Friday, 30 October 2009

Blimey! Lower viewership!

Just looked at my Google Analytics stats.

It's shocking how much lower my weekly viewership is so far, ever
since I dropped the Facebook Notes syndicate.

Now, there could be many other confounding variables that are causing
this lower viewership rate (O Levels, no new post, etc.), so I'll wait
a bit longer. Need a couple of weeks to control for these variables
before I can make a fair comparison. But thus far, the results have
been eye-openingly surprising - a 30-50% drop.

Average = 112 visitors a week.
Visits a week for the first 3 weeks of Oct 2009: about 80.
Visits for the week of 25 - 30 Oct 2009: 56

*scratches chin*

Music Chart of the moment

Yes, it's another music chart!

Before I start, I must first disclose that I rarely buy music from
iTunes/Amazon nowadays. I've been trying to use Spotify, a legal music
streaming service, instead. Why? Well, I can listen to all the music I
want for £9.99/mth, and the music doesn't have to stay on my Hard Disk
(it can, if I choose to), and I can sync playlists over-the-air
between my Spotify app on my Mac, as well as my iPhone and anywhere
else I so choose to log in to Spotify. So, there, I don't own most of
the tracks listed below, unless I somehow feel that the track's going
to be a classic/one-hit wonder.

Music Chart for the moment...

"Little Lion Man"
Mumford & Sons

"Bad Romance"
Lady Gaga

"You've Got The Love"
Florence + The Machine

"Undisclosed Desires"

"Empire State of Mind"
Jay-z feat. Alicia Keys

"Forever Is Over"
The Saturdays

MSTRKRFT feat. John Legend

"You're Not Alone"
Tinchy Stryder

"Ghosts 'n' Stuff"
Deadmau5 feat. Rob Swire

Calvin Harris

"White Lies"
Mr Hudson

Kings of Leon

"Sweet Disposition"
The Temper Trap

"Fight For This Love"
Cheryl Cole

"Manos Al Aire"
Nelly Furtado


Yes, I'm sticking to the rules this time around - Each artist/band is
entitled to only one position.

And yes, it seems like my music taste is subconsciously shifting
towards the electronic genre.

And yes, I kept one rule, but broke another - rappers on my chart
(Tinchy Stryder and Jay-Z). Somehow, I like both tracks.

By the way, what do you think of the album art collage? Nice touch? or just unnecessary? Comment, please!

Sunday, 25 October 2009

The last syndicated post (to FB)

As of typing, it's 25 October 2009, slightly after 8pm GMT. (oh yeah, DST's over, which means I can speak in GMT time now.)

Starting 26 October 2009, there shall be no more syndication of my blog posts on Facebook.


Well, the main reason is that I want to try out something.

I want to check if people will visit my blog if I don't syndicate onto Facebook.

From my judgement, I think people are not visiting my blogspot blog because they can get the same "experience" on Facebook as they would want on my blog - they can read what I post, and they have a feedback system in the form of comments and likes (which replaces the tagboard).

There are pros and cons to having my blog posts syndicated to my Facebook profile page.

The Pros:
•I'm making my blog posts more accessible to my 300+ friends, since they log on to Facebook more often than my blog - In a sense, I'm benefitting from the 'cluster effect' of Facebook, as a social tool/destination on the web.
•People get to comment on specific posts and I get to see which post they are referring to - much better than a single tagboard for an entire blog.
•Because many people log on to Facebook regularly (perhaps on their smartphones, even), my notes are more accessible than my blog. Not only that, but people can catch up on my latest posts more regularly and not feel as if I've written a novel while they weren't visiting my blog. Well, what do you expect when I update my blog 200+ times a year? (Though thanks to Twitter, that rate has probably gone down by 20% or so. As of this post, I've published 186 posts for my blog in 2009)

The Cons:
•My blog posts don't look good after passing through layers of layout adjustments - firstly my, then Blogger, and finally, Facebook. Each step of the process, the blog post changes form - font, type (bold, italic, etc.), colour, size, alignment, it loses the element that I intended the post to have, and that's very irritating if you actually spend time & effort doing up all the fonts.
•Your blog might suffer as a result of people only reading your posts on Facebook.

I want people to realise that I actually have a blog, and my "Facebook Notes" are just a 'carbon copy' of my blog. Initially, I set Facebook to syndicate my blog because I want people to see a new 'note' on my Facebook profile page, and after seeing that, I was hoping that people would NOT click through to my Facebook notes, but rather, go over to my blogger blog. Obviously, that was wishful thinking on my part - people don't memorise URLs to others' blogs. 

But now, I want to try out a little experiment. I want to find out if syndicating onto Facebook has any significant effect on the number of visitors/pageviews per day on my blog. As such, I am cutting off the syndication (possibly temporarily), and I want to see whether or not Google Analytics will log more visitors. If it does, then I can say that Facebook Notes does take away viewership from the original blog, if you're a small-time blogger like me. If it doesn't then maybe only a 8 people read my blog regularly, each visiting my blog twice daily (on average, I get 8 unique visitors per day and 16.59 pageviews a day.).

So do check out my blog if you've never been there before -

Note: if you're reading my blog via RSS (which I doubt, but then again, I won't know since I don't track RSS feed viewers), it still works. I'm just removing the RSS feed link from my Facebook Profile page settings.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Urgh. Mucus. SuperF.

Been ill.


Well, maybe 'slightly' is an underplaying adverb. Been getting
blockages in my left nose, thanks to a mixture of blood and mucus. And
the Lemsip seems to help with the mucus in the short-term, but worsens
the nose-bleeds, because one of its side-effects is thrombocytopenia,
which basically means platelets deficiency, or in my case, slow blood
clot formation and hence, increased nose bleed duration and volume.
Bio students, I hope you learnt something, and if you're having your
'O's I hope that served as a reminder to go and revise. (Hope that
warning didn't come too late.)

By the way, no, I didn't learn that word (Thrombocytopenia). It was on
the patient information leaflet that came in the box with the Lemsip

Anyway, let's put that gross mucus talk aside.

Went to the cinema yesterday to watch the Pixar movie "Up" in 3D. I
must say, the new "Real 3D" glasses - the ones that use Circular
Polarizing glasses rather than tinted glasses - really adds drama to
the animated movie. The added dimension of depth isn't just used to
give the short bursts of 'surprise the audience' scenes like those in
Jaws 3D anymore. Rather, you see this Z-axis being used throughout the
movie. And even though you might get a headache at the beginning and
discomfort on your nose (especially if you wear spectacles), the added
dimension makes the story more engrossing. Sometimes, you feel as if
you're watching a puppet show, only that the scenes change instantly
and there's no strings.

The only downside is that I can still see a bit of ghosting effect and
a bit of interpolation in certain scenes, which is quite hard to
accept considering how much more the tickets cost (well, for the Odeon
that I was at, anyway). Still, it could've been worse, right?

Overall, this technology has that 'wow' factor that impressed me.

In other news, I just bought a new book (gasp! a book?!) recently -
it's the sequel to Freakonomics, Superfreakonomics. I was so engrossed
with the first, I decided to actually buy the sequel. Yes, there's
some controversy about the content in the book - if you read online,
there's a debate about the way the book talks about Global warming.
And if you read the first book, you might be dropping your lips (at
first in surprise, then) in dismay when they theorised that the Roe vs
Wade ruling which led to the legalisation of abortion in the USA
caused the decline in the rate of crime in the US in the '90s, in
spite of analysts' more pessimistic predictions of escalating crime
rates. Not going into too much detail (don't want to spoil the book)
but if you want to read the theories in depth, head down to the
nearest library that has this book, or buy it, or buy the audiobook
online. It tries to mix Psychology (a social science that tries to
explain human behaviour) with Economics (another social science of how
markets, economic agents and economies interact). It's analytical, but
it doesn't have the terminology and complex maths. (Though some people
argue that the book often "cherry-picks" statistics to distort the
truth and support their theories/disprove certain common beliefs
amongst people.)

K. just a short post. Need to use the bathroom, and then sleep.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

See Statistics? Scrutinise the source.

If you see a set of statistics coming from a researcher, be it in an
advertisement, newspaper, or even in a Social Studies/History Source-
Based Question, always question its source.

In SS classes, we are 'trained' to look at the provenance of a source
to see where it came from, and from there, interpret certain things -
what the sample size was, who was included in the sample, what this
data is supposed to represent, and how was the data collected. The
same should apply in real life - when you see that shampoo ad claiming
"7 out of 10 people experienced stronger hair", investigate how the
research was done. If the footnote says "in a trial of 117 people", I
would still be suspect. Why?

1. Because 117 people could include 100 employees, who, having
received financial incentive from the company in the form of a job and
a salary, have an obligatory pressure to say "it's brilliant". Or
superficially, if they love the company and their products, however
bad/good they may actually be, and that is why they choose to work for
the company and take free samples, then the sample is biased.

2. Because out of 117 people, the company picked and interviewed 90
people who had strong hair to begin with, and the shampoo didn't do
much to help. Or, the opposite could be true - they started from a low
base (i.e.: very weak hair), and increased the strength, even though
the hair was still breaking, albeit at a "60% lower rate of breakage".

3. Because the shampoo works best with certain types of hair (e.g.:
for blondes, or for oily hair), and out of 117 people, 80 people could
have the advantageous trait.

4. Because out of 200 people who initially tested the product, 83
people didn't like the product / didn't report back, so the company
just worked with what they had.

5. Because the company included, with the free sample of shampoo, some
extra hair tonic and vouchers to a special hair treatment place to
"examine the progress of the improvement in your hair".

See how a single footnote might seem to disclose the validity of a
statistic, but actually has so many flaws?

By the way, the above scenario was completely made-up. But I hope it
keeps your eyes open and wary of the claptrap that many researchers,
scientists, and advertisers put out.

Friday, 16 October 2009

of rage and mediation

Initially, when I composed this blog post, I had the intention of
commenting on this controversy that Ben See's been involved in
recently. I prepared a lengthy post. However, I realised that perhaps
i shouldn't publish it, namely for the following reasons:

• By posting what I have drafted, I will be adding more oil to the
fire, which isn't very constructive.
• The situation seems to have subsided, thanks to the mediation
efforts by his classmates.
• The whole controversy is a 4SA 2009 issue, and I felt that I have
absolutely no right to stick my nose in on an incident which didn't
even relate to me.
• I do not 100% know the background behind this controversy.
• I didn't think through the implications of my decision to publish
the post, and I'd really rather not think about the worst case
scenario should I post it and Ben reads it.
• And talk about hypocrisy. The last time I criticised a friend who
was in my class, he became my enemy. So I shouldn't intervene.
• I'm already quite intrusive writing this post. I think I should not
go too deep into this incident that doesn't even relate to me. But I
have opinions that I felt I really cannot bottle up.

As such, I watered down my post and chose to redact almost the entire

All I'm going to say is that I admire a few of Ben's classmates for
how they've reacted to the whole thing. Specifically, Josiah, Zong
Zhen, and Adam. They didn't just flame Ben. They tried to take away
the pressure from the cauldron, and they deserve props for acting as
mediators in this situation.

I really hope this episode ends soon, and everyone in 4SA09 can bury
the hatchet, focus on revisions, and strive for the best in their exams.

With that, I hope all those who are doing their O Levels will be able
to focus on their revision and give their best in the last push for
this leg of their school life.

Gambate! 加油!继续努力!All the best! Up and On!

•And by the way, lay off the Facebooking, will ya?

•Also, drink more water, eat more fruits, eat and sleep properly.
There's no point memorising the entire History and SS textbook if
you're going into the exam hall with a fever, chaffed lips, and
feeling drowsy. Now that you guys have control over your schedules,
plan you time wisely.

•And don't take the Paper 1 for the sciences for granted. They might
be MCQs, but they can be tricky. Keep practicing those TYS MCQ

•And whatever the teachers in school advised, try to trust them and
follow them.

•And don't burn out - take breaks. But not too much. You know
yourself best.

Oh, and Ben, thanks for introducing me to Owl City. their music is
quite helpful in getting me to sleep, somehow. Certainly helps with my

[Note to self: this post should not be syndicated onto Facebook.]


No. This isn't my usual music chart.

I've just been thinking: how do you define "good" music?
Is it something that you enjoy?
Or is it something that many can enjoy?

Is it something that is creative - something that achieves form of
technical breakthrough, perhaps?
Or is it something that improves on another person's work?
Or maybe it's a song with an impressive lyrics of deep meaning?

Does the music paint a colour in your mind?
Does it make you feel? Connect?
Do you want to cry just listening to the song?

What do you think?

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, 12 October 2009


Whew. that's the temperature this morning when I tweeted, if the
weather widget on my Mac and app on my iPhone are to be believed.

It's quite finger-numbing, tapping away on an iPhone at such a
temperature. Can't imagine how I'd be using my phone in winter. I
mean, what do people do here, with a sizeable chunk of the population
using these capacitive touchscreen devices (iPod touch, T-mobile G1,
HTC Hero/HD, just to name a few). You can't use these things with a
glove on because (correct me if I'm wrong) these phones have
electrodes under the glass that can detect changes in the
electrostatic field brought about by placing our fingers on the
screen, and gloves insulate this 'change'.

So, my question is, how come I don't see anyone selling gloves with an
electrostatic patch that allows people to continue using their multi-
touch capacitive touch-screen phones? I don't see any in the Apple
Store. This idea could sell in temperate iPhone-laden countries (I'm
looking at Japan, UK/EU countries, USA, Australia, and Canada. Why
not, right? It's not technically impossible, and the target market
audience is quite willing to pay through the nose, the way I see it.
If they're willing to pay £99 for a GPS app, I think they're willing
to pay, say, £39.99 to £79.99 for a glove that allows them to use
their phones an extra 60 days a year without giving frostbites or
numbness. A premium price for a premium phone's premium accessory.
Somebody, please take this idea, go to the patent office, and run with
it. I'll happily tweet away come December in the iPhone-compatible
gloves. As long as they don't cost above £50. That's a really steep
asking price for a pair of gloves...

Saturday, 10 October 2009

More pix

Got really bored on the bus on my way to school one day, so I tried to calculate how long it would take to drive from Brighton to Switzerland. The above shows the result, if I were to take the Euro Tunnel.

A wet evening. This was yesterday evening, on my way home from school, just outside Churchill Square.

We have Beard Papa in London! Who knew! If only we have J.Co Donuts here... (*drools...)

Another tourist shot. Piccadilly Circus, London's equivalent to Times Square.

Friday, 2 October 2009

of boredom and english accent...

In school right now.

I have one hour to my next lesson, so I thought I might as well kill this time off by making a long-winded blogpost and rant on some nonsensical topic of no interest to anybody. I figured that's the only real way of raising viewership - post more nonsense that's much longer than 140 characters x 5, so that you finally have a good reason to blog rather than to twitter, then it'll be syndicated onto Facebook that you have a new post that doesn't make sense, and 300+ readers will read this post (the number of friends I have).

That's in the ideal world of social networking, I'm sure.

Anyway, I thought I should spend some time commenting on the British accent.

There isn't one.

No, really, to those people who were asking me why my accent is not completely Brit yet, there is no such thing as a British accent - the stereotypical aristocratic mode of speech that belongs only in movies set in very 'posh' times, in very 'posh' settings, and with the royals. No. That is not a British accent. That is just a stereotypical parody of the cynical British 'cultures', if I may call it so.

Nowadays, you rarely hear the 'pure' British accent. In the media, on the telly (that's the Brit way of saying the TV), and on the radio - the people you see/hear are quite mixed.

There's the posh accent. (Imagine the Queen delivering a speech right now. Then imagine Stephen Fry talking in his "Hi I went to Cambridge" way.)

Then there's the teen speak, which ranges from the incomprehendable and unclear mumble common amongst those with ASBOs (Anti-Social Behaviour Orders, if I'm not wrong), to the geek who worked at Morgan Stanley at age 15 and thinks he's a know-it-all, and doesn't use Twitter. Shut up.

And then there's the Scottish way. And there's the Welsh, and the Irish, and the Asian (which doesn't mean Chinese, by the way. This refers to the Indians/Pakistani/Sri Lankan), the 'Black' (like Dizzie Rascal, the rapper. Though I could argue that his accent is more of the hometown accent, typical of people on BBC Radio1), and the very rigid Oriental way (this is where the Chinese and Korean sit in. For some reason, I feel that the Oriental English accent is more stiff than the others - you don't feel that the people are speaking in a flow. Rather, they break their sentences syllable by syllable, or maybe it's just me).

Oh, did I mention the American accent? There's a bit of that, too.

I'm being a bit racist here because I just want to point out that there is no such thing as a British accent. Everyone has their own way of speaking, though some sound clearer than others, and most people belonging to a certain race/culture/origin tend to adopt the same way of speaking English.

But the most important thing about communication is clarity. If another person understands what you say, doesn't matter what accent you use, as long as you get each other, then there's communication.

Sure, there might be the odd 'peppering' of euphemisms and slangs that only Brits or Americans or Singaporeans can understand. I still don't understand the true definition of 'lah', and I'm sure most people don't even know it has a meaning, but they use it as a substitute for the full stop, and that seems fine to some lorh (see what I mean?)

Of course, there are times when some accents are unacceptable. You should never expect Cambridge to give an English O Level paper that's covered in 'leh' and 'wa biang' an A1. Nor would you expect people in a Pasar Malam to speak the Texan way, unless they're doing something related to Mid-west America, which is just odd for a Pasar Malam.

Well, That's 'accents' for you! Now, stop asking me where's my Brit accent.