on tracking users

Audrey Watters has opted out of tracking people on her websites. It's a good read. I agree 100%. I've felt creeped out by the pervasive tracking networks online - analytics, ad networks, cookies, super-cookies, browser fingerprinting, etc…. This surveillance ecosystem is the end result of an arms race to find out about people reading web pages online. There are a few reasons, but my gut says it boils down to 2: [Read More]

UGuelph and D2L sitting in a tree

News of a new collaboration between UGuelph and D2L, on a major pedagogy research initiative: The pedagogy research project strives to help schools track and report on learning outcomes across programs over time. Researchers will use D2L's predictive analytics capabilities to document and discover the effectiveness of assessment tools on specific subjects while working with educators to develop a curriculum that results in greater student success. via University of Guelph to Leverage Desire2Learn's Integrated Learning Platform for $6 Million Pedagogy Research Initiative | Desire2Learn Press Release. [Read More]

goaccess live webserver stats on hippie hosting

I just installed the GoAccess apache log processing application on the Hippie Hosting Co-op server, giving users a way to watch the stats for their sites in realtime, without having to rely on privacy-invading analytics bugging software. This software works on the command line, so just SSH into your account and type: goaccess -f statistics/logs/access_log That tells goaccess to load with the logfile at the specified location. You can feed it other logfiles, but the default one for a Hippie Hosting account should be at statistics/logs/access_log. [Read More]

collusion - tracking and mapping links between websites

I've been pretty mindful about avoiding trackers on my site. I don't use an external web analytics package (I do have the apache logs, crunched by AWStats, but nothing anywhere near the level of a Google Analytics or even WordPress Stats tracking). But, websites connect to other websites. That's kind of their job. And other websites track stuff. So, even a website that doesn't directly track people, by using YouTube videos and other hosted media, exposes people's activity to those who track them. [Read More]

still no analytics

It's been almost 6 months since I killed all active analytics on my blogs. I scrubbed it of Google Analytics and WordPress.com Stats. The only numbers I get now are passive and highly aggregated and anonymized, webserver logs automatically crunched by Urchin. I don't miss the detailed active analytics one bit. I still find out if anyone links to my stuff, through the WordPress Dashboard links widget. But I have no clue about how many people read my stuff, nor how many RSS subscribers there are. [Read More]

WSJ on web trackers

The Wall Street Journal has been on a roll, looking at privacy online. The [latest article looks at the trackers, bugs, beacons, and cookies](http://blogs.wsj.com/wtk/) used by various websites to monitor you (and then share that data). For example, the simple site dictionary.com tracks a fair bit of data about visitors: ***234*** activity trackers. To look up the definition of a word. (via [information aesthetics](http://infosthetics.com/archives/2010/08/what_they_know_how_websites_expose_visitors_to_monitoring.html)) I'm wondering what it's going to take before we have some form of regulatory oversight on what is allowed to be collected, by whom, and how (if at all) it is allowed to be shared. [Read More]

over one million served

I just cracked open the Google Analytics stats for my blog, and was curious to see how much data was available. I had it display all data (going back as far as November 16, 2005, which is apparently when I first started using Analytics). Google has tracked over 1 million page views on my blog. Over 600,000 unique visitors. The scale of that just blows my mind.