Right at the beginning of the year we lost Terry Riddle and just before the end of the year Steve Grocott passed away. The loss of friends makes the world echo like your home does after the Christmas decorations are taken down. Remembering our adventures together cheers us up on melancholy days.
Far and away the most essential aspect of LPMCC.net is its content. Original and unique. It is written by people exactly like you who share your interests and values. During the year your material has come in by the flagon. There were 221 additions to existing reports and 75 new pages. That averages 25 fresh items each month. Altogether you added over 3000 more photos and 360 badges.
Thanks to all contributors for new content:
I'm sure to have missed someone off the list but I'm grateful to everyone for their contributions, whether it's a paragraph, a badge or a whole series of reports.
It doesn't leave me with much to do except to let you know what is new and where to find it. That is done every week through our News and in November we posted our 500th issue. Since then the News format has been changed to the same layout as our free email version. One benefit is that you can look up what was announced over the past year in case you've forgotten.
I can hardly remember what I did yesterday, never mind at the beginning of the year. That's why I keep a journal of development work that I can refer to instead of reinventing the wheel every 12 months.
Early in the year the standard size of photographs was increased to 540x405 pixels. As a consequence there were many other improvements under the bonnet. Visible changes included a return to a previous page-turn animation and the ability to pan across zoomed images. As the year progressed a couple more photo systems were added:
- An easier way to display sets of portrait format photos. See example on Smock and Clogs rally report.
- Stop motion video type animation. Brought to life in an example later in this report.
Along with bigger photos, most of the graphs on the statistics page were also enlarged. Other changes to statistics include altering some from bar charts to line graphs and by the close of the year we'd chosen how best to display 'productivity' as a function of hours worked versus page output. It shows there's room for improvement!
We are always looking for ways to squeeze more value from priceless rally data sent in by Hans Veenendaal every week. This year we added a mobile phone page so that you can access this information when you are out and about - possibly at a rally. After almost abandoning mobile phone apps it was gratifying that our mobile version of the rally list has quickly become LPMCC.net's most popular page.
We also added the facility of saving your own list of rally details to return to later. This meant we had to record changes, corrections and deletions.
A minor improvement for 2014 is a drop-down list to make finding a specific rally a little bit easier.
June is a busy time for updating the National Rally matrix. Because of the popularity of the mobile phone version of the European rally list we added a similar app for National Rally controls. It was only a copy of control details but it also included hyperlinks between linked controls and access to Google Maps to assist with locating controls in the dead of night.
Your computer can now remember the route you spend so long working out.
The brilliant weather for the real event proved it is still more fun to do the rally on a motorcycle rather than virtually.
Past and present Leicester Phoenix MCC members operated two controls in 2013. We had a team of Embers and friends trying to stay awake at Donington Services near Kegworth while younger club members assisted Karl Biddle running a Control in East Goscote.
Website improvements for 2014 were developed immediately after the rally while memory was fresh and enthusiasm still high. You can expect:
- An indication of true road miles between controls to compare with the official miles.
- The detail printout will include suggested directions between controls.
- Your chosen route can be transferred to a mobile phone using a custom QR code.
You will still need to take a map though: In 2013 the link between Kegworth and Ashbourne was closed because of an accident. Riders needed to work round that in the middle of the night!
We've all enjoyed being out and about in super summer and autumn weather. Our regular Thursday cycling has often been the most favourable day of the week. Adding our rides together we covered over 8000 miles and a fair few of those miles were walking up hills.
Motorcycle ride-outs were put together on the spur of the moment and were so successful that riders are encouraged to look further afield for 2014. Maybe a tour of Scotland? Get in touch now if you want to be part of this.
We've enjoyed reunions through the year and in November made our annual pilgrimage to Motorcycle Live to commune with the Vestigial Versions.
This is one of those animated pictures I told you about. See the clapper at the top right? Hover your pointer over the photo and watch the action. You may be disappointed if you expect something lurid.
Through 2013 the number of visitors to LPMCC.net levelled off, hovering either side of 7000 visitors each month. Monthly page views bounced between 25,000 and 30,000.
Over 80% of our visitors are from English speaking countries leaving a substantial number arriving from more exotic climes. Top 12 for the past year are nearly all European, and Germany has pinched top spot off The Netherlands.
Biggest change in 2013 was probably our adoption of advertising as a way to offset the costs of domain registration and renting a server.
Advertising began in February for a trial period. Thanks to everyone who takes an interest in the products and services that Google presents we received our first payment at the end of September. There is no chance it will turn us into Dotcom Millionaires but it does subsidise a good proportion of running costs.
We've continued to use Facebook as a method of promoting LPMCC.net and as a backup information system in case the site goes down. It didn't this year but there was at least one scare.
Events are scheduled on Facebook to give them wider exposure. Everyone is welcome to join in. We use a widget to create a more appropriate image than the default Facebook calendar page.
There are no big plans for the new year. I have no fierce ambition for explosive expansion. The phrase most often adopted for the type of year I have in mind is "organic growth" and you can smell it already.
For sure there will be lots of new content as long as folk are still riding, rallying and remembering.
Another buzz-word that I'll need to use sooner rather than later is "responsive". Long-hand it means I'll need to make the pages work on tablets and smartphones as well as desktops.
What is on your wish list for LPMCC.net?
As things fall apart they'll be spray-painted or chromed before being screwed back. The unfixable will be replaced by the latest models at great expense. Maybe I'll get busted when I take it onto the electronic superhighway and give it full throttle. Who knows? Hang on for the ride!