statistics posts

Testing the Monty Hall problem

I have always had trouble understanding and even believing the proposition of the Monty Hall problem. It feels like it is proposing that the probability of past events affect the probability of future events, like suggesting that a coin landing on heads will be more likely to land on tails the next time. Rather, it’s about the information provided by the circumstances. I still don’t intuitively understand it, but at least I have now verified for myself that the proposed probability approximates outcomes. I have created a PHP simulation of the game and script to iterate it numerous times.

The code allows testing other numbers of doors and number of doors for the host to reveal. Increasing the numbers shows increasing odds. Even if Monty opens less than all but the remaining door (obviously requires more than three total doors), it still increases odds by switching.

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Piwik and XHTML 5: Document.write and Noscript

I’ve been using Piwik recently for my site analytic purposes. I added it to my “professional” site, which is served as XHTML 5 for anything but IE. On that site, no visits were registering, though awstats showed that there were visitors. As it happens, this is because the javascript “document.write” is not allowed in XHTML. I believe older versions of XHTML still allowed it to be run, but it certainly wasn’t being run on my XHTML 5 site. Firefox showed an error in the console. This is mentioned on the WHATWG’s page about the differences between HTML5 and XHTML5.

The Piwik community doesn’t seem to have much mention of this, other than one mailing list thread. I modified the script to something similar to the one in that thread, like this:

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Samba: Site is Live

I’ve “completed” my first freelance project, the Samba Soccer Club site ( No longer live). It went live almost two weeks ago. I’ve got my first freelance pay, and though I didn’t ask for much, they liked the site enough to give me a little extra. They were very nice to work with, a definite good beginning into the freelance world. I’ve hear plenty of stories about troubles with clients, but I had none. They will have me continue working on the site from time to time, updating it with new content, so I will have a little extra long term income.

The site has already made it to number one on Google and Bing for “samba soccer club” (not surprising), though not Yahoo. For the Stearns project, it had been Bing that was slow to find the site. I’m no SEO master, but hopefully we’ll be able to get decent rankings on “cleveland soccer club” or the like, things that people who don’t know about Samba but might want to would search for.

I’ve also set up my first Google Analytics account for the site. I’ve always just used apache log analyzers, such as awstats. I’m leery of the tracking implications of having so many sites with such tracking scripts, but I think the information will be useful for my clients. Google Analytics provides a lot of information in a fairly nice format. Some of the information, such as the detailed maps, I don’t get with awstats. I will have to look into a way to get my clients these stats, since the account is currently in my name.

Hopefully the site will work out well for them and make a good portfolio piece for me. I definitely learned a lot from the project, and hope my future projects go as nicely.


I am using Awstats for my site statistics on both my home server and my dreamhost host. Dreamhost provides statistics with Analog automatically installed, but I prefer Awstats. Awstats is very good at accounting for robots and has a nicer interface. It is also more configurable since I have access to the full configuration files.

I used the following method to use one install of Awstats for the multiple sites I have hosted on each server. I use SSH. If you don’t have that available, you can modify the instructions to work with FTP. The symbolic link (ln -s) bits would have to be modified. You’d simply put the actual configuration files in the cgi-bin directory (the conf directory was merely a convenience for upgrades) and probably put the actual “wwwroot” directory in the proper location on the site.

These are just my setup notes, so apologies if they are cryptic:

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