February 9, 2015

About This Website

An Update Regarding This Website

Quite a number of people and, yes, web-crawlers have viewed this website and its companion site (see below article from 2009). I recently looked at the number of “unique visitors”, an internet term meaning non-duplicated visitors who may have multiple visits to the site over time. I also looked at the “total visits”, which is the number of visitors in total that have visits to the site. {Aside: yes, I know that the term “visit” may seem too personal for some when describing the act of perusing a website by either a person or a software robot (a so-called “bot” or “web-crawler”} I also looked at statistics regarding page impressions (different links within the websites that are viewed), time per visit to the websites, number of pages viewed per visit, domains from which visitors came to the websites, which search engines found the websites for the visitors, most frequently viewed pages, and so on. These statistics are kept by my hosting service, 1and1.com using a toolset called Web Analytics. Here is an example of one of the analytics reported:

Web Analytics

The graphic demonstrates that there have been over 400,000 visits to the websites over that past five years, which is over 80,000 visits per year or about 220 visits per day. Those are staggering statistics - to me, at least. Over recent years, about 4,000 unique visitors have viewed the websites. Extrapolating a bit, that is about 20 visits per year per unique visitor. So, people - and webcrawlers - return to these websites for repeated looks. My time to produce this stuff is not wasted... not completely, at any rate.

Thank you for your interest. Drop me an eMail if you choose and let me know what you like and don’t like about the websites.


December 20, 2009

About This Website

The Whys and The Whats

Some of you have wondered (aloud to me) why I have this website - its purpose, target audience, format, and so on. This note is an attempt to answer those queries.

I started out by thinking that I might want a website... this was long ago, back when I was first on a stable Internet connection in the mid-1990’s. That was the old "@Home" service on the early Comcast broadband network, first run independently and then as Excite At Home, which went bankrupt in 2001. Sometime around 1998 or 1999 (I forget exactly when) Comcast offered their own ISP service to replace @Home, and I had to change my email domain suffix from home.com to comcast.net. At first I was very upset at the move and wary of Comcast. But I will tell you now that since the very beginning, my Comcast Internet service has been stellar. {Full Disclosure: Comcast and Liberty Media funded TargetTV, which I ran from 2000 to 2006; I concurrently worked for Comcast as a VP and as a VP for their subsidiary QVC from 2000 through 2006, when I “semi-retired” from full-time business employement.} At any rate, I was hooked on the Internet from the days when ARPA-Net was being built to provide an unbreakable national network for government and academia. In the early days of Internet commercialization, we could choose from a variety of national ISP services, including America Online, CompuServe, Erols.com, TIAC, BBN Planet, and Netcom, and a raft of locals. I never liked dial-up service, nor any of the service providers. Thankfully, broadband flourished. I appreciated the @Home service, and later appreciated the reliability of the Comcast network. Yes, I know that there are those who have had poor experiences of one kind or another with Comcast, but at least in my area and in my personal experience, both their provisioning and their service has been excellent.

I secured the ChuckThomas.net and (a bit later) the ChuckThomas.us URLs and put up a placeholder site as an experiment sometime in 2002. I “pounded” some HTML code to get the original site up, and it was pretty primitive. In mid-2003 I signed on for a free 1and1.com account, which included the ability to transfer my URL management and some space on their webservers. So, I had a web presence... what to do with it?

I designed a new website that was to fill three requirements, which were really to address three targets:

  1. Those who might be interested in my professional qualifications and experiences, perhaps for business purposes;
  2. Those who might be interested in learning about my teaching and qualifications to do so, or my students (at the time I had just begun to teach at The Penn State Great Valley School of Graduate Professional Studies); and
  3. Those who might be interested in my personal life, my family and my interests.

I wanted a static “frame” and easy navigation, and I didn’t want to strictly divide the site into sections that would discourage those from one target group from exploring the information available to another target. I wanted to be able to continuously update and/or add content without continuously changing the navigation. I wanted the site to have a “clean” appearance, but to be “interesting” and informative. Above all, I wanted you to get to know me. I coded the site in HTML and JavaScript, with only minor JavaScript to do things that cannot be done in pure HTML.

Over time I continuously added and updated content, but took away very little in order to maintain some historical perspective. I have also experimented with some things. For example, for about a year and a half I had a blog available to the public. Nobody seemed to want to use it, so it has been discarded. The “.us” site differs from the “.net” site, developed using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), a more contemporary way of formatting pages with HTML. It also doesn't use HTML “framesets”, but does use “iframes”. Framesets have been “depreciated” by the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium), meaning that it is supported in HTML 4.0, but not in the HTML 5.0 standard. This doesn't mean that your browser won't work with this site; it is tested with all forms of Explorer from 3.0 to current, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome. This site will be updated as needed to maintain compatibility with browsers used by over 98% of Internet users. The “iframe” discussion is a whole other topic, not for here. The look has changed and the navigation is a little different, but the content (when it is up-to-date) is the same on both sites.

A word about my hosting vendor, 1and1.com. My experience with them has been outstanding. Since the beginning, they have been very reliable, inexpensive, robust, and continuously improve their offerings. I have upgraded from the original free account to a business-level account, but it continues to be relatively inexpensive. I have several URLs hosted there, and do projects from time to time. I have never had an issue with their service.

My favorite part of the site is the postings regarding my family. The kids (my grandchildren) have grown so fast and do so many things that it is difficult to keep current. But I try. I also enjoy discussing my teaching activities, and posting about some of my current “work” activities. The most static part of the site is that which relates to my qualifications and professional experiences, mainly due to the fact that much of that is historic and won’t change over time.

Another part of the site that I enjoy keeping up with is the Technology section in my Personal Interests selection. I update the configuration of my household LAN and technology quite frequently, because I constantly play with it. It is an avocation that I enjoy.

I hope this discussion satisfied any curiosities about how I view this website. Enjoy your visit!

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