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When Jurjan and I created the code for the Virtual Pet Rock website we decided to include some nice graphs for the people that uploaded their adopted rock's statistics.
We were a bit shortsighted however. We use the jpgraph library to do our bidding and while it is very versatile it isn't very intelligent and you have to explicitly set tick-mark and axis number intervals.
Now our problem was that when we created the files that generate the graphs we never expected people to upload more than about 100 to 200 times. In fact this is borne out by and large. Most people keep their Virtual Pet Rock for a few months and then lose interest, or at least they stop uploading. Because uploading your rock's statistics is such an integral part of the whole Virtual Pet Rock experience I surmise that those that do stop uploading actually abandon their rock. In select cases I might be wrong but I tend to think I'm not too far off the mark here.

Anyway, as I said, our code didn't really imagine people would be uploading 400 times, 600 times or even 1120 times (and counting, some clients are very dedicated!). Well I finally fixed this so the x-axis is more intelligent (actually it's just as dumb as before only it has a few extra if switches).

The new code should last quite a while and may need to be revisited one day if people start approaching the 2500 uploads moment but that's at least three and a half years in the future.

So, with the "crisis" averted I have to wonder about several things, foremost amongst them: why do people become so attached to their rock that they actively keep care of it (or not in one case) every single day for years and years and upload their data?

When we created Virtual Pet Rock we thought we'd create something nice for people to enjoy, we thought we'd create a program that would instill a sense of childlike wonder (sorry fake steve). Never in our wildest dreams did we guess that some people would become addicted! Admittedly this number isn't too big, we have 27 people who've uploaded more than 100 times, most stay well below that number (on a total of 14.846 registered rocks).

Still, maybe it is time for an iPhone version???

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