Rollercoaster day

Gosh. What a day! The whole dead-disk issue from yesterday isn’t really resolved – it’s looking like I’m going to have to take it to Essex tomorrow and pay a little technical chappie a whole lot of cash to retrieve the data, but he says I was right to not try tinkering with it myself and that I’ve given the data the best possible chance of survival, which is the main thing. So tonight I have to clean off my other disk, back that up somehow and then take both those disks plus the other one that died about a year ago to Essex in the morning.

Today though I am basking in the wonder that is Google Analytics. I started to implement this ages back but something went a little pear shaped and I never got around to putting the code in half the pages of my site. Now I’ve implemented it everywhere – here,, and the Satie site at and my golly gosh what a useful thing! Seeing some fascinating stats and it’s really giving me a clear idea of what’s working and what isn’t. What really isn’t is minim-media, which doesn’t hugely surprise me – it’s always been a bit of a mish-mash of a site, and now that the other sites are working it’s kind of lacking in purpose, not to mention updates.  At some point when is up and running, I’ll clear all the data off it and point users to RB for web and publishing stuff and CR for music stuff and be done with it. Looking forward to that day, but there’s a ton of other work to do first.

The Satie site is particularly interesting – very high bounce rate (that’s where someone comes on your site, just looks at the page they’re on then goes away again) BUT often combined with a long average visit time – e.g. my essay Satie and Minimalism: Parallels and Points of Contact has had the most hits, has a whopping bounce rate of 87.5% but the average visit time is nearly 5 1/2 minutes – quite enough for people to read the full article. What seems to be happening is that people are finding the article via Google, reading the whole of it then going away again. Hopefully contented. And that’s interesting in terms of the (incredibly ancient – I think I redesigned this for MiniMax Festival in 2002) site design – when you get to the bottom there’s no links to anywhere – you have to scroll back up to the top for suggestions of other destinations – in particular, but it’s also making me think what I can do with this site to make it more useful to visitors. From a usability point of view, it’s pretty sucky – dense text, bibliography isn’t split into data types, that sort of thing – and there’s also limited ways of obtaining data – you come, you read an essay (or two, if you’re a masochist), you go away again. But I think the information there must be useful because I regularly get emails asking about it or asking for an elaboration on something, usually from students. It was also at one point linked from a joint website of Ivy League colleges in the States as a key resource on Satie, so it must have something going for it – why not push the boundaries? So I’m thinking, once all the other website projects are done, that I might totally revamp it. Put the whole thing in Drupal, start up a forum for discussion of Satie’s work, a blog section for intermittent updates on my research (which is always, always ongoing) and random Satie snippets that come my way so it looks a little alive – I’m sure that latest news dated 2006 on the homepage isn’t doing anyone any favours!

Ideas, ideas, ideas – but it’s really wonderful to see how people are using my sites. I put another new blog post up on today on the process I’ve used to construct my new unaccompanied violin piece, which has had some great responses – as did the last post, which people really seemed to identify with.

Which ties in to an ebook I read yesterday – one on networking which I downloaded from the ‘Library’ at (you have to sign up to get it but you also get another 3 interesting ebooks). I’m really liking this new breed of online-business sites – there’s a real freshness and a respect for ethics out there at the moment, which is just fantastic – it’s all about giving value and being helpful and building your business through actually being nice to people. That’s just awesome. Anyway, I was reading this ebook and today I found myself, while going about things the way I do normally, being hyper-aware of the connections I was making – I was running several conversations at once with a bunch of people I really respect and they weren’t just twitter-fluff conversations either. I was bold and when people said they liked my blog I asked them to let me know if there was anything they want me to write about. One friend has even asked me for composition lessons as a result of it! We’ll see what happens there 🙂

I’ve sent off a ton of emails – a couple of them reminders, some signing up for stuff, others on project work, and it all feels like stuff is gradually pulling together to make things work. I can’t believe how many opportunities are turning up right now. And I just want to grab hold of every one of them!

And I started the day by writing another 2 blog posts for I now have 3 posts and I want to launch with 4 or 5 in place, so I’m pretty happy with that. Yay!

I’ve also finally got my act together and exported MIDI files (transposed down a perfect fourth – that’s what I get for trying to sing soprano songs) for the Remembrances of Half-Forgotten Dead People – I want to have a recording of this up on SoundCloud before the end of the week to go with the one-week-to-go announcement of the concert – I want to have both the sound file and the score available to download as a package on BandCamp so that people can check it out and go “hey, that girl’s got a weird basso profundo voice but I kinda like the song – maybe I’ll go to the concert and see what it’s like with a real singer”, so exporting the MIDI is phase one. Hopefully I can get the sounds for that sorted out tomorrow and try to record it when I get back from Essex. It’s really bugging me not having a proper microphone – it’s annoying for these sorts of things, and it’s a bit annoying because I’m thinking of trying out maybe some podcasty stuff as a way of exposing a bit of my composition process to the world. Maybe it should go on my birthday list 🙂

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