CatSynth 10th Anniversary!

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On July 19, we hit a major milestone: 10 years since our first post. And we celebrate as always with some stats:

2,982 Posts
14,031 Comments
4.7 comments per post
1088 Cat-and-synth pics, videos, etc.
430 Reviews, gig-reports, and related posts

In some ways, the blog activity has declined a bit since it’s height in the early 2010s. Much of the activity has moved over to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And more recently, we are looking to the future via our mobile apps – there is much more coming there in the not-too-distant future. Additionally, I find myself balancing time spent writing blog articles with an increasingly busy schedule of musical performances and such. All good things in their own way.

We are a bit late to celebrate this year due to some major personal and medical priorities on my part (all of which are going well, but also beyond the scope of this forum). It isn’t the first time our blog anniversary has gotten caught up in other things. Last year we missed the 9th anniversary entirely as we coped with Luna’s cancer diagnosis. And our first anniversary came amidst a major downtime for the site that took a week or so to fix.

As always, here is the photo of Luna that started it all on July 19, 2006.

Luna_Keyboard_resized_c

Luna hasn’t aged all that much, retaining her youthful appearance. And that beanbag chair is still a favorite of hers. It’s where she hangs out in the studio, and over the years we have taken major photos of her with it.

The studio has certainly gotten more crowded over time.

Please join us in celebrating 10 years of CatSynth, and looking forward to many more!

Fun with Stats: Countries that still have Monarchies

On this Independence Day here in the U.S., a country which has been a continuous republic for over 200 years, we thought it would fun to look at the countries that still have monarchies in 2015.  Most are constitutional monarchies with a limited or ceremonial role, but it still begs the question of why bother with such an expensive and anachronistic institution?

Brunei Absolute monarchy
Oman Absolute monarchy
Qatar Absolute monarchy
Saudi Arabia Absolute monarchy
Swaziland Absolute monarchy
Vatican City Absolute monarchy
Andorra Constitutional monarchy
Antigua and Barbuda Constitutional monarchy
Australia Constitutional monarchy
The Bahamas Constitutional monarchy
Bahrain Constitutional monarchy
Barbados Constitutional monarchy
Belgium Constitutional monarchy
Belize Constitutional monarchy
Bhutan Constitutional monarchy
Cambodia Constitutional monarchy
Canada Constitutional monarchy
Denmark Constitutional monarchy
Grenada Constitutional monarchy
Jamaica Constitutional monarchy
Japan Constitutional monarchy
Jordan Constitutional monarchy
Kuwait Constitutional monarchy
Lesotho Constitutional monarchy
Liechtenstein Constitutional monarchy
Luxembourg Constitutional monarchy
Malaysia Constitutional monarchy
Monaco Constitutional monarchy
Morocco Constitutional monarchy
Netherlands Constitutional monarchy
New Zealand Constitutional monarchy
Norway Constitutional monarchy
Papua New Guinea Constitutional monarchy
Saint Kitts and Nevis Constitutional monarchy
Saint Lucia Constitutional monarchy
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Constitutional monarchy
Solomon Islands Constitutional monarchy
Spain Constitutional monarchy
Sweden Constitutional monarchy
Tonga Constitutional monarchy
Tuvalu Constitutional monarchy
United Arab Emirates Constitutional monarchy
United Kingdom Constitutional monarchy

Beyond actual countries, monarchies and hereditary rulers continue to be a fixture in the fantasy-novel genre, many of which are directly influences by Tolkein’s rather conservative Middle Earth.  Most perplexing of all, however, is the obsession of some Americans with British royalty, the dynasty of the country we declared independence from 239 years ago today.

CatSynth 8th Anniversary

Well, our eighth blog anniversary occurred this weekend.  So today we celebrate that milestone as we do every year, with some statistics and a look backs.

First, as always, the photo of Luna that launched it all on July 19, 2006.

We are always happy to receive visitors from all over the world, and we do.

Our top countries are:

  1. United States
  2. United Kingdom
  3. Canada
  4. Germany
  5. France
  6. Australia
  7. Switzerland
  8. Italy
  9. Netherlands
  10. India

Not surprising, the largest English-speaking countries are on the list (I include India), but also a strong presence in countries of Western Europe, especially Germany and France. Beyond India, several countries an Asia were well represented, especially Japan and South Korea. Notably, China had only 6 visitors this year, perhaps we have been blocked? Our top country in the Middle East was Iran, in Africa it was South Africa, and in South America it was Brazil.

Our top ten cities were San Francisco, New York, London, Zurich, Los Angeles, Oakland, Sydney, Melbourne, and Chicago.

Our top post from this past year was Our review of new modules from Make Noise. Indeed, we saw the highest overall engagement on our NAMM coverage.

Our top commenters for the year were:

  1. Georgia and Julie, along with the late Tillie (we miss Tillie)
  2. meowmeowmans of Animal Shelter Volunteer Life.
  3. Snowcatcher
  4. Louis la Vache (of the now closed Bay Area Photo blog)
  5. Beth F of Beth Fish Reads
  6. Our friend “Kitty” from Canada
  7. Gattina
  8. Sukhmandir Kaur
  9. Sue St. Clair
  10. Lee County Clowder

Overall, activity on the blog itself is down, while participation via Facebook, TwitterInstagram are increasing. Our top “liked” posts via Facebook were:

  1. Chris Broderick Farewell Bay Area Concert
  2. Happy Gotcha Day to Luna!
  3. CatSynth pic: Belly Rub
  4. Cat Museum of San Francisco’s Morrissey Birthday post
  5. CatSynth pic: Nina the Studio Kitty

Our Facebook channel has become particularly strong on its own, often with distinct posts and readers from the blog. As for the blog itself, my own activity has gone down quite a bit this year, due to a variety of work and personal issues. In particular, I’d like to get back to more of our interest posts, including more music and art reviews, “Fun with Highways”, etc. And of course more cats and synths.

And finally, thanks to everyone who has stuck with us through any or all of our channels. You are what makes this such a rewarding experience!

CatSynth 7th Anniversary!

Today we mark seven years since CatSynth first went online!

Here was the photo of Luna from that first post on July 19, 2006.

Luna_Keyboard_resized_c

 

As we do every yeah, we celebrate this occasion with some stats.

2,278 posts.
12,218 comments.
538,771 visitors.
760 “cat-and-synth” posts.

Some overall stats for the past year:

Our top day for visitors was January 26, 2013. This was during NAMM.
The greatest number of visitors came from the United States, followed by the United Kingdom, Canada, and Germany.
The top cities are San Francisco and New York. The top city outside the U.S. is London.
iOS and Android are among the top five platforms used by our visitors, surpassing Linux.

Our top commenters over the past year:

Tillie and Georgia 187
meowmeowmans 142
Gattina 70
Snowcatcher 57
Kitty 56
CatSynth 53
Beth F 45
Sukhmandir Kaur 42
AVCr8teur 42
Louis la Vache 40
Sue St Clair 39
KatzTales 37
Cafe au lait 34
Marilia 33
The Chair Speaks 29
Sweet Purrfections 27
Cats of wildcat woods 25
Marg 24
Team Tabby 23
Beth @ 990 Square 22
SandyCarlson 22

It’s great to see longtime readers continue to participate over the years, and always good to see newcomers as well.  Interestingly, the number of comments has gone down significantly over the past year.  My conjecture is that an increasing amount of the engagement around CatSynth has migrated to our Facebook page, and to Twitter, where we have lively communities of commenters.  In terms of Facebook, here are our most shared/liked posts over the past year:

The Green Wood, an opera by David Samas 64
CatSynth pic: Brian Eno Purina ad 44
Weekend Cat Blogging: Good News from PAWS 38
Pitta of the Mind, Red Thread, and Pet the Tiger at Turquoise Yantra Grotto 36
CatSynth pic: Gary Mew-man 33
CatSynth pic: Moog Little Phatty 31
Superb Owl 29
Outsound Music Summit: Fire and Energy 28
CatSynth pic: Chewie on Ensoniq EPS 26
CatSynth pic: Pinto and Moog Little Phatty 25
Jay Korber Benefit Performance, Berkeley Arts 25
The Fashion World of John Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, De Young Museum 23
CatSynth pic: Maggie Monotron 23
Military Cats 20
CatSynth pic: Schnuffi and Modular 19

It’s gratifying to see a mixture of “cat-and-synth” posts and art/music reviews in this list.  It supports my belief that mixing all the different topics together into one stream is worthwhile.  I particularly enjoy our many cat enthusiasts commenting on the music reviews or highway posts.

We hope to continue this project for a long time, and hope it continues to be a valuable and worthwhile resource.  And a big thank you to all our readers and fans!  You make this a joy to work on.

Wordless Wednesday: Our 2000th Post! (with Luna)

This is our 2000th post on CatSynth. It’s appropriate that it is both an (almost) Wordless Wednesday and features Luna.



CatSynth 6th Anniversary

Today marks our 6th anniversary! It’s amazing to think that we have been going on with this for 6 years. The past year has been a good one, in terms of quality of the post and engagement with readers here on the blog as well as via Facebook and Twitter, and we’re looking forward to an even better year ahead.

And we are celebrating as we always do, with statistics.

1933 posts.
10714 comments.
463,958 visitors.
258 reviews of art, music and technology.
621 catsynth pics and videos.

57% of posts feature cats
19% of posts feature Luna

Most frequently-cited synthesizer brands:
Korg (100)
Moog (72)
Roland (70)

Via Google Analytics, a map of where people are visiting from:

Top countries:

United States
United Kingdom
Canada
India
Germany
Australia
France
Italy
Poland
Netherlands

The non-anglophone country that sent the most visitors to CatSynth is Germany.

Our top commenters for July 2011-July 2012:

Kitty 141
Tillie and Georgia 135
meowmeowmans 132
Gattina 77
Snowcatcher 61
AVCr8teur 55
Beth F 50
Sue St Clair 46
Marg 45
Beth @ 990 Square 44
Daisy the Curly Cat 39
SandyCarlson (USA) 39
Cafe au lait 37
Judi 33
Louis la Vache 33
Mitch 32
Maria @ LSS 32
The Chair Speaks 31
caite@a lovely shore breeze 29
Indrani 29
Robin from Israel 27
Sweet Purrfections 26
Carol @ There’s Always Thyme to Cook 24
Sukhmandir Kaur 24
Katz (And Other) Tales 21
Li 19
Cats of Wildcat Woods 18
Daisy Deadhead 15
Fuzzy Tales 12

Our most commented articles this past year:

 

Happy Birthday Luna! 36
Happy Gotcha Day, Luna! 27
Wordless Wednesday: Green Window 26
Wordless Wednesday: Cat and Koi Street Art 24
Wordless Wednesday: Installation views of upcoming show 24
Wordless Wednesday 24
Wordless Wednesday: Portals 24
Wordless Wednesday: Blue Barrels 23
Wordless Wednesday: Oakland Maze 23
Wordless Wednesday: View from Brooklyn 23
Wordless Wednesday: Ominous Sky 22
Wordless Wednesday: Ferguson 22
Dona Nobis Pacem 22
Wordless Wednesday: Union and Octavia 22
Wordless Wednesday: Looking Upward 21
Wordless Wednesday: Quicksilver 20
Wordless Wednesday: LACMA 20
Wordless Wednesday: Jungle Cat 20
Wordless Wednesday: Doll and Fish 19
Wordless Wednesday: Mystery Sunburst from New York 19

 

And finally, the posts most “liked” by Facebook users.

Broadside Attractions | Vanquished Terrains at Intersection for the Arts 40
CatSynth pic: Happy Minimoog Monday (On Tuesday) 37
CatSynth pic: Bengal Cheetah Cat on a Moog Little Phatty 22
CatSynth pic: Bessie and Korg Monotron 21
Pas Musique and Thomas/Levin duo, Luggage Store Gallery 21
CatSynth pic: Mog Moog 20
CatSynth pic: Missy and Nord 20
Paul Stapleton improvisation sets, Luggage Store Gallery 17
CatSynth pic: Mimi and Korg MS-20 16
CatSynth pic: Techno Puff (JL Cooper CS-32) 16
CatSynth pic: Binary Heap 16
CatSynth pic: VideoCat and Korg Mono/Poly 16
CatSynth pic: Video the cat with Wurlitzer and Fender 15
CatSynth pic: Steerke and Korg Mono/Poly 14
ReCardiacs Fly, Surplus 1980, PG13 at Hemlock Tavern 13
CatSynth pic: Lenny 13
Robert Reich at #OccupySF 13
CatSynth pic: I smell a rat 12
Alan Turing and Computability 12

It is quite interesting how the set of posts receiving the most blog comments and those receiving the most Facebook likes are completely disjoint.  The former tends towards Wordless Wednesday and Luna, while the latter tends towards cat-and-synth pics and art/music reviews.  Certainly something to reflect on as we move forward into this next year.

 

CatSynth 5th Anniversary!

Today we mark the 5th Anniversary of CatSynth!

I started this site on July 19, 2006 as a novelty when a friend and former colleague at E-MU systems suggested that I “should make a website about cats and synths.”

Every anniversary we feature the photo of Luna from the inaugural post.

I still have that Novation keyboard, though it does not get used as often of late. Luna of course still is very territorial about that beanbag chair. Times have changed a bit, here is an iconic photo of Luna from this past year, this time with an iPad app (in this case, the Smule Magic Piano):

Another quirky way we like to celebrate is with statistics. First the basics:

1559 posts.
0.85 posts per day.
8784 comments.
5.63 comments per post.
476 posts featuring cats and synthesizers.
195 reviews (and gig reports).
381,735 visitors.

Even after five years, people from around the world continue to send us pictures of cats and music gear. These days most of those come via our Facebook, which together with twitter has become a major way people engage with this site.

From Google Analytics (which we finally got working properly over the past year), here is an overview of where our visitors come from around the world.

By far and away most of our visitors are from the United States, followed by the United Kingdom, Canada, India, Australia, France and Germany. I’m gratified to see so many visitors from India, though I’m curious why we never receive any comments from there…

It’s also interesting to look at cities.

Not surprisingly, the top cities are San Francisco and New York. In Google, it’s SF followed by NYC, while in Facebook, New York is the top city.

Our most popular posts judged by number of visitors are the annual endangered wild cats on earth day.  Over the past year, our most commented posts were:

Wordless Wednesday: Herman (Groundhog Day) 35
Wordless Wednesday: Doll and Metal Beams 28
Wordless Wednesday: 6506 (Baker Beach) 27
Wordless Wednesday: Matzoh Man 27
Happy Birthday Luna! 25
Wordless Wednesday: 7643 (New York, Late Autumn) 25
Wordless Wednesday:  Wet Paint 25
Wordless Wednesday: Mosaic with Saxophones 24
Wordless Wednesday: Summer Solstice 24
Wordless Wednesday:  Harrison Street Hipstomatic 23

Our top commenters the past year:

Kitty 199
Mickey, Georgia and Tillie 146
Gattina 94
CatSynth 90
The Chair Speaks 66
meowmeowmans 65
Snowcatcher 56
AVCr8teur 51
Daisy the Curly Cat 48
Cats of Wildcat Woods 41
Beth @ 990 Square 40

Thanks to all our friends (in time zones earlier than U.S. Pacific Daylight Time) who already sent in comments for the anniversary, and to the Cat Blogosphere for their anniversary shout-out!

And while we will continue to keep doing what we do, it has been more of a challenge over this past year to keep up with posts, especially the longer-form reviews. There is a trade between doing music and art, and writing about people doing music and art. But I still love doing everything here, and will find a way…

Fun with Highways: Saint Catharines

Facebook provides a number of interesting statistics about fans, one of which is the cities (or metropolitan areas) in which they reside. The top cities for CatSynth are not surprising: New York City is #1, with San Francisco and other Bay Area communities high on the list. But one has consistently stuck out among the top cities: Saint Catharines, Ontario, Canada. Today we pay tribute to this rather surprising enclave of CatSynth Facebook fans in our own unique way: a “Fun with Highways” article.

Saint Catharines is located in the Niagara region of Ontario, on the southwest edge of Lake Ontario, not far from Niagara Falls. It’s official nickname is the “Garden City” and is unofficially nicknamed “St Kitts” by people in the area (thanks to regular reader Sue St. Clair for providing this insight).

The city is served by two major highways (known as 400-series highways in Ontario): highway 406 and the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW), which connects Buffalo, NY and Niagara Falls to Toronto. The QEW has an interesting history, not only for its name but also its distinction as one of the oldest divided highways in Canada. Below one can see the Garden City Skyway portion of the QEW spanning the city’s other historic transportation feature, the Welland Canal.

[Public domain image via Wikipedia]

One of the first long road trips with my family growing up went through Niagara Falls and Toronto, and I’m sure I passed through Saint Catharines on the QEW with little notice, despite my penchant for staring out the window and observing road signs. One tragic story of the QEW in Saint Catharines involves the death of hockey star Tim Horton in an automobile accident – I mostly know about him not from hockey but as the eponymous late owner of the chain where my friends in Canada go to get their daily coffee.

Interestingly for a highway article, Saint Catharines is also home to the headquarters of the provincial Ministry of Transportation – or rather a headquarters of the Ministry of Transportation, as there seem to be several. Of course, the city is also home to many parks and gardens as the name would imply. One more iconic is Montebello Park.

[Public domain image via Wikipedia.]

The pavilion in the photo above overall has a very classic appearance that one would see in many town parks from this era. But that one structure on the left also evokes a more modernist aesthetic with its unadorned smooth curves. There is something very 1960s about it. Additionally, Montebello Park has a significant connection to Central Park in New York City which I leave as an exercise to the reader.