Saturday, 1 September 2007

Leaving Footprints in Cyberspace

Our forefathers would probably be rather unsettled by the idea of leaving a record of their presence on every book they picked up in a public library. Even more so if the time, location and duration of their perusal was recorded. Yet in a country with in excess of 4 million CCTV cameras, their ancestors would probably consider this a fairly benign form of monitoring. Probably just as well, given that this is pretty much what happens when you browse the internet. The sites you visit can be detected, leaving a trail of footprints as you go on a cyber-spacewalk. Scary and impressive.

I have a 'Site Meter' tracker on this blog that not only acts as a hit counter, but also tells me when it is visited, for how long, and from what other sites people are referred in order to get here. Don't worry - I don't use it for nefarious means. I'm just a nosey soul. From looking at it I can tell you that I have a few 'regular' readers who I don't think I actually know in any way. This surprises me - I rather assumed that anyone who came here more than once would be someone I actually knew 'in real life' or at the very least had 'encountered' somewhere on the web. Let's face it - this is hardly the most cutting edge of blogs. But there are regulars from areas where I'm pretty sure I don't know anyone at all, which is a pleasant surprise. I hope you enjoy reading, whoever you are.

I can also tell you that my London street guide attracts a number of hits from people who have done searches looking for specific information about London and had the misfortune to come across my ramblings instead. Ah well. I accept no responsibility for any time wasted! I can additionally report that the single most frequent reason for referral to my blog is following a Google search like this, which sends you to this blog entry. Nice to know my carefully chosen words are what pulls the readers in then.

People may feel that this kind of monitoring is a form of spying, and no doubt there are certain organisations who take a very keen interest in the internet usage of some individuals. But sometimes the tables can be turned. This story was an interesting example of that: turns out the CIA have been fiddling around with Wikipedia entries, and it hasn't gone unnoticed. Nor has the Vatican's contributions. You would have thought that the former would know better than to think that their modifications wouldn't be detected. Are these people really key-players in global security?


Anonymous said...

With a dot New Zealand address, I'd like to apply for the spot as your most geographically distant visitor.


Ginger said...

Indeed you may! Unless I've had any lunar visitors, you almost certainly win the prize. How did you find my blog?

Otepoti said...

I have one of these new-fangled blogger accounts now, though I should have googled "Otepoti" first - some other people seem to be using it.

Jumped from Custardy. I like custard and ginger - I cook a lot. Here, just for you, is a recipe for gingerbread that I make so often I have the recipe by heart: in a pot melt 125g butter, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup golden syrup (don't stint on this - it's expensive but worth it), 1 cup milk. Cool slightly, add 1 tsp baking soda, stir well, then add 3 cups white flour, 1 tbsp (actually I add a HEAPED tablespoon) ginger, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, stir well. Put it in a 20 cm square tin and bake at 150 degrees to 180 degrees for up to an hour. (Cooking time varies according to ovens - gently for longer is better.)

This is an ancestral recipe, and is very tolerant, very easy to clean up after, and very quick. Since it came to me from an old friend of my maother's, who got it from HER mother, it's probably been in regular production for about a hundred years now.

Best with the doctorate, but how about some more blogging? Priorities, lass!


Ginger said...

By total coincidence I put up a new post shortly after you wrote this! But I agree, I have been slacking - those darn experiments keep sapping my creativity.

Thank you very much for the recipe - that's really nice of you. Just one question - what weight/volume does a cup correspond to? I know American baking uses cups, but I wouldn't be surprised if the measure of a cup wasn't the same the world over!

I'll definitely try it out - will post a picture when I'm finished.

Otepoti said...

New Zealanders use English cups (250 mls by volume). In my recipe book, it's written as 1/4lb butter, too, which shows my vintage. We went to dollars and cents for currency in 1967, and to metric weights around 1978. So I cook some recipes in metric and some in imperial.

Once I put a tablespoon of cocoa by accident, went ahead and added the ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg, and the result was serendipitously delicious.

Best not to stir it by centrifuge, though... :D

Otepoti said...

oh! important - it's 150 -180 degrees CELSIUS, not Fahrenheit.

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