The end of the year invites introspection. Contemplation. Reflection. It’s time to measure and rank all of our accomplishments and false steps—which is why you see so many end-of-year lists.

We’re no different. So it makes sense to take a look at our successes to see how we can strategize for 2015. Besides, who knows, you might have missed a useful story while you were doing your last system upgrade.

Here’s what is on our Simplicity 2.0 Best list:

  1. What’s bugging you. You enjoy stories that look at your daily trials and tribulations. Articles on topics such as users behaving badly (and a follow-up on war stories in that area), dealing with shadow IT organizations, and effecting change all did well, as did a piece on migrating from Windows XP. Not surprisingly, perhaps, another popular story in this realm was how to tell whether you or your employees are at risk for burnout, and what to do about it.
  2. What’s trending. You like popular culture. On the small screen, you have a particular affinity for Mad Men. Not one but two Mad Men blog posts cracked the top 25 most popular posts. On the big screen, you’re a fan of The Hunger Games. Expect to see more pop culture infused into our technology coverage. We’ll also keep you tapped into what should be on your must-read list, whether it’s by reviewing new books or calling your attention to valuable older books you might have missed the first time around.
  3. Not just the new stuff. A number of our most popular pieces in 2014 were actually posted in 2013—making us appreciate the “long tail” effect on content these days. “Unlimited selection is revealing truths about what consumers want and how they want to get it in service after service, from DVDs at Netflix to music videos on Yahoo! Launch to songs in the iTunes Music Store and Rhapsody. People are going deep into the catalog,” writes Wired (in a beautiful example of the phenomenon, in an article from 2004 that we can still read today). “And the more they find, the more they like. As they wander further from the beaten path, they discover their taste is not as mainstream as they thought (or as they had been led to believe by marketing, a lack of alternatives, and a hit-driven culture).” The most popular stories in 2014 that actually date from 2013 include the first one on Mad Men, the one on The Hunger Games, and one on ageism.
  4. What’s old. Really old. You really, really like reading stories having to do with digitizing old documents to make them available over the Internet. Six of our top 10 stories for the year had to do with this subject, whether it was the Smithsonian crowdsourcing its old documents or people scanning multiple copies of the Declaration of Independence to find out whether the second sentence was actually supposed to have a period. Rest assured that we’re going to be doing more of these, not just because we like history but also because the best practices learned from scanning handwritten documents and creating metadata is applicable to many other use cases today. And they’re just plain interesting. (Or maybe you’re just reminding yourself that the scanning project you’re wrestling with could be a lot worse.)
  5. Generational issues. Our most popular story of the year? It was a piece we did during the doldrums of August on the continuing value of COBOL to the enterprise. Not only was it our most popular story, but it also received the most comments of any story we published, as people shared their stories and experiences of being COBOL programmers. It struck a nerve, either from people who didn’t agree with COBOL being popular, or with COBOL programmers sharing war stories. And in a related subject, articles on dealing with ageism in the tech industry, millennials, and the increasing salaries paid to interns were all highly read.

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