January 6, 2014

2014 is here!

The new year has come faster than I wanted it, another sign that everything is accelerating. It seems that I wrote the Congratulations for the 2013 New Year just recently.  Here is a summary of the changes for this website in the last year, as well as a look forward:

  • I made a radical design change; now the website works well on mobile devices and tablets.
  • The statistics have gone up: In 2013, the site had 45683 unique visitors (up from 33140 a year earlier) with more than 100.000 total visits, and over 730,000 pages called.
  • I added 69 new pages and 21 posts during the last year. The whole site currently consists of 48 posts and 360 pages.
  • The distinction between pages and posts is somewhat fuzzy in WordPress. Pages have more permanent content from other sources. A good example for this is my recent Quotes page. Posts contain my own writing or commentary on something, like this post. Posts are more time-sensitive, and they are the reason why a website is a blog, rather than a content management system.
  • We are currently at WordPress version 3.8. The platform changed a lot during the last year, and more changes are coming. The web itself is changing – it becomes a more and more fluid environment, where different services are beginning to interact strongly, and  websites are predominantly driven by databases and software elements, rather than consisting of simple texts. The web extents now to different device classes which are less screen-dependent. (60% of visitors use mobile devices.) Google Glass is probably the next big trend: It is a new device class that fluidly adds a layer of internet information to the experience of reality. An example of what anthropologists would call “extended agency.”
  • Visual elements become more important. My new website design is reflecting the trend and emphasizes images, but I personally think that we need to find some balance in the onslaught of pictures and videos. Critical thinking requires text-based learning, and pictures can be distracting and misleading. My favorite website that still reflects the old text-based Internet style is the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, I hope it will live forever.
  • An example for what’s coming is IBM’s 5 in 5. IBM presents 5 predictions for the next 5 years, with visual story-maps, and video clips as the central medium. Learning fuses with entertainment. The five ideas are:
    1. The classroom will learn you: individualized learning goals through rapid digitization of educational institutions.
    2. Retailers learn to adapt: Buying local will beat online.
    3. Individualized medicine: Doctors will routinely use your DNA to keep you well.
    4. More protection and privacy on the Internet through digital guardians.
    5. The city will help you live in it. Urban service systems will interact better with citizens, their smartphones, etc.

Speaking about cities: In 2013 we got a beautiful new Bay Bridge that connects Oakland to San Francisco.

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