Archive for February 2010

Hit more, view less on Safari

February 28, 2010

How Safari 4 gives the impression people are paying you more attention than might actually be the case.

Safari (the Apple web browser) has a great feature called Top Sites. It creates a grid view of webs sites you select, or visit most often, and helpfully shows a large icon of how they currently look, and indicates clearly which ones have been updated since you last checked.

It’s a great, quick and easy to use function that means you don’t have to keep checking sites manually for updates. But it has a blindingly obvious knock on effect that I’d idly wondered about when I first starting using it, and then forgot about. Forgot about until I started this blog.

I’d noticed when I first started setting the site up that, unless the one person I’d mentioned it to at the time was obsessively checking back for updates, Blog Stats was registering an implausibly high amount of hits. WordPress doesn’t count your own visits to your site, at least not while you’re logged in, and not from the browser you’re logged in on.

For various reasons, I don’t actually use Safari for wordpress (I currently tend to run three web browsers at the same time, Safari, Firefox, and I’m trying out Opera with this site), and even if I did, I wouldn’t be logged in all the time. Occasionally I’d check the site in one of the other browsers, just to see differences in how it renders.

One or two hits could be explained by checking the differences, but not this many. Then I noticed the site had crept into my Top Sites selection and suddenly it all made sense. Safari has no magically surreptitious way of checking what a website looks like without registering as a hit. It just grabs the whole page from all the sites as if it was showing them normally. Every time I clicked on the Top Sites icon, or even just opened a new window, I (and everyone in my selection) was getting a hit. Oops.

For some, page views are important, either personally, or as some manner of revenue generation. The Top Sites feature can’t help but have a distorting effect on this, and while the market share of Safari among browsers is tiny (around 4% in January 2010 from what I can tell), the amount of unwitting background hits from each user could be huge. So I can’t help but feel a bit guilty for the sudden, confusing and seemingly inexplicable rise in attention some of the small, personal blogs I follow got. Sorry.


Note to self

February 26, 2010

Blue in the face

February 21, 2010

One of several, several, variations on facial pattern tests for a painting I’m contemplating. Seem to finally be moving away from KISS level make up around the eyes.

One of so, so many slightly different variations.

Two for joy

February 17, 2010

A friend of mine hates magpies. Personally I’ve always loved them (from afar, of course, they’re paranoid). They look so austere until the sunlight glances off the feathers, then you see such panache that makes peacocks look like the crass, showy narcissists they really are.

To be fair to my friend, I’ve never seen magpies eat the eyes of lambs. Apparently that kind of thing leaves a mental scar.

Oh, while there’s only one magpie in these pictures, there were two around. Hence the post title.

As the moon chases across the sky

February 16, 2010

Oddly enough, it looks better if you pop it full screen at high def.

Could’ve been more poetically named too…

February 14th 2010

February 15, 2010

I carry a cigarette tin with recycled paper post-it notes in as a miniature sketchbook.

In acknowledgement of what today was I did these. Ink on paper, coloured up in photoshop.

I lost inclination to complete the second when I realised how much it looked like a bad T-shirt design.

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