It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about updates to the Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! Stats Page, but I have been making a little bit more progress on a couple of things.
First thing is that I have been able to locate MP3s of Wait Wait shows from early 2003 through early 2006, stopping where the first show was made available as a podcast. My goal is to listen through each show and fill in scores and other information that is currently missing.
Along with that, I will be entering in not only which panelist had the correct bluff, but also the panelist that the listener chose. Once I get that information entered, I will find a way to display both on the page.
Next, I have been slowly collecting where the show has been recorded and will be entering that into the database as well. I will also have to figure out how to display that on the page.
I will also be working on filling out the panelist scores when they start the Lightning Fill-in-the-Blank round and how many they got correct. This will eventually make it on to the page as well.
In the meantime, I will be working on building up a new version of the site. I’ve got a basic mock-up built, but it isn’t quite ready to be made public… yet :)
During another bout of boredom, I was trying to see if there was a way for me to shorten the address for the Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! Statsitics page. After checking the availability of several domains that I could register (while the waitwa.it domain was available, I could not register it as I am not in Italy or the EU), I found that wwdt.me was available.
So, instead of remembering a long URL or sending people to Google or Bing, all you need to remember is a simple URL: wwdt.me/stats. Yep, it’s now that simple to remember! :)
You can still access the page using the current URL, as I will be setting it up so that it automatically redirects you to the new URL.
Now, go and pass it on!
I have made a significant change to how the Wait Wait Stats page is served up to visitors. Up until earlier this morning, each page view required the server to process and parse through all of the data, then serve up the results. Each time the page is processed takes about a second and requires the server to send out the contents out in its entirety, even if there hasn’t been any changes. That’s a waste of time and bandwidth (both mine and yours), along with processor cycles.
With the new change, the server generates a static version of the page every Saturday at 13:00 (Pacific Time) and each request of the Wait Wait Stats page will go through a simple script that determines if the static file is newer than original dynamic script file. If it is, the server provides the last modified date and time of the static file to the browser along with the contents of the static file. In the case where the dynamic script file has been updated before the static file was last generated (due to a bugfix or coding update), the dynamic version will be used instead.
So, how does that help save bandwidth? Well, if you visit the page for the first time after the static file has been generated, your browser would be able to cache that page. By caching the page, each time to view the page again, only a small amount of traffic has to be sent back and forth, as the browser will use the cached version of the page. The next time that you view the page after the next time the static file has been updated, the browser will note the new modified time and pull in the updated page.
Since I am in the slow process of updating information for older shows, I have the ability to generate the static file manually so that the changes will be available in a timely manner.
I know… that was a lot of techie jargon. At the end of the day, this change should be a win-win for everyone, including my poor DSL circuit (which is where my server is currently hosted through). If you have any questions, feel free to post a comment to this blog post.
As noted in the original “Wait Wait Stats Update: 1998” post, my goal was to complete filling out the panelists, guests and descriptions for all of 1998 by the end of June. Well, it’s now 1 July 2011 and I still haven’t gotten all of the show descriptions filled out. At least I have the guests entered in (without scores).
What I was able to do before the end of June was to add one of the features that I had been thinking about doing (and some have been asking for). If you visit the stats page, you will notice that all of the show dates are now links. When you click on the link, it will send you over to that show’s specific page on NPR.org. That way, you can view the transcripts for the newer shows, listen to a segment or the entire show, or figure out what song was used as an inter-segment button.
I am still thinking of the cleanest way of storing and presenting the location of where each show was recorded. Before that can happen, I will need to rewrite the code that handles the data query and processing of that data, before generating it for display. That rewrite should also open up the ability to display the breakdown of the panelist points and who had the correct bluff.
Update [2011-07-02]: I have made a couple of tweaks to the panelist scoring graph to make it a bit easier to quickly determine how many times a panelist has scored x points.
I just wanted to give all of you “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!” fans an update on the statistics page. I am in the process of adding the panelist and guest information for 1998. Scores will be added once the panelists and guests have been entered in, along with show descriptions.
Whether I can maintain a decent pace will have to depend on the amount of spare time I will have in the following four or five days. I hope to get a good portion of the 1999 data added during the month of June. I hope to complete a year of stats each month until I have caught up.
During that time, I will try to work on a way to note where each show is recorded, be it in studio, at Chase Auditorium, or on the road. Here’s to hoping that I can find enough spare time to get the page completed ;)
On this week’s Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!, there was a three-way tie between Peter Grosz, Kyrie O’Connor and Mo Rocca at the end of the Lightning Fill-in-the-Blank round. Mo asked when was the last time there was a three-way tie.
Well, looking at the statistics that I have been collecting, it was on 2008-09-27; where, Mo Rocca, Kyrie O’Connor and Tom Bodett tied with 14 points each.
You’re welcome, Mo. :)