Today in Boston


I’m numb. It’s happened again. Too many times during this lifetime for me, but that’s just an aspect of humanity. I think it is important to try to notice not the evil act that happened, but the heroic reaction of those who rushed in to help the injured and get the situation under control despite their own personal risk. That is what humanity is about, not about the occasional broken person who does terrible things. Those are the people we need to all strive to rise above and not let them conquer us.

One person in my twitter feed today noted that while it’s tragic we lost some lives to this today that we also lost about 100 lives to auto accidents, and will lose another 100 tomorrow, and again the day after, and the day after. We also have to remember the great cost of cancer. This isn’t to trivialize the deaths that happened in this event but to remind all of us that humans have a strong tendency to over-react to rare but dramatic situations and ignore the larger and more severe but chronic ones. 

We need to keep events like this in view within the larger perspective. They want to cause us pain and convince us to crawl into a bunker and hide. If we do, they win. the reality is that you’re no less safe tomorrow in downtown boston than you were yesterday — and much more likely to get run over by a car than ever be in the same timezone as an attack like this. 

Which is no solace to those that lost people today. I’m in all honesty numb; I watched the coverage like many of us, thinking “not again”. But yes, again. And the thing that kept wandering through my head today was how glad I was to have made a decision not to bring kids into this world, given the future we seem to have created for them to live in. 

Tomorrow begins yet another attempt to return to normalcy for all of us, moving past this and forward in our lives. 

Whatever normal is. 

To everyone who was affected by this today, I’m so sorry. And as a species, once again so disappointed in ourselves. 

Posted in About Chuq

Quick note on “things you’ll find interesting”

For some reason, the posting system for “things your find interesting” wedged for a few days. I’ve beaten on it with a stick and now it promises to behave. 

While I was working on it, I decided to back off on the frequency I’m posting it, so it’ll only show up twice a week now. If you want direct and immediate access to that information, it has its own RSS feed over on tumblr at “Chuq Snarks“, and you’re welcome to subscribe to it. 

The tumblr setup was very much an experiment and while it was an improvement on the older hack (readership has about doubled from extremely tiny to fairly small), there are aspects I still don’t like. It has helped me understand what I’d like a setup like that to be,a dn so I’ve started thinking about what it would take to build out a system to handle that information better. Not sure when it’ll happen, but now that the site redesign is done, I can put some energy into it and see what pops out (if anything).


Posted in Working on Web Sites

very early metrics on the new site.

I took a quick look at metrics on the site since I pushed the updates. I’m thrilled with the change. Before the change, the site was seeing about 1.4 pages per visit, and an average visit was about a minute. Not great numbers. The day I pushed the new front page — before I got the rest of the updates in place — that jumped to 2.12 pages per visit and 2:35 minutes per visit. The site’s been live about ten days now. Just looking at the last two days? Those numbers are 2.9 pages per visit and 3:44 duration. The one week average is 2.7 and 3:19, so the numbers seem to be trending up as I start cranking new content again.

That’s all really encouraging. what matters, though, is what the numbers will look like a month from now, after the newness settles dow and everything is back in a rhythm. but it’s a great start. 

How’s that compare to the past? Looking at 4-1 through 4/10 against the previous month 3/1 through 3/10: pages per visit went from 1.37 to 2.44, up 78%. And time on site went from 0:57 to 2:52 — up 202%. Visits are up 13% and page views up 101%. 

I just finished an editing exercise, going through the site and deleting blog posts that I didn’t want visible any more. By the time I was done, I slimmed down the blog by about 20% (those of you who believe content should be forever, cover your eyes!). Most of what got deleted was hockey related, and mostly day of game or link-snark entries. I can’t think anyone really cares if I thought Patrick marleau had a good game five years ago. 

I’m trying to be careful not to over-edit the site, but I want the site’s content to really say something useful. I left in anything where I actually wrote commentary, vs a link snark piece that was little more than a pointer to something and a line or two proving how smart I was… That is the kind of blog post that might get some interest for a week or two and then disappear into the bowels of the archive and never looked at again. I’d rather that stuff be done.

Something to remember: if you’re trying to improve the quality of your content, you can do that two ways. Clearly, you should spend time and energy on creating better new content — but you can also improve the overall quantity by deleting the weakest content. 

I’ve recently come to a new understanding, one that I’ll talk about in some detail soon, and it’s that I would much rather be known for a dozen really good things than as the guy with a million things that nobody ever looks at. 

What are the dozen things you want someone to remember you by? Can you link to them? And how do you plan on improving that list over the next year?

FWIW, my first approximation of an answer to that is to look at the images on the front page of this site, and the articles linked in the sidebar to the right. It’s not a perfect list and I’m still thinking this through and refining it, but it’s a good start….


Posted in Working on Web Sites