Wait Wait Stats Update: Page Loads

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.Continue reading“Wait Wait Stats Update: Page Loads”

Wait Wait Stats Update: 1998 Part Deux

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.

The voice of Carl Kasell has arrived

When I got home tonight, I saw a package that was addressed from Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! and Chicago Public Radio in the pile of today’s mail. Within the package was a CD with an audio track containing the greeting that I requested Carl to record for me. Below is the picture of the CD that I received:



The following is the text of the greeting that I requested:

Good day, I am Carl Kasell and you have reached the mailbox for Linh Pham. Linh is probably too busy geeking out or is out somewhere making a fool of himself. Just joking, okay maybe not. Please leave a message after the beep.

Simple and reflects my quirky and ackward mannerisms :)

Thank you, Carl, for recording the greeting!

Wait Wait Stats Updates: 1998

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 ;)

Holy traffic spike, Wait Wait fans!

I want to say thanks for all of the Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! fans that have visited my statistics page and my home page. It is amazing to look at the traffic graph over the past week or so in Google Analytics and with WordPress Stats. Let’s just say that the previous days and weeks look like nothing compared to this weekend’s traffic numbers (click on the thumbnail to see the full graph).

Continue reading“Holy traffic spike, Wait Wait fans!”

Mo Rocca: Three Way Tie on WWDTM

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. :)