Custom Reporting in Google Analytics

Google Analytics rolled out more than 5 years back, and it has been rocking ever since. The first free enterprise class analytics seemed to keep on adding more and more awesome features every year. Especially after the acquisition of the Urchin tracker system, GA has been the de facto analytics system for all websites.

Of course for the more seasoned people out there who cannot get their exact set of data from GA, there are other niche analytics products. In fact Avinash Kaushik has an entire chapter dedicated to this in his kickass of a book Web Analytics: An Hour a Day (I recommend that you do read this!!)

I have been seriously working on GA for about a year or so now and the more I use this tool, the more I learn about how little I know! That’s the thing with knowledge, by the time you know a lot, you think you know very little. I wish if the other way was true as well :-D

The thing with GA and what turns off most people is that the sheer volume of data it can show in those pretty little orange pages is a lot. So a cursory glance gives you loads of data, however to get an insight, you have to sift through this data. Create segments, look at those segments and search through various different reports to find that one insight which will help you drive more traffic, more leads, more sales to your site.

This is where Google has shone their brilliance, they have allowed web developers, analysts, webmasters and business intelligence guys to actually work together and create custom reports, custom segments which can be shared. Yes, so I can burn the midnight oil trying to find which content works best for my site … however if I had to do the same for another website, I would have to re-create all those steps all over again. What a colossal waste of time! But now, I can simply share that report/segment and voila!!

In the next few days, I will be sharing more custom segments as well as custom dashboards which you can simply import in your Google Analytics and start right off!

WoW on Wine

No, I don’t drink and raid :)

I recently have taken a lot to playing World of Warcraft during my free time (I think this also reflects pretty well on the blog :-)). I also have bought a good powerhouse of a desktop, and had dual booted it with WinXP and Win7. The problem with Win7 is that I have the 64-bit trial distribution and it hangs a lot, it has driver issues. The problem with WinXP is that its WinXP :-)

I am not that much of an operating system nazi, but the machine slows, down, the wireless network card that I am using is not fully utilized (WinXP sucks when it comes to driving the wireless interface!!). All in all, when it comes to playing an Online RPG, the environment does not deliver it’s 100%. Thus, I tried to give Ubuntu a try.

  • I already had the 11.04 distro with me, so the first thing I did was update all the repositories, include the third party repositories, and install Wine. Wine stands for WINdows Emulator. You can read more about Wine here.
  • After Wine, I went for installing Winetricks, which is a third party software. It’s used to easily streamline commands via a wizard which otherwise I would have been forced to use the console.
  • Somehow the Wine commands that get integrated into the shell (the right click menu of your explorer) are a bit different from the wine that got installed. So at first the program refused to run giving some obscure access management errors.
  • So, refusing to be let down, I went and searched for third party alternatives. You can skip this step, and definitely do not install the Crossover Games application because its just a trial, however, the PlayOnLinux (POL) application is recommended here, since after installing that, at least the icons of the .exe files will be visible
  • However, when I ran the Launcher.exe of World of Warcraft via the custom command console (by right clicking on it and selecting Open with Other Application, and then simply typing wine in the command box)
  • That’s it. Now the World of Warcraft launcher will run, and the game runs seamlessly

Since the game does not use the latest DirectX drivers, instead it replaces them with its own set, the textures and the games will be slightly different. I noticed a different texture for the water in WoW for example. But otherwise, the game is perfect for running. The network card works better, so I get a faster ping rate.

Valuation of Tanishq Gold Harvest Offer

If you are in India and watch Television, then you surely must have watched this ad –



The ad is targeted towards working women who take charge of their lives and planning their future on their terms. The ad which is timed brilliantly is launched in sync with the India International Jewelry Week, talks to the right sentiments, however the product itself is questionable.

Tanishq Gold Harvest Offer is a scheme where one has to make 11 monthly payments and at the end of the year, you get the same value in jewelry. At a first glance, I thought that the financial returns amount to roughly 8% of the investment. Turns out that I had valuated it in the wrong way from the start itself, the formula to be used should have been XIRR, and it gives a 15% return.

Jyothi, our resident content creator then pointed out that it’s a loss making investment. Consider the inflation of gold (or the Indian Rupee for that matter) over the period of one year, and you end up with a loss-making product. Average Indian Consumer, beware of this product!

Rise of Nations: Roman Castle in Age I

Sounded innocuous and impossible to me too. But get this, it CAN be done, and it works well in border push strategy.

If you are Romans in Rise of Nations, then do give this tip a try to put your opponent on the backfoot. No one wants to attack a well defended outpost, even if the outpost is right next to your borders especially because its being guarded by a castle, and god knows how many units are garrisoned in there! Add to the additional territory push that Roman castles have, and you are literally taking away the opponents lands!

The key to this tactic is getting early ruins.

Remember, that Romans have Mil 1 researched at the start. A castle costs 281 wood.

Here’s what you do –

  1. Go Sci 1
  2. Do NOT build farms, they consume wood.
  3. Instead fill up on lumber by all the villagers you create
  4. Use the additional villies and scout to capture ruins
  5. Start building 4 outposts (do not complete the building, just start the building so you consume the wood that you are getting via ruins, so now you keep getting wood via ruins). The key is to keep your wood lower than the rest of the resources without really using up wood.
  6. Once you have 4 outposts queued. Now start building the farms, and booming. Target Civ 1
  7. Once you have Civ 1, go near your opponents border and plonk your second city there.
  8. Cancel the outpost building (all 4 of them). This should give your wood back to you!
  9. Now start building the castle!

Now you have a well defended outpost as your opponents next door neighbor. Start booming, build a barracks, and garrison some units in there.

And remember to PUSH!

Rise of Nations: Raiding

So I was talking to King Ameya (who often comments on my Rise of Nations posts). He was mentioning that the previous post on Heavy Cavalry was actually a lesson on raiding.

For those who are new to the game, raiding is a concept where you use a small armed force to take down the economy of the opposing nation by attacking commercial resources (merchants, caravans, timber mill, mines, etc). That way, you generate resources whereas your opponent is struggling to get off a good start.

At the advanced levels, rushing is considered to be an amateur tactic and a pro can easily fend off a rush. What works instead is constant raiding and an expert can actually bring down opponents by doing this the entire game.

The best way to showcase this is by giving you a recording of a game that I played with King Ameya. He was Iroquois and I was Bantu. It was pre-decided that he is going to raid and I thought that let’s boom for a change and see how much could a raid impact my economy.

See for yourself!

At the end of the game, I had four cities, but virtually zero resources and no barracks to fend myself. Two of those cities fell at the same time and I had to give in. Raiding can be lethal if carried out properly.

Some points to note –

  1. Scout early and scout often; by the 3rd minute Ameya had the entire map scoured and almost all the ruins were consumed for resources
  2. Small attacks, first aimed at merchants and caravans, then at villagers and resources
  3. Raiding gives you resources, having a Despot increases your gains
  4. You do not need a massive force to deal the final blow