Communications Director’s Report: March, 2015

For the month ending February 28, 2015

Web site report:

Statistics

2014 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Unique Visitors 280 524 529 538 498 754 822 777 1,159
Number of Visits 444 925 864 898 816 1,099 1,355 1,207 1,897
Pages Served Out 3,026 3,632 2,543 2,796 6,846 3,977 3,833 3,499 7,227
Hits 5,745 5,483 4,463 4,601 9,367 6,262 5,894 6,491 10,280
Bandwidth (MB) Used 130.88 111.66 101.56 120.64 171.39 194.09 273.56 242.92 241.89
2015 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Unique Visitors 1,184 1,203
Number of Visits 2,059 1,991
Pages Served Out 11,573 7,943
Hits 15,579 8,841
Bandwidth (MB) Used 300.38 345.99

Growth (month over month)

2014 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Unique Visitors * 87% 1% 2% -7% 51% 9% -5% 49%
Number of Visits * 108% -7% 4% -9% 35% 23% -11% 57%
Pages Served Out * 20% -29% 10% 145% -42% -4% 9% 107%
Hits * -5% -19% 3% 104% -33% -6% 10% 58%
Bandwidth (MB) Used * -15% -9% 19% 42% 13% 41% -11% 0%
2015 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Unique Visitors 2% 2%
Number of Visits 9% -3%
Pages Served Out 60% -31%
Hits 34% -76%
Bandwidth (MB) Used 24% 15%
  • The numbers are mixed and there is no reliable interpretation. Best guess is that growth over February has been flat but the way the site has been used has changed.
  • Over 1,000 hits came in the first 5 days of the month from an IP owned by Verizon. This has distorted the statistics. This might be a single user who has “scraped” the web site, or possibly some form of automated indexing a Verizon robot is doing. No action is taken at this time, but I will keep an eye on this.
  • The calendar continues to be the most popular page on the web site. The reprint of Macha Nightmare’s 1999 essay on Chants and Enchantments was again the most popular page after the calendar.
  • Will recommend to the Board that Macha’s essay be looked at for possible inclusion somehow in the Lyceum Year and a Day course

Our presence on Google and Yahoo continues at good strength. We continue to see referrals from Witchvox. Tracking these no longer seems important as we have an established presence, so this will be the last report on this topic.

On a related topic, more than 50% of our visitors are using some form of Linux. Only 25% are using some variety of Windows, and 20% are using a Macintosh. This is a significant change over the last year and suggests that our user base is shifting wrt1) operating system choices. One implication is that we should put more emphasis on the use of universally readable file formats such as .pdf and .odt and discourage the use of proprieatary Microsoft formats such as .doc and .docx as these are no longer dominant.

Also of interest is that 60% of the user base is using Firefox, 25% are using Google Chrome, Internet Explorer use is less than one-half of one percent.

Changes Done, and Work In Progress

This was reported last month, but belongs to this report: There is some seriously bad news with regard to mailing lists. I reported in January that our web hosting service, Bluehost, offered mailing list capabilities that would fit Lyceum’s needs. This was the Mailman package. Two things happened in early February that changed that:

  1. In an apparent attempt to cut down on the tremendous amount of abuse of the Internet that happens through their portals, Yahoo has changed what they will accept as valid emails from mailing lists. Mailman was designed around a validation process that Yahoo no longer recognizes and emails sent out through the lists to persons with a Yahoo address began bouncing. There might be a fix for this, but there is another problem.
  2. At about the same time, Bluehost stopped offering Mailman to its users. It looks like it is continuing to provide support to businesses that already have established Mailman mailing lists. But the option to start a new Mailman list is no longer present.
    There are recent changes: Since originally reported, Bluehost has upgraded to the latest version of the Mailman software and has folded it directly into their main CPanel (it was an add-on choice before). However there is clearly no stability wrt2) any mailing list software.
  3. A third confounding fact is that on Thursday, 2/26/15, the FCC has determined that Internet access is a public utility. Most of the news reports on this have focused on the effects it will have on the “last mile” problem and wireless services. But the FCC will also now take on the problems of spam, phishing, and malware being sent through USA portals, and how this will affect mailing lists is not yet known.
  4. As mentioned last month, the FCC has now taken jurisdiction of some major parts of the web experience. To summarize, the hardware that supports email and mailing lists is now considered a public utility. This will have an affect on Lyceum but it will be months, perhaps years, before the courts have their say on certain aspects of this and the dust has settled.

All this mailing liist hassle strongly suggests to me that Lyceum needs to look at non-traditional ways of implementing similar functions that have been handled by traditional mailing lists. Lyceum needs a way to manage these which is secure in all aspects of their use, and which can be managed without having to study the use of arcane web tools. Sue Ann has shown me it is possible to use GooglePlus groups to implement something similar to a mailing list and when I find the elusive round tuit I will look into that. In the meantime we continue with Yahoo groups.

Lyceum does have its own presence in GooglePlus as “Lyceum Oftrees”, whose email address is lyceumcircle@gmail.com. Either Gyelle or myself or Sue Ann as steward can become Lyceum Oftrees to update the calendar or add YouTube content. Unfortunately there is the risk of seriously destructive conflicts if too many persons have this access, so I do not dare share the password any further. I am open to discussing other uses of this resource.

Summary

The web site is doing well. The mailing list situation is stagnant. Lyceum has a GooglePlus presence as “Lyceum Oftrees”, and I am slowly looking at ways that we can use this resource.

March is the first anniversary of this website.

Author: Will

I was born at a very young age but I am older than that now. As a young man I drove half a million miles in Boston taxis. Then I moved to Oregon and developed two careers as an RN over 28 years: the first as a clinical nurse mostly in ICU, then later in Nursing Service Administration as an Informatics RN (but before that term was coined). In between RN work, I picked up an ADSc Business Computer Programming and provided PC network installation, maintenance and repair for 10 years. I eased into retirement beginning in 2003 and was fully retired in 2010. But I have continued to develop and manage websites and my skills are current with HTTP/CSS, PHP, Apache, SQL, etc. I have a strong preference for Ubuntu Linux boxes and Dokuwiki websites. I have a strong dislike of WordPress, which, although it is technically very well done, has created one of the worst cesspool ecosystems I have ever encountered. Still it is sometimes the best tool for the job, more is the pity. I have followed pagan paths for 50 years and I have about 3 yards of bookshelves devoted to pagan thought and practice. I am a perfectly eclectic technopagan heavily influenced by Victor Anderson's Feri practice but comfortable with Gardner derivatives, Zennist ways, and totemic/shamanist practices. I have recently been made the Steward of the Lyceum Of Trees. So I am Will Steward, Steward. Make of that whatever you will.