drink the sweet feeling of the colour zero

Minor changes

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I have made some minor changes to the look and feel of the site, as well as little things like the number of posts displayed in the RSS feed. (To my RSS readers: sorry, but this may cause some older posts to appear!) Feedback on the changes is appreciated!

A webstats journey

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I have been trolling about my webserver logs of late.  Partly in a vain, ego-driven attempt to figure out who both of my readers are, and partly because I am trying to master Webalizer by using my personal website as a guinea pig.  (It is significantly less compute intensive than trying to re-process work’s various web logs over and over.)  I have run across a couple of things in doing this.

The first is that I loathe ISA.  Truly, it is an abominable firewall.  I am dying to replace the edge on the corporate network with a Linux box, if for no other reason than to be able to configure things from a text file.  Oh sweet lovely gods of Linux, how I abhor GUIs that lag out quad core boxes.  Mostly I abhor it because in order to “properly” configure ISA such that all the traffic I want to not go through it’s ridiculous web proxy filter doesn’t, and all the traffic that I want to does, I would have to spend something like six solid hours rewriting the rules in that horrifically impenetrable interface.  If $antideity wrote a firewall interface, ISA is what it’d come up with.

The second thing is that I am pretty sure both my readers use Opera.  Well, okay, this is a large exaggeration, but I was blown away to see three Opera readers in 108 user agents.  It is probably the geekiest thing in the world, but I am absolutely fascinated by user agent statistics.  It’s kind of cool to know that you can look at something as mundane as website logs for a tiny little blog like my own and begin to extrapolate information about what kind of people visit your site.  The state of people’s computers says a lot about them.  For example, if you look at user agents day by day, and then compare them to patching cycles, you get to see how many people are updating their browsers or operating systems on a regular basis, and even get some good ideas of how many actual unique visitors you have.

It’s also interesting to get some representative digital demographics.  I was floored to see I had three Mac readers.  I was also stabbed in the soul to discover AOL amongst my user agents.  It’s tougher to gather this information knowing my audience is primarily tech focused: some of you are lying about your user agents…it’s just the sort of thing that nerds do.

Still, the skills learned here will be important in any future web PR or internet presence campaigns I might run for work, or other clients in the future.

For everyone’s reference: here are two excellent sites for figuring out exactly what the user agent strings you are seeing are:

http://www.zytrax.com/tech/web/browser_ids.htm
http://www.pgts.com.au/pgtsj/pgtsj0208c.html

And last but not least, the complete user agent breakdown.  There are 108 user agents recorded for the month of June so far.   So to all my readers…this is the company you keep:

Oddballs:
1 Jakarta Commons-based webclient.  (?!?)
1 Java 1.6 u14 (Spoof, or spambot?)
1 QuickTime (This one has to be a spoof.)
1 Spambot
8 RSS or Blog feed reeders
20 Search engine bots

Windows:
1 IE 5.5 on NT5 (I weep!)
1 AOL IE7 based on NT5 (Holy wow…)
2 AOL IE6 based on NT5 (WTFingF?)
2 Opera
2 IE 8 on NT5
2 IE 8 on NT6
4 IE 6 on Win98 (Someone is changing their user for lulz, methinks…)
19 IE 6 on NT5 (Darkness…crushing…soul…)
13 IE 7 on NT5
18 Firefox on Windows

Mac: (I have more than one Mac reader?)
1 Firefox
3 Chrome

Linux:
1 Using what reports as Safari on Linux.  (…)
1 Chrome
1 Opera
5 Firefox

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