Philip P. Ide

Author, programmer, science enthusiast, half-wit.
Life is sweet. Have you tasted it lately?

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For the last year I've been using a plugin for my site that generates a statistics page, through which I can keep an eye on how well the site is doing. A couple of days ago, it stopped working. After a bit of analysis I discovered the data structures it was creating in memory had consumed too much of said memory and my hosting service had auto-assassinated it.

I decided to process the logs myself, by first downloading the logs, then uploading a page with the stats in it. What I found was surprising.


Firstly, I wanted to know the number of unique visitors to the site each month. To be clear, these aren't unique over the entire period, just within each month. What I found exactly gelled with the results I was seeing previously, so that was a good start.

Next, I wanted to know how many of each of the platform-specific versions of Orbital Calculator had been downloaded. While I was testing this part of the script, OC was downloaded again… and then again! I checked the logs to make sure that wasn't an aberration created by the changes in the script, but no, they actually had been downloaded while I was testing. Superb!

In case you're interested, it has been downloaded 204 times (at the time of writing). I can see that all the various platform options have been downloaded in roughly equal amounts, including the Armv7 version, so I know that it's worth keeping all versions on my site.

I next turned my eye to what were the most popular pages. This gives me an insight into what people want and where I can turn my hand to gain the best results. It's a double-edged weapon though, since it can narrow content (and hence the visitor demographic) so I'll always try and maintain the site as a reflection of my diverse interests.

It's not really interesting to see how many hits a page written a year ago has accrued. It's been around longer than a page added last month, so it can distort the analysis. I decided to see what was getting the most views in the current month. I expected this to be the clock marking Perserverance's journey to Marsplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigPerseverance Rover

Perseverance has launched succesfully and the clock is now counting flight and ETA time. It is due to land on Mars on (times and countdown timer based on NASA's timer):

* Feb 18th 2021. * * * * * * *
, or the Mars Weatherplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigMars Weather Reports

This webpage will soon be converted to be the top level page for Mars Weather Reports. It will contain links to the sub-pages, the clocks, the current location of Mars graphic and other data not spcific to the weather readings. The sub-pages will display the weather data from Insight, Curiosity and Perseverance.
page. It turned out, oddly enough to be Getting to Marsplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigGetting To Mars

[Mars] Edit: updated to include

There are multiple ways to get to Mars, and each has pros and cons. The one thing they all have in common is orbital mechanics. Some options can get to Mars in a short period of time, while others could take up to a year. Some are better suited for robotic missions, others for crewed missions. This article takes a look at the problems of getting to Mars (and getting back) and what options are available.
, which came top of the list by a large margin.

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blog/articles/info/stats.txt · Last modified: 2020/08/28 22:41 by Phil Ide

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  • ISSplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigInternational Space Station

    This page has a portal through which you can view the current location of the International Space Station, updating in real-time. The tracker itself comes from the European Space Agency (ESA).

    There is also a handy link to get email notifications direct from NASA when the ISS is visible in your night sky.
  • Mars Weatherplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigMars Weather

    Weather Reports Insight Lander Perseverance Rover Curiosity data to come [Current positions of Earth and Mars] Image courtesy of and © Dominic Ford

    This image is updated once per week. A daily update is available on the Mars Solar Conjunctions page when such events are active.

    You can check the position of Mars vs the Sun and Earth for any date here:
  • Downloadsplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigDownloads

    Orbital Calculator Current Version This is a portable application, meaning there is no installer. Just unzip into a folder and run the executable. Since it is portable, it can be run from a USB stick.

    A full description and a list of the features are available
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    I needed to calculate orbital characteristics for any orbit around any gravitational mass (because I write sci-fi stories), so I wrote this program because I'm a programmer and I'm too lazy to do it by hand all the time. The program has expanded over the last few years, sometimes from suggestions by other writers. I make it freely available and as simple to use as possible. It now has a list of functions as long as your arm (assuming you're not a tentacle user), and the numbe…
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    The Cookie policy is straightforward. This site only uses cookies that are required to make your experience of using this site better, and only uses session cookies (see exceptions below). Session cookies are deleted when you close your browser.
  • Book Reviewsplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigBook Reviews

    Here you can find all the book reviews, broken down by genre, and further subdivided by author. If you want me to review your novel, please read my Rules on Reviewing.

    * Science-Fiction * Fantasy * Non-Fiction
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    If you have a burning desire to contact me, use the discussion form below. Anything you say remains private between you and me.