Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Who's that watching?

If you scroll down the lefthand side of this blog you'll eventually come to this symbol and, next to it, the legend Detailed, public site stats here. Click on the button and you'll find a way of wasting your time that should surely interest any chessplayer, since there are whole lists of names and numbers that you can look at for hours and hours in the hope that they'll tell you something of importance.

I won't spoil your fun, if fun it be, by going through these at any length, but there are one or two which sometimes - all right, by sometimes I mean sometimes several times a day - attract my attention.

One of these can be located by clicking on Geo Tracking and then looking at the table for Countries, which tells us - essentially - which country our visitors have come from and how many there have been (although Unique Visitors doesn't really mean exactly what it says - perhaps Tom can explain in Comments).

The UK is first, as you'd expect for a UK and indeed a Streatham-and-Brixton- based blog and the USA is second, with Spain in third place, though that particular statistic is very much skewed by the number of visits made by the present writer. Currently we appear to have had visitors from no fewer than 103 countries, though that figure is slightly inflated by the fact that while Europe is prehaps a political entity, it is not in fact a country, while Satellite Provider is neither. On the other hand we only score one for Serbia and Montenegro, which two states separated some time before this blog began. (Is there something, I wonder, that connects the desire to play chess with the desire to point out and correct every small mistake you see on the internet?) Anyway, it's a world game and a worldwide web all right. Hello, everybody! Bonjour! ¡Buenos días!

Now, if you go to Unique Visitors you can see details of the Last 20 Visitors who have accessed the blog: you click on their IP addresses for more details or, if you simply place the cursor on the flag at the right, a box should come up showing their location, or something close to it (for instance, although I live in Huesca, in Spain, the box displays Zaragoza for both my addresses). You can also find out - sometimes - why somebody has come here: for instance, as I writee the most recent visitor was from the City of London, and has come here from a website called Virtual Stoa. Occasionally I post in the comments boxes there and give this site as my homepage: so no doubt the visitor clicked on the link they found there, and turned up here. I hope they liked it.

The Last 20 Visitors page is where you get to play "Guess Who?". Given the location - can you guess the visitor? If it's Zaragoza, chances are you know it's me - but what if it's somewhere else in Spain? Some weeks ago, for instance, we had a visitor listed as coming from Sueca, which is a town south of Valencia. This intrigued me as it's not so far from where Jim Plaskett lives. I had an exchange of views with Jim a few years ago after giving one of his books a caning in a review for Kingpin. What a coincidence it would be if Jim was reading this blog now.

Then, just yesterday, I saw another visitor from Spain, with an address I didn't recognise: it was from Salt, a village close to (and essentially part of) Girona, a pretty city in Catalonia not too far from the French border. It's also very close to Banyoles, which you may remember was the location for the rowing in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. It's also, less famously but rather more currently, the location for a chess tournament featuring another chap with whom I have crossed swords in the past - Nigel Short. (His Wikipedia entry, I see, contains no mention of the controversy - involving Tony Miles and a certain obituarist - which was the subject of the disagreement. Nor is the Isle of Man affair, or indeed any of his many other feuds.)

Anyway, just supposing Nigel has been looking in, good health to him. I say so because I notice from the website that he's had to withdraw from the tournament for medical reasons. I know the feeling. It's what happens in your forties (Nigel is fourteen days older than I am). First your body starts disintegrating, then your mind. Que te mejores, Nigel.


Anonymous said...

See here for a description of IP addresses. An IP address identifies an Internet-connected device and is used for communication across the Internet. Geo information can be derived from it and I believe it is used to determine unique visitor stats for web sites.


Tom Chivers said...

Antony's ip comes up as Reuters, India...