Saturday, April 18, 2009

Does Google Analytics Slow Down Your Site?

I’ve heard complaints that Google Analytics slows down site rendering. I don’t see that being possible. A small bit of code calls a javascript file (ga.js) from Google’s servers; this file collects data and drops a cookie in the user’s machine. Since this file is in cache it doesn’t affect bandwidth. The file also calls a 1x1 pixel graphic (_utm.gif) and attaches the data in a query string – at 35 bits the bandwidth hit is irrelevant; nor should creating the query string have any affect.

And yet, while I haven't experienced it, others have complained about Google Analytics slowing their site. They would add GA and response time slowed. They removed GA and response time returned to normal. All I can say is -- place your GA call at the bottom of your page. I would also take a look at your site in general. GA could be the proverbial last straw: check your database calls, see if there is inefficient coding, are the graphics optimized, are you using tables for layout.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Right to Read

Just in case you haven't read The Right to Read by Richard Stallman, it's well worth it. It's a short-story about a dystopian future where copyright laws have run amok. The scary - and worthwhile aspect - of this article is that every provision is either already in affect or has been proposed.

For Dan Halbert, the road to Tycho began in college—when Lissa Lenz asked to borrow his computer. Hers had broken down, and unless she could borrow another, she would fail her midterm project. There was no one she dared ask, except Dan.

This put Dan in a dilemma. He had to help her—but if he lent her his computer, she might read his books. Aside from the fact that you could go to prison for many years for letting someone else read your books, the very idea shocked him at first. Like everyone, he had been taught since elementary school that sharing books was nasty and wrong—something that only pirates would do.

And there wasn't much chance that the SPA—the Software Protection Authority—would fail to catch him. In his software class, Dan had learned that each book had a copyright monitor that reported when and where it was read, and by whom, to Central Licensing. (They used this information to catch reading pirates, but also to sell personal interest profiles to retailers.) The next time his computer was networked, Central Licensing would find out. He, as computer owner, would receive the harshest punishment—for not taking pains to prevent the crime. Continue Reading >>

Richard Stallman is the godfather of the privacy movement. While I disagree with him on many issues the world is a better place as a result of his work.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

IE 8 is out - first impressions

IE 8 is out. So far I like it. It's fairly responsive. It is fairly compliant to CSS standards but one thing I'm not to fond of is a feature called "Reopen Browsing Session." Its purpose is to allow you to restore browsing sessions but there doesn't seem to be a way to prevent this from happening outside of browsing in "InPrivate" where the browser, from the outset, doesn't record your session.

What if you want to remove your browsing session? Simply removing the offending site from the history does not remove it from the session list. This is a serious privacy flaw.

Why, you may ask would anyone care? The issue is more than pornography and hiding the fact that you were working on personal issues while at work. Privacy is just that. Privacy. It's an end in itself. You do not need to be writing evil, horrible things to not want your diary being read. You do not need to be reading evil, horrible things to not want people to know what you did and when you did it.

Now, if you are at work, and you are not doing what you are being paid to do - that is a different story.

EDIT September 14, 2010

How To Disable “Reopen Last Browsing Session” In Internet Explorer 8 An excellent tutorial to disable "Reopen Browsing Session."