Most popular articles on my blog for 2010: the old stuff rules

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Tags: blog, statistics, popularity, content

What did people read on my blog in 2010? Mostly, it was older content. Here are the ten most-popular pages, ordered by unique page views relative to that of the home page (1.0):

1. A Coder’s Guide to Coffee (2002, popularity = 5.30). This oldie continues to be popular mainly because coders still drink coffee – and because the Guide gets rediscovered every few months and posted to Reddit or Hacker News. This year it got an additional boost from being the cover story of Hacker Monthly #4.

2. Never store passwords in a database! (2006, popularity = 3.18). Despite being 4 years old, this article gets a steady flow of readers because lots of programmers are still storing passwords in databases. And getting owned.

3. Ruby 1.9 gets handy new method Object#tap (2007, popularity = 1.37). I’m not sure why this article keeps getting the hits, but it does. People just love Object#tap, I guess.

4. Wondrous oddities: R’s function-call semantics (2006, popularity = 1.22). This article’s popularity is easy to explain: R continues to steamroll just about everything else in statistical computing and has a continuous influx of new, curious users who want to know more about R’s inner workings.

5. Verizon FiOS fiber-optic Internet service: a first look (2005, popularity = 1.05). I think this article is popular because I was an early adopter of FiOS had one of the first hands-on reviews. It gets lots of search hits.

6. A couple of tips for writing Puppet manifests (2007, popularity = 1.02). I’m not sure either of these tips is still relevant. Still, this article brings in readers.

7. How I stopped missing Darcs and started loving Git (2007, popularity = 1.01). Programmers love to talk about DVCSs, Git and Darcs especially. Plus, if you search on “darcs git”, this article is one of the first results.

8. A type-based solution to the ‘strings problem’: a fitting end to XSS and SQL-injection holes? (2006, popularity = 1.00). This article remains popular because it gets readers from two sources: from religious wars over typing systems and from discussions of what to do about XSS vulnerabilities.

9. Don’t let password recovery keep you from protecting your users (2007, popularity = 0.93). This article is a follow-up to Never store passwords…! and tends to pick up a share of its sibling’s traffic.

10. On the evidence of a single coin toss (2010, popularity = 0.78). This short article raises a simple question: If I hand you a coin and claim that it always comes up heads, and you toss the coin and it does come up heads, how much more should you believe my claim compared to before the coin toss? This kind of question is irresistible to anyone even remotely Bayesian, so it ended up on Hacker News and got a lot of traffic in a few days. (The follow-up article is also popular, but didn’t make the top-ten list.)

So, once again, it looks like the old content dominates. Only one article from 2010 made the top ten, and just barely at that.