Number-Induced Mind-Explosion

I’m a numbers guy. I like looking at numbers and figuring out where they came from, what they mean and where they might go in the future. I’m not a brilliant mathematician, but I do have common sense and logic, and can apply this quite well. Combined with something tangible, my interest peaks and I can become lost for days, delving deeper and deeper into something that ultimately, is quite unnecessary.

What the hell am I talking about, you may well be asking yourself right now. Allow me to explain further, offer some insight and examples, and why my brain might be about to explode all over my recently cleaned and therefore shiny MacBook Pro.

Most people assume BlogF1 came about after I dabbled a little with personal blogging, and to be fair this is the story I tell the most when asked. To explain the real history behind the site would take far too long even for my own relatively patient attention span. If you throw in an explanation as to how this relates to a new project I have recently started, and it can get a bit convoluted. However, I will try to explain in a way that makes sense and isn’t too monotonous…

To a degree, BlogF1 was born from my attempts at personal blogging and the enjoyment and satisfaction I derived from it. I’m not much of a diary-keeper, despite trying a couple of times in my youth. Charting my every whim, action and fantasy seemed a little pointless to a kid who was concerned with trivial matters of teenage concerns (girls and puberty) and thus, empty diaries given to me for birthdays and Christmas’s usually remained barren, resigned to be thrown away at the end of the year. Nowadays of course, I cannot function without a diary, although the use is quite different as it enables me to excuse my memory due to a record of future appointments and things to get done being kept within its pages.

But as an adult, having apparently matured (although I’m not convinced), diarising my rants and raves appealed more. And as I further investigated the online world of the Internet and publishing back in 2004, a few ideas began to circulate.

One such idea, aside from driveling on about why cheese is wrong and cheesecake is right, was the idea to list every Formula One World Champion. I don’t know why this idea popped into my head and I feel quite embarrassed by it now. At the time I don’t think Wikipedia had been noticed due to its infancy, and the official Formula One website was laughable at best. There were a few real fans publishing bits and pieces to the ‘net, but the sites seemed old, antiquated and the owners fearsome of updating and introducing new and exciting things that were apparently happening to the online world at the time.

And so this idea began to form that I would create a site that listed all the championships and the driver and constructor participants and their final finishing positions. To get myself started though, I had to learn. And so my personal site began, and with it a journey that leads me to right here and right now.

After a relatively short while of faffing around with static HTML pages I discovered some blogging software (Orca, I think it was called) and this very quickly led me to WordPress v1.5. The White Blog was born and with the ease of publishing my mindful mutterings came the unintentional shelving of the world champions site. I simply forgot all about it.

Towards the tail-end of 2005 though, Formula One came to the fore as I managed to add two-and-two and after some swearing, managed to get to the number four. I suddenly realised I might be quite good at talking about motor sport, the activity of watching it having consumed a good proportion of the last ten years of my life. Offline, I considered myself an expert of reasonable authority, and I figured I could translate this onto the Internet. Over Christmas that year, BlogF1 formed in my mind and everything kicked off on January 13th, 2006. It was a Friday.

And the world champions idea soon returned.

As I became more and more comfortable talking about Formula One in a way that wasn’t to myself but instead to an audience of varying knowledge and passion, so the site grew. It didn’t just grow in terms of the blog, but it also grew in terms of physical size. I decided early on that BlogF1 should not only be about the regular posts discussing news items or issues, or drawn out discursive pieces on whatever interested me within the sport. Instead, I decided that the site should also be informative from a general perspective as well. This meant I had to create pages detailing the teams, the drivers, the season schedule…

…the sport’s history.

So I did that and moved on. No fanfare, no feeling of completeness or retiring to a private island to sip Martinis until I pass. I just did it so I could say I did. I moved on and BlogF1 grew. The world champions page was and is rarely viewed, but soon enough, as BlogF1 continued to expand, I came up with another idea to keep me occupied. Racing circuits!

Enter stage-left Google Earth. A program that allows you to view the world from above. “Oh look,” we all said. “There’s my house!” I quickly moved on from the novelty of looking at my car parked at work to finding the circuits used during the Formula One calendar. It didn’t take me long to find them and I marveled at their beauty having never before seen the Temples of Speed from the view Google Earth affords.

This spawned the Calendar page(s) at BlogF1, and with layout overlays added, another section of the site was developing. It doesn’t take long to find 18 or so tracks though, and soon enough I was trawling the globe looking for, well, all of them.

This in turn spawned the Circuits pages at BlogF1, and to this day are among the most viewed pages on the site. The European section regularly gets as many visits as the homepage, despite it’s now ugly form and general out-of-date-ness. But it did set a bell ringing in my mind and given the vast amount of information contained within the pages, I decided this needed a separate home. A place entirely dedicated to it.

AerialF1 was sort of born back in 2004 when the first few inklings of thoughts of being online trickled through my mind. The idea has grown and grown and moved around many times. And it continues to grow to this day. I have only just recently decided to attempt a start at AerialF1 because, quite simply, I was putting it off. The shear amount of work involved is massive, laborious and tedious. But the end result when viewed in completeness is interesting, fascinating and informational.

The reason why I am writing this post is not for promotion of the ‘new’ project – which I hasten to add will likely never be finished – because I am yet to launch it, so to speak. Instead, this post was written because this evening the project just got a whole lot bigger. Yeah, apparently my mind decided the monumental amount of work involved wasn’t enough.

To publish one non-F1 circuit to Google Earth takes about 60 minutes from start to finish. Drawing the overlay in Google Earth, saving two images (one without the overlay) and uploading to the site. Copy/paste the template table and then faffing around finding as much information as I can on the track to include… For the F1 tracks, another hour is needed to put together the grand prix history. And this evening, I decided to go even deeper and add another hour per year listed in the grand prix history part of each F1 circuit.

  • 7 continents.
  • ~115 countries.
  • ~2000 circuits.
  • ~200,000 points in Google Earth (for the overlays)
  • ~60 calendars.
  • ~600 race weekend results.

If we make the math easy and call it one hour per page, that’s around 2800 hours. If I sacrifice a couple of hours for BlogF1, allow for 12 hours for work, 6 for sleep, an hour for cooking and eating and an hour to myself, I might be able to fit it all in and complete the site by 2014 (I did the math, ish). I think it’s time I push my luck and ask for a 26th hour each day. Judging by the success of asking for a 25th though, I’m not holding my breath. But hey, it keeps me occupied.

Still wondering about the numbers thing? So am I…

Screenshots of my websites.