: New:

Wow, it's the site's 36 millionth hit. As usual, these "hits" aren't a measure of humans visiting pages; that count would be much lower. It's just requests to the website: every time a robot visits some page, the count goes up. If a human views a page that contains a dozen graphics, those graphics cause another dozen hits. So it's not as impressive as it sounds. But it's easy to measure so that's what I measure. We can take a look at the log: - - [09/Mar/2020:17:11:53 +0000] "GET /new/old_2003.html HTTP/1.1" 200 9829 "-" "SearchAtlas.com SEO Crawler"

Unsurprisingly, this is some bot, visiting old pages. Most of this site's visitors are from bots. That's not so surprising—the net has many busy bots. They don't tire, they can just keep on loading web pages 24 hours a day.

From mid-January to mid-February, I got a lot of visits from humans, actual honest-to-goodness people. When you think about the stuff I write about on this web site you might guess: are these people looking for incoherent descriptions of weekend-long puzzlehunts? High school students looking for book reports to plagiarize? Computer nerds? It's difficult to find the thing that these January-February people have in common except maybe…

I suspect they were all disappointed. Do you remember how I have that big file full of words? That file that comes in handy for solving and designing word puzzles? For a few weeks earlier this year, Google served that word list up in response to obscure web searches. This kind of makes sense: if someone searches for something pretty obscure, there's no web page about it. Like, I just googled [shirtwaist dandelion hodgepodge] (a phrase I just now made up) and there weren't any pages about that. There are some pages that mention all of those words, so Google shows them.

My big words file mentions many, many words. So there are plenty of obscure search-phrases for which Google considers showing that words file. On the other hand, the internet is vast and full of word-nerds: there are plenty of dictionary files out there that also mention many, many words. Usually, Google chooses some other word-list-mess to show. But for a few weeks, Google was showing my words file.

I didn't even notice at the time: I wasn't really looking at website logs in the weeks before or after the MIT Mystery Hunt. Since then, word-file web traffic has calmed down (just as mysteriously as it heated up.)

Anyhow, welcome to the site, humans. I hope most of you aren't too disappointed to find out that the internet doesn't yet have pages about everything. It would be pretty cool, but it just ain't so.

Tags: site million milestone

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