Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Google Analytics by date

I received a reply from Google Analytics support that explained how to set the date range for a report. I did not want to see "from the beginning of time" until yesterday for reports. I wanted to see what was happening for the last week. The trick is the date range in the upper right corner is "clickable". I reset that to the last week and saw what I wanted to know about where the "Former Naval Person" referrals were coming from:

Sources Visits % visits
yahoo (organic) 323 25.27%
altavista (organic) 290 22.69%
(direct) ((none)) 187 14.63%
images.google.com (referral) 103 8.06%
google (organic) 89 6.96%

The reason is the Google will help with Emma Watson fake racy picture searches. Yahoo and Altavista have no compunctions with Emma Watson fakes, so they now predominate the referral percentages. The others are still significant, but go in descending order from Alltheweb.

"A bridge too far"

The Supreme Court is considering a case where Congress is trying to suppress child pornography, but is so broad that it is trying to include images that are not real. Stopping the production of materials that show adults having sexual contact with children in all its forms is a reasonable goal. To act against created images that do not show real children is overreaching, but is reflective of the present climate of hysteria where a prosecutor was ready to go after the movie maker of "Hounddog" for making child pornography.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Web pages that automatically update

One of the things that I find with Sprint Mobile Broadband is that I shy away from pages that automatically update after a set period. The "Broadband" in Sprint Mobile Broadband is not that "broad", so the automatic updates essentially hang my laptop when they are occurring. Because that is so annoying, I close any updating page when I realize what is happening. I just closed out of the Dallas Morning News when I found that it was updating.

Friday, October 26, 2007

SiteMeter Premium

SiteMeter Premium gives me about as much information as you could want about vistors. When I look at "Recent Visitors" "By Search Words", I can the last 20 without doing anything. I can then look at previous visitors, back for up to 4,000 visitors. Even where there are no "Search Words" or "Referring Web Site" listed, by clicking the "Detail" number link, I can see "everything". The last one was blank, but the detail showed that it was "Emma Watson". Right now, almost all traffic is "Emma Watson"-related and NONE of it is from Google Image Search in North America. Right now, most is from Yahoo Image Search. Since July 2007, Google North America has been censoring Emma Watson from image searches. When for a few brief periods they stopped, by traffic ballooned back up to previous levels. Right now, they are blocking that sort of search for racy Emma Watson "fake" pictures.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Too many images

I have problem at "Former Naval Person" that seems to be driven by "too many images", so that page load time is negatively affected. The answer would seem to be going back to pop-up images, rather than inline. I have a concern about how that will work for Blogger-hosted pictures, but at least I have all the images, so that I could recover, if Blogger "lost" them.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Another Firefox complaint

After having a string of problems with SiteMeter, I have been using IndexTools as my primary web traffic tracking tool. Today, with Firefox, I have been having trouble with hanging. When I use IE6, it works, both on my laptop and work machine. This seems like another case where there is some problem associated with using Firefox. This is not the first time for this. To download attachments from Gmail, I have to use IE6, as well. That is true with both Windows 2000 and Windows XP Professional.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

California burning

My wife is from southern California, and has family and friends near the fires. On her last trip, she had driven by the Presbyterian church in Malibu that had burned. The problem is caused by the lack of rain for a long period, aggravated by the high winds. That is a recipe for disaster, which is what is happening. California has attracted more people than the land and resources can support, so that is behind much of what happens there. I can imagine that the odd politics isn't a help. Why aren't there resources being rushed in from surrounding states? Perhaps they are and we are just not hearing about it, but it may also be the case that California has not made friends, with what they have been doing. Still, there must be aid on the way, don't you think? A nasty feature of life is that problems are usually "self-correcting". The correction can be very unpleasant.

Monday, October 22, 2007

I would vote for this Al Gore

Tom Maguire, at JustOneMinute, has a piece about "Rendition". Tom has this quote of Richard Clark (my emphasis added):

in 1993, the White House Counsel, Lloyd Cutler, demanded a meeting with the President to explain how it violated international law. Clinton had seemed to be siding with Cutler until Al Gore belatedly joined the meeting, having just flown overnight from South Africa. Clinton recapped the arguments on both sides for Gore: Lloyd says this. Dick says that. Gore laughed and said, 'That's a no-brainer. Of course it's a violation of international law, that's why it's a covert action. The guy is a terrorist. Go grab his ass.'

I would vote for the Al Gore who said that to the President. Al Gore is a better guy than he makes out, these days. He is trying to impress the wrong people. If he said what he really believes, he would have been elected in 2000.

The Holy Land Foundation trial

The Holy Land Foundation trial verdicts read today only confused matters, not solved them. The one so-called acquittal is actually in doubt, not an accomplished fact. Ed Morrissey, at Captain's Quarters, fills in more details than I have seen locally at the KRLD Radio website. My main concern about this prosecution is that it is not clear that the funds from the Holy Land Foundation were used for anything but charity work. The problem is that the Palestinian charity organizations receiving the funds were part of Hamas. Since Hamas is on the list of terrorist organizations, therefore sending funds to the Hamas charity organizations was declared to be illegal. There seems to be a small bit of truth that this was equivalent to "driving while Black", except it was conducting charity work in Palestine as a Muslim.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Michael Heraghty on Google

I have a friend who is concerned about Google's use of personal information. Michael Heraghty, at Media Junk, writes about a Sunday Times article about Google's goals. I am a big Google customer, so I am playing right into their hands!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

A huge disconnect between SiteMeter and IndexTools

Google Analytics is so bizarre that I don't pay much attention to the traffic numbers. I only look at SiteMeter and IndexTools. For several months, there has been a large disconnect between the two services. Right now, SiteMeter has visit numbers that are less than half of the IndexTools visits. Their page view numbers are exactly half the IndexTools page views. I cannot even see the current day numbers for Google Analytics, I can only see yesterday's numbers. Google Analytics has always given such strange traffic figures that I stopped taking time to read them. SiteMeter still has the advantage that I can see the real time search terms, although only for the premium edition.

Friday, October 19, 2007


Comcast is in the news because they seem to be blocking some uploads to BitTorrent. AP tested that and verified that it is true. The AP story is posted at MSNBC. I am prejudiced against cable companies, so even though there are benefits, I use Dish Network for television and a fixed wireless solution for broadband internet access.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Possible technical issues with "Former Naval Person" blog

I need to take the time to look at the "Former Naval Person" blog more frequently. I have refrained from doing that, as I did not want to unnecessarily inflate traffic. Given that there seem to be "technical issues" that affect page loading, I need to take the time to check. Possible issues seem to involve loading images hosted by Blogger and possible issues with AVN Ads.

More information is available than what SiteMeter notices

I notice that on many SiteMeter visits that SiteMeter doesn't see the search terms, that I can still see how the visitor found the "Former Naval Person" blog. All you have to do is to look at the referring URL. One that SiteMeter couldn't recognize was from a Dogpile image search, looking for "Lindsay Lohan Breast". I am still seeing major discontinuities in traffic, during the day. I look at big time blogs, such as Power Line or Ann Althouse, the bar graph of traffic for the current day is pretty continuous, while varying as to time of day. For the last few days, "Former Naval Person" traffic has big positive spikes, a lower look to the curve and some deep valleys. I attribute it to Google censorship, barring a better explanation. I would be interested to know the real explanation, if it is different. The official statement on the subject says:

Does Google censor search results?

It is Google's policy not to censor search results. However, in response to local laws, regulations, or policies, we may do so. When we remove search results for these reasons, we display a notice on our search results pages. Please note: For some older removals (before March 2005), we may not show a notice at this time.

If that is the case, then perhaps the explanation is some sort of outage, perhaps with the Blogger server. That seems unlikely, although I have had troubles uploading images for the last few days. An outage has to be a possible reason for the odd behavior.

More weird behavior from Blogger or Google

The last two days have been really grim, for no discernable reason. My theory, and this is only a theory, is that Google has cut back on putting the "Former Naval Person" blog in image search results. Right now, in the premium SiteMeter Search Words, I can see that an abnormally high amount of traffic, such as it is, is coming from non-Google sources. At least it is non-USA Google, as there are visits coming from Google in other countries, as well as DogPile, Altavista, and Yahoo Image Search. The search words tell me that there are many visits that were looking for Emma Watson and that came from Altavista. Altavista is not limiting fake Emma Watson pic searches, while Google in the USA seems to be censoring them.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Let me say this reluctantly: the latest version of Firefox sucks

I have been increasingly aggrevated at the Firefox browser. The first problem was downloading images in a zip file from Gmail. I had to start using IE6, as the download would hang with Firefox. That was especially aggrevating with Sprint Mobile Broadband. The latest is that Firefox is interfering with the Blogger image upload dialog. Of course, Blogger is being balky today, anyway, but Firefox started blocking the upload dialog, regardless of my options settings.

Outages with Blogger?

Pictures are my bread and butter at the NSFW "Former Naval Person" blog. When I can't upload pictures to my blog, I am dead in the water. Right now, I can't upload, so there you are. Also, in the last several days, traffic has been really odd. There are large spikes and dips down towards zero. And that is in consecutive hours. That has not been what the bar graph has looked like until lately. Do you suppose Blogger is having troubles (read Google, as they own Blogger now)?

There seem to be higher rates available for consulting

I have been in the software consulting business since the early 1990's. Rates peaked for me in 2000-2001. After a precipitous plunge following September 11th, rates have gradually recovered. I just saw a Monster job posting that listed rates in the $55-$65 an hour range, with some specific skills required. This is just another instance that proves the naysayers wrong, when they said that rates would never recover to their levels, prior to 2001.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Google seems to be blocking certain searches

I have some insight into what the most common search terms are today for the NSFW Former Naval Person blog. What I see gives the impression that Google in the United States is blocking certain search terms. People are finding the prohibited content using search engines, such as Altavista, Yahoo Image Search, and Google and Google Image Search from other than the United States. Even Google from Canada can find the content, but people can't from the United States, using Google.

The real Randi Rhodes story

Brian Maloney, writing at The Radio Equalizer, has the real Randi Rhodes story:

A police source said Rhodes never filed a report and never claimed to be the victim of a mugging. Cops from Manhattan's 17th Precinct called her attorney, who told them Rhodes was not a victim of a crime, the source said.

Rhodes' lawyer told the Daily News she was injured in a fall while walking her dog. He said she's not sure what happened, and only knows that she fell down and is in a lot of pain. The lawyer said Rhodes expects to be back on the air Thursday. He stressed there is no indication she was targeted or that she was the victim of a "hate crime."

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Bjorn Langstrom is not a climatologist

For some reason, I had thought that Bjorn Lomborg, the Danish writer who is skeptical about Al Gore's solutions to global warming. He rightly questions some of Al's claims, as well, as they are intended to inspire panic, not to be accurate. Bjorn has an opinion piece in the Boston Globe.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Oracle wants to buy BEA Systems

BEA Systems is an industry leader in the Java application server business. If Oracle succeeds in buying BEA, you have to wonder what will happen to the Java app server market? Oracle has been a non-player in a market dominated by app servers, such as the BEA WebLogic product, IBM WebSphere, the open source JBOSS, and others.

The 2007 Weblog Awards

Kevin Alyward has opened nominations for the 2007 Weblog Awards.

The 2007 Weblog Awards

Kevin is proprietor and founder of the Wizbang! blog.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

"E. M. Zanotti"

"E. M. Zanotti" is now blogging at "The Corner" at NRO. I "used" to read her blog "The American Princess". There was a time when she had agressively suppressed any pictures of herself, but that has stopped. I believe that her name is Emily M. Zanotti, a 25-year old lawyer in Michigan.

Are discontinuities due to outages?

I often see very continuous curves of traffic, as reflected in the SiteMeter and IndexTools bar charts for the day. In this IndexTools bar chart for the NSFW blog "Former Naval Person", the discontinuities certainly seem to be caused by outages. The traffic curve for the day usually incrementally changes during the day. Depending on what is happening, the traffic will peak and then slowly decline. Often, oddly enough, there may be a rise late in the day, only to drop off in the early morning. At 2am, which is midnight, Pacific Daylight Time (Google?), there is a percipitous drop to a low level. At the 5am hour and again at the noon hour, there are drops that are discontinuous with the traffic before and after those hours. So what is happening? Interestingly enough, there was very little traffic for the first 1/2 hour of the 12 o'clock hour. The last part of the hour was very high traffic, as if the hour would have been much higher, but for an outage, early in the hour.

I keep seeing signs of technical problems, perhaps with Blogger

When I look at a bar graph of traffic in a day and I see one or more isolated hours where traffic is very low, with traffic on either side being much higher, I suspect a Blogger outage. This is early in the morning, so traffic is usually lower, although today is very low. Blogger is certainly a great free service from Google, but I often think that "you get what you pay for". You can't see the IndexTools reports and graphs, but the SiteMeter reports and graphs for this blog and "Former Naval Person" (very NSFW, but much higher traffic) are open for viewing. For 3 or 4 months, there has been a discrepancy between IndexTools and SiteMeter. After a major SiteMeter outage, I switched to using IndexTools for tracking traffic. I use SiteMeter for a check, and for the premium SiteMeter service, I can see real time search terms. That has been very useful for understanding what is driving traffic and allows me to reinforce content that meets search criteria.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Things seem to be in turmoil at Sprint

I see signs that Gary Forsee being forced to resign at Sprint (or at least he bailed when he saw that the board was looking for a replacement) has thrown Sprint into turmoil. Initially, the move may have pushed the stock up, but now it is falling, just a day later. We have a hard time telling how much of what has gone wrong was his fault, and how much was just structural. From my perspective, replacing the "old time" Sprint executives with Nextel executives was a good move. Some really destructive initiatives were halted with the move, such as the largely failed outsourcing to India. What has been bad has been decision to not bid on the Networx Universal contract and then to dump customers that needed more customer service time than others. The long term issue with Sprint is customer service, according to my sources. I agree with the investors that they need to fix their core business issues, and do it fast.

Harold Ford, Jr. is engaged to Emily Threlkeld

The buzz is that Harold Ford, Jr., U.S. Representative from Memphis, is engaged to Emily Threlkeld. He is the sort of Democrat who is pretty acceptable to Republicans, because he is at most, center-left, if not center-right.

Someone leaked a vital secret

Rita Katz, of SITE, says that within a short time after her company supplied the government the last Bin Laden video, it was leaked to the press. That caused Al Qaeda to shut down the communications network that the company had been exploiting for intelligence. The Jawa Report says that her claim is untrue, and explains why.

Monday, October 8, 2007

There could be technical problems with SiteMeter and Blogger

We are on the "receiving end" of SiteMeter and Blogger (or Blogspot), so we don't have a great deal of insight as to what they are doing. I was concerned that when I went to SiteMeter from this blog that it was slow to access. When I tried to look at details, there was a failure. I have been trying to understand what is happening with traffic to my blogs over the last few months. We are essentially doing the same sort of thing but have been getting variable results. My higher traffic (NSFW) blog "Former Naval Person" has been very variable. The peak was over 4,200 visits earlier in the year. Routinely, we were seeing above 2,000. Most of the traffic was coming from "Emma Watson" and the fake pictures of her. I have assumed that in July, Google North American started to censor image search results. The traffic was coming mostly from Google Image Search in North America and the UK. The other European countries seem not to be censoring this search. Since July, we have been diversifying content and promoting Altavista, Yahoo Image Search, and AllTheWeb, as they seem to be able to find "Emma Watson". Inexplicably, we occasionally see "Emma Watson" searches from North America and the UK. We would have expected Google to be consistent, so these deviations are confusing, although they are welcome.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Weight Watchers continues to work for me

As of today, I have been doing Weight Watchers for 85 weeks. I started the last Saturday of February 2006. By mid-May 2007, I was down to my goal weight and had lost 59 pounds. I have stayed within 1-3 lbs of my goal weight since mid-May and am a "lifetime member". What I especially like, besides that it really works, is that I don't have to not eat foods that I really like. I may not be able to eat some of them as often as I might, if I were not following the program, and I do not eat as much as I used to when I was overweight, but on occasion I can have a filet mignon or a piece of cheesecake. Besides that, I eat a biscuit and potatoes essentially every day! That may not be right for you, but it has been working for me, based on results.

Friday, October 5, 2007

High on the list of reasons why I like Christopher Hitchins

Christopher Hitchins has a long commentary in Vanity Fair about a young man who died in Iraq. He was a lifelong Democrat and progressive who was moved to join the Army in part by Christopher Hitchins' writing. Christopher Hitchins is a British Socialist who opposes Islamic radicalism and who wrote in favor of the war against Saddam, even if he has qualms about the execution of the continuing war in Iraq. Christoper Hitchins shows in this piece why I admire his writing so much.

Some odd results from Google Analytics

I am not saying that Google Analytics is producing odd results, although I often suspect that is the case. What I am saying is that when the "Former Naval Person" blog gets more traffic from Yahoo search than from Google, that is strange. Even stranger is that traffic from Altavista is almost as large as from Google. Google Analytics does not seem to count Google Image Search as a "search engine" and that seems very odd. A high percentage (65.57%) of traffic comes from Google Image Search from North America. Google Image Search from other countries, with the UK being the next largest, accounts for a good deal of traffic, as well. We do know from SiteMeter and IndexTools that the most prominent search term, "Emma Watson", is being minimized by Google North America, while they let those searches from through from Google Image Search in the other European countries.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Someone is unhappy with Sprint management

There is a subscription-only article about investor Ralph Whitworth, who is unhappy with Sprint CEO Gary Forsee, the board, and the management that they have been providing. The persistent buzz I am hearing is that customers are unhappy with Sprint customer service, mainly with respect to the wireless business. As a long time Sprint customer, I have had only good experiences, but that is not true of my colleagues. CNBC has a story "about the story".

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

"Double Dispatching"

Double dispatching is one of my favorite techniques in Smalltalk. Its use eliminates a lot of checking of "is kind of" and if-statements. I implemented an server-based system in Smalltalk, in 1998 and 1999 that generated dynamic HTML from objects and handled the web requests and responses. This framework heavily depended on double-dispatching. I had assumed that you needed a polymorphic language to implement double dispatching and that it was not possible in Java. I found this article about how to do double dispatching in Java, so I guess I was mistaken.

Whoopi Goldberg is an embarrassment

I am embarrassed for Whoopi Goldberg. Mary Ann Akers, at "The Sleuth" writes about what Whoopi Goldberg said on "The View" about wanting to have a three-way with Nancy Pelosi and her husband Paul. Whoopi has no decency, apparently, and assumes that no one else does, either. Just look at her affair with Ted Danson.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Britney Spears and Kevin Federline

Kevin Federline is being made out to be this great parent, while Britney Spears is supposed to be so horrible. The result is that Kevin now has custody of their two young sons. The Baltimore Sun has the sad story.

Monday, October 1, 2007

"Our guy", Tony Romo

This is some year. The combination of a new coach, Wade Phillips, his staff, and quarterback Tony Romo have made football fun, again, in Dallas. Dallas Morning News columnist Tim Collishaw says: "Romo adds to legend in Cowboys' win".

More Carol Anne Gotbaum

I am starting to think that there is more to this story than we have heard to date. Carol Anne Gotbaum doesn't look like a crazed lefty who would be going crazy, and accidentally kill herself. Still, my rereading of the story matches my original assessment, sadly.