Archive for the 'stats' Category


2010 blog year in review

After weeks weeks of not posting a thing, I now discover that has taken over this blog.  Or so it seems.  Perhaps it’s their way of reminding me to get my blogging ass back in gear, but some bot over there has seen fit to mail me a ready-made Year in Review post.  Perfect for a bone-lazy blogger like me who’s been wondering when, if ever, that urge to post regularly will ever come back.

Who knows?  Happy New Year anyway.

Snarky comments  in bold are mine.


The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

The Blog Zombie Meter reads: Putrefaction stage

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 110,000 times in 2010. If it were an exhibit at The Louvre Museum, it would take 5 days for that many people to see it.

I’m sure each would demand his entry fee back.  As for the posts themselves, if you were to print out every post in 10-point and glue each word together, you would have enough to string from the Statue of Liberty’s base up to her armpit.  Aren’t stats meaningful?

In 2010, there were 53 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 374 posts. There were 143 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 30mb. That’s about 3 pictures per week.

Troll comments deleted: 13.  Spam referral links: countless.  Estimated date WordPress will do something about spam links: whenever.

The busiest day of the year was February 15th with 647 views. The most popular post that day was Are we raising our kids to be wimps?.

Go to freerangekids for the answer.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were, WordPress Dashboard,, and

See how important it is to comment on blogs and leave links back to your own on forums?

Some visitors came searching, mostly for the queen, horses jumping, naked 13 year old girls, swallows, and snake head.

That list is so embarrassing, I almost left it out.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Are we raising our kids to be wimps? August 2009


Europe’s largest-circulation newspaper runs photo of naked 13-year-old June 2008


Queen Elizabeth Foundation email scam reply December 2007


10 things I learned about skating in Holland January 2009


How we nearly tripped over a headless snake that had swallowed a dog whole March 2009

Wow, wasn’t that fun?

WordPress.  The blogging platform that’s so good, it writes your blog for you!


Possibly related posts definitely not for everyone

It seems to be a WordPress habit. Friday afternoon rolls around, time to spring another feature on a million unsuspecting bloggers just in time for support to high-tail it to the dude ranch for the weekend.

Latest addition hard on the heels of the wildly successful upgrade of early April is the addition of Possibly Related Posts. It’s being billed as a way of leading readers elsewhere to posts that might be about the same thing you have written.

The operative word you have to keep in mind is Possibly.

A quick survey of the links now inserted at the bottom of a couple of my posts include:

Other bloggers have had the ultimate creep-out: one complained in the forum of links to porn inappropriate content, for example.

If you’re not happy with links appearing on your blog you never chose and have no control over, there is fortunately a way to disable it. Go into your dashboard and click on Design, then Extras. A page will pop up. Check the box marked: Hide related links on this blog.

But to give WordPress credit, they are saying that over the coming days we’ll be allowed to tweak the results to our liking. Hopefully that will include the ability to filter out the crap. Not a bad idea, but one that should have been there from the beginning.

© 2008 lettershometoyou


How to make every day a car-free earth day

One of the big things with this year’s Earth Day is going car-free and finding other ways of getting people to wean themselves away from the oil-drunk vampire which is our modern economy.

Not that labeling one day per year in honour of the planet we live on is going to change attitudes or the misguided policies which lock most of us into the most inefficient mode of transport.

Change has to come on a personal level. If you really want to do something that counts, you have to vote with your feet, and the best way to do that is to stick both of them on pedals and get moving.

It’s really not that hard to do.

All you have to do is buy a bike, seven pairs of bike shorts, three pairs of bike gloves, two pairs of bike shoes, a pair of bike paniers, a water bottle, helmet, front and back lights and a small tool kit and you’re on your way. For an average commuter, that means for the price of a year or two worth of gas you can be cycling to work for the next five or ten years almost for free.

It won’t be easy. Most drivers are cool but there is a solid base of jerks out there waiting to honk their horns and scream at you for the slightest perceived provocation, so be prepared to turn the other cheek a lot. I think they hate the fact you get to work quicker than they do and pay no taxes, but I could be wrong.

The weather’s improving and on nice days the sun will warm your face as you discover the freedom of not having to sit in traffic jams, but come late fall and winter, you’ll get out of bed and shake your head thinking: there’s no way in hell I’m going to bike through that and arrive soaking wet to work.

Well, I do it all year round and sometimes arrive at the office drenched to the bone, but it’s really no big deal.

Before you leave, carefully roll up the clothes you plan to wear so they won’t wrinkle too much, stick them along with a decent towel in a sturdy plastic bag and carry it all with you in one of the paniers. Shoes go in a separate bag. Carry an extra t-shirt, bike shorts and socks for the ride home in case your stuff doesn’t dry during the day, and you can at least start the ride home again with clean and dry cycling clothes.

Our family does own one car. Based on the the city mileage it gets and current gas prices in Germany I save around €35 a month on gas alone by riding a total of 12km to the office and back every workday. If it’s true what they say that an average car costs 50 cents per km once you add in all the other costs such as annual registration tax, maintenance, insurance and the like, I’m saving about €125 a month, or €1600 a year. Wow, more than €10,000 over the past eight years. Not bad.

But beyond the financial, it’s how I feel when I arrive in the morning that keeps me on the bike through all types of wind and weather. On rare occasions when I absolutely have to drive because I’m running an errand after work, I have a lousy day. Why? Not because I’m expecting it to be so, it’s just that the pedal to work in the morning wakes me up and gets the blood moving more than three cups of coffee ever could, and the ride back home again squeezes out any stress I might have built up over the day.

But I won’t advise you to cycle to save the planet. I forget where I read this or I’d provide the link, but apparently those who commute to work by bicycle benefit so much from the exercise, they add an average of nine years onto their lives compared to their car-bound cousins.

That means that instead of kicking the bucket on cue, I’ll be hanging around another nine years. So simply by living in one of the world’s most highly industrialised societies that much longer, I’ll be consuming the equivalent of as many of the earth’s resources as I’ll have saved in all my years of bike commuting.

Piss on it. I’m going SUV shopping.

© 2008 lettershometoyou


10 things you can do with 3gb of free space on

Not too long ago, the top dogs at announced that every blog hosted there now has three GB of free storage space. Wow, 3GB! That’s huge step up from the 50MB they were dishing out up to then. Before, if you wanted anything above that, you used to have to pay for a space upgrade.

I started to have visions of what I could do with all that space, but because what I saw was pretty fuzzy, I went on the wordpress forums and asked how much other bloggers were using. Turns out they weren’t using any. Raincoaster, practically a grandmother in bloggers’ years with a huge amount of material accumulated on her blog, is using 0% of her available space. So is everyone else who bothered to respond.


I learned that even if you were to post the Bible, the Koran, the Torah, War and Peace, the complete works of William Shakespeare as well as the entire catalogue of stupid things George W. Bush has uttered since he went dry, it would still register 0%. That’s because they don’t count text. Photos usually don’t take much space, so unless you’re uploading bloat-sized 39MB jpegs from the latest digital Hasselblad, you aren’t going to use up much either.

So I thought maybe you too are wondering what 3GB of free space is good for. Uploading video is the first thing that comes to mind, but then it’s no longer free. If you want to upload your own video and have it stored on your blog like a photo instead of linking to youlube like everyone else does, you have to pay the $15 minimum upgrade.

With the price of Sloppaccino Slattés in a paper cup approaching five dollars, 15 bucks might not sound like a lot of money, but since video is practically the only thing that 99% of us are ever going to fill up that vast amount of free space with, tying its most obvious use to a paid upgrade is not offering free space.

It’s as if you’re out shopping for a piece of land upon which to build your dream shack, and the agent steps out of the car, turns to a stretch of turf and with a sweep of the hand says: and it also comes with free use of the sky, all the way up to Uranus!

Looking at him like he’s a blithering idiot, you say: …but I don’t have a rocket ship.

Well, Home Depot’s gotta sale on stepladders! Fifteen bucks!

So if you’re like me and still wondering how to bulk up that 0% into a figure you can be proud of, yet remain true to your everything-on-the-net-is-free / dot-communist roots, here are a few suggestions.

  1. Upload your entire photo collection and store it on your blog, thus freeing up hard-drive space on your own computer. Since you’ll have to upload them one-by-one, please allow yourself adequate time. Quit your job if you have to.
  2. Beg, borrow or steal that Hasselblad and start uploading. At maximum resolution, your 3GB is good for about 75 shots.
  3. Write all your posts out in longhand Dear-Diary style. Then scan and upload them to your blog. Make sure you don’t scale for size, because you’ve got so much to fill.
  4. Once you’ve posted about 10 hand-written entries, hold a contest to see who can best figure out your personality through your handwriting.
  5. Feel vaguely smug.
  6. Add your name to the list of barking seals clapping their approval.
  7. Start to wonder if this isn’t some way to make look good to investors, without a lot of outlay on their part.
  8. Confirm this.
  9. Go watch the fun as other kids point fingers and say: The Emperors have no clothes.
  10. Forget you even have the free space. I have. It’s not hard to ignore what you’ll never use.

© 2008 lettershometoyou

add to :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank


A few signs bloggers are taking themselves much too seriously

  • Targetting fitness tips to bloggers as if the breed were something special and the advice didn’t apply to the rest of the real world. All together now! Climb those stairs, say hello to Mom, put on shades and suncream, go outside, breathe deeply…
  • Nutrition advice for bloggers as per above.
  • Worrying about what happens to your blog after you die. Guess what? You won’t care.
  • Wait a minute. Maybe you will. I first heard of this via Raincoaster, who pointed out that no matter how successful a blogger you are, there will always be someone out there with more readers and a more loyal following. Even if the blogger died more than six months ago. Not to make light of suicide – far from it – but where do the desperation that drives you that far end, and the obsession to blog forever, overlap? Think about it. If you want to, you can write hundreds of entries, time-posting them so that they publish on the dates and times you choose in the future. After you die, but before pre-paying your hosting fees, if you have them. I don’t know… I think it would make responding to comments a bit of a problem.
  • Reading too much into one executive’s move a while back from dusty, crusty old CBS News to shiny, new, hip and happening news blog The Huffington Post. I’d be willing to bet they simply offered her a shitload more money.
  • Writing a diary about your blogging habits. Don’t millions already consider their blog to be a diary? I guess it would look something like this: Dear offline diary. Woke up, scratched privates, logged on, blogged. Went offline, wrote this. Went back online, wrote some more. Went offline, wrote a bit more about what I wrote online. Went online… The really obsessives could start a new blog which tracks the offline diary which tracks their main blog.
  • Getting bummed out about your blog and generally not having fun. The writer says he has people come to him “…feeling despondent (about) their underperforming blogs.” Lighten up, already! Everyone goes through a slump now and then. When in doubt, go out.
  • Like me. I was going to list ten, but have to stop here.
  • © 2008 lettershometoyou

add to :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank


Why you should care about what’s in your spam dump

If you go to my sidebar and scroll to the bottom right, you will find an Askimet spam counter. As of today it’s climbed to nearly 5,900. That’s an average of about 17 a day since my first post nearly a year ago, though most have hit only in the past three months.

Askimet does an amazing job filtering the crap out of your comments box. The service is free and comes as a default on It works in the background, quietly making sure that only real, live human beings get a chance to have their say on what you post.

But sometimes it works too well. Sometimes a real comment from a real reader gets thrown into the spam dump. That’s why it pays to take a look in there once in a while to see what Askimet has been up to.

It doesn’t happen that often, but if you do see a real comment has been accidently put in the spam queue, simply check the Not Spam box at bottom left of the comment, then click De-spam marked comments at the bottom of the page. The comment will then re-appear on the post where it belongs. Feeling a little like covered in scum after hanging around in that dreck, but at least it doesn’t stay there forever.

But in the interest of fairness and equal time to those whose only contribution to the Internet is to gum it up with worthless shit, I have pulled out some of the more remarkable little spam-turds gleaned over the past few months of comment rescue operations.

Mr Chin of tells me: Great site! I will bookmark for my sons to view as well!!! which makes me wonder what he’s already been showing his boys.

Someone who’s probably can has-ing too much Cheezburgr tells me: I is pleasantly amazed! Thank!!! while Britney at writes: Wow!!! Good job. Could I take some of yours triks to build my own site? Britney: trust me, your triks are already legendary; could I learn from you?

Stuff like This site is really superb!!! Thank you for you work! Good Luck2 are getting to be as common as news of the real Britney getting hauled off to hospital, but sometimes something original does pop up.

Mr gluhhlnhjkljnfrwaoi9srxsex has enthused most exclamatorially over my recent Scientology piece by saying: i think you are so sexy!!!!!!!!! kiss my vigina sexy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Mr gluh, do I know you? Your name reminds me of a girlfriend who used to make that noise when she cleared her throat.

Sveta from telemarketing Asia somehow manages to keep her spelling intact in saying: The site\’\’s very professional! Keep up the good work! Oh yes, one extra comment – maybe you could add more pictures too! So, good luck to your team!

Thanks Sveta babe. My team is working in unison to help spill forth some of the best the Internet has to offer. Please check back.

© 2008 lettershometoyou

add to :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank


Exporting paranoia: how the American war on terror is starting to terrorise Germany and how you can cope with it

For those of you who may have missed it over the weekend, press reports say that terrorists trained in Pakistan have slipped into Germany over the past little while. They’re planning to kill us innocent folk at random partly because the German army has 3,000 soldiers in Afghanistan working as part of the international force to piss off the poppy-growers rebuild the country.


I’m sure it all makes sense to our Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, whose efforts to scare the public into thinking they’re in danger of attack and to clamp down on civil liberties to combat a threat – real or imagined – has inspired the more artistic among the hoi polloi to start stencilling his image on the wall.

Oh, you remember the Stasi, don’t you? The State Security branch of the former East Germany? Spied on people – terrorised them?

Schaeuble is trying his best to push through measures which amount to the most invasive encroachment on civil liberties on German soil since the start of the Cold War. Scariest among them is his wish to allow online searches of people they just don’t like.

In other words, the government here would have the right to somehow secretly install a keylogger in your computer so they could track everything you do online. Every email, every search, every chat, every forum post. Everything.

How they would get beyond a well-maintained firewall is beyond me, but fortunately they’ve just told him he can’t have his way – at least not for now, anyway.

This all fits a pattern of course. The US Department of Homeland Security – a most Orwellian of labels if there ever was one – perfected the art of keeping the populace in a state of constant paranoia almost from the day it was formed a year or so after September 11, 2001. Anyone remember all those scares about white powder in envelopes a few years back? Duct tape? Orange Alerts? No surprise that this has been accompanied by an erosion of civil liberties including a warrantless surveillance program.

Like with everything else originating in the United States, it takes a few years to wash over onto our shores, but eventually it makes it here.

Is resistance futile? Perhaps not.

For those hoping to survive the coming onslaught of terror attacks in Germany, here are a few tips:

  • Don’t walk, cycle, drive or take a taxi. In 2006 there were a total of about 5,000 traffic deaths in Germany. The media plays this as good news here, because the numbers have been declining every year from a high around 20,000 in 1970.
  • Don’t take the train. You never know.
  • Don’t take a bus. You’ve seen how they can blow apart so easily.
  • Be suspicious of your neighbour, especially if he looks foreign. If you see a group of five or more, report them to the police. You never know.
  • Don’t go shopping. Above all, avoid public markets and squares. You never know.
  • Report fat people at once. That could actually be a suicide belt. You never know.
  • Remind people that because the terror cell which perpetrated the attacks of September 11 camped out in a suburb of Hamburg, it could happen again.
  • Keep the hype going by reminding people that Germany was targetted last year in a foiled suitcase bomb plot. Just don’t tell anyone that of the nearly 500 terrorist attacks or plots in the whole of Europe in 2006, that was the only one carried out by Islamists.
  • The day the first terrorist attack hits, make sure you turn around and tell me, “I told you so.” To that I’ll respond: yeah, and in the meantime, another thousand people have died on roads in this country. Another 50,000 died in Hamburg during the Hiroshima of Germany. You think we’ve got problems today? Sure, there are always problems. LIFE is a problem. Deal with it. LIVE it.

Or have we forgotten what a great American once said? The only thing we have to fear is Fear itself.

© 2007 lettershometoyou

The banner photograph shows the town of Britannia Beach, BC, Canada, where I grew up. It's home. But I don't live there anymore.

My email

britbeach / at / yahoo dot ca

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 591 other followers

SUBSCRIBE! Or I’ll post again.

This blog is best consumed with a glass of wine and often a grain of salt. Take a random look:


This blog has been visited

  • 561,467 times.

A few reasons why I sometimes get homesick





More Photos

1oo% Blogthings-free since January, 2007

and one last factoid about me: according to these people, i can type per minute

OK, that wasn’t the last thing on the sidebar, but this is: