So, the first two weeks of the new year are almost now over and maybe it’s time to get going here again – but with what? I have to admit that I made absolutely no preparations for a new year’s posting at all and I’m really not in the mood for a look back at the dreadful last year that saw me losing my mother and almost my home. So I’m just going to wing it and pick the few best bits of 2016 and how they’re going to continue in the new year. Of course, after I finished this introduction and wrote the actual article, it did turn out to be the typical recap I post every year, but with more of an outlook to the near future. So, let’s have a look at what 2017 has in store, because this year can only get better than the last!
Except for my photography, things have been somewhat erratic regarding my creative output recently, so that’s where I’m going to continue over on the Photo Blog. The reason why I focus mostly on this is that it’s the easiest to maintain and the one thing I’ve had the most fun and success with on the web and I’ve still got enough photos on hold to last me for quite a while. I’ve also bought a new (used) camera last August which has been nothing but amazing, although the actual image processing tends to happen in bursts rather than constantly every day. I’ve still got to work on quite a lot of photos from last year, but that means that there will always be a steady supply that is not going to consist only of flowers! Sometime in January I’m also going to post the complete albums of all the photos from last year and once I’ve gotten around to upgrade my very slow internet line, there might also be more videos from me. There are already quite a few ones on my Youtube channel and I try to make some shorter ones regularly.
This Blog has always been the catch-all place for everything that doesn’t fit anywhere else, but the focus has been on Space, Science and Astronomy lately. While I had to give up on the weekly news roundup because it was too time intensive, I’m still posting the occasional article while the actual news go into my Space & Astronomy Collection and the WSH Crew Community on Google+ and I will perhaps try to find a way to embed those in a blog post for everyone who isn’t on G+. Sharing simultaneously to Facebook is something I want to try, but since I mostly post on either my tablet or my phone and the FB apps and the mobile website are notoriously difficult when it comes to adding links, it’s not an option right at the moment. So I’m afraid you’ll have to follow me on Google+ to see my complete activities about all things space and science, at least for now. I realize this goes somewhat against the principle of putting everything that I write on social media also on my own self-hosted websites, but since I’m strictly only sharing links with short introductions and I’m not actually producing content myself, I’ll make an exception to this rule.
In connection to my enthusiasm for all things science and space the WSH Crew Community has really taken off last year and has literally helped me to stay sane during the worst times. Originally named after Fraser Cain’s Weekly Space Hangout and meant just as a place for the hangout viewers to chat away from the event pages of the shows, we have slowly become the official executive producers of the show and are always busy recruiting guests, collecting news and supporting the hangouts and everything in connection with Universe Today and CosmoQuest. Outwards the Google+ Community looks like a quiet and tightly focused space news group, but we’ve also got our own website, a busy Twitter channel and for quick communication a Slack that is also used for a tightly moderated on-screen chat next to the public Youtube chat during the shows. This has created a unique community that may seem dormant at times but despite around 900 members is completely troll-free, friendly and thoroughly facts-based. CosmoQuest itself will be going through some major changes in 2017 and since we’re part of it all we will be going along for the ride.
Google+ itself has been a huge surprise last year, maybe the most fun and positive thing that has happened. In Spring, even before everything went downhill for me, a few of my Collections were featured by Google+ and that meant a lot of additional exposure in a scope I’ve never experienced before. One of them was the City Views Collection with my black-and-white street photography, another the aforementioned Space & Astronomy Collection, which now have over 60,000 and 190,000 followers. But in early Autumn, there was another surprise: I was invited to the Google+ Create program and community, where I’ve met some old G+ acquaintances and quite a few awesome people that were completely new to me. There are a couple of perks connected to being in Google+ Create, among them having your profile verified and getting your content more prominently featured – and, last but not least, having direct contact to people from Google who actually listen to you in a time where the social network is going through a big transformation. It’s a lot of fun and there are no obligations except to keep up a certain standard of quality, of course. Apart from an introductory post I haven’t even written much in the community, but instead I’ve been occasionally talking to other members in the comments, which is equally fun and important. I’ve tried joining communities before, but this is the one I really feel at home in because there are so many likeminded people there.
One of the other Collections that got featured on Google+ was Vintage Computers & Games, which has almost 30,000 followers now, even though I just haven’t had the time to produce more original content for it at the moment. My original plan for 2016 was to re-work my earlier blog posts and then continue my own computer history with the Amiga – something which I’ve already started a bit with an Amiga Games article and really need to continue this year because 2017 is after all the 30th birthday of the Amiga 500 and 2000. Before I can throw something together, I will probably post some links to external articles and videos mixed with a couple of preview photos to the Google+ collection, but the main content will always be here on the website first. The feedback on the recent posts was really fun and I’m always astonished how many people still know those more than thirty year old computers and how big their impact has been until today. Starting again with this topic again is one of the things I’m looking most forward to since I’ve still got a lot of stories to tell.
There’s sadly one part of my websites I’ve had to ignore almost completely: DVDLog was almost completely inert last year and this is probably not much going to change soon. Writing in-depth DVD and movie reviews is extremely time-consuming and the feedback has been not very encouraging, so the motivation to go on writing is really low at the moment. I might still translate the occasional review from my German-language stash into English, but since I don’t even buy many DVDs nowadays and I don’t have the funds to switch to Blu-Ray in the near future, there will not be much to talk about anyway. I might post some TV news once in a while and if there’s a particularly awesome DVD being released I might do a fresh review, but the times of posting one review per week are unfortunately long over. The website itself will, however, remain online and I’m certainly not giving up the domain, even though it might be a good idea to look for something less focused on the medium than on the content.
Okay, that’s what’s going to happen in 2017 around here – at least I think that’s what’s going to happen! I can’t make any promises that I’ll follow through with everything, but I’ll do my best. Happy 2017!