New blog: Hall of Prog

It occurred to me tonight, while reading a post on outsidedown, that I know of two sources on the planet of encyclopedic knowledge of progressive rock: YouTube and my own brain. And YouTube is catching up.

With that in mind, I have started a new blog: Hall of Prog: A Curated Exhibit of Progressive Rock on YouTube. The idea is simple: there are tons of videos of obscure 1970s progressive rock bands on YouTube. All you have to do is search for them. But you have to know what to search for. That’s where I come in.

The plan is to post a link a day (or more) to interesting progressive rock performances available on YouTube, with a small side dish of my own commentary. Though not usually known for brevity (a trait I share with most prog rockers), I will keep my writing to a minimum, and let the music speak (ad infinitum) for itself.

Introducing a new blog: 52 Coffees

Coffee is a fruit.Today, with some help from SLP, I hatched a new scheme (can schemes be hatched?). OK, not really a scheme. A new blog. 52 Coffees.

We were sitting at Caribou in Highland Park, discussing the merits of working from a coffee house (at least, one with free WiFi). I idly suggested I should do it once a week, visiting every Caribou in the metro area. She upped the ante and lowered the lameness quotient by suggesting that I only visit independent coffee houses (at least, ones with free WiFi). And blog about it.

So that’s what I’m going to do. Starting next week. I may seek some assistance from Google Maps to locate all of the coffee houses in Minneapolis and St. Paul and visit them sequentially in an radiating pattern from our home. Or I might just randomly visit them. Or a mix of both. I’m not sure, and I’m even less sure you care. But the point is, I’m starting next week, with Minnehaha Coffee. Be sure to follow the blog. And I’ll try to get rid of the default WordPress theme soon, I promise.

XBOX 360 Sandbox

My gamer avatarI’ve added a new page to the Curiosities section of this site: XBOX 360 Sandbox. It’s a place for me to play around with the online capabilities of XBOX Live, such as displaying my gamer avatar (created on my XBOX and instantly updated online) on my own web pages; or my “gamercard” which shows how awesome (or not) I am calculated to be within the XBOX Live community (hint: I am not) along with icons of the games I’ve most recently played.

It fits with the exhibitionist nature of things like scrobbling, Twitter and all of the other online tools that have emerged lately to allow you to spew irrelevant nuggets of your personal life onto teh interwebz for others to not care about.

Yes, I get it that no one really cares that I was playing Castle Crashers last night. But I still think it’s cool that these kinds of things are actually possible, and it helps me to leave a legacy of the fundamental irrelevance of much of my existence. Consider it a cautionary tale, told in widgets, icons and 140-characters-or-less.

I’m scrobbling

Last.fmWhat is scrobbling, you ask? Here’s your answer.

Now this probably seems like exactly the kind of privacy invasion that would make me totally paranoid, and you’re right. I’ve known about for years, but I’ve avoided it like the plague, mainly because I was afraid it was either a trick by the RIAA to collect data on music pirates (which I shouldn’t really worry about, because 99% of my music is legit, and I don’t use P2P networks) or it was spyware.

Well, OK, it is spyware in a sense, I suppose, but I realize now that it’s a bit different if you know you’re being spied on, and you have total control over what the spy can see.

Mainly, I have wanted for ages to have a way to automatically display on my website what music I’ve been listening to, and with’s scrobbling, and an RSS feed, it is now possible. So you will note that in the right column on all of my pages, in addition to my Twitter feed, I now also have “What I’m Listening To.” Dangling participles aside, it’s exactly what I had been hoping for.

I also have all of my recent (original) music up on, including free downloads. Check it out!

And finally, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge for WordPress, the excellent WordPress plugin I’m using for the feat of syndication you see on these pages. I futzed for an hour or so last night with various RSS feed plugins for WordPress, was disappointed with them all, and then I decided to just check and see if someone had written a plugin for this specific purpose. This plugin is fantastic — it does exactly what I wanted, and is a complete no-brainer to set up. Nice!

Fun with site usage stats

OK, “fun” may be an exaggeration, but it is interesting to look at these stats for courtesy of Google Analytics.

The usage statistics that are always of the most interest to web designers and developers are the web browser and operating system breakdown among site visitors. “Conventional wisdom” is that Windows makes up about 90-95% of most sites’ users (with Mac OS X making up almost all of the rest), and that among Windows users, Internet Explorer is at about 80-90%, with Firefox making up the bulk of the rest, while on the Mac about 90-95% are using Safari and the rest are on Firefox.

The stats for my site paint a much different picture. Now, granted, I am probably by at least a couple of orders of magnitude the most frequent visitor to my site. I can accept that. So that means Mac OS X/Safari should skew high in the results. But just how high? Let’s take a look.

The following are stats from the past month, January 19 to February 18.

Web Browsers

Here’s the breakdown of web browser usage among my site’s visitors:

Site Usage: Web Browsers

Firefox appears to be winning this war, with Safari close behind and Internet Explorer strong, but decisively in third place. Chrome trails far behind in fourth place, but I get a twisted pleasure from seeing Opera disappearing into irrelevance.

Operating Systems

And now for the operating systems:

Site Usage: Operating Systems

Well, how about that? There are enough other people looking at my site that Windows manages to still be the most widely used OS, though its 56% share is far below the roughly 92% share it (supposedly) holds among the general populace of computer users. And what do you know, the iPhone is third! Actually, iPhone and iPod should be identified together, since they run the same OS. I’m not sure why Google breaks them out (but doesn’t break out something much more useful: the different versions of Windows). Look at #7: the Wii! Sweet. Those were not from me. I must confess I’ve never heard of Danger Hiptop, but it’s obviously a mobile OS. Perhaps I should care, at least 0.04% of the time. (That works out to about 2.9 hours a month. Considering the average time on my site is about 3 minutes, one could [carelessly] deduce that Danger Hiptop users like to spend nearly 60 times the average amount of time per visit!)

OS/Browser Combinations

And now, all together:

Site Usage: OS/Browser Combinations

It’s no surprise that the Windows/IE combination manages to land the top spot, but it is surprising that the combo’s share is less than 29%. I’m a little surprised that Windows/Firefox also edges out Mac/Safari, although I should be glad that I represent, at most, about 1/5 of the visits to my own site. (I’m sure it’s actually only about half that!) Fully 12% of visitors to my site are coming to it on an iPhone or iPod touch. That’s incredible. And almost none of those are me. I guess it’s time to make sure I’ve optimized for that platform! I think this represents a turning point in the viability of mobile browsers, and we web designers and developers had best take notice.