A look back at 2016

2016 is history. As I have done in last year, I will use the start of a new year to look back at my private blog to see if my experiment is still on track. 2016 was the first year my blog was up and running for a full year. It feels to me like the site is running for longer than 21+ months, but the two year live mark is yet to be reached.

No hardware changes occurred in 2016, the site is still running on the same Raspberry Pi 2 I migrated to in 2015. To ensure a better uptime, an APC UPS is powering the device, as well as other devices like my LibreElec powered HTPC and my RAID 5. What changed is the overall architecture. I started 2016 with a RP2 in my home, giving direct access to the web server on port 443. In march, my provider decided to block port 443 due to abnormal activities. To still be able to provide access to my site via a normal HTTP port, I decided to use a small Linux machine on AWS that will act as my public reverse proxy. Therefore, now my site is publicly available via AWS, while the content is still hosted on my local RP2. Costs for this setup? Around 6$ per month for Amazon.

Security

The TLS certificate was originally provided by StartSSL, but after they proved to not understand how trust works [1] [2] [3] [4], I switched over to letsencrypt. I consider this a change for the good: great community, easy installation process, open, high level of security for the certificate and I must change the certificate every three months.

I adjusted my TLS configuration to make the site more secure, even when I do not have actual content there that demands TLS: it`s just a blog site. No confidential data available, no log on for users, no transactions, etc. But in 2016 having a good TLS configuration is not negotiable. It’s easy to do, costs nothing, and browser vendors are going to enforce TLS more and more. So: there are no excuses for not having my site on TLS. SSL Labs gives my site an A rating:

Content

With 2016 ending, I now have 208 blogs published. 8 are still in draft mode.

In 2016, I wrote and published a total of 70 blogs. I republished some old blogs I once wrote for SCN with a reference link to the original post of my at SCN. These are not part of the 70 blogs written in 2016. 70 also means 6 blogs per month. Why did I publish the old blogs again on my site? I did this mainly to regain control over my content and not to be troubled the next time the original blog content is affected by an upgrade at a site I do have no control over. I still have content at SCN that was broken in the migration in 2012 and that content is lost. I still have some blogs to convert and bring over to my site, but don`t expect too much. Most of the old content exists only at SCN and without the correct formatting, consider this content gone. At least it’s for old technology stuff, no one should be affected.

Monitoring

To monitor the usage of my blogs I use Piwik. Version 3.0 was released at the end of 2016, but I had not the time to update my 2.x installation. The update will be done in the first weeks of 2017. As I do not request users to log on to my site to be able to view content, the data Piwik gathers in regards to users are higher than the actual user count. If the same user access a blog via smartphone, private laptop and work computer, it will count as three unique users. I still think it gives a good overview of the usage number, as in most cases you use one device to surf the web. As most content in focused on SAP technical stuff, my main user group for sure is using the same computer (their work environment) to access my content. Piwik also does magic and can track the same user over several IPs, so when the IP of a user changes (using same browser), this user counts as one unique user.

My blogs were visited by 11.441 unique visitors, in total I had 14977 visitors. This implies that most visitors come to my site once to find a solution to a SAP problem and then never come back. I guess this means their problem was solved The visitors generated 22603 page views. For a site that has only 208 blogs, and a very limited navigation, 22k page views is not bad.

The usage numbers get impressive when I compare them to 2015.

2015 2016 %
Unique visitors 4239 11441 196%
Visitors 5823 14977 353%
Page views 10025 22603 225%

Short: all KPIs go up. I basically doubled the unique visitors and page views, and the number of visitors exploded. I do not think that I can perform better in 2017.

An interesting chart is the page views over the last 6 months. SCN 3.0 was launched around October 2016. Guess when October starts in the below chart.

While I had a significant number of users coming from SCN in 2015, this got less and less in 2016. Once given because I almost stopped blogging on SCN. But after October the referrers from SCN stopped almost completely. Now users are coming mostly from Google, or from LinkedIn when I share a blog post there. What the chart shows is that the number of page visits almost doubled “thanks” to SCN 3.0.

The reported countries chart matches last year data and gives a good overview where SAP is used.

Africa is close to non-existent. Same for Latin America. Argentina generated 100 page visits, Chile 73, Bolivia 7, and so on. Sum the numbers up and it’s still not half the visits I got from Brazil. From that point it makes sense to focus on Brazil for SAP related topics.

Access

From the browser side, Chrome and Firefox lead, mobile users do exist. Not a big surprise, most content is related to work, and most people still work from a laptop / computer and not from a mobile device. This is reflected in the top 3 operating systems. Windows dominates the corporate world.

Last thing to show is traffic. How much traffic is transmitted? Reminder: RP2 is in my living room, my provider is unfortunately NET, so I only get low bandwidth and an 80GB traffic limit (yes, I already tried Vivo, etc., but they do not offer cable internet at my home). To get the data out of the logs, nothing easier than Kibana.

Total GB sent in 2016: almost 20 GB.

Images contributed with 13 GB to this. The rest is then text, JS, CSS, etc.

A total of 1.2 million requests.

This ends my look back at 2016. From now on my focus is on 2017. Lets hope that 2017 is even better from the usage point of view than 2016. Some points outlined above are on my to-do list for the next weeks. For sure I must keep blogging to attract enough readers.

SAP Inside Track São Leopoldo 2016

Our 4th SIT at São Leopoldo occurred a few days after the SAP internal DKOM event. Therefore we lost some of our momentum, as some participants can only justify going to one event, and for many, DKOM was higher on the priority list. Overall, the event was once more a success, attracting a diverse crowed from local SAP employees, local Porto Alegre market and some even travelling from Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro to attend the event.

Information

Official site SAP Community Network
Edition  4th
Date 1.4.2016
Location SAP Labs Latin America – Av. SAP, 188, São Leopoldo, RS
Twitter #sitsl
Sessions 17
Speakers 17
Tracks 3
Participants 84
Tweets 378
Twitter reach 1.672.000

Event Schedule

Social

Tweets

Twitter sentimento analysis

Feedback

Net Promoter Score: 74

Overall Session rating: 4.3/5

Overall Event rating: 4.5/5

Sponsor

SAP Press sponsored 1 book and 4 vouchers for ebooks!

We also gave away some gadgets with the help of Karen and Eduardo.

The winners

Meetup Rio de Janeiro 2016

Our third event in Rio de Janeiro and the second Meetup in Rio. This event was also located at INFNET. Once again, INFNET sponsored the event by providing the location, and I was able to offer the event once more in the downtown area, close to some of the biggest SAP customers in Rio and close to partner offices. INFNET is also a SAP University Alliance partner, so great initiative from them to help us.

Information

Official site Meetup Rio de Janeiro
Edition 2
Date 13. 4. 2016. 18:00 – 22:00
Location Instituto Infnet. Rua São José, 90, 2º andar, Auditório. Centro – RJ
Twitter #scnrj
Sessions 7
Speakers 5
Tracks 1
Participants 67

Event web site

The event site was hosted on a Raspberry Pi using an OpenUI5 web page with the backend for user registration run on HCP (Java).

Official site Meetup Rio de Janeiro
Page visits 508
Unique visitors 341

55% of the visitors signed up to the event. As expected, almost all access to the site was from Brazil.

Event Schedule

Sponsor

SAP Press sponsored 4 vouchers for ebooks.

Feedback

Net promoter score: 94

Overall event rating: 4.3/5

Overall session rating: 4.4/5

The only SAP HDE in Brazil was also present at the event.

A look back at the first 4 month in 2016

At the beginning of this year, I published a review on my blog activities in 2015. In 2016, I do not want to wait 12 month to give my readers an overview on how my private blog is doing. I thought on sharing each quarter a short review, but as now it`s already end of Abril, I guess you can see that plans are there to be adjusted.

My site started in March 2015 and in 9 months I managed to publish 116 blogs, gaining 4.234 unique visitors and 10.017 page views. I went from Raspberry Pi 1 to Raspberry Pi 2, increasing overall speed of my site. Now to 2016:

Blogs

In 2016, I have 37 blogs published (on average, this makes almost 10 per month), I have 34 drafts in the pipeline, and attracted so far 2500 unique visitors, contributing to 3.300 visits, totaling 6.575 page views. I get visits from around the world.

Analytics

In January I installed elasticsearch and logstash to be able to run some analytical reports on the apache 2 logs. Amazing what you can run on a RP2 with just 1 GB RAM.

Being popular

When I started my site, I decided to use a local server, running on Raspberry Pi. Not only because it’s cool, its cost efficient, I can control it / have absolute power and can run whatever other software on top of it (Subsonic, GateOne, git, etc). My site gained enough popularity that my internet provider decided that I run or am affected by a bot net, and stopped blocking port 443 last month. While this is not nice, I accept that having people from around the world accessing my site may look strange. Nevertheless, contract says they can, so I decided to put an AWS nano instance as a reverse proxy in front of my site. Yes, www.itsfullofstars.de is not anymore pointing directly to my Raspberry Pi 2, it`s going to AWS. In the end, you still end up in my living room.

Problems

Thanks to Olympic Games, I am suffering on constant power outages, as the city thinks that the population can be affected without problems, so they can host some test games for the IOC. This means that I am not always online, and my site is offline. Not sure what are the benefits of hosting Olympic Games, but if you think that in 2016 a stable power of internet connection is one of them, it`s not. At least a few million dollar a spent for sport stadiums.