We bluffed our way through 2018. Technical
problems opportunities came thick and fussed. Or was that me just failing to keep up with progress?
Loyal followers continue to support the website but there are still many out there who haven't yet found what we have to offer. Any-road-up, here's a run down of what went off in 2018.
It's an epithet that bears repeating: Content Is King!
LPMCC.net depends on contributors for its frequent fresh and unique content. Many friends share their thoughts and memories, photos and jokes. Special among them are the following. There'll be hardly a week without a gem from each of them.
Phil the Spill continues to provide us with his wonderful rally reports and photos that remind us of friends, bikes and events long ago when time wasn't travelling quite as fast. Total count of Phil's contributions to LPMCC.net is now over 300 and rising.
Roland Potter's second season as our ace MotoGP reporter saw him exceed expectations with some inviting descriptions of race circuit locations, profiles of all the riders and fantastic reports of practice, qualifying and, of course, the races. His reports became a fully fledged Section of LPMCC.net in March. Keep in mind that Roland is also running his own dedicated MotoGP-World.net website with his other hand! Roland closed the season with a preview of the teams and their riders for 2019.
Ted Trett & Heather MacGregor
Ted Trett and Heather MacGregor (I'll mention them as a pair this year) kept in touch especially with badges. We made an effort to clear our old badge backlog as a new year resolution and would have entirely succeeded if Heather hadn't inherited Paul Bartholomew's (aka Wilf) collection just as we came to the end.
Peter Wright (aka Wishbone) single handedly keeps our Facebook page supplied with photos of our motorcycling activities. Peter's posts are far more up-to-date than the LPMCC.net archives and suitable snaps are snaffled for our regular site.
Supporting all our endeavours and providing the information needed to plan for future rallying has been dependable Hans Veenendaal. His rally listings on PC, mobile/tablet and downloadable PDF file are far and away the most popular pages on the site and rightly so. Hans dedicates his time and patience to collecting, collating and checking all the details so you can confidently book an event any weekend, any place.
We appreciate all contributions to the website. A scan of a treasured photo, bunch of battered badges, your sudden warm memory of an old friend on a tough journey. All contributions are attributed to their author whose name is attached and indexed in our bibliography. The website is made up of an accumulation of small episodes that together make more than the sum of its parts.
It's all about quality, not quantity. However, for the bean-counters, here is the bottom line.
This year we added 124 new pages. That works out as something new every three days with no weekends off.
We also put additional content onto a further 85 pages including comments and photos as well as major updates.
Almost 5000 more photographs, ranging from last century to current, were spread throughout our sections. They bring our total to 23,660 photos in 1122 albums.
Visitors paused long enough to add over 700 star ratings to 330 different pages. Mostly these were flattering accolades that reflected the effort authors had extended with an average rating of 4.85 out of five. We are also pleased to get critical notes and fault reports so that we can improve our delivery of your content.
Lots of technical issues annoyed us through the year. I mention them here merely to vent my spleen.
LPMCC.net web hosts upgraded the server this year. Luckily the website itself has survived the transfer almost unscathed. There was a period when typing in the plain URL would take you to a hidden personal section! The main problem is the loss of continuity in our statistics collection. We have had to spend valuable time, at 60 minutes per hour after hour, writing programs to rip our data from the server log files. Don't ask! It will cause a bump in our statistical graphs and some tables can no longer be updated.
The upgrade also screwed up several email accounts so if you sent me something and heard no more, please let me know using the Contact Centre.
Advertising revenue went down to zero early on the year. Not entirely due to the prevalence of ad blockers. We tried another method and saw a brief revival of our fortunes. We'll hobble along a bit longer before giving up on the idea of ever being able to buy a round of drinks out of our monthly income.
Adding insult to penury, Google also sends us Violation Reports whenever it finds more than 400 pink pixels on one of our photographs. At that point Google wags its hypocritical finger and pulls its ads out. To be honest it makes no flipping difference but provides us with occasional inverted prudery at these Google accolades.
And whenever Google changes one of its Map APIs it causes hours of fun fixing maps or rally geocoding. I'll not bore you.
Microsoft continue to blight us with their stupidity over Skype. They updated it to make it all fluffy and pastel for the snowflake generation. Then said the old version 7 would be made available again for people who want to communicate, not blow kisses at each other. Then they withdrew it again. Skype Nights barely survive all this mucking about and it isn't encouraging other friends to join the regular last-Wednesday virtual club night. Maybe people who were members in the 70s and 80s would prefer a WhatsApp Night?
Meanwhile the Class of 1960s changed their Skype start time to 8pm to reflect a declining ability to stay awake.
News emails remained a regular item every week. In the middle of May I bit the bulletin and sorted out how they could be shown correctly on any email viewer. At one stage I also toyed with sending them using an on-line broadcast service but there wasn't any customer enthusiasm for the idea and it created additional problems. Finally I've discovered a mail-merge system for Thunderbird that means I no longer depend on an ancient trusty Windows XP machine to send out the News.
The General Data Protection Regulations came into force this year and we totally ignored it except to poke our tongue out at it. Correction: It was your tongue we poked. It looked like a tongue.
Life can be pretty good if you don't weaken...
.. and even better if you do!
It's not easy to pick out highlights from a year so full of delights. Here is a random selection covering what kept us busy.
What is not to like about a 52 week pub crawl? We have a core group of fourteen Embers made up of past Club members and friends. Most still take the opportunity to go for group motorcycle rides and holidays. Every Thursday we gather to leather down local lanes on bicycles purely for the purpose of working up a thirst. These regular meetings are only interrupted by our Annual Tour in the spring. This year we spent a few days at Morecambe reminding ourselves how good it is to be alive considering the alternative.
National Road Rally
I usually get despondent about running the control when struggling to find marshals for our 4 five-hour watches. No such problem in 2018. Rob Winnett gets his name down as he goes off watch the year before. For 2018 Peter Wright and Dave Parry didn't choose to take a holiday over the Rally weekend. A vacant watch was cheerfully filled by volunteers Dave Smith and Phil Freestone. Richard Clarke stepped in for the final watch to ensure I wasn't working alone. Perfectly planned. The Rally itself went off just as well with great weather and a very relaxed atmosphere all round.
Big End Rally
We're not claiming any credit but include it here because it remains the Clubs premier event. I've mentioned elsewhere that it is organised by a well-oiled team so perhaps I should be more precise - Nigel Woodthorpe. The pre-book rally is always a sell-out event with an excellent campsite, good bands and the support of many regulars since it was first held.
We organise a charabanc outing from the sanatorium for some dedicated tyre kicking and cardigan dribbling. One of these years we'll wander into the adjacent Plumbing Expo and won't notice the difference.
Onward and Upward
Time to look forward to the New Year. We enter with several preparations in place. I am just completing a Website Development course that is giving lots of new ideas for features and improvements. Last thing in 2018 was a long overdue update to Windows 10 so I can test pages in the Edge browser. Animations and transitions will be improved as I get spare time.
Again I'll resolve to get up-to-date with posting rally badges and, once they are completed, consider how to make use of our accumulated rally patches.
There are no plans for major new diversions at this time but we stand ready to respond quickly to your requests and ideas. Anything that generally follows our primary interests is fair game for exploitation.
The future is a mystery that we must solve one day at a time. What surprises unfold we will report on this time next year. Until then we set off into the unknown with your loyalty as our support.
Best wishes for 2019