Six years ago, I opened up Vent #144 with the following lame exposition:

One hundred forty-four is an interesting number. For one thing, it's a perfect square — a term which has also been applied, sometimes fondly, sometimes not so fondly, to me. In terms of quantity measure, it equals twelve dozen or one gross. And if anything deserves to be called "gross", it's the fact that I've kept up this preposterous Web site for three whole years.

Of course, over those thirty-six months things have changed substantially here. Compare the statistics from that first week with the numbers from today:

There followed a table, which I copied here, with the current numbers appended. It now looks like this:

199619992005
Actual size of site, in megabytes 0.0984.65108.05
Number of viewable pages7 2694,938
Average visitors per dayFewer than 2More than 3Upwards of 10

Okay, you were just bullshot. Average visitors per day is now in the 800-900 range, which in the first few months of this site would have taken — well, the first few months of this site. Apparently being sort of prolific does pay off in some small way after all. I do wish I'd recorded the numbers for this date in 2002, just to flesh out the intervening years, but there is such a thing as being too obsessed with one's site statistics.

It's still sort of amazing, though, that I'm getting ready to start my tenth year of this. It was never intended to last this long.

Deep dark secret: Vent #1 wasn't always at such an obvious URL. This (which no longer works) was the very first home of Vent #1:

http://pages.prodigy.com/cghill/vent6409.htm

Why "6409"? It was a coded date: 96-04-09. (The month was actually in hex: the 10 October 1996 Vent — now #24 — was "6a10". The No Comment section still uses this format in its URLs, mostly because I'm too lazy to convert all of them and I haven't done a new one in a year or more.)

One page which has disappeared is "Tyranny of the new," once a continuing list of site changes, which was dropped about the time I moved the site to its own domain (spring 1999). Daily bloggage began in 2000, which would have made that page even more unwieldy.

Another page that's disappeared is the Feedback Form, which I wrote in 1997, and which never got much use. There was a text box for comments, and a place to identify yourself, but before that, there were seven possible answers to "So really, what do you think of this site?"

  • It's the most amazing site I've ever seen
  • I give it an 85; it's got a good beat and you can dance to it
  • There are suckier sites
  • It must be nice to have that much free time
  • Tell me you don't do this for a living
  • Let me guess: you majored in Snotty
  • I will eat dirt rather than bookmark this
"It must be nice to have that much free time," the median, was set as the default.

And here's a shocker: At the time I set up the dustbury.com domain, I bought (yes, bought) the services of SiteMeter, and set their counter to begin right after the old one at the Prodigy site left off, which was at 6,444. While I was looking through those archived pages, I called up my version 4.5 index page, which is still on the D: drive somewhere, and while all the local graphics had been moved, all the offsite graphics came in — including the old counter, which duly incremented to 6,445.

I have a feeling this site is never going away until I do.

The Vent

#432
9 April 2005

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