It’s been one year that this Blog dedicated to the Pandora has opened its doors, and its evolution kind of mimics my experience with the Pandora. Getting my first model in 2012, then progressively becoming more involved with the Community, going back to coding stuff in my spare time… to realizing the lack of a good online resource dedicated to the Pandora (apart from the boards). “Hey, if no-one is doing it, then I will do it myself”. That’s how it all started.
I don’t really talk about myself and my previous experiences on this blog, but once in a while it does not hurt. I’ve been writing for a long time. Somehow it seems everything started from my childhood, at some point when we were 12 years old or something, in the class we had a kind of psychological profiling with an external consultant. I had a final appointment, just like everyone else, with the said consultant, and I was told that I had the characteristics of a Writer. Self fulfilling prophecy ? I have no idea, but it is certainly true I had always liked writing more than expressing myself through other means. My real experience with writing started with the French web magazine SANQUALIS dedicated about video games. It was a very amateur project at first, kind of the regular news/reviews websites about video games you had all around the web, but after a couple of years, I decided to change its positioning completely and make it into a true magazine, called SANQUA, in PDF format with actual magazine-like layout. In the later issues we even produced some kind of short trailers every time we were nearing the release date. That was fun. This one below was made for one issue where we had an in-depth interview with Mercury Steam in Spain, the creators of Jericho and of the recent Castlevania reboot on modern consoles.
You can see a flash-based version of that issue on… Issuu as well. Yeah, French only, sorry about that.
Over the years, with the help of friends and people who joined the project, we ended up releasing more than 50 issues of that magazine. While it’s been regarded (in France) as one of the most decent written pieces on videogames by several game industry veterans, the magazine failed to reach mainstream popularity. And it’s probably natural, I was always more attracted towards how games were made and developed, and towards game industry analysis rather than writing game reviews and adding a score for those who couldn’t bother reading text. Despite its lack of popularity, I’m extremely proud of the work done by the team on every issue, we have had very talented people writing in there from many different walks of life. If you can read French, and if you like what you have read on PandoraLive so far, I’d recommend you check out what we have done in the past there.
However, from 2010 onwards, I was getting really tired with my writing and felt very down when it came to write another 100 pages again for the next issue of SANQUA. I have been delaying, postponing my writing duties, and bit by bit I now realize I was looking for a break, for a side project to relax for a while and catch my breath again. In late 2011, I learnt about the Pandora from one of my good friends in Tokyo, and a few months later, I was ordering my first Rebirth. Needless to say, I was very excited by it, and I had been spending a lot of time just playing around and exploring the possibilities of the device… and yeah, I was still not moving on with my writing work at all. I was being distracted, or should I say entertained by this new toy.
And then I noticed that, apart from the boards and their ongoing discussions, there was not much to read about the Pandora. I observed the void for a while, expecting to see someone raising their hand and starting a blog on their own, but nothing happened. So I decided to step forward, and start my very first blog in English. I had no idea how well it would be received, but I certainly had my own views on a blog should be designed to be lively and interesting to read. The motivation I lost over the previous years suddenly rushed back, and it felt like being Garth in Wayne’s World right there:
“…and the rest is History.”
Erm. Who am I kidding here? We’re just talking about PandoraLive after all.
Anyway. It’s been one year, and to celebrate, I thought I’d release some stats as well. Don’t expect PandoraLive to be a multi million-views blog, after all the active Pandora community is still small (probably in the few thousands of users) so keep this in mind when you read the figures. And there are obviously some spikes in traffic when one Pandoralive post reaches Hacker News’ front page, so it’s a mix of regular, frequent Pandora users and non-users all over the place in these stats. Overall, I’m very happy with the audience and the size of it all. And many of the articles get numerous comments, which is a sign they are being read.
First Year Feb 2013- Feb 2014:
- Total Unique Visitors: > 45 000
- Total Visits : > 72 000
- Total PageViews: > 115 000
Best month in terms of traffic:
- February 2014 ! Thanks to many HN visitors and the Pyra-related articles 🙂
Top 5 countries visiting:
- US : 30 %
- Germany : 11 %
- UK : 10 %
- France : 5 %
- Canada : 4 %
Nothing too surprising for a blog in English, but there’s clearly a lot of German readers coming on PandoraLive and that says a lot about the activity of the Pandora community there!
- Windows: 45.5%
- Linux: 18 %
- Macintosh : 15%
- Android : 11%
- iOS : 8 %
Linux in second position, you will have to admit you don’t see that everyday ! Glad to see the Linux community over-represented on PandoraLive anyway, since this blog is very much turned towards the Linux world as well and not just the Pandora as a device.
- 94 followers, i.e. 0.2 % of total visitors number. Sounds about right. If you still haven’t registered it’s never too late to do it.
What I use for Pandoralive
- A lot of free time.
- A healthy dose of inspiration.
- My desktop computer running OpenSuse 12.2 currently.
- My Pandora running the latest SZ firmware, to write on the go.
- Gimp for pictures, TaskWarrior to meet deadlines, LibreOffice and other editors and sometimes QTM, too. Free Software all the way.
- A server based in Germany, running Apache, from Soramedia.
- WordPress for the CMS, with many plugins. I write the articles in Markdown. Mental note: always get a cache plugin for WordPress. Always.
What people say about PandoraLive
Numbers are cool, but you can always find a way to make them say something they don’t really mean. I usually value qualitative feedback a lot more, and that’s precisely why I asked a number of Community members to share their impressions about PandoraLive for this particular occasion. You can find their comments below.
M-HT (well known porter of many games including some of Kenta-Cho’s shooters)
I consider PandoraLive a recommended reading for every Pandora fan 🙂
Wrath of Kahn (very active Boards member, now working on a shooter for the Pandora)
Clear, concise and well written, Pandoralive is the essential place for all things Openpandora. If you don’t have the time, to trawl the forums looking for tidbits of information, then just check out Pandoralive instead, where you are guaranteed to get all the latest news.
KickAss (creator of a few very cool tools for Pandora)
Why do i like pandoralive.info? Neither the Pandora nor the scene behind it get a lot of love from me currently. Pandoralive is the perfect synopsis of what happened while i was busy with other stuff. It’s not only a summary of facts – it’s a reliable, most of the time accurate and fun interpretation. Thus it saves what’s most valuable to me – time.
wb (creator of Pandora Microbes, Nub Nub, Pandora NanoLemmings and a lot more…)
Pandoralive is a great source of well-written, in-depth articles and overviews to keep you up to date on what is happening in Pandoraland. It has also proved to be a good way to improve the external visibility of the Pandora and Pyra projects. Keep up the good work!
Neelix (very active boards member)
I’ve really enjoyed reading the “My Day with the Pandora” series on PandoraLive. I find it fascinating to read about the different ways each person uses the Pandora whilst going about their day to day activities.
FZero (community member for a looooong time and finally recent Pandora owner)
So Pandoralive has been up and serving all you need to know about Pandora for a year now. That’s a little longer than I’ve even had my Pandora, but even in that time before I was a proud owner, it was the place to go for some great articles and software reviews. Now it could be considered a one-stop-shop, aside from the repo to actually download software, it provides a wealth of information and whether you’re someone who’s been following the Pandora project from day one or you’ve only just recently heard of it – You’ll most likely find out whatever you need to know on these pages. Be that detailed features and specifications of the Pandora, recently released apps list, or the Resources page which is perfect as a quick reference page to immediately find a past review or tutorial, of which there are plenty. Alongside tutorials, there’re regular feature, ‘My Day With Pandora’ articles, are great. They give an insight into how others use their Pandora and can be inspiring. Another regular feature are the ‘Weekly Software News’ articles, these are an excellent little round up of what’s been happening on the scene that week in terms of release. Always informative and worth checking out. Keeping up to speed on the forums might not be an option for everyone, I’d certainly recommend bookmarking Pandoralive and checking in when you can to keep updated on what’s new. Content continues to grow with regular updates, and when Pyra is launched I’ll be looking here to learn tips and tricks from those tutorial articles too. Happy Birthday Pandoralive! Here’s to another successful year.
B-Zar (creator, among other things, of PNDManager, the famous package manager for Pandora PNDs)
Pandoralive has been my main method of keeping up with recent developments in the community when I haven’t had the time to read everything from the boards. I’ve also enjoyed reading the several My Day with the Pandora -articles; It really helps keep up the community spirit to hear such testimonials. Said community spirit is the main reason I continue to contribute to Pandora, and Pandoralive is an important part of keeping it alive. Thanks to every contributor!
Development on the Pandora is so amazing to watch! I’m finding fun to apps to check out every single day. It’s really difficult to keep up with all of the releases though. I really appreciate all the work ekianjo has done do keep the community abreast with all the updates and new bits of software. Honestly, without Pandoralive, I’d be lost!
Askarus (Faithful partner of ED, and one of the few persons who handle Pandora RMA and upgrades)
If you think Pandoralive is all about Pandora, then you’re only partially right. The site informs weekly about new software releases, posts reviews of selected titles and informs about latest Pandora events. But that’s just the beginning. To bring the blog alive topics like “Sensible Software 1986-1999” or “Software Trumps Everything” will grant a big variety of topics to the reader who not only cares about Pandora but is also interested in Computer and Retro Gaming. Nice pictures and the humor of the author makes the articles not only informative but also entertaining. To it’s first birthday I wish Pandoralive a lot of guest writers and that Ekianjo never stops with his endless requests for articles.
Sebt3 (author of numerous ports for the Pandora)
What strikes me the most about the PandoraLive blog is that, even if I read the forum daily, this blog manages to teach me new stuff about the Pandora. The “A Day with The Pandora” series manages to show that the usages scenarii of the device are endless. They are always a good read. Then the software reviews are spot on. They show up many software/games gems are available and managed to make me try some 🙂 Lately, the few Pyra Development articles managed to grab media attention and opened new opportunity to the project. That goes beyond good journalism 🙂 All in all, this blog is a central place for the Pandora community. Happy birthday PandoraLive 🙂
Notaz (do he need to be introduced? Well, official OP team member, responsible for the OS tweaks, author of Picodrive, and contributor of many other projects on the repo)
I’ll have to admit I don’t read every article but I find Weekly Software News very useful to see what’s being released. It’s not easy to see that from the boards as it’s quite active with all kinds of posts and most of them are not related to releases.
ShenMue (very active boards member who endures 2h bus trips morning and evening. Yeah, that’s tough.)
It’s where I get to know how others spend their days with their Pandoras. It’s where I learned how to port the first program to the Pandora ever – useful stuff like porting Arkanoid. It’s where I learned what ssh is and how to ssh to my Pandora from my desktop. It’s where I learned about multiple desktop on the Pandora. Basically, it’s where I turn to to see how things progress from 10,000ft view, or when I get tired of the nonsense on the Pandora forum. Kudos to Ekianjo for creating Pandoralive and maintaining it. To me, Pandoralive is just a perfect companion to the Pandora.
Commander-Beef (aka Streak, one of the most prolific porters and creators for the Pandora)
From my experience with PandoraLive i can say it’s well written, first grade source of information for every OpenPandorian. If You have no time to lurk in boards.openpandora to hunt news, its one and only place to get good info about OP/Pyra stuff. I hope PandoraLive will thrive with news day by day. Happy Birthday , PandoraLive!
PtitSeb (awesome porter and coder, his contributions are too numerous to list up here)
I remember the launch of the blog a year ago. A blog just about the Pandora. I though at that time that, well, everything was already on the Boards. Well, a year later, I see how wrong I was. That blog is now a full part of the Pandora landscape, along with the repo and the boards. The (almost) regular Weekly Software review (having done once, I know it’s a huge chunk of work to produce it every week), the technical papers from time to time, the “My Day with the Pandora” series… Many nice things to read, many ways to spread the word about the Pandora. So, Happy Anniversary (you’ll find my gift on the repo 😛 )
IngoReis (very active board member known for his numerous videos about the Pandora software library)
Pandoralive is already one year old and so much happened already, it’s really great 😉
Pandoralive is a great site for Pandora Users because of its news, tutorials and the general state of everything being up to date. It’s updated very frequently and very pleasant to read. Even for me with my limited knowledge of English. I also love Pandoralive because of the numerous Anime and Japanese Pictures in the Articles too 🙂
Pandoralive is in my Firefox Favorites Links on my Pandora, just like the English Forum, the German Forum and the Repo 🙂 I read it every Week 😀
ED (Owner of DragonBox.de and responsible for all recent Pandora and Pyra developments)
I remember starting similar back in the days of the GP32. I was always writing news and tidbits back then – but when I started working on the Pandora and Pyra, I didn’t have the time doing this anymore. I’m happy Pandoralive provides news to the community – and even more: Tons of articles that show how flexible the Pandora is (and give some ideas what to do with it). Congratulations and thanks for the hard work 🙂
Thanks to Everyone who’s been kind to leave a comment even though this was very much a last-minute request! And I sincerely appreciate all of you who have been visiting and checking PandoraLive since it launched, and the numerous encouragements. They really work to keep me going on.
Till next year in Feb!
PS: While I welcome guest writers from time to time, PandoraLive is still very much the work of a one-man army, and let me take this chance to remind you that regular contributors are more than welcome. There’s more stuff to write about that I can spend my time on, so don’t hesitate to contact me if you are up to it.