Better blogging

So yesterday’s post was actually not the last post of the year! :)

A few nights ago i saw somebody’s blog had little icons next to comments, showing the country, browser and operating system of each commenter. I found that quite interesting and decided i wanted the same on my blog. I discovered that it is part of the FireStats plugin and so i installed it. Little did i know the impact that it was about to have on me!

FireStats reveals a whole lot of fascinating information about who is visiting your blog. Suddenly i can see the most popular posts, find out the search terms that people used to get here, or the referrer page that sent them here. I used to think i was just writing my blog for a few friends, but now i see that people are coming from all over the world, mostly for information about CouchDB and … Caturday! HAHA! I haven’t done a Caturday post for ages! Perhaps i should start doing them again!

So i put up the “Currently popular” widget in the navigator. It’s pretty nifty because it changes every day. I also installed a few more plugins and made a few tweaks:

  • I enabled title slugs in the URL for all my posts. The old URLs still work, however.
  • Yet Another Related Posts Plugin puts links to related posts at the bottom of each post. It calculates ‘related’ by category, title and content. It’s pretty good! I have been reminded of old posts that i’d forgotten about!
  • Unfancy Quote Plugin has removed the so-called curly quotes that were appearing where i did not want them – ie in example code
  • WP Super Cache ensures speedy rendering of pages, particularly if hundreds of people were to look at a page all at once. Instead of continually querying the database, once it knows the content of a particular page, it can just display the cached version.

WordPress plugins are so for the win!

* * *

In other news, i finished reading Design Patterns today. It wasn’t such a hard read as i thought it would be; it’s actually quite easy to read one or two patterns at a time. The summaries are also very useful, for comparing and contrasting different patterns.

The State and Strategy patterns were quite obvious. Mediator seems almost the same as Observer to me. No matter how many times i read and understand the difference between Adapter and Bridge, i cannot seem to remember it long-term. Memento is my favourite pattern. It’s like asking someone, “Please remind me of this in a minute!” and they say, “Oh, okay” even though they have no idea what it means!

Visitor seems to me like the stupidest pattern ever, but maybe i have misunderstood it. It seems to contradict everything that makes sense about object-oriented programming, to have something that goes around doing things to other objects, violating encapsulation, and it has to be hard-coded to deal differently with different objects. It makes me think of Aspect-oriented programming actually.

I went to the library and borrowed a book for the holiday: Why Is Uranus Upside Down? And Other Questions About the Universe by Fred Watson. A nice bit of light reading, i think! ;)

4 comments on “Better blogging

  1. Why Is Uranus Upside Down?

    As I recall, the reasons the “northern” hemisphere of Earth is shown at the top of maps have more to do with countries in that hemisphere (a) developing world maps and (b) being politically dominant at the time.

    But I imagine the book is really talking about the magnetic poles of Uranus being upside down relative to Earth and most other planets.

    Jupiter’s red spot is actually at the top – but all the early timelapse films of Jupiter showed the planet upside down, so it now looks odd to us to not have the spot at the bottom, so modern films of it are flipped. As for why the films were upside down…images bent through lenses generally are.

    Oh, and Neptune’s largest moon goes around the wrong way!

    Having wanted to be an astronomer at age 7 comes in useful occasionally :-).

  2. Thanks for blogging about these plugins.

    I was admiring the little icons & was just about to email you to ask what plugin it was when I thought I’d search your site first & as soon as I saw this I remembered reading about it before. :)

    I’ve been meaning to do a WordPress plugins post for *ages*. I’ll put it on my to blog list!


    PS Your tweet about potatoes, parsnips & onions is making me hungry!

  3. I use Google Analytics, so I know that most of my readers are in the US, which I find so bizarre. It’s amazing that I’m talking to people so far away!


  4. Yes the country and OS icons are quite interesting and it’s good to know who our readers are, and what they are looking for.

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