Site News And Updates

I’ve made a few changes around here lately and thought it might be worth pointing out the (fairly subtle) modifications.
First up is the Rolling Archives visible at the bottom of the main blog page, originally conceived of by Michael Heilman and then nicely WordPress plugin-ized by Zeo, meaning that it was dead easy to drop them in to my K2 theme setup.
Secondly, check the very bottom of the sidebar to the right side of this page – I’ve added a Server Load button that gives you a fairly good idea as to just how (over)loaded the server that runs this site is at any given time. It’s using the Linux-standard /proc/loadavg, which is a small deviation from the standard UNIX load system. Basically, any load over 1.0 is indicative of a heavy load. (Right now, it’s reading between 2-3 fairly consistently, with spikes to well over 8 during the day. I’ve contacted my hosting provider and they have acknowledged the issue but have declined to give me an ETA for a fix. For all my hosted blogs, this affects you too, so if your sites seem slow, that’s most likely the cause). It might not end up being very useful for my visitors, but it definitely gives me warm fuzzies.
Third and last of all, Feedburner seems to have added the ability to add “social bookmarking” entries to one’s feeds, so I dropped in my username and now those of you reading this site via my RSS feed should begin getting daily digests of the bookmarks I posted to on any given day.
Drop a comment in the comments section of this post and let me know what you think, if’n y’all don’t mind…

Feed The Burn

I started blogging back in 2001 primarily as a hobby and have continued doing so to this day. At times, I’ve considered adding ads to the site in order to try to recoup some of the costs associated with hosting fees, domain registrations, etc., but in the end have decided against it. While I primarily blog as an outlet for my writing instincts, I have often wondered who, exactly, is reading the wonderful flowing prose piffle I call “content”. I initially joined The Truth Laid Bear’s Blogosphere Ecosystem (and Sitemeter in order to meet the Ecosystem’s requirements) to see just how many people were linking to my site (answer: not very many). However, I felt as if I was getting an incomplete picture of my “typical” reader, so in the interests of finding out just such information, I’ve installed a couple of useful WordPress plugins in order to get a better handle on who exactly is accessing my site.
First off is this Google Analytics plugin which painlessly inserts the Javascript necessary to track visitor hits into my pages’ headers. Why did I join with Google’s stats program if I already had Sitemeter serving that function? Simple: Analytics provides a far more detailed breakdown of my traffic patterns than Sitemeter does, at least without my having to pay. I’ve left the SM stuff in place so that my Ecosystem rank doesn’t get affected, but for the most part, I’m going to be counting on Analytics to help me understand where my readers are coming from.
Feedburner logo
The second plugin is Ordered List’s Feedburner plugin, which allows me to seamlessly redirect all of my feed hits to my unified Feedburner feed. While Analytics tracks all hits made to my site via web browsers, it can’t track all the hits I receive on my feeds, nor can Sitemeter. Both rely upon Javascript to send stats back to their respective motherships and feed readers can’t be reliably depended upon to interpret/execute JS successfully, so I turned to Feedburner to help me get a better handle on my feed stats. The stats I get back aren’t as detailed as the GA or SM stats (no IP addresses or referrers, for instance), but they do give me overall readership numbers and an idea of the various feed reading tools that people are using to access my content. Additionally, whereas in the past, I had to maintain up to four separate feeds, the new Feedburner feed is a unified “intelligent” one, meaning that a web browser, an Atom-, RDF-, or RSS2-compliant reader or even a WAP browser can all hit a single URL and be served up information in a format that’s accessible from their platform, with no worries on my part.
I’ve tried running my own stats packages in the past – BAStats, StatTraq and WP-Stats, as well as all manner of Apache log parsers and, when it comes right down to it, the WP plugins slowed down my site and I was sick of walking through logs myself, so I’ve been more than happy to hand that off to someone else. Sure, I lose some granularity in stats, but I’m willing to do so in order to spare myself some headaches.
So what does this mean for you, good readers? Well, if you visit this site with a web browser, nothing. The site will remain the same to your eyes. To those of you hitting here via feed readers, you will notice the addition of email, and Technorati links to the bottom of each feed entry. Other than that, precious little will change.
Thanks, as always, for stopping by.