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Hint Pepper (needs some beta love)

Nial
Third-Party Pepper Developer
Posted on Jul 16, '08 at 02:38 pm

I’ve developed my first Mint Pepper - Hint. Instead of submitting it to the Peppermill just yet, I thought I’d post about it here and ask a few kind community members to test it out. Hint, in a nutshell, is an aggregator plugin for Mint. It collects the data from Shaun Inman’s User Agent 007 and publishes it, every twelve hours, to the Hint server.

From there, the data is combined with results from other Mint sites and displayed, like so.

The idea here is to create a public index for web-developers to get a (more or less) real-time look at the usage of various browsers, platforms, resolutions and flash versions. Obviously, if Hint is popular enough, I’ll expand this list to cover more data.

Right now, Hint requires: Shaun Inman’s excellent User Agent 007 Pepper, and the cURL PHP library. For those of you worried about exactly what is sent to the Hint server, here’s the full list: the top five browsers, platforms (and the top five versions of each), flash versions, and resolutions used by visitors, along with the url to your mint installation (but this is kept private).

You can download the Pepper from the Hint website. As I said, this is a very early beta. Everything may run smoothly, or things may come crashing down with the first submission! We’ll have to see!

Note: the data up there at the moment is from my website, which gets pitifully few visitors (as such, the data is a little sparse).

Till
Third-Party Pepper Developer
Posted on Jul 17, '08 at 02:50 am

The data displayed at your site, is it “overall” statistic or what “data-time-range” does it exactly show?

Nial
Third-Party Pepper Developer
Posted on Jul 17, '08 at 03:34 am

Till, basically is totals up all of the data received in the past 12 hours and creates percentages from there. Basically, it does exactly what User Agent 007 does, but it merges the data collected from each site and creates percentages from there - meaning you see an overall percentage across all of the sites recorded.

Sam Brown
Third-Party Pepper Developer
Posted on Jul 17, '08 at 01:14 pm

Sounds like a neat idea, have installed it at Peppermint Tea.

Shaun Inman
Mint/Pepper Developer
Posted on Jul 17, '08 at 01:26 pm

Nial, the idea sounds cool but I’m not sure how relevant the data you are collecting is. This particular data is only useful when making design decisions when it relates directly to your own audience. Currently IE is in the lead with 75% traffic on the 7 sites using Hint. If I were to add 6 of my sites which are predominantly Safari/Firefox that would significantly “water down” the numbers of the existing sites.

Also, I do not approve of your appropriation of the Mint logomark/icon for your Hint logo. I shouldn’t even have to ask and I certainly don’t need to be polite about it but please remove the Mint logo from your masthead.

Nial
Third-Party Pepper Developer
Posted on Jul 17, '08 at 02:00 pm

Shaun, I apologise for the unauthorised Mint logo usage. As I hope you realise, it was an innocent gesture. I think Mint’s a wonderful little app, and you’ve branded it beautifully. The logo has been removed. Am I free to keep the mini Mint logo?

With regards to you questioning the integrity/usefulness of the data, it’s supposed to represent a cross section of Internet traffic. For every Safari/Firefox oriented site, there’s bound to be an IE/Linux site to match it. Regardless, Flash version listings and resolutions are helpful.

Shaun Inman
Mint/Pepper Developer
Posted on Jul 17, '08 at 03:10 pm

The minileaf is fine because it is directly associated with Mint the product and not being appropriated as the branding of your aggregate data. Use in your Hint logo dilutes the brand and suggests that Hint falls under the official umbrella of Mint products. It doesn’t help that I have to deal with unrelated theft of the Mint logo on an almost monthly basis.

fork
Minted
Posted on Jul 21, '08 at 01:22 pm

I haven’t used User Agent 007 in sometime but I liked the idea of Hint so I reinstalled UA, then installed Hint.

I immediately got these errors in my main Mint page:

*  MySQL Error (from Hint): Unknown column 'platform_version' in 'field list'. (1054)
  Query: SELECT `platform_version`, COUNT(`platform_version`) as `total` FROM `mint_visit` WHERE `platform`='Windows' GROUP BY `platform_version` ORDER BY `total` DESC
* MySQL Error (from Hint): Unknown column 'platform_version' in 'field list'. (1054)
  Query: SELECT `platform_version`, COUNT(`platform_version`) as `total` FROM `mint_visit` WHERE `platform`='Macintosh' GROUP BY `platform_version` ORDER BY `total` DESC
* MySQL Error (from Hint): Unknown column 'platform_version' in 'field list'. (1054)
  Query: SELECT `platform_version`, COUNT(`platform_version`) as `total` FROM `mint_visit` WHERE `platform`='Linux' GROUP BY `platform_version` ORDER BY `total` DESC

I deinstalled Hint.

Nial
Third-Party Pepper Developer
Posted on Jul 21, '08 at 05:00 pm

I spoke with fork via email. As it turned out, he’d been running an older version of User Agent 007 and an upgrade/reinstall fixed everything. I’ll be adding a check for such events in future Hint versions.

Till
Third-Party Pepper Developer
Posted on Jul 22, '08 at 05:58 am

Basically, your data could be useful, but who is really interested in the last 12 hours? If you would create a statistic for each month and year, I would take a look at it some times, but the informations found in my own Mint installations are 100% more relevant for me than your last 12h statistics.

fork
Minted
Posted on Jul 22, '08 at 10:48 am

As Nial noted above, I upgraded User Agent 007 from 2.01 to 2.04 and reinstalled Hint and it appears to now work.

Before using Hint I took a snapshot of the main Hint page, which showed 9 sites participating. After installing Hint it showed 10. I do not know how much traffic is represented by the other 9 sites but we get over 10,000 uniques per day.

Comparing the most recent Hint page (with my site included) to the original hint page (with 9 sites), the most glaring difference was in the Flash installed base. In the original group, the Flash installed base was about 95%. With my site included it dropped to 42%. I went to the User Agent pane on my site and sure enough, the pane (set to Show All) shows only 19% using Flash, and almost all of those using Flash 9. Adobe’s own stats, as measured by third party Millward Brown, shows a 99% “penetration” of Adobe Flash Player (all versions 7 and above).

Now I know Adobe’s figures may be puffed up, but isn’t it odd that 81% of my users don’t have flash installed?

When I click on the other options in User Agent (72h, 48h etc.) I get a higher number of flash users (72h = 29% using flash), but they are still much lower than what I expected.

Could User Agent 007 be wrong?

Nial
Third-Party Pepper Developer
Posted on Jul 23, '08 at 11:07 am

Till, the information is merely gathered once every 12 hours. The information being collected spans the length of time that Mint has been present and collecting statistics. So each 12 hours, it’ll collect months/years worth of collated data and send it to our server.

fork
Minted
Posted on Jul 23, '08 at 11:55 am

An Update:

User Agent 007 now shows as of July 23 am, 24 hours since my previous post above, 44% of my users with Flash in the Show All pane and 59% under the 72h pane. Compared to the 18% and 29% from yesterday, these numbers seem to be surprisingly large fluctuations based on a 10,000+ uniques per day sample.

Am I misreading the way this pane presents data? Could these figures be accurate? Except for Nial’s Hint site, I have nothing to compare these figures to.

What are other people getting for their Flash-installed user base and what’s your sample, 100 per day, 1000 a day, or more?

I ask this since I’m considering using some Flash on my site — but not if my Mint UA figures are correct and half my users don’t have Flash installed.

finny
Minted
Posted on Jul 24, '08 at 07:35 am

Well I cant speak for anyone else obviously but from the 5 sites I have using Mint (fairly broad spectrum of visitors covered between the 5) none of them have any less than 97% of users with Flash installed, Flash 9 accounts for about 90% on all sites.

3 of the sites are e-commerce sites and therefore have a fairly high percentage of basic brower setups.

So I would guess something is wrong somewhere along the line, but where, I don’t know!

HTH

fork
Minted
Posted on Jul 24, '08 at 10:22 am

Another update:

User Agent 007 now shows as of July 24 am, 24 hours after my previous update above, 69% of my users with Flash in the Show All pane and 93% under the 72h pane. Compared to the 18% and 29% respectively from two days ago, these numbers changed dramatically over the last few days, but my traffic was almost the same each day, about 12,000 uniques per 24h.

Like finny noted above, among users with Flash installed, Flash 9 predominates. This morning I also saw Flash 10 appear for the first time, at less than 1%.

Till
Third-Party Pepper Developer
Posted on Jul 24, '08 at 02:27 pm

Ah okay, never mind. I’ll install it too ; )

fork
Minted
Posted on Jul 25, '08 at 05:02 pm

OK, I’m a dummy.

I finally figured out why my User Agent numbers for Flash Installed users were pitiful a few days ago and now are 98% across the board. The answer was in my own posts but just in case someone as dumb as me was reading this thread and also scratching their heads…

When I decided to install HInt, I realized I had turned off the User Agent 007 pane a few months ago. Since Hint requires it, I reinstalled it and it took a few days for UA to completely fill out its 72 hours of data. Now if I click on any time period in the pane, I get similar, credible numbers for Flash installs (95-98%) for each time period.

I also noticed that Hint’s numbers for Flash users for the 18 sites tracked (94% on last check) now more closely reflects my site’s data.

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