This topic has been present in my thoughts for a long time, probably years:
“How to be able to think/write about lots of unrelated various topics, and still have a way to look at the big picture of what you’re doing?”
Here is my contribution about this:
- bigpictu.re, a ready-to-use infinite notepad (infinite zooming and panning)
- A standalone version of 1. (so you can take notes offline) is also available here: bigpicture-editor
- AReallyBigPage, an infinite collaborative notepad. It has been a real chaos once hundreds of people joined in. Probably internet’s deepest page ;)
Such an interface is called a Zooming User Interface (interesting reading: The humane interface by Jef Raskin, one of the creators of the Apple Macintosh), and strangely, ZUI has been very few used in modern interfaces.
As of 2017, nearly every software interface uses a 2D, or even a 1D navigation process: a web page only offers two scrolling directions: north and south. Even nowadays's apps famous for their "new kind of interface" still use a 1-axis navigation: "Swipe left or right".
Is there a future made of new interfaces?
After having tested many open-source website analytics tool, and haven't found exactly what I was looking for, I started a minimalist project (coded in PHP) that only does this:
number of visits per day
- display the referrers (i.e. the people who have a link to your website)
If you're looking for a tool lighter than Piwik, Open Web Analytics or Google Analytics, then TinyAnalytics might be what you're looking for.
I recently recorded an impulse response of the reverb of a 14th-century church (more or less the footprint of the sound ambiance of the building). Here is how I did it.
- First I installed a loudspeaker (a studio monitor Yamaha HS-80M) in the church, quite high from the ground. I played, rather loud, a sound called a frequency sweep, that contains frequencies from 20Hz to 20000Hz, i.e. the entire human hearing range.
- Then, in the middle of the church, I recorded this with 2 microphones. Here is what I got:
Quite a lot of reverb, that's exactly what we want to catch with an IR!
Now, let's use some Digital Signal Processing to get the IR. All the source code in Python is here. If you're into math, here is the idea:
ais the input sweep signal,
hthe impulse response, and
bthe microphone-recorded signal. We have
a * h = b(convolution here!). Let's take the discrete Fourier transform, we have
fft(a) * fft(h) = fft(b), then
h = ifft(fft(b) / fft(a)).
- Here is the result, the Impulse Response of the church:
Then, of course, we can do some cleaning, fade out, etc.
But what is this useful for? You can use this Impulse Response in any music production software (the VST SIR1 is quite good and freeware) , and make any of your recordings (voice, instrument, etc.) sound like if they were recorded in this church. This is the magic of convolution reverb!
Useful trick when you record your own IR: play
sweep0.wav in the building instead of
sweep.wav. The initial "beep" is helpful to see exactly where things begin. If you don't do that, as the sweep begins with very low frequencies (starting from 20 Hz), you won't know exactly where is the beginning of your microphone-recording. Once your recording is done, you can trim the soundfile by making it begin exactly 10 seconds after the short beep.
I don't share Jeff Atwood's enthusiasm about HTTPS / encryption. What will happen if HTTPS becomes the standard and if HTTP is considered by browsers as "unsafe"?
It seems to me that then, the web will be separated in 2 worlds: professional websites who can afford SSL certificates and a dedicated team to maintain the certification process ... and the average small webmaster who just has a shared hosting and a Wordpress. The latter will be slowly "pushed out of internet" with the threatening notice
Even with the free Let's Encrypt initiative, maintaining HTTPS requires technicity, much more than what the average webmaster has.
Result: if HTTPS becomes the standard and normal HTTP is alerted by browsers as unsafe by default, this will slowly kill amateur content, citizen-powered content.
Welcome to even-more centralized internet. Be sure Facebook and other big content providers will like this.
Edit (2018): I'm finally using LetsEncrypt too... In short,
a2enmod ssl ; wget https://dl.eff.org/certbot-auto ; chmod a+x certbot-auto ; ./certbot-auto does most of the work. More to read here.
Many things begin with
Let's start a new notebook!
(Well sometimes the notebook is abandoned after 3 pages, but hmm, let's not think about it). Writing helps to know what you want, what you don't want, and what you've done so far. So I decided
Let's start a blog!
Then I looked at many blog generator tools, and noticed it would be faster to actually write it myself in PHP, rather than downloading every existing solution and pick the best (so hard to make a choice). So I started yesterday evening, and today it's done:
blogggggg, a blogging platform.
Here is how it looks like:
You discovered Google Analytics a few years ago (a webmaster tool to see how many visits on your websites), and used it efficiently. But, you know, Google-centralized internet, etc. and then you thought "Let's go self-hosted and open-source!". And then you tried Piwik and Open Web Analytics.
I did the same. After a few months, here are my conclusions.
Open Web Analytics has a great look, close to Google Analytics, but every week, I had to deal with new issues:
- first I discovered that a gigantic table was growing in the MySQL database:
| owa | owa_request | 4.44 | | owa | owa_click | 5.30 | | owa | owa_domstream | 238.28 | +--------------------+-------------------------------+------------+
Nearly 250 MB analytics data in 2 weeks (for only a few small websites), this means more than 6 GB of analytics data per year in the MySQL database! ... or even 60 GB per year if you have 100k+ pageviews. That's far too much for my server. This was (nearly) solved by disabling Domstream feature. (Ok Domstream is a great feature, but I would have liked to know in advance that this would eat so much in the database).
today I've seen that a new table in the OWA database was very big (747 MB in a few weeks!)
| owaa | owa_queue_item | 747.92 | +--------------------+-------------------------------+------------+
- some other issues: login impossible from Chrome in certain situations, unique visitors count wrong when using PHP tracker (sometimes, each new visit / refresh of the page is considered as a new visitor), time-range menu not displayed at all (display stuck on 1-week range) in some cases, etc.
I'm not saying OWA is bad: Open Web Analytics is a good open-source solution, but if and only if you have time to spend, on a regular basis, on configuration issues, which I sadly don't have.
I tried Piwik very quickly. It really is a great project but:
it doesn't offer a direct view of what I was looking for out-of-the box, i.e. clear charts for every website à la Google Analytics (I can't really describe what's the problem, but the user interface isn't handy for me)
- maybe there's an easy fix for this, but the interface is very slow
Analytics, unsolved problem.
I'm still looking for a lightweight self-hosted solution. Until then, I'll probably have to use Google Analytics again.
PS: No offence meant: most of my work is open-source too, and I know that it takes time to build a stable mature tool. This post is just reflecting the end-of-2016 situation.