Cyde Weys Musings – Inscruting the inscrutable

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

Sometime last week I adjusted the HTML title of this blog to be “Cyde Weys Musings – Inscruting the inscrutable” (the subtitle is the new part). Yes, I’m well aware that “inscruting” isn’t a real word, but I do love fake words. This one in particular ironically invokes the bubbly technobabble that embodies much of what is wrong with Web 2.0. I first came up with “Scrutinizing the inscrutable” but that just didn’t feel right going with “Cyde Weys Musings” (which is, of course, a silly pun). It needed to be more cheesy, more tacky, more nonsensical (shouldn’t it be scruting?). I think the use of the word inscruting, which hardly rolls off the tongue, fits that bill perfectly. And logically it’s a contradiction, which goes well with the pun.

As for the meaning of the subtitle, inscruting the inscrutable is one of my favorite pastimes. I’m not particularly orthodox or conservative when it comes to anything, and I love speaking up on subjects that cause so many other people to waver. I’m talking about the tough issues: politics, religion, abortion, Intelligent Design creationism, Big Endian versus Little Endian, etc. Many beliefs that so many of us take for granted aren’t actually inscrutable; we just think they are; for instance, the widely held belief that old age is inevitable.

What do you, fair reader, want to read about?

Monday, January 21st, 2008

As you can tell if you’ve spent any amount of time reading this blog, I’m a very opinionated guy. That’s probably why I started Cyde Weys Musings in the first place. Here I was, with all of these ingenious opinions that were going to waste by keeping them with myself! Obviously, I had to share.

But there’s a problem. Blog ideation (i.e. coming up with things to write about) can be tricky. I’m trying to maintain a one post a day schedule, which requires me to have a helluva lotta opinions. Fortunately I do, but I can’t always figure out which opinions to write about. That’s when you, fair readers, come into play. In the comments below, give me any subject you’d like to hear my opinion on. If I’ve written about it before, I’ll simply link to the post in the archives here. But if I haven’t covered the topic yet, I just might write up a whole post on your subject. At the very least, it’ll be a springing-off board for future posts.

Cyde Weys Musings: A month in review

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

Today marks the end of the first complete month of Cyde Weys Musings (I started in the middle of December). Let’s take a look at what’s happened on Cyde Weys Musings in January. All data below is culled from the Apache logs using awstats.

The site had over 2,500 visits from 1,700 distinct visitors. The reader return rate is definitely something that could use some improvement. The number of visits on Fridays and Saturdays was about half that of the number of visits on all other days. I guess those are the two “days off” on the Internet. Anecdotally, this makes sense, as I personally find myself browsing the web a lot less on weekend nights (Friday and Saturday).

The site was hit thousands of times by various bots, with 3,000 hits by Google and 2,000 hits by Yahoo alone. It definitely takes a lot of effort to keep their indices as up to date as possible. Google has a better way of handling robots.txt, though: it only downloads it once a day, whereas Yahoo downloaded it nearly 500 times just in January. I don’t really see robots.txt files changing that quickly (I haven’t changed mine at all, for instance).

Over 600 people came to this site through Google searches, whereas only five came from each of Yahoo and AOL (MSN registered one hit). This is significantly skewed off from actual user search numbers, in which I believe Google only controls about 75% of the market. However, the use of Google is much higher than that amongst technically-inclined people, and my blog is definitely written towards interests of technically-inclined people. The most popular search terms from Google were PHYA stock, sticking leeches on myself, Second Life riots, YouTube speed, and Sealand.

According to Google’s Webmaster Tools, my site placed most highly in the search results on searches for my pseudonym, “weys and means” (hehe), various spammed stocks, Java jmp dll, sticking leeches on myself, “pseudo scientific” advertisements 2007, and Kessler Syndrome. My site was most often visited on searches for riots in Second Life (and variations), decapitate child (very disturbing), sticking leeches on myself (and variations thereof), various names of spam stocks, and YouTube speed issues.

And finally, let’s take a look at some of the highest profile links to Cyde Weys Musings from other sites (popularity was determined by the prevalence of referrer URLs in Apache logs). People were interested in my comments on a post at Capitalism2 that questioned whether Second Life is a pyramid scheme. Readers could barely believe that my hydrogen bond angle is ten degrees greater than normal! Somehow I was featured on a BuzzFeed on Accidental Decapitation. A single comment on a DailyKOS diary about China’s satellite shoot-down generated a surprising number of clicks. Many clicked through a trackback link to see my take on real-world spam. My blog entry on the Kessler Syndrome was discussed in depth in an off-topic post in a forum for fans of rifles chambered for 6.5mm Grendel ammunition (sorry, no direct link to the post, but I assure you, this isn’t something I could make up if I tried). And finally, I was quoted in a CNet News blog post on Second Life riots, which brought a decent number of people to the site.

Overall, though, more people still find this site through Google than all other sources combined. Where would we be without Google? I hope some of you out there find these statistics as interesting as I did. What’s really surprising is the hit-and-miss nature of the web. Some of the blog postings I put the most effort into didn’t generate any buzz whatsoever, but a few one-off entries on random topics brought in huge numbers of readers. Ah well, I can live with the shotgun approach: just keep shooting, and eventually you’ll hit something.

Google is this site’s front page

Tuesday, January 16th, 2007

Skrentablog makes a good case that Google is the web’s front page. Google handles about 80% of search engine traffic, and for many sites, is effectively a front page. If it weren’t for that Popular Science ad (which was linked from a few notable blogs), Google would definitely be this site’s front page too, with over 200 entries from the search engine so far this month alone.

Google is the web’s front page because it is where the majority of traffic to any given site actually comes from. There are big sites out there that have built up a reputation over time and are basically their own front pages, but these are few and far in the minority. Most sites aren’t bookmarked and regularly checked up on by a majority of their viewers. Most sites don’t have vibrant user communities which provide the majority of the traffic. This site, “Cyde Weys Musings”, is no exception.

I’ve been running a handy Apache logs analyzer called AWStats for about a month now. Here are a few statistics. So far, in just this month, there have been 838 unique visitors, 157 of which have been referred by Google (the rest can largely be attributed to links from other blogs to the Popular Science ad scan). The most popular Google search topics seem to be stock scams, Sealand, “Sticking Leeches On Myself”, and Second Life. Site traffic is significantly higher on weekdays than on weekends. This site has also been hit on 1221 times by Google’s crawlers and 492 times by Yahoo’s crawlers just in this month alone.

All in all, I guess the site is going well, considering it’s only about a month old now. As long as there are a few people reading what I write, I’m happy. It’s more of an exercise in writing than anything else, anyway (something that hopefully my emo emu bit made clear). As the Popular Science stuff fades into the past, I’m sure my site traffic is going to be largely driven by visitors from Google. Which makes sense. Where else are people going to find out about this site from?