Modern Software Experience


What you clicked on…

new web host

I've been on the Internet for more than a quarter century, I registered the domain more than a decade ago, and started this web site more than five years ago. Yet it was only in March of last year that I stopped using frame forwarding and moved the site to a real web host, under a shared hosting plan. Something I should have done much earlier.

One of the advantages of this change is that I have access to the Apache logs. These have been a source of information and some merriment, as I notice bots for new search engines and hilarious attempts to break into my WordPress configuration. Hilarious because I do not use WordPress at all; every page on this site has been lovingly hand-crafted in Windows NotePad. Okay, I admit to having switched to NotePad++.


Another thing Apache logs are good for is statistics. The web host pre-installed Webalizer, a popular log analysis tool. It shows trends, popular articles, web browsers, that sort of thing. One trend is a fairly steadily increasing number of visitors. The raw log files provide plenty of data to compile some meaningful statistics and overviews, such as the most popular articles of the year - or so I thought when I started writing this overview.

server logs

When I settled into using the new host, I checked out the availability of the Apache server logs. There is a directory with one log file for every day. Over the next few weeks, I checked again and everything seemed okay. The directory contained a growing number of log files.
Alas, everything wasn't okay. It turns out that my web host automatically deletes the Apache logs once a month or so, and when they do, they delete everything older than 31 days. Well, I'll keep that in mind and download log files more often.
For 2011, I have to make do with the Webalizer overviews for each month, and the server logs for November and December. The log files for March through October, containing data for more than one million hits, are gone. I am not amused, but that is how it is. I am lucky to have log files for two full months.

Genealogy 2011

The last few days Webalizer shows an unsurprising interest in the GeneaBlog Award 2011, the Genealogy 2011 overview and the GeneAwards 2011, but this isn't an overview of articles about 2011, it is an overview of articles popular during 2011.

I do not have full statistics for last year, but what is left is a significant amount of data, and sufficient to figure out, with reasonable reliability, what the most popular articles of 2011 are.
There was more interest in industry & product developments than in theory & technology.

most popular articles

Expert Disconnect & Expert Connect Alternatives

Early in 2010, discontinued its Expert Connect service. The Expert Disconnect about this change and the Expert Connect Alternatives that provides an overview of alternative genealogy-as-a-service sites remained popular throughout the year.

Geni Changes

In 2009, made changes that upset users. I wrote about those in Grumblings. In 2011, once again made changes that upset users. I wrote about it in Geni Changes, and this time, many other genealogy bloggers picked the topic up, creating a spontaneous blogathon.

FamilySearch SORD & GEDCOM X

The FamilySearch SORD article about a possible FamilySearch replacement for GEDCOM created considerable interest, that never waned entirely, and the GEDCOM X scoop rekindled interest in the topic.

Genealogy without Documentation is Mythology

The Genealogy without Documentation is Mythology article benefited from a mention in UpFront with NGS, the blog of the National Genealogical Society, but most hits came from searches for that phrase.
The Genealogy without Proof is Mythology article wasn't as popular, and that's a pity, as it addresses the embarrassing issue that the aphorism Genealogy without sources is mythology itself seems to exist without a source…

AncestorSync Beta & How AncestorSync works

The introduction of AncestorSync was big news, as it promises to solve genealogy data transfers problems. There was great interest in the AncestorSync Beta and everybody wanted to know How AncestorSync works.

Family Tree Maker 2012 Public Beta & related articles

I did not do many genealogy reviews in 2011, but they always prove very popular.'s Family Tree Maker is one of the most popular genealogy applications and TreeSync is a major new feature, so it is no wonder that Family Tree Maker 2012 Public Beta and related articles, such as TreeSync Limitations and What is New in Family Tree Maker 2012? were a hit with readers.

Ancestry for Android Beta

News about the Ancestry for Android Beta turned out to be very popular.
Not really surprising, as Ancestry users had been clamouring for an Android variant ever since introduced the Ancestry app for iPhone and iPad.

TMG 8 Public Beta

The TMG 8 Public Beta article is about a Public Beta for a well-known genealogy product, so it wasn't unpopular, but the interest in TMG is only a fraction of the interest in Family Tree Maker.
The reason that the TMG 8 Public Beta article eked into the most popular list is the S(adistic)DK blog post on The Daily WTF, a blog that recounts tales of disastrous development, from project management gone spectacularly bad to inexplicable coding choices. That particular blog post is about John trying to use some less than ideal Software Development Kit (SDK) created by Dinosaur Bob.
Several Daily WTF readers recognised the product as GenBridge from Wholly Genes and included a link to TMG 8 Public Beta in their comment. Only some readers of a blog read and write comments, only some of those readers follow links, and very few do so when those links are not clickable, but The Daily WTF is a very popular blog, and the article experienced a mild WTF Effect; an increase of several thousands of extra hits per day that remained noticeable for several days.


most popular articles

Genealogy 2011

Geni Changes Blogathon

also mentioned