Figured that was what those icons were. :)

    Does anyone actually like when I review SF books here?

    Absolutely. I love having new sources for books and your tastes seem to run pretty similar to mine.

    I’ve been told by several people that they usually skip over these posts.

    Well that’d kind of the nature of blogs. Not everyone is going to be interested in reading everything you have to say. That doesn’t matter, it’s YOUR blog, it should be about what interests you, not some subset of your interests that some subset of your commenting readers happens to like. To me, that slightly random quality is part of what makes it interesting, because it lets me discover things I’d never have encountered otherwise.

    On a completely different note, is it bad that the first thing that popped into my head when reading the bit about the bananas is this video? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LH5ay10RTGY

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  2. k00pa FINLAND Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    Testing out the banana icon!

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  3. didn’t quite explain itself like the small tux up there..^^
    not that i did notice them before

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  4. jambarama UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    You asked which of your posts I like best. I don’t play many video games, and I’m not into a lot of scifi, so I often skip those posts. I like reading the tech trouble shooting posts when I’ve had similar problem, but otherwise I skip those too.

    That isn’t to suggest you should stop doing them, I’m sure they’re relatively easy to write up (relative to other posts), and I’m not going to stop reading the stuff I like because I don’t care about “The Witcher.”

    I always read your posts reflecting on some policy, society, technology, law, or idea. You’re a good writer. I comment only when I have a response or related thought. I probably read a dozen posts for every comment I leave. I’m very glad to have found a regular-posting blog with a great ratio of substantive content to posts. Too many other blogs require me to wade through a swamp of anecdotes, punditry, and posts with just a single link – for every good solid post.

    PS: I’ve got a banana! Like you said, I think it is funnier than a star. Plus, unlike a star or something more traditionally connected with privilege, a banana doesn’t imply any special knowledge – e.g. no one will take my post more seriously than any other because it has a banana. That might not be the case with a star.

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  5. Yes, I noticed them on the last post. Guessed what it was based on topic and verified on mouse over. Honoured. :)

    I read most or all of your posts. Come by in between if I feel I can contribute.
    Love the “guess the game” stuff, and add some reviewed bookes to my “need to read” list. I Enjoy your lUser stories, and learn a bit from your “keep this for later” and “teach you all something” posts.

    I also enjoy about half of your /dev/random posts.

    Hrm. Not much help perhaps, just a “keep up the good work” :)

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  6. dawn SWITZERLAND Mozilla Firefox Linux says:

    I’ve been reading your blog daily for more than 2 years now, but I seldom have anything constructive to say.

    I enjoy your rants and I’m alwaysy happy when you recommend obscure and thought-provoking films like Primer. The one article which really surprised me was somewhat like a short story: What if the World Died Tomorrow? I loved it.

    I hope this comment goes through; I’m having trouble convincing the spam filters that I’m not a bot.

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  7. MrJones GERMANY Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Reminds me of Charlie the Unicorn, The banana King :D
    especially the music http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xy2IVj88Ays

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  8. Also, when I say “last post”, I meant the one before the last; when I was in there commenting :)

    And when I say “Come by” I meant to say I read almost every post in Google Reader, and visit if I think I might comment.

    I avoid commenting 3 out of 4 times, realizing what I have written wouldn’t add anything worthwhile to the issue. Or funny. Funny is worthwhile. :)

    Oh, and banana is better than star. No better suggestion here, really. You can’t change it now, though. Perhaps at the next redesign, but not now.

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  9. ST/op DENMARK Google Chrome Linux Terminalist says:

    Bananas are fine for greasemonkeys!

    As stated before, I skip mostly gaming stuff and love most of the rest, but it’s your shit, so write whatever you feel like writing – you’re pretty good at it.
    (OK, I enjoy most IT, tech, SF-everything and general ranting!)
    Your howtos are great too… you actually made me have a closer look at LaTeX.

    Keep it terminally incoherent :P

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  10. Steve CANADA Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    Banana icon check. I pretty much read everything

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  11. Jereme Kramer UNITED STATES Google Chrome Linux says:

    The only posts I ever really skip over are the video game reviews, just because I like my video games mindless, rather unlike you.

    I like your book and movie reviews — I usually agree with them and they almost always lead me to new things to read.

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  12. IceBrain PORTUGAL Mozilla Firefox Linux Terminalist says:

    I agree with @jambarama on one thing: this is the only blog I follow for more than a week. I usually subscribe to them and a few days later I’m annoyed at the filtering I have to do, and unsubscribe.

    As for contents, I tend to read every post except those about RPGs; not because I dislike the posts themselves, but because I don’t care about that specific genre.

    I especially love the rants (about mostly anything) and the SF reviews, although they’re piling up on my Starred items until I get around to read/watch them (if I get around to finish Brave New World…).

    As for the banana icons, I noticed them and I hovered my mouse and read the title, so I knew what they meant, and I didn’t want to “soil” a comment thread by offtopic’ing.
    Although I assumed they were automatically generated: doing stuff manually horrifies me :P

    You don’t even need a realtime counter – I’d do a Python script to process the backup of the database offline, and output a list ready for inserting.

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  13. Hector SPAIN Google Chrome Linux says:

    I skip some of the video game reviews, but on the other hand I’ve bought some video games you talked about, and I also put on my list some of the books and movies you review. The topics I enjoy the most are tech related rants, some are extremely funny. And I keep reading your posts on a daily basis… so my “request” would be that you keep writing whatever strikes your fancy :-)

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  14. mcai8sh4 UNITED KINGDOM Google Chrome Linux Terminalist says:

    I tend to read all of the posts – although I’m not really big into games, and I dont have much time to read SF, but all your post tend to be entertaining, so worth a read. I like the technical stuff, the educational ones and the rants.

    I don’t care about what you write about, as long as it honest and not forced. I think the variety of the post topics gives you a larger audience, and also (for me) let’s me look into things I normally wouldn’t.

    Now all I can think about is what type of icon a Terminalist should have…

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  15. Stefanie BELGIUM Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    I enjoy most of your posts, and particularly the technology and computer-related ones. I’m not into gaming either but it’s true that those posts tend to be entertaining, too so I usually don’t skip them.

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  16. Alex UNITED STATES Google Chrome Mac OS says:

    Although I read just about everything, I particularly enjoy:
    -Movie/TV/Book reviews
    -Rants of any sort
    -IT/Programming how-to

    Post suggestion: How-To: integrating/manipulating graphics with LaTeX

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  17. Zel FRANCE Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    I read most of your posts and particularly enjoy those about IT stories, opinions about current or future tech, and video games reviews/armchair design. On the other hand, I often skip the how-tos if they’re about something I seldom use (like smartphones or LaTeX).

    If you’re still searching for a comment editing plugin, I’d suggest something simple like what Shamus Young’s site had before it went ‘2.0’. It used to change the comment box into a text area already containing what was written before, and the two Post and Preview buttons at the bottom. Simple, seamless, fast, very well integrated, and allowed scrolling up the page and typing without having the area in view. I don’t know what it was called, but being the programming god that you are, you can probably free up 2 minutes and make one yourself ;)

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  18. Rob UNITED STATES Google Chrome Windows Terminalist says:

    Although I like the banana you could take a look through the Fam Fam Fam Silk icon set to see if there’s anything different you might want to use: http://www.famfamfam.com/lab/icons/silk/

    I guess I read just about everything, but don’t always read. Some days I don’t always feel like reading period, but not because I’m not interested in what you posted. Those days I’ll either take a break or just skim real quick.

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  19. Douglas AUSTRALIA Google Chrome Windows says:

    Rants are always fun to read (I myself rant quite a lot about a variety of things), and anything about technology is also a good read even if it’s not currently relevant to me (random IT knowledge can always come in useful). The reviews of books I generally read to see if there’s anything interesting that you’ve read, but the games, eh, I tend to skip those.

    But what you write is high-quality material, I have no issues with it and if you’re happy with it, don’t change it. :D

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  20. Adrian BELGIUM Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    I read all your posts. Except the -very- lengthy ones, and the follow ups of game reviews. For example, I read your reviews of Mass Effect 2 and The Witcher, but didn’t read the in depth ones about specific things within the games.
    But that’s probably because I haven’t played those games yet.

    I love your rants btw, you express yourself very well about being pissed off.

    PS: As a lot have previously said here: It’s your blog, write whatever the hell you want, we’ll probably just like it.

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  21. Alphast NETHERLANDS Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    I read all your posts and often comment. As IceBrain, I had figured out already what the bananas were. And they are well, totally banana! Love them, don’t change a thing. As for what I like here, usually it’s your book, movies and video game reviews. Although I don’t agree all the time, our tastes are close enough more than often.

    By the way, I just managed to put my hand on an Oblivion GotY edition and reinstalled the whole game up clean, then patched it. And I’ll mod it asap. Replaying The Witcher made me want to play Oblivion again. And Morrowind, of course. Funnily enough, I got a request last week, from fans of paper RPG game Legends of the Five Rings for a collaboration on making some kind of video game for L5R. I advised to use Oblivion as base engine and create a total conversion. I hope this project goes through, as it would merge both of my favorite games ever.

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  22. Chrissy UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Mac OS says:

    I enjoy Movie Reviews, Video Game Reviews (the basic ones, not the in-depth ones), General technology related rants (especially having to do with stupid users), and Random humor.

    I think the first post that brought me to this blog was about your personality based on which browser you use.

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  23. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Linux Terminalist says:

    Thanks guys! I shall take your advice to heart and write about whatever the hell I want. :)

    It is really interesting to see how different people here are drawn to different things I write about. We really seem to be a quite diverse group with lots of different interests and attitudes – which is great.

    @ IceBrain:

    That’s actually an excellent idea. Or… Or or or, instead of doing a count each time I could create a view in the database. Have it show only commentators above certain post threshold and put an index on the email column,

    Actually, there might be a way to run that query once, per page then load the list of emails into an array and just do a quick look-up for each post.

    Sigh… I wish the WordPress plugin API documentation wasn’t such shit. Seriously – it took me like an hour to realize I was using the wrong method to fetch the email address when I was doing the banana thing – and that was after I jumped in and started reading the source code of random plugins I had installed..

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  24. I like anything with technical content, sci-fi, and book reviews. Least favorite would be ones about video games and television shows.

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  25. Matt` UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    If I remember correctly from before, I’ve got me a banana (/me feels special) To take the subject list one line at a time…

    # SF/Fantasy Movie and TV Show Reviews
    Always good to hear about stuff if I’ve missed it

    # Video Game Reviews
    I seem to have stopped buying games… so not so useful to me, but often entertaining anyway

    # SF/Fantasy Book Reviews
    Not so very interesting to me.

    # Programming how-to posts
    # IT related how-to posts
    I zone out a little from the technical stuff that’s beyond me, but the tales of working IT are normally fun to read

    # General technology related rants
    Gotta love a good rant

    # SF musings – theorizing about future and etc..
    Likewise, gotta love a good bit of armchair theorising.

    # Random humor
    It’s what the internet was designed for… if you ignore all the things it was actually designed for.

    # Copyright/DRM related rants
    Rants on any subject make for entertaining reading.

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  26. Tino UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    I did notice the banana/terminalist icon before, but now it means a lot more when you say you added me by hand :) Thanks!

    I see you yourself also post with a terminalist icon. You should really change that to terminalord:D

    I’m joining the “post whatever you want” crowd. But I will say that I much enjoy the occasional support/lusers story. Also, what really gets me to come here and comment are the more odd posts. Like when we were discussing what to do during a groundhog day loop, that was one of my personal favorites.

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  27. Karen UNITED STATES Internet Explorer Windows says:

    I read just about everything. I really enjoy your rants (any type), SF/Book reviews, etc.

    I don’t post much – I’m more of a lurker…

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