Archive for December, 2013


2013 blog statistics

December 31, 2013

In May 2013, this blog broke through the three million views mark since I started blogging in 2008. By 30 December 2013, it had had more than 3.8 million views. Some 1.25 million views (more than one-third) occurred just in 2013. These figures don’t include any visits I made to my own blog (yes, I use my own blog for stuff I can’t remember!).

I wrote far fewer blog posts in 2013, so many of these visits were to posts I’ve written in previous years. I’ve written just over 1600 blog posts since 2008, of which only 77 were written in 2013.

Surprisingly, I only have 280 subscribers (you can subscribe by clicking the button on the right sidebar and entering your email address) who have signed up to receive email alerts each time I post a new article (and 580 Twitter followers for @cybertext), so I have to assume most readers are ‘hit and run’ readers — those who have a problem with Word or whatever, find one of my posts via Google etc., read the post, get what they came for (or not), and leave without checking out anything else.

Here are some graphs and tables for the 2013 statistics for this blog, as well as some comparative ones for ‘all time’ (‘all time’ is actually 2008 to 2013 — I started this blog very late in 2007, but didn’t really start posting until January 2008, so the 2007 statistics are so low as to be insignificant).

Total views by month/year



Average daily views


The average views per day has remained similar to 2012. The graphs above and below are for the full seven days per week, though most views occur during the five business days of the working week, probably reflecting the need to find answers to Word questions and the like when people are stuck with a problem at work. The weekends and major public holidays (particularly in the US) see a notable drop in views.


Top 20 posts


Some posts are just more popular than others! Those highlighted in blue appear in both lists — the top 20 posts of all time (2008-2013) on the left, and 2013 only on the right. Those without highlighting only appear in one of the top 20 lists. The numbers to the right of each title are the number of total views for that post in the time period.

Long tail

As expected, there’s a significant ‘long tail’ for this blog’s views. The top 20 posts (15,000 view each or more) garnered the most views. Everything else was a poor cousin to these top posts.

When I extracted out the views just for the top 80 posts for 2008-2013 (i.e. >10,000 views each) and the top 20 (>15,000 each) for 2013 only (both below), the long tail was very evident. Again, the top 10 posts for all time garnered the most views, with posts 11 through to 80 tailing off and flattening out. And for the 2013 view, the top five posts garnered the most views, then tapered off significantly after that.



So, there you have it. Six years of blogging, 1600 blog posts published, and 3.8 million views (with more than one-third in the past 12 months).

I guess I must be doing something right, even though the monetary return is close to zero. I pay an annual fee to WordPress to NOT show their advertisements on this blog (I wouldn’t get any return from these even if I allowed them), and I refuse to try to ‘monetize’ my blog posts by hosting them elsewhere and running ads — I don’t like ads cluttering up and getting in the way of good content and potentially trapping readers into clicking on them, and I suspect my readers don’t like them either. Instead of ads, I have an option for readers to donate to this blog’s expenses if anything I’ve written has got them out of a bind, saved them time (and therefore money), or helped them be more efficient. In 2012 I removed all the individual links to the donate option from each ‘how to’ post and put a ‘donate’ link at the top of the right sidebar. I did this as a result of a bizarre mix-up with my PayPal Donate button code being used by someone else. In 2013 I received the equivalent of one hour’s paid work in donations… I use that money to pay my annual bill to WordPress to keep this blog free of ads and to have the convenience of adjusting the style (CSS) of this blog.

As in 2013, I’ll be writing posts sporadically in 2014, and NOT ‘almost every day’ as I did in 2008-2011. I still have a day job that I’m committed to, and paid work always comes before unpaid work.

See also:

[Links last checked December 2013]


How word meanings change over time

December 30, 2013

While doing some genealogical research, I saw this usage of ‘relict’ in a bereavement notice in a newspaper from the 1910s:

relict01 I think I saw it used in some of the 1920s newspapers too, but rarely — if at all – after the 1930s. I’ve come across the word ‘relict’ before in a totally different context and thought I knew what it meant, but when I saw it in this unfamiliar context I had to look it up.

This is the definition of ‘relict’ according to Google, which lists the usage above as ‘archaic’:

relict02So it’s a word that was an acceptable substitute for ‘widow’ in the early 1900s, but not later on, when only ‘widow’ and ‘widower’ were used, as they still are today. I wonder when ‘relict’ started to be used and when it dropped out of favour? Of course, these days, even if you used ‘relict’ correctly, it’s likely that others will hear ‘relic’ instead. And that would be deemed ‘politically incorrect’ when speaking of a person who has lost their spouse.


Charitable donation in lieu of Christmas cards

December 20, 2013

As in previous years, I have made a charitable donation to the Western Operations of the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia on behalf of CyberText Consulting, in lieu of sending out Christmas cards to clients or having a Christmas party (with myself).

The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) is an essential service for people living and working in areas outside the major metropolitan centers of Australia. It provides on-ground medical services and air ambulance transport.

Many of my clients are oil and gas, mining and resource companies whose employees live and work in some of Australia’s remotest places. The RFDS is a lifeline for them, and for all outback workers and travelers. While the RFDS gets some government funding, it relies a lot on donations and bequests to keep running.

More information:

[Links last checked December 2013]


Word: Cropping an image

December 12, 2013

Word 2010 has some quite powerful image editing tools. One that’s been around for a long time is ‘Crop’.

You should crop an image when you have:

  • extraneous white space around the image
  • labels, borders, or other information outside the main image that you don’t want to keep.

Note: Cropping will only remove unwanted white space or information from the edges, not from within the image. And it’s NOT permanent – you are cropping what you can see, not cutting it out completely.

Below is an example of a figure added to a Word document. You can see that there’s a little white space above and on the sides of the image (#1, 2, 3), but the main offender is the big blank bit with a date (#4) sitting below the image (I clicked on the image to show the ‘handles’). While you can edit out this big space in graphics software, it’s very quick and easy to do ‘on the fly’ in Word using the cropping tool.


How to crop an image:

  1. Click on the image in Word to select it. The ‘handles’ (see above) show that it’s selected.
  2. On the ribbon, go to the Format tab for Picture Tools.
  3. Click the Crop icon.
  4. The image is now surrounded by black markers at each edge and corner.
  5. Hover your cursor over the black cropping marker of the edge you want to change until it changes to a ‘T’ icon (for the edges) or an ‘L’ icon (for the corners).
  6. Click and drag the cursor in towards the image – as you do so, the area that will be removed by the cropping will be shaded dark grey.
  7. Stop and release the cursor where you want to stop cropping the image.
  8. Repeat steps 5 to 7 for any of the other edges you want to trim down.
  9. When you’re finished cropping, check that the image is as you want it to be. Make any adjustments.
  10. Click the Crop icon again to save your changes.


Note: Word doesn’t delete the unwanted bits of your image—it just hides them. You can always reset your cropping for that image by clicking on it again, then clicking the Crop icon.

[Based on a Writing Tip I wrote for my work colleagues]