“Cipher Mysteries” blog statistics: 300 posts, 11 pages, 1000+ spam comments, PageRank 3 home-page, 41 readers (via FeedBurner) and 15,000+ visitors. Thank you all for the 181 on-blog comments and the hundreds of off-blog emails I’ve received: these really help make this whole thing worthwhile! 🙂

And thanks to an extra 600-visitor surge over two days (from an unknown US-based mailing list’s link to a Stumbleupon link), the blog had more than 3000 visitors during the last month: at the current rate of growth, it should get 75,000 visitors by the end of 2009 (which would be nice).

I’ve also recently started rebuilding the site infrastructure, by moving the stats over from SiteMeter to StatCounter (which has a better API, better reporting and no tracking cookies, though how you make .htaccess allow the StatCounter .js file to be “Accept-Encoding: gzip” I don’t yet know), and by modernizing the icons & transforming them into CSS sprites. Unfortunately, I then got tangled up with irritating browser-related CSS sprite issues. Even so, blog pages are now about half the size they were before and get served up much quicker, which is rather pleasant. 🙂

The main web-tools I used to achieve this were: (1) a free web page speed analysis tool from WebSiteOptimization.com (very handy for blogs with multiple plugins!); (2) a very nice CSS sprite generator on website-performance.org; (3) the CSS Compress WordPress plugin which (very handily) gzips your blog CSS files; and (4) the WP Super Cache plugin, which is (unsurprisingly) a super-duper HTML cache for WordPress. All of which I highly recommend! 🙂

But enough of the blogophile jargon-fest: what can I glimpse looming for 2009 in my polished obsidian mirror? Whither goest the next 100 posts?

Whereas 2008 was (as predicted) the year of the Voynich novel, and 2010 looks to be the year that the Voynich enters the academic mainstream, 2009 looks to me very much as though it is going to be an odd, transitional sort of year – a period of behind-the-scenes activity, which astrologers would normally recognize as a “12th house” (just below the horizon, shortly to rise with the ascendant) kind of vibe. In a strange way, it feels to me as if a future king/queen is preparing his/her entrance on the scene – as if all we have been doing is tamping the road surface for them to drive over it at great speed. Sorry: as predictions go, that’s as close to Nostradamus as I get. 🙂

Regardless, I look forward to being pleasantly surprised by whatever transpires in 2009, and I hope it turns out to be entertaining and interesting for you too! 🙂

4 thoughts on “The 300th post: whither goest 2009?

  1. Rene Zandbergen on February 2, 2009 at 2:24 pm said:

    I like your prognosis for 2010 and the mainstream science idea.
    Who knows, we might even see the start of that this year already.
    It certainly is happening (gradually) for the Bohemian part of the MS
    history, and its research.

    As soon as your suspected new Voynich research king/queen appears,
    we better make sure that he/she has read D’Imperio. I think we need a test form.

    Cheers, René

  2. Hi Rene,

    Though Bohemia is historically fascinating, mining it for VMs clues seems to me a lot like a displacement activity – doing something for the sake of doing anything. The VMs’ 15th century quire numbers surely flag that it’s not a product of/for the Imperial Court: there’s also good codicological reason (from the misbindings etc) to believe that no post-1500 owner had the faintest idea of how to read it… and that’s a long gap going forward.

    All the same, I’m reasonably happy to believe that it was indeed bought by Rudolf II for a foolish sum of money (it’s the kind of thing he would buy), though I’m pretty sure it would have been late in his rule (say, post-1604?). I just wish there was a set of Imperial accounts to trawl through: modern drug cartel police investigations tend to ignore the goods but follow the money – perhaps that’s something that we should be doing?

    As for the putative “king/queen”, my nagging suspicion is that he/she will come at the VMs from such a completely different angle (cryptographic? codicological? archival? DNA?) that we will be somewhat embarrassed by our lack of imagination. Up until now, D’Imperio has (of course) been the litmus test of good sense (few nutters would want to read a 30-year book published by friends of the NSA): but you have to admit that, though we love her dearly, she hasn’t helped us crack it yet, has she? 🙁

    Cheers, ….Nick Pelling….

  3. Rene Zandbergen on February 2, 2009 at 8:04 pm said:

    Hi Nick,

    come to think of it…
    Your prediction should be spot on.
    It’s a he, and the time frame is April this year
    (the start, not the solution).
    We can skip the D’Imperio test.

    Just wait and see 😉 (It’s not what you think)

  4. Hi Rene,

    Well… assuming you’re right (and you probably wouldn’t say that unless you were), how on earth did I know? In fact, how on earth did I even guess?

    Spooky! 😮

    Cheers, ….Nick Pelling….

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