Regardless of how you felt about it, 2016 was momentous — a leap year with major news and cultural events including the U.S. presidential election, Brexit, and the Summer Olympics in Rio. And it even ends neatly on a Saturday so the weeks end up nice and even.
But before we start January 2017—which, because it starts on a Sunday, will have a Friday the 13th in it—we should do our traditional look back at the most popular stories in this most momentous year.
Programming. You like stories about programming. Boy, do you. Four of the five most popular stories of the year—one of them by huge margins—were about programming topics: the “imposter syndrome” among programmers, how the programming languages you choose and learn affect how your brain works, the ever-popular story on COBOL programming, and the need for modernization of legacy systems such as mainframes.
Other popular stories on programming subjects included eliminating daylight savings time and time zones through programming, things to learn from Apollo lunar module code, and a discussion of the worst software bug in history.
Business processes and business problems. Naturally, pieces about business processes and business problems typically take center stage. This year was no exception. The most popular piece in this category was about the Department of Labor’s proposed fiduciary rule, and how it would change business processes—though we expect that some of its popularity was due to John Oliver’s having recently covered the subject. A piece on McKinsey’s recommendation that companies not only should digitize their business processes but that they should start with IT, one on how to deal with an office crisis, and the oft-cited piece on the four-day workweek all did well.
Digitizing historic documents. We started writing articles about the digitization of historic documents in 2014 with a piece about the Archimedes Palimpsest, and the response was so overwhelming that we’re always looking for similar projects to write about. You may spend your days working with new documents, but you like hearing about the old ones as well. One of the most popular stories of the year was one of these, the Voynich Manuscript, which is not only a digitized old document but one in a mysterious code that nobody has ever been able to decipher, though many have tried.
Other popular stories in this area include Densho, an organization devoted to digitizing the records of Japanese internment camps, and, in a similar vein, how the original Wright Brothers patent disappeared for 36 years.
Old stories (though we prefer to think of them as “evergreen”). Some stories remain popular through the years, most notably the aforementioned COBOL story, which has been in the top ten every year since 2014, when it was published (and became our most popular story of that year). Other popular stories from the back catalog included one on how schools are turning to IT to save money, one on office open plans that dates back to the first year of the blog, and what’s stopping the wider use of electronic forms.
Popular culture. With so many remakes and sequels, we haven’t been doing as many popular culture pieces, but when we do, you respond. The third-most popular story of the year was our summer reading list, and pieces on Breaking Bad and how to play Rock, Paper, Scissors also did well.
We’ll be taking a break between Christmas and New Year’s, so it’d be a great time to check some of these pieces out if you missed them when they were originally published. Happy New Year.
Simplicity 2.0 is where we examine the intricate and transitory world of technology—through a Laserfiche lens. By keeping an eye on larger trends, we aim to make software that’s relevant to modern day workers, rather than build technology for technology’s sake.
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