Admin Note: NYC Web Analytics Meetup

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In NYC, interested in Web analytics, and looking for something to do on this coming Tuesday evening? Lucky you!

Following the untimely demise of the former NYC Web analytics meetup group, a friend has started a brand new shiny NYC Web analytics meetup group. He started the group on Friday and scheduled the first meetup for Tuesday, so the extent of the agenda is some casual discussion and some coffee and beer drinking, but it should be a good time.

It’ll be happening at 7PM on Tuesday, January 22nd, at CafĂ© Orlin on St. Marks Place (#41, betweeen first and second avenues), so swing by if you’re in the area and interested in Web analytics, coffee, or beer.

APIs Good. Crappy Web Hosts Bad.

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So I’ve been thinking a little more about Tumblr. While it’s interesting (to me, anyway) to see what has accumulated in my Tumblog without any effort on my part, I still want to play more actively with it.

Now as I noted a few weeks ago, even though most of my Tumblr content is just feeds from other stuff I’m doing (Twitter, Flickr, del.icio.us, last.fm), I don’t like the idea of including the feed from this blog in Tumblr…the “long form” character of it just seems wrong for how I’m viewing Tumblr right now. But I do want to get some reference to this blog in there, so what to do?

The obvious answer, of course, is to write a WordPress plugin that allows me to automatically submit a short-form excerpt from these blog posts as Tumblr “quote” posts; this is in keeping with the way I’m thinking about Tumblr (lifestreaming snippets that require little or no care and feeding of their own), and seems like a fun little project, anyway.

So the above represents where I was when Gwen started her nap about 45 minutes ago. Note that the “simple” answer above is only possible because:

  • WordPress is designed to be easily user-extensible
  • Tumblr is designed to accept submissions however users want to submit them (i.e. API available)

And those aspects of the tools are just there by default…this is a really good thing.

So now the good:

Big points go to both WordPress and Tumblr: halfassed programmer that I am, in half an hour I was able to make a functional (though crude) plugin that would take a designated snippet from a WordPress post and correctly submit it as a Tumblr quote, with a link back to the blog post. Both products are just designed to let you do what you want to do. Very nice.

And the bad:

No points go to the hosting company that is currently running seamonkeyrodeo. I wrote and tested the plugin on a dev installation of WordPress that I have set up on my primary Web hosting account, where it worked flawlessly. When I moved it over to the live version of SMR? Not so much. I can’t use the damn plugin on SMR, because (due to laziness and intertia) seamonkeyrodeo is hosted by a different company…a company that in two thousand fucking eight still hasn’t upgraded to PHP 5.

So, happy Sunday afternoon, everyone, and remember: APIs good. Crappy Web hosts bad. I have to go manually submit a quote from this post to Tumblr now, damn it…

Surprise! The Plastic Disc Business Hasn’t Fixed Itself

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Welcome to 2008, and welcome to this incredibly surprising news coming out of the AP: US album sales declined in 2007. Kind of like how they’ve declined in eight of the past twelve years, actually.

Who could have predicted this? I mean, it’s not like the RIAA had access to data that seems to show that format obsolescence is a strong, if not inevitable possibility, right?
RIAA Album Unit Sales by Format 1975-2006
Oh. Right.

On the half-full side of the equation, though, let’s look at the digital end of things: single track downloads increased to 844MM from about 588MM and album downloads increased by 53% to about 50MM. Those look like pretty attractive numbers, when you consider than in the CD’s best era (the early 1990s) the year-over-year increase in unit sales maxed out at about 25%, and that without converting single-track downloads to “album equivalents” the year-over-year decline in album sales would have been more like 15%.

So the real headline here seems to be Despite Music Industry’s Best Efforts, Digital Music Successful.

Coming soon: Hey, Big Content: what ever happened to that whole “ringle” thing that was going to bring back CD sales for the holiday season?