Gas station without pumps

2018 January 1

Blog stats for 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 11:47
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According to, my blog had 60,609 views and 35,810 visitors in 2017 (down from 68,443 and 42,499 in 2016).  The reduced viewership is not too surprising, as I posted only 114 blog posts in 2017, rather than the 200 of 2016.  (My biggest year was 2014 with 116,359 views and 69,179 visitors.)  I don’t know how much the decline in my readership is due to a general decline in how much people read blogs and how much is specific to my blog—I’ve not been able to find good statistics on the readership of “average” blogs.

Here are my year’s most-viewed pages (almost all of which are from previous years):

2017-01-01 to 2018-01-01

Title Views
Home page / Archives 19,956
Where you get your BS in CS matters 1,820
Making WAV files from C programs 1,601
Tools and parts list for Applied Electronics W2017 and S2017 1,387
Algorithmic vs. Computational thinking 967
Sum of probabilities in log-prob space 800
How many AP courses are too many? 632
Journals for high school researchers 606
Problems rewriting the Class-D amplifier lab 497
Pressure sensor with air pump 442
Getting text from Amazon’s “Look Inside” 438
Conductivity of saline solution 407
Where PhDs get their Bachelors’ degrees 401
Installing gnuplot—a nightmare 371
More on automatic measurement of conductivity of saline solution 365
Circuits course: Table of Contents 361
Why Discrete Math Is Important and The Calculus Trap 354
Lying to my students 341
Pressure and volume lab 334
labhacks — The $25 scrunchable scientific poster 315
Pullup vs. transimpedance amplifier 312

I think that there are several reasons that old blog posts dominate my views:

  • Most of my viewers (other than subscribers, whose loyalty I really appreciate) come via search engines. Of the 60,609 views, 33,202 were search-engine referrals (55%). Search engines will favor long-established pages that many people have clicked on in the past.  My next highest referrer is Facebook (which I don’t use) at 195 viewer—a tiny number in comparison.
  • My recent posts have been more specialized than older ones, so have a narrower audience.
  • I’ve been less active recently in calling attention to my recent posts on mailing lists and blog comments.

One good trend is that the most popular posts are now mostly contentful ones, rather than ones that are just links to other sites.

I don’t get any revenue from my blog (but I don’t pay anything for it either).  The clicks from my blog mostly go to other of my blog posts (1259), Digikey (1229), AliExpress (179), and LeanPub (175).  The average cost per click for advertising is 50¢–$2, so Digikey and AliExpress probably should be paying me, but they aren’t.  (Of course, the click rate would probably drop way down if I was being paid to push products, rather than just providing links to things I have bought and used or am thinking about buying.)

My top commenters (based on the last 1000 comments, so several years’ worth of comments) are

Commenter Comments
gasstationwithoutpumps 399
CCPhysicist 114
gflint 50
xykademiqz 31
mathproblemsolvingskills 26

My comments are mostly pingbacks caused by links to older posts for continuity, though some are replies to other commenters. I’d like for my comments to be about 25% of the total, rather than 40%, but I’ve not had much success in getting my lurking subscribers and followers to say anything. If each of my followers made just one comment a year, the number of comments would quadruple. Questions, corrections, and suggestions for blog posts are particularly welcome.

I admit to being somewhat envious of bloggers who have active discussions among their commenters—my readers don’t seem to have formed that sort of on-line community, perhaps because my posts are not open-ended enough or because I wander over many different topics rather than staying focused on a specific niche, so the readership may not share many interests with each other.

For those who have been commenting—thank you! It really helps me to know that people are reading my blog (and raw numbers don’t really do that—I can’t really tell whether viewers coming in from search engines are reading what I have to say, or just clicking on a link and deciding it was a mistake).


2012 October 8

Word count for my blog

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 21:48
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I saw Nick Falkner talking about the number of words in his blog, claiming 273,639 words in 343 posts.  I was curious about how many words I had in my blog, but careful reading of the forums and support pages indicated that there is no easy way to get that information on a blog, since they don’t install the word-count plugins available from

I decided to export my blog to my laptop and see if I could find the information in the exported .xml file.  The word counts are not explicitly in the xml file as metadata, but the text of the blog posts is.  I wrote a very crude script to approximately count the words in the content, getting 573,960 words for 862 published posts and 165 (mostly very short) unpublished drafts.  This is most likely an overestimate, as it counts some non-text things (like tags) as words and includes draft posts that I haven’t published. In any event, it looks like my posts are averaging somewhere around 650 words each—somewhat shorter than Nick’s 800-word average, but still a bit long.

The script probably should be rewritten to read XML properly and cut out the tags, but it wasn’t worth the trouble for me to learn to use an XML parser for this quick check.  If anyone wants to write better code for me, feel free.  I was going to include my code here, but since it is full of “<” characters that the WordPress sourcecode tag treats as tags, it is too much hassle to include.  Sigh—I really wish would make it easier to post unmangled source code.

2011 October 8

I can post software!

Filed under: Metacomments (about the blog),Software — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 20:45
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in one of my earliest posts on this blog (Hold the presses! Can’t distribute software!), I complained about not being able to discuss code on the blogs. I found out today that it is actually pretty easy to post software using, using the “sourcecode” tag documented at Posting Source Code. I don’t know if this is a new feature, or I just failed to find the documentation last time I looked.

I went back through my posts and added code to the ones that should have had it before (let me know if I missed one). I may be inspired now to write some of the posts that have been sitting around as unfinished drafts since the beginning of the summer, or to put up some of the little Arduino programs I’ve been writing for teaching physics.

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