Google Analytics custom filtering

I have a client with a sort of complex setup. We host most of their site, so we can manage URLs and page titles. However, their press releases are hosted offsite, where we have very limited control. Unfortunately those are files on which they need very specific reporting. They need to see aggregate page views to these pages as well as be able to look up views to specific press releases. The page URLs are unintelligible, and the names have nothing in common, but all of these pages are in the same folder on this offsite host. I can get[…]

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Bayesian search theory rulz

Bayesian search theory uses the work of mathematician Thomas Bayes to find lost objects–particularly objects lost at sea. For example, submarines. What’s great about this method is that it works with hunches. In the search for the USS Scorpion, John Craven used Bayesian search theory, along with Vegas-style rounds of betting by a group of experienced submariners, to construct a theory about where the Scorpion could be found. The key elements of Bayesian search theory are: Creating a variety of hypotheses, and probabilities, about where the object might be Determining the likelihood of finding the object in each of those[…]

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Circadian rhythms and web analytics

Last night I fell asleep reading Chaos: Making a New Science, which I’ve posted about <2008/11/02/what-im-reading-chaos/”>before. I woke up with that didn’t-I-have-a-really-cool-dream,-oh-crap-what-was-it-about?-I’m-losing-it!-No,-I-remember! feeling. I opened up the book–I’d been reading about circadian rhythms and had had a brainstorm about applying that science to web analytics. The basics: circadian rhythms are built into plants and animals and keep us going through a 24-hour-ish period of activities (for a while, at least) even when external cues (i.e. light, temperature) are removed. Everyone has a slightly different internal clock, so if light and temperature were held steady for a long long time, we’d[…]

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First Results: Listening to Analytics

I posted <2008/11/01/making-analytics-sing/”>earlier about my desire to listen to analytics data. So far I have barely scratched the surface of this, but just getting the system up and running is pretty inspiring. Now it’s time to dig into the data processing and analysis. By the way, to get this to an audible frequency I have to interpolate some values, so every time I do any processing, I go back to the source, process, and then interpolate. Anyway. So far what we have is this: First, hourly data for a website stretching back to 2003. What I like about this is[…]

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What I’m reading: Chaos

My brother Adam recommended this book: Chaos: Making a New Science by James Gleick. It was the first book to introduce the principles of chaos theory to the general public, and it’s FASCINATING. A really readable description of some very advanced mathematics. I find myself drawn to population dynamics, which is really not the focus of this book at all, but does get referenced several times. The more I think about this, the more likely it seems that techniques used to predict populations could extend almost seamlessly to web analytics. We already see that people online behave as populations (and[…]

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Making Analytics Sing

Ok. It works like this. I majored in Music Technology (technically composition with that emphasis, but whatever). I’ve studied a lot of music synthesis techniques, sometimes from a music class and sometimes from a physics class. I also deeply, deeply love numbers, and would have gone for a math minor had I not graduated early. All tonal music is composed of periodic waveforms. The frequency of the waveform determines the sound’s pitch, and the shape determines the timbre. There’s a pretty good description of the physics of sound at numbera.com, and here’s an image: Which looks kinda like this: Which[…]

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