Saturday, 27 April 2013

Analytics Report

In this blog post I will go through some of the statistics from my blogs analytics page. This should give some insight as to where most of the traffic visiting the blog came from and other information such as the most popular browsers and operating systems. (All of the below images are screenshots taken from the stats page within Blogger).

Since setting up the blog the overall page views is 509. However a lot of these views are probably from myself looking at the the blog to see if things were okay. There is an option to not track your own views by using a cookie but it never seemed to work when I tried it. My most popular blog post over the 11 weeks was my week 2 post, but this was due to people commenting on that post.

407 of the 509 page views came from Ireland, which makes sense. 36 came from Germany, 35 from the US and 16 from Russia. This seems a bit strange, but these page views were probably from bots.

The most popular browser was Firefox with 231 of the total views. This was followed by Google Chrome with 167 views. I thought that Chrome would be the more popular browser. But this could be due to the fact that not all the labs in the college have Chrome installed on them. Internet Explorer is third with 51 views. Honestly, whoever is using IE should be ashamed of themselves!

Next up is the number of page views by operating system. It should come as no surprise that Windows is the most popular with 446 of the total views. This is followed by Mac OS at 24 views and Linux with 16.

Next we will take a look at home people accessed the blog. Most people got to my blog via Colin's Blog where he had each persons blog listed on a page. This amounted to 142 page views. The next most popular way was was through a site called By the looks of this it is some sorrt of movie streaming site... These views were most probably from some sort of bot or web crawler. The rest are all from my class mates blogs where they have me listed in their blog roll.

Week 11

In the first class this week we took a further look at Google Analytics. Colin took us through the analytics for his blog and explained some of the features Google Analytics has to offer. In the second class we took a look at search engine optimization in further detail.

There was no lab this week but a few of us came in anyway and worked on finishing our essay which was due the following day at noon. The essay I chose to write about was the issue of Net Neutrality. I actually enjoyed researching about the topic and writing and I think it turned out pretty well. I essentially started from scratch as I thought my first draft was fairly bad, so I was glad I started off fresh with the final draft.

So this is the final blog post we must submit as part of this module. It has been an interesting 11 weeks keeping this blog up to date. I had never kept a blog before so it was a new experience to me. I found it to be an enjoyable to make a recap of what happened each week in class and labs. All that is left to do now is to write my Google Analytics report for my blog which should be interesting. I will post this in a separate blog post.

So it looks like that's about it. This is the last blog post I am required to do. Things are starting to get hectic in the last few weeks. Assignment deadlines are looming and the exams aren't far off. Once I keep my head down and get my work done then I should be fine. I nearly have my first year of college finished!

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Week 10

This week we only had one class because Colin had to attend a meeting for the second one. In the class we had Colin talk about Google Analytics. Firstly we looked at how web servers keep logs of page and file requests. Within these logs various bits of information are kept, such as the IP address, date and time and the files requested. The data within these logs is limited and can be hard to analyze in its raw format.

This is where Google Analytics comes in. It can parse the information from these data logs and display them in a more graphical format, which would be more useful and understandable. Google may also be able to add more information to the data which the logs cannot, such as gender. However, Google does not have access to a web server's logs, unless it is a Google server, so in order for it to work with non Google servers, a code must be added to the webpage. This then allows Google to track the webpage. Colin then went and showed us some of the stats for his blog, what his most popular post was, the number of views he gets, and what web browsers and operating systems that his visitors use.

In the lab everyone was finishing off their assignment 2 which was due the following day at noon. I was happy with my assignment and found it interesting seeing which image format was the best option depending on what the image was and also comparing the image quality versus the image size.

It's coming into the last few weeks of my first year of college and things are starting to get a bit hectic. Deadlines for assignments are looming and the exams aren't too far off. I should be okay though, I just need to keep my head down and work away for the home stretch. 

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Week 9

In the first class this week we looked at video compression.We saw how digital video is a sequence of frames. Uncompressed, video is big. For example, in Colin's notes he shows an example that a 640x480 video at 25 frames per second with 24 bits per pixel amounts to about 21Mbytes per second. If this was a HD video being streamed on YouTube it would be massive! Therefore it is of a huge advantage to compress video.

We then looked at two different kinds of video compression, intra and inter. Intra compression works on a single frame to manipulate the data in order to reduce its size. Inter frame compression works on a group of frames. This involves dividing a frame into blocks and only updating the blocks that change by copying and pasting the similar blocks from previous frames. This uses a lot less data than coding an entire frame as you are now only coding the differences between frames.

We then looked at MPEG, an ISO standard for video compression. Here, frames coded using Intra-frame compression are called I-Frames. Frames coded using inter-frame compression are called P-Frames. We also looked at Bi-directional Prediction, also known as B-Frames. This involves taking frames from past and future frames to construct the next frame. Frames are also transmitted in an order that is different from the order that they will be displayed in.

In the second class we looked at Podcasting. We looked at its origins and how it evolved. We looked at how software like iTunes allows you to subscribe to a Podcast and it will download all the latest ones to your device. In the lab we continued to work on assignments 2 and 3 which are due soon. Colin also asked us to look at our class mates blogs and to see if we could spot any spelling mistakes they may have missed.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Week 8

In class this week we continued to look at dithering. We also looked at GIF, PNG and JPEG images and what they consist of. We went over the concept of dithering again and went through some examples of calculating the average RGB values.

We then looked at run length encoding. This involves replacing multiple occurrences of an item, with the item multiplied by how many times it appears, e.g. x4. We then looked at the GIF image file format. It uses indexed colour with a 256 colour palette. It uses run length encoding. We also saw how dithering a GIF image leads to so issues.

We then looked at the discrete cosine transform. This takes the data from the "spatial domain" and transfers it to the "frequency domain". Here the data is compressed by mathematical wizardry which we didn't cover in great detail, but got the general idea of, which is enough! When it is compressed it is converted back to the "spatial domain" by the inverse discrete cosine transform. 

We then moved onto JPEG images. These are best suited to natural images. It is bad at preserving edges which makes it bad for graphics or text. Finally we looked at PNG images. This was created as an alternative to GIF. PNG uses lossless compression and uses 24 bit RGB or 32 bit RGBA. Unlike GIFS, it does not support animation.

In the lab this week Colin went around to each student to see how they are getting on with their assignments. It seems as if a few more groups have decided to disband and take the option of the essay for assignment 3. Colin also suggested that we could essentially have this module finished if we were to tackle assignment 2 and 3 over the Easter break. It seems like a good plan to me, hopefully I'll actually do it! We didn't cover anything in the lab. Most of us worked on finishing up our programming assignment which was due at 5pm that day.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Week 7

In the lectures this week Colin talked to us about image compression. This included black and white images, pixel depth reduction, sub-sampling, colour look up tables and dithering.

We first looked at digitizing an image. This involves dividing the image into a grid of squares. The average darkness of each square is calculated and then given a value. We also looked at pixels and the more that there are in an image the better quality it will be. Colin also discussed bits per pixel. The more bits you have in a pixel, the greater the amount of colours can be produced. For example if there were 8 bits in a pixel there could be a possible 256 different colours.

Sub-sampling involves throwing a certain number of rows and columns of pixels away in order to reduce the size of the image. In order to make up for the missing pixels you can make the remaining pixels larger or you can use interpolation. Interpolation involves filling in the missing pixels based on the ones which are left in the image. However this leads to the image becoming blurred.

Pixel depth reduction involves reducing the number of bits per pixel to again reduce the size of the image. An image may not need the 256 colours that 8 bits can produce, so therefore you can reduce the number of bits. The further you reduce the number of bits the less number of colours there will be in the image. For example if you have 2 bits per pixel you can have a maximum of 4 colours.

Finally we looked at dithering. Dithering simulates the appearance of colours not in the palette by arranging the colours that are in a checkered pattern to give the impression that there are more colours in the image. Only by zooming into the image could you see the dithering taking place. 

In the lab we continued to work on our Google online challenge. However after some discussion we decided to call it a day with the project. Due to some communication mix ups we were behind with the project. We were also struggling to get our per-campaign report done. Because of these reasons we decided to disband and opt to do option B for Assignment 3, which is an essay. I have chosen the title of "Net Neutrality" for my essay. While I am disappointed that we decided to not continue with the Google online challenge, I am now looking forward to researching and starting my essay.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Week 6

In the first class this week, we went to C128 where Colin talked to us about Assignment 2. The task is to compare the trade-off between size and quality in JPEG and GIF images. We were each given 3 images to work with. Once Colin explained what we had to do, we used Photoshop on the machines to work on our images. Luckily I got them all finished in time. Now I just have to go and write the report!

In the second class we looked at search engine optimization (SEO). We looked at White Hat vs. Black Hat optimization. Black Hat SEO tries to trick the search engine into displaying your page ahead of everyone else. While this may work in the short term, it will end up hurting you in the long run as Google will eventually find out and punish you. Colin also talked about local and external optimization. Local is where you make changes to your own site to increase its ranking while external makes changes to other sites to help influence your ranking.

We also saw how Google indexes web pages by text. It ignores all images. If your site is made up of images which contain a lot of text then it cannot be indexed. Your page's ranking will therefore suffer. We also saw how to make use of keywords, accurate page titles and meta tags to better optimize your page.

In the lab on Thursday we mainly worked in our GOMC groups. We set up our AdWords account and discussed the meeting we were having with our client the following day. Colin also went around to the groups to see how everyone was getting on. He also showed us some of the features available to us in Google AdWords.