Mis establos!!!

None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained). Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

I work on the EPSRC-funded @CHI_MED project; all views are my own. I used to work at Diabetes UK (until 22 June 2012) as a Science Information Officer (effectively a science-specialist librarian but not quite a clinical librarian). Before that it was ScienceLine and back in the mists of time it was lipid chemistry & neuroscience.

Contact: @JoBrodie or reconfigure this email address me.meeeee @ gmail.com (replace me and meeeee with obvious letters, eg... jo.brodie@ etc).

Oh OK then it's jo dot brodie at gmail dot com

Friday, 2 January 2015

Blog stats for this blog part 5 (31 December 2014)

I've had this blog since June 2009 and in May 2010 I added Google Analytics. Blogger (which hosts this blog and is owned by Google) also has its own 'Blogger stats' which began in July 2010.

Google Analytics are generally believed to be the more accurate figures, whereas Blogger stats are approximately 3x the figure - Blogger counts every time a search engine indexes the site (a regular occurrence).

For the last five years I've reported, on a roughly annual basis, my stats according to both Google Analytics and Blogger. I do this in case anyone else is curious / nosey. Although the largest figure (1.6m views) sounds bonkersly massive (well it does to me) this is a cumulative figure over 5 years of blogging, and is probably inflated threefold.

My blog is visited and indexed by Google and for some search terms it appears on the first page, however it is certainly not a big hitter but it does get a few hundred visits each day, which amazes and delights me given that it's not really about anything. Niche blogs generally build an audience and do useful things, I just witter on and record stuff for later. Most of my blog posts get tiny numbers of views but one or two are very popular and the 'hits' are almost entirely due to them ;)

Figures in brackets next to each month are the number of posts published in that month.

Month Blogger Stats Google Analytics
January (11) 59,624 17,103
February (2) 58,153 17,792
March (10) 71,487 18,697
April (7) 65,703 18,040
May (12) 62,413 16,351
June (7) 65,194 15,781
July (11) 73,391 17,243
August (8)  68,295 16,540
September (8) 61,177 14,835
October (12) 69,856 12,950
November (2) 57,221 10,920
December (10) 67,118 11,455
Totals 779,632 187,707
Monthly avg 64,969 15,642

Total blog visitors (lifetime) is 424,084 according to Google Analytics, this is a much smaller figure than the 1.6m (pageviews, not visitors) that Blogger Stats currently displays. As you can see in the pic below up until March 2014 this blog had had about 300,000 visitors so there have been around 120,000 since then (187,000 from Jan-Dec 2014 in total).

Almost all traffic is from Google with a pitifully small amount of traffic from Twitter. I do share some of my posts on Twitter but because my blog deals with a lot of techy stuff and the people who follow me are probably quite techy themselves it's not surprising that Twitter visits are much lower.

The picture above shows the stats for this blog according to Blogger with the marker for December 2014 (at 67,118 visits). There was a dip in October 2013 (16 posts) with 37,909 pageviews, which still sounds like lots of page visits to me!

Previous blog stats posts

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Mute, block, private - the three Twitter levels of peace and quiet, but not much else

The three Twitter levels of shushing people are

1. Mute

Muting someone just stops their tweets from appearing in your timeline. You'll still receive any tweet they send you as an @mention or a direct message. Muting is useful for temporarily shushing people who are live-tweeting an event that you're not interested in while keeping all other lines of communication open. They won't know they're muted unless you tell them.

Can you see their tweets? Only the ones where they've tagged your name
Can they see your tweets? Yes (unless they've muted you)

2. Block 
Blocking someone means you don't see their tweets. None of their tweets will be shown to you including their broadcast tweets and any tweet that mentions you. They also can't follow you or interact with your tweets. It is possible that you'll still see something of them if someone else that you follow retweets one of their tweets. All of your tweets are still entirely visible to them however, blocking just means they can't communicate with you on Twitter.

Can you see their tweets? Yes but on official Twitter you may need to click a 'view tweets' button (see first picture below)
Can they see your tweets? Yes, but it may take more effort depending on what platform they use (in second picture I've taken the screenshot from Twitter desktop which doesn't show profile, but Echofon on iPhone does).

What it looks like when you block someone, on Twitter

What it looks like when someone blocks you
(on Twitter, tweets visible on other apps!)

They may know they're blocked if they look at your profile on official Twitter sites (desktop or Twitter for smartphone / tablets) but might not notice if they're using third party apps.

Blocking someone does not stop them from seeing your tweets however and even if they're shown a blank profile your tweets will still show up in searches. You can see screenshots of what a blocked account can still see (I tested it with a spare account) here.

If you have blocked someone know that they can see your tweets by searching for from:yourname.

Think of the Twitter block more as a "continue to site" hurdle rather than "you shall not pass" barrier. Most apps still show a blocker's tweets to a blockee (even when logged in) and blockees can always search for a blocker's tweets (even if they're logged in), or just log out.

Rather unfortunately an awful lot of people have taken the "you are blocked from following X and viewing X's tweets" to mean that "if you block someone on Twitter they can't see your tweets", which isn't true. 

2a. The missing impossible level
This is the one that everyone seems to want - the ability to really block one or more people from ever seeing your tweets while making all your tweets publicly available to everyone else - but of course it's impossible. Anyone, if blocked, can use another app, use another browser or log out, or search for the tweets of someone who's blocked them.

It is impossible to stop someone from seeing your tweets unless you make your tweets private and trust everyone that you've allowed to follow you.

3. Private
This hides your tweets from everyone except those accounts that you've allowed to follow you. Your tweets will not show up in search results and tweets you send to people who aren't following you won't be seen by them.

Can you see their tweets? Yes
Can they see your tweets? No (unless you give them permission to follow you). Remember that your followers can share your tweets by manually retweeting them (comment RT) or by taking a screenshot (or, worst case scenario, having their account phished or hacked).

If you want to see how much people can infer from your conversations, even though they can't see your tweets, run a search for to:yourname or just yourname. In fact I'd recommend this to anyone with a private account.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Approximate aspect ratios for Google maps - post largely for me to be honest :)

This is a public memo for me for the next time I need a quick way to work out approximate aspect ratio reductions. Fiddling about with a Google map embed... it comes with defaults of 640 x 480 and no way to change it (other than by manually editing the underlying HTML code) and the preset was a little large for its purpose.

I played around with a calculator so that the larger number is about 1.3333 times the smaller one, maintaining an approx 4:3 aspect ratio.

Here's what I came up with. Might be of use to others hence sticking it here rather than just in a file.


Tempting as it is to put a big map on a blog post it rarely works well when viewing on a smartphone. Scrolling down often means you get stuck scrolling within the map, so a bit of thumb-space around the map is helpful.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

This mangled quote is rather pleasing though

Newspapers, quotes, misheard quotes - always entertaining.

Susan Greenfield described the mercurial nature of social media (one minute woohooing over a cute kitten pic, the next getting in a rage over some injustice) with the phrase 'yuck and wow' however it was mistranscribed as 'yakawow' spawning its own meme.

My favourite recent example of 'getting the quote wrong' might be this one, which I think I took from the Daily Mail or another tabloid newspaper. I can't remember what the story was but, knowing what the quote should be, I had quite a good giggle at this. I wonder how it happened - did the person giving the quote not know what the phrase is supposed to be, or did the person listening just summarise as best they could while not knowing the original either?

No. No no no no.

It's meant to be...

"It's not the cough that carries you off, it's the coffin they carry you off in."

Friday, 19 December 2014

How to take screenshots

A version of this was originally posted another post about capturing tweets.

How to take screenshots
On desktop computers people may want to INCLUDE the URL in the address bar but NOT INCLUDE their bookmarks. If so they can usually use the VIEW option in their browser to temporarily hide their bookmarks toolbar (and any other toolbars) to neaten the captured image. They can also resize the entire window and use the Ctrl+- (the Ctrl or Command* key plus the hyphen key) to reduce the size of the text on the screen. Ctrl++ (Ctrl / Command and the + key) to embiggen it again :)

*Command = for Mac keyboards

To take a screenshot on a Windows desktop PC or laptop
• Look for 'Print Screen' on the keyboard which is likely to be spelled Prt Scr.
• Press it to take a picture of the entire screen or press the Alt key first and then Prt Scr to take a snapshot of just the active window.
• This silently copies an image of the screen, or part of it, to the clipboard (it doesn't send it to the printer).

If you open Paint (free with Windows) or Word you can paste it in (keyboard shortcut is Ctrl+V). In Paint you can edit the image.

To take a screenshot on a Mac laptop

Note that 'Command' = the ⌘ key
Command+Shift+3     Capture the entire screen to a file
Command+Shift+Control+3     Capture the screen to the Clipboard
Command+Shift+4     Capture a selection to a file
Command+Shift+Control+4     Capture a selection to the Clipboard       
Source: http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1343

You can use the Preview tool (free with Macs) to do some basic editing of the image.

To take a screenshot on an iPhone
Press the on/off button (at the top right) and the 'home screen' button at the bottom. This will copy whatever's on your screen to your camera roll which you can then email to yourself (private) or upload to image sharing services (public).

To take a screenshot on an Android phone (v4.0 and above)
Press and hold the power and 'volume down' buttons simultaneously - h/t @ErisianLib
More at http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/how-to/google-android/3446798/how-take-screenshot-on-android-phones-tablets/

To take a screenshot on a Samsung S3 Mini
Press and hold the 'home' and 'on/off' (power) button simultaneously - thanks to @Jackpot73 for the info. 

To take a screenshot on a Windows 8.1 phone
Press 'power button' and 'volume increase/up' at the same time - info from @Flatsquid, thank you

To take a screenshot on a Sony phone
It's power and volume down simultaneously, according to @clangyandjammy - thanks