Friday, 2007-04-20; 01:51:00

Who's linking to me, from where, and what they're saying

When you run a weblog, it's always really fun to see who's linking to your content. I like knowing that my stuff is being read and that it might possibly be worth something on the internets. So, if you'll indulge me, I'm going to highlight some places where others have referenced my content and what they've said about it, 'cause I find it interesting.

(In case you're wondering how I figure out who's linking to me, it's through Google Analytics. I created an account and added tracking code to the Supernova family of weblogs last July. I also added them to Technorati before that, but Google Analytics has proven to be much more useful than Technorati, because Google Analytics doesn't require that someone register their weblog in a database before the linkback shows up.)

And before I forget, I've replaced the "Selected Articles By Me" sidebar section with a "Highlighted Content" section instead. The previous section was populated completely with broken links, so I have now chosen to highlight some of the best articles here on Technological Supernova. Feel free to nominate other articles, if you wish.

Top Content

The #1 visited link in Technological Supernova is the article in which I compared VLC and MPlayer, two video-playing applications, based on their UI merits. During some months, this article has actually been frequented more than the front page of Technological Supernova. The best reason I can find for this is that someone posted this article to Digg, and even though it only got 4 diggs total, the sheer number of users on Digg works in my favor. I wonder if this weblog would hold up under a digg onslaught should one of my articles ever get to the front page -- I would be more worried about running over my bandwidth limits than .mac's server crashing, though.

My rant on scanning software in Mac OS X is the all-time #2 visited article. I'm not exactly sure why this entry is so popular, but I suspect that it gained a lot of traffic from Google. The motive behind my suspicion is that I do know that a similar rant I made on HP's royally crappy-ass scanning software definitely got traction with Google. When this latter entry was fairly fresh, it was, I believe, in the top 3 search results for "hp scanning software sucks" on Google. I guess that was a popular search phrase. :) It doesn't sit on the first page anymore, but it's still there on one of the subsequent pages somewhere, IIRC. I was quite proud of that achievement, I must say. There's probably some similar search result that is generating hits for my rant on Mac OS X scanning software. (I do know about two bona fide links to the former article, though. One is from Peter Hosey. He springboarded off my tangent regarding cell phones to educate me and possibly others regarding pre-paid cell phone plans. The other is from the hplip development pages, from a guy named Eric urging them to create a Mac OS X port of hplip and linking to my article in the process.)

All-time visited articles #3 and #4 are my review of Marble Blast Gold and my article entitled "Rediscovering Mac Gaming". They were both originally posted as articles on AppleXnet, but since Trent Lapinski sold the site off to someone else who decided to turn it into a "weblog", they never bothered to bring back the old content (which was a crappy decision). I don't know of any specific links that caused these to be top content on Technological Supernova. These articles have gotten 273 and 259 unique views in total. (The #2 article has had 541 unique views in total, and the #1 has had 2223 unique views total. So below #5, we're getting into areas where the content is usually linked from Google, probably.)

Another recent popular article is my entry regarding how to detect where the track currently playing in iTunes resides. This article has been by 7 people, two of which are Jonathan 'Wolf' Rentzsch and Buzz Anderson, two high-profile guys in the Mac community. So that's cool. I just updated that entry because I found another caveat in the detection method, which was exposed by a bug in TuneTagger that Peter was having.

The Lesser Links

But this wouldn't be a proper weblog without mentioning "The Long Tail". (The long tail!) I like seeing little people linking to me, too.

I've gotten a fair amount of traffic (around 300 unique views total) from Mac OS X Hints. This is probably because I submitted a hint (which got published) regarding Dot Comments, including a link to Technological Supernova as an example of a weblog that uses .mac comments. I was kind of amused by a user that commented that he wanted to use the .mac commenting system without paying for a .mac account. Good luck with that, buddy.

John Siracusa is probably the most high-profile Mac guy who regularly comments about UI issues. He was nice enough to give me a bit of traffic (~150 unique views) from his FatBits weblog when I created an AppleScript that randomized his WWDC bingo card for 2006. Hardcore Grandma style, FTW.

Daniel Jalkut's Red Sweater Blog directed some traffic towards me, mainly from his article regarding his thoughts on the Boston Leopard Tech Talk. I left a comment pointing to my thoughts on Technological Supernova about the San Francisco Leopard Tech Talk. Looks like some guys from Apple's evangelist team also commented there, too. I've also gotten some traffic from the John C. Welch's weblog from the comments I've posted there. Other places where I've gotten minimal traffic from posting a comment: Wil Shipley's weblog, Jay Is Games, Science Blogs, Steven Frank's weblog, Aaron Swartz's weblog, one digital life, Erik Barzeski's weblog, Ridiculous Fish, and the weblog of the Macalope.

Peter Hosey's weblog Domain of the Bored is my all-time #6 referrer, once you add together both his previous address and his new address. He's generated around 100 unique page views for me (which is comparable to the traffic generated by the comment links from Jalkut's Red Sweater Blog). Peter and I seem to particularly enjoy linking to each other's weblog many times over. :) See, there's another one! ;)

StumbleUpon generated a brief spike in traffic (~90 unique views), but since I don't have an account and don't care to create one, I don't know what was "stumbled upon" by the users over there. (I believe StumbleUpon is much like Digg, but the name is much more cumbersome. I mean, its name includes a trailing preposition, which is a big no-no in the English language. Well, it's supposed to be, anyway, but everybody violates this rule all the time.)

I have 82 unique views from an Italian website called Tevac. I can't figure out where the link to me is, though. The Google Analytics data seems to suggest that it is on the front page, but it's definitely not there. The site seems to continually generate a hit or so a day for me.

Here's an interesting one: another guy named Harold Bakker tried out Enigmo 2 and was just as frustrated as I was with the third dimension that was introduced in the sequel. I wrote an extensive (and probably much too long) article about why exactly this third dimension destroyed Enigmo 2's playability, and Harold called my article "excellent". Excellent! He's generated around 30 unique views.

I was very amused to see in my referrers, but alas, that was only because I posted a comment on an article there. (In case you were wondering, yes, I thought high school kinda blowed. At least until my third and last year.)

A musician named Joel Garnier also apparently reads this weblog, or at least he has it in his list of links. *waves* And this guy used to have me in a long list of links he used to have in a sidebar, but he seems to have taken that out now. (A link to me is still in the HTML source, though.) Maybe he still reads my weblog, too?

The Emacs blog also supposedly linked to me from this article and generated 1 unique view, but the author obviously saw his mistake (I didn't create Emacs!) and quickly removed the link. :P

I dunno why the VoodooPad Plugins page appears in my list of referrers. Did I develop a plugin for them in an alternate universe? The ffmpegX tools page also seems to have referred to my website at one point in time. Also, Apple's download page for a Dashboard plugin called Supergirl appears twice in my referrers. Maybe I'm more of a prolific programmer than I thought? Oh, and an apparently super-secret evangelism site on Apple's website with a subdomain of linked to me. Perhaps I provided a link to my weblog when I attended the Leopard Tech Talk in San Francisco? The referring URL seems to indicate some relation to the Leopard Tech Talks: .

Finally, here are some interesting random domains that give me hits, but from where I can't possibly fathom:,,,,,


Since June 6, 2006, Technological Supernova has had 13,501 unique visitors (with a total of 18,059 pageviews) for an average of around 48 unique visitors per day. The peak so far was on October 11, when 205 unique visitors visited during the day (because of the StumbleUpon link). During April, I am averaging around 55 unique views per day. (Is that good?)

The vast majority of my traffic comes from English-speaking countries (United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, in that order). Perhaps not surprisingly, Italy is country #5 after the 4 major English-speaking countries. The number one city that generates the most traffic is Stanford, with an average of about 5 unique views per day during April. (I was going to say that maybe that's all attributable to Bryce, but he should only generate, at max, one unique view per day. Unless he's viewing the site from 5 different computers around campus per day? :P ) And I have gotten traffic from 118 countries, including 1 unique view from Kazakhstan.

So far in April, Safari has comprised 39% of the views, Firefox is at 38%, and IE at 15%. (Yay standards!) My visitors are 59% Macintosh, 33% Windows, and 8% Linux. Of the Macintosh users, 54% are on Intel Macs, 46% on PPC Macs. 1024x768 is the most popular screen resolution, at 20%, 1280x1024 is next at 14%, 1280x800 at 13%, 1440x900 at 12%, and my personal favorite, 1680x1050, is at 10%. 87% are running in 32-bit color, 8% in 24-bit, 4% in 16-bit, and perhaps this may come as a surprise, but 1% enjoys running in 520-bit color. :) 82% of my users are on Cable or DSL, whereas only 5% are on a dialup connection.

Finally, around 22% of my visitors are returning visitors (in April, or in 2007 overall), while 78% are first-time visitors.

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