Friday, January 01, 2010

Post-Happy New Year Post

The best part of being old and boring is not losing the first day of every year to a massive hangover.

The December statistics were interesting here at Ric & Debbie's Place. For the last several years, new ways of using the internet have been slowly eroding the readership here. That's not a complaint; writing this tripe is mostly for my benefit and I'm frankly surprised at how many people come along for the ride.

And before I forget: Thanks for that. Living like a gypsy is fun, but isolating. It's nice to look at the little map over there on the right and see a good chunk of the people we know checking up on us from time to time.

Anyway, all that was to say this: we had more hits in December 2009 than in any month since September 2008 with a total of 423 visits. The real story however, is the role that referrals played in that, accounting for 49% of all hits. Referrals (people who get here by clicking a link on some other web site) have never been a big part of the traffic here prior to the last couple months. What changed that is Facebook, which drove 27% of December's traffic to this site. We've also become a favorite of Blogger's Next Blog button (7%) as well as readers of the Archdruid Report (4%) following backtracks generated on his blog as a result of links on this blog to that blog. If that makes any sense. How we use the internet is shifting rapidly and will continue to shift; anyone care to guess how? I certainly don't have a clue; I'm just trying not to get thrown off and left in the dust.

Because this is not just the end of a month, but the end of a year, I may as well bore you with some extra statistics. In 2009, we made 353 posts bringing the total since the inception of this blog in March 2004 to 1,508 as of December 31. We wrote fewer posts in 2009 than we did in 2008 when we cranked out a record 435. There are a couple reasons for that. The obvious one is that with all the disruptions and moving around the country, we just didn't have the time. But I also think I'm posting longer posts less frequently. A few of you may remember that prior to starting this blog, we had a daybook-style web site similar to Bob Thompson's site. When I started blogging, I continued in that same style, making a single, long, rambling, everything-including-the-kitchen-sink type post that covered whatever struck me that day. Over the years, I've tried to get away from that and make a separate post for each topic, but I always find myself drifting back to big kitchen-sink posts. Somewhere late in 2008 or early 2009, I accepted that I may as well quit trying to do this the "right" way and admit that I like to write long, disjointed posts. Which is all a long, disjointed way of saying that while we made fewer posts in 2009 than in 2008, we probably inflicted just as many or more words on the internet in 2009.

December was also interesting in the breakdown of what operating system our visitors are running. The Mac came on strong, beating out Windows 7 (6.4% vs. 5.7%). I think Santa stuffed a few stockings with Macbooks this year. The other interesting trend is the sudden appearance of a large number of mobile devices. Over 9% of you are reading this on a pocket computer. I expect that trend to accelerate. In spite of that, Microsoft unsurprisingly continues to dominate at 83.7% with Mac and iPhone accounting for 9.7% and Other (5.5%), Linux (.7%) and Blackberry (.3%) mopping up the odd decimal places.

On the browser front, I've been seeing increasing numbers of browsers that identify themselves as "Mozilla 5.0" which has been obsolete for a while. I'm used to seeing obsolete browsers down in the statistical noise, but this one climbed into the number three spot in December. A distant third with 7.3% of visits compared to MSIE 8.0 (33.9%) and Firefox 3.5 (29.1%), but significantly ahead of Chrome 3.0 (5.7%). It seems to be related to mobile devices, although with how my stats are aggregated, it's difficult to be sure. Overall, Microsoft's Internet Explorer (41.8%) and Firefox (39.1%) continue to run neck-and-neck with Mozilla 5.0 (7.3%), Chrome (5.7%), Safari (4.3%), Other (1.2%) and Blackberry (.5%) scrambling around for the crumbs. Oh, and one, single, very lonely Opera user.

Well, enough rambling for one post. Everyone enjoy their hang-overs!!

(oops, sorry, didn't mean to yell...)


Unknown said...

That single lonely Opera user is me. And judging by the news on Opera 10.5 (here:, that's unlikely to change in the foreseeable future.

And what do you mean about the rise in Mozilla 5.0 numbers? Technically, every browser in the world (except Opera 4 and above) identifies itself as either Mozilla 4.0 or 5.0. Incidnetally, an actual Mozilla browser version 5.0 has never existed. Those user agent "Mozilla" tags refer to a Netscape version (which itself even skipped version 5 and went straight from 4 to 6). I would be really interested to see the full user agent string of one of those Mozilla 5.0's you've been seeing.

(For example, my UA string is "Opera/9.80 (Windows NT 6.1; U; en) Presto/2.2.15 Version/10.10". I'm sure you can trace that one in your logs. )

Ric said...

I'm assuming the "Mozilla 5.0" category is a trash-bin designation. It used to only show up for some Linux OS systems, but recently has been showing up more and more frequently on hits with a system of "Other" which is typically a smart phone other than iPhone or Blackberry. Android phones maybe? The UA strings are one of two variations: "Mozilla/5.0 (OpenWeb 5.7.4-09)" or "Mozilla/5.0 (AskJeeves/Teoma;+".

As you say; nearly all browsers are in a sense Mozilla browsers, but most further ID themselves as Firefox or IE. It was merely idle curiosity what these were.

Unknown said...

I know exactly what those are. The first one is a mobile phone. OpenWeb is basically a system that some smartphones employ that intercepts calls to web pages, and converts them into a compressed, smartphone-friendly format. Since it sits between the phone's browser and the internet, it sends its own user agent. Also because in the conversion process, it does its own interpretation of the HTML and CSS, which makes it count as a rendering engine (like Firefoxes Gecko, IE's Trident, or Opera's Presto engine(s).)

The AskJeeves/Teoma is the user agent of a web bot, which is an automated program employed by search engines to scour the web for sites to include in their searches. This particular one is employed by

Well, there you go. Mystery solved. And now I have my own problem to deal with. I have just discovered that the supposedly-legitimate program "HyperCam" has hijacked my browser without permission. I will now retaliate by making bad things happen to its program files and registry entries. Ergo, uninstallation with a vengeance.