Farewell to 2022

It’s that time when we at CatSynth post our traditional end-of-year image, along with a few stats and thoughts on the year that is coming to an end. It was a bit harder to settle on a set of images to represent this year given how much has happened. First, a few quick stats.

On the blog:

  • 207 posts
  • 142 “cat-and-synth” posts

On CatSynth TV

  • 61 new videos
  • Most watched video made in 2022: Klaus Schulze: A tribute to his music and legacy
  • Second-most watched made in 2022: The Logistic Map: Attractors, Bifurcation, and Chaos (Part 1 of 2)

Although there were fewer videos produced this year, there were some ambitious ones, like the two “Red Robot Show” videos. We emphasized quality over quantity.

Compared to the previous two years, 2022 was active and busy. Even a bit chaotic and over-committed at times. Perhaps this is a form of “return to normalcy” after the deepest parts of the pandemic. We did continue the new tradition from last year of releasing at least one EP or album by the end of the year – I am quite proud of the way Merp Friend came out. I also traveled farther and more frequently than in previous years, reconnected in person with more friends, and will be off to visit New York at the start 2023 for the first time in 3 years (the longest I’ve ever been away in my lifetime).

For this coming year, I already have a new album in the works and lots of ideas for the video channel. I would like to see CatSynth TV grow – and this website could use some serious updates. The challenge is sustainability between music, videos, my personal life, and my “day job”. Finding that balance has been at a time challenging this past year, and continuing to develop my new organization and meditation techniques will play a part. And I of course look forward to spending as much time with my cat family – Sam Sam and Big Merp – as I have these past two years. Working from home has truly been a blessing that came out of the challenges since 2020. As my good friend G Calvin Weston says, forward motion.

Wishing you all the best for 2023 – and we’ll keep doing what we do.

CatSynth 16th Anniversary

Today marks 16 years since our first post on CatSynth. And of course here is the photo of our beloved Luna that started it all.

Although I still miss her dearly, I love being able to see her through my hundreds (maybe more than hundreds) of photos.

With everything that has been happening in the world and personally, I haven’t marked the anniversaries as much as in the past. But this year seems like a good time to do so, as at least some things from the past are beginning to re-emerge.

And with that, let’s look at some stats. The viewership for the blog continues to be down from its heights in the early 2010s. But we do still get a lot of visitors from all over the world.

According to our Google analytics, the greatest number of visits from July 2021 to July 2020 came from the United States, the United Kingdom, China (glad to see we’re not blocked by the “Great Firewall”), Ireland, France, Canada, Germany, and Sweden.

Our most popular blog post over the past year was NoiseKick FX Meme Screamer Plus (TS/Klon/Boost). And of course, we ended up buying that Meme Screamer pedal and presented it on CatSynth TV.

Speaking of CatSynth TV, the channel has continued to grow. We gained almost 1,500 subscribers and had well over 150,000 views. Perhaps small by YouTube standards, but I am proud of the work we have done and look forward to more growth. Our most popular videos were mostly old favorites including our many Arturia V Collection reviews and demos. Our tributes to electronic-music heroes also were among the most viewed, especially our tribute to the great Klaus Shulze. Again we welcomed viewers from around the world, with the largest viewership in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Canada, and Japan.

We at CatSynth are looking forward to another year of cats, synthesizers, music, art, and so much more. And thank you for all your support from myself, Sam Sam, and Big Merp.

Farewell to 2018

Click to enlarge

The end-of-year colage has become a long-standing tradition here at CatSynth, and one that I particularly enjoy. It was a complex year, and the images reflect that. Our cats Sam Sam and “Big Merp” (who has pretty much become an indoor-outdoor cat at his new home in Oakland), some great shows including outstanding performances with CDP and Vacuum Tree Head, a wonderful and restorative visit back to New York. It was also dark and fiery at times, as when the Camp Fire leveled the town of Paradise and bathed our sky in smoke and ash – beautiful and tragic all at once.

Another New Year tradition at CatSynth is to share some stats from the past year. First, the basics:

  • 309 posts
  • 169 Cat-and-music posts
  • 78 episodes of CatSynth TV

Our top posts for the year, using the somewhat shaky measurements of Google Analytics:

  1. Wordless Wednesday: Windmill (Golden Gate Park)
  2. Aretha Franklin: Rock Steady
  3. Secret Chiefs 3 and Cleric play Zorn’s Masada
  4. Women’s March 2018 in San Francisco
  5. CatSynth Pic: White Cat and Modular, Vertical View

It was heartening to see such a diverse set of posts top the list. However, this belies the fact that blog readership is way down, and eclipsed by Facebook and YouTube / CatSynth TV. Most of our referrals to the blog come from these two sources; but most activity stays on Facebook and YouTube. On the plus side, CatSynth TV viewership has grown significantly. Here are the top videos for the year.

  1. NAMM 2018: Mellotron! [Episode 34]
  2. Arturia MiniBrute 2 Part 1
  3. Arturia MiniBrute 2 Sequencer [Episode 61]
  4. NAMM 2018: Rossum Electro Music Assimil8or [Episode 31]
  5. Volca FM: Deconstructed Electric Piano [Episode 53]

Clearly, the NAMM reviews and synth demos dominate the channel, though I am proud of the diversity of art, music, and culture topics shared there as well. Overall, we at CatSynth do see the writing on the wall, and the efforts in 2019 will probably accelerate the shift from blog to video in terms of time, energy and investment.

On a more personal and introspective note, 2018 was a year we accomplished a lot. At the same time, it ends feeling like I both did too much and didn’t do enough. There are still so many things going on, even as we tried to consolidate and focus. One of the challenges going into 2019 will be looking at how to stay organized and even more focused, without giving up on all that we do. Also, like birthdays, a new year is a reminder that time is passing, and we are getting a bit older. Taking care of myself will also be a priority.

Thank you all as always for sharing this past year with us, and wish wish everyone a Happy New Year!

CatSynth 11th Blog Anniversary

Luna on iPad at 11:11

It’s been 11 years since we started CatSynth on a bit of a lark, and since then it has grown into something that we treasure, and quite seriously. But not too seriously. As always, we mark the annual milestone with a few stats.

3210 Posts
14358 Comments
4.47 Comments Per Post
1202 Cat-and-synth pics
474 Reviews and related posts

Comments and interaction on the blog has continued to decline (from an average of 4.7 to 4.47 comments per post). This is not surprising as interaction has largely moved to social media platforms.

Our most visited post this last year was our Sad Farewell to Luna, both on the blog itself and on social media. This, too, is not surprising, and we continue to be very grateful for the outpouring of emotional support we have received.

Other individual posts that were widely read and shared including our explainer on Lake Oroville, our review of James Chance and the Contortions in San Francisco, and of course our annual NAMM coverage.

Every year we share the photo that started it all on July 19, 2006. It featured Luna in the beanbag chair along with a Novation keyboard. We feel its still appropriate for this day.

Luna with Novation Keyboard

We continue to grieve for Luna, but we also welcome Sam Sam who we hope with be with us and featured on these pages for years to come.

Emphatic Sam Sam

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.

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.

 

Fun with Stats: Nobel Peace Prizes by Country

In light of today’s Nobel Prize award in peace, a little number-crunching of peace prizes by country (using this Wikipedia page as a data source).  I actually did not guess this distribution in advance.

United States 22
France 10
United Kingdom 10
Germany 6
Ireland 5
Sweden 5
Belgium 4
South Africa 4
Switzerland 4
Austria 3
Israel 3
Argentina 2
Bangladesh 2
Canada 2
China 2
Egypt 2
Norway 2
Poland 2
Portugal 2
Russia / USSR 2
Costa Rica 1
Czech Republic / Austria-Hungary 1
Denmark 1
East Timor 1
Finland 1
Ghana 1
Guatemala 1
India 1
Iran 1
Italy 1
Japan 1
Kenya 1
South Korea 1
Macedonia 1
Burma (Myanmar) 1
Mexico 1
Netherlands 1
Palestine 1
Romania 1
Vietnam 1

You can read a speech by the most recent winner Liu Xiaobo here.

CatSynth 4th Anniversary

Another year has past since we started this site four years ago.  Thanks to everyone who already wished us a happy anniversary, and to the folks at the Cat Blogosphere for their shout-out today.

And just as we have with previous anniversaries, we are celebrating with statistics of questionable import.

Over the past four years, we have written 1220 posts, and readers have contributed 6699 comments.  We have received 293,916 visits.  This comes out to about 5.5 comments per post, and about 43 visits for every one comment left.  We also have about 270 “catsynth pic” or “catsynth video” posts.  Make of these numbers what you will.

In terms of tags and categories, there are not really any surprises.  These top terms do reflect what the site continues to be about:

Cats (cat) 704
Synthesizers 449
Luna 277
Music 246
Art 190
weekend cat blogging 183
WCB 181
San Francisco 160
Personal 153
News 151
Wordless Wednesday 147
Reviews 134
Photography 132
Modernism 91
Highways 82
Art 74
analog 74
video 74
cats on tuesday 70
electronic music 62
synth 62
performance 55
carnival of the cats 45
Travel 45
black cat 44

We now turn to stats specific to the past year.  The top five days for visits since July 19, 2009 are:

November 6, 2009 1036
April 18, 2010 859
May 11, 2010 808
October 15, 2009 787
March 22, 2010 780

Hmm, November 6, 2009.  Who knew our post on Reconnaissance Fly and Noertker’s Moxie at the SIMM Series would get so much attention 🙂

The posts that received the most comments over the past year:

Wordless Wednesday: Morning Sunshine 36
Wordless Wednesday: Cooper River Bridge, South Carolina 32
Wordless Wednesday:  High Line 32
Dona Nobis Pacem: Blogblast for Peace! 31
Wordless Wednesday: Asians.com 28
Wordless Wednesday:  Bay Bridge from Pier 14 25
Wordless Wednesday: Yan’an Elevated Road, Shanghai 25
Wordless Wednesday:  Before Winter 24
Wordless Wednesday: 5946 (Vacant Lot, California) 24
Wordless Wednesday:  Three Circles 23
Wordless Wednesday: Coffee Cup on the Patio 23

And the top commenters over the past year:

kitty 203
Mickey 143
CatSynth 96
Gattina 75
SandyCarlson 51
Sukhmandir Kaur 50
Robin from Israel 38
Beth @ 990 Square 37
Katz (And Other) Tales 32
cindy 31
AVCr8teur 30
jams o donnell 47
Carver 26
Sniffie and the Florida Furkids 23
Beth F 23
Cats of Wildcat Woods 22
Ms. Latina 20
Snowcatcher 19
Digital Flower 18
Susan Adcox 18
Cafe Au Lait 17
The Chair Speaks 16
Harry Spotter 16
Jewelgirls Katz 15
Judi 15
Nikita Cat 15
jason 12

These are the stats that change the most from year to year, as we welcome new readers and others fade away for any number of reasons.  One interesting thing to note is our two top commenters (who have retained those spots for the last two years running) are both from Canada.

Our Facebook page gives us a new source of questionable stats to reflect upon.  We have received  about 30 contributions (pictures or videos).  The city with the most declared CatSynth fans is New York.  The countries with the most fans (after the United States) are Canada, the United Kingdom, and Finland.  These are all plausible, but I am a bit skeptical of Facebook’s data gathering and presentation tools.

Thanks to everyone who has read and supported us, wherever you happen to be, and we’ll look forward to more over the next year…