Gwulo in 2013

Thank you for your support in 2012, and special thanks to everyone who has contributed to the website. With your help, it has grown to over 11,000 pages. That in turn attracts more visitors, so that in 2012 the website passed one million page views for the first time. Not quite Gangnam Style, but I'm very happy to see it!

I wish you a very Happy New Year,

Best regards, David


How did last year's plans turn out?

First the bad news - Three plans made little or no progress during the year: transcribing jurors lists, changing date handling for Places, and producing an E-book.

And there were even a couple of activities that had a negative effect, absorbing plenty of time without any measurable benefit:

  • Spam: The increase in visitors to the website attracted more spammers. At one point there was so much spam that the website slowed down so much it was unusable. I've since made some changes to the site software that have solved the problem for now.
  • Upgrade: I tried to upgrade the software that runs this website to a newer version. That turned out to be a lot more work than expected. Although there are some things about the new version I like, it has lost several important features we currently use to handle photos. In the end I gave up on the upgrade, but we'll have to bite the bullet and do it some time this year. It's not clear yet how to solve those photo-handling problems.

Thankfully in other areas there was steady progress. As mentioned earlier, we've added lots more content over the year, so that now has over 11,000 individual pages (photos / people/ places / etc).

This has led to more people getting in touch, so I've been lucky to meet many interesting people through the website this year, some online, others in person. I've also enjoyed giving illustrated talks to six different groups during the year, and a couple of interviews. These all bring more visitors to the site, who hopefully add more content, and so it grows. (The Apple Daily interview was especially helpful in bringing new readers to the site.)

I'm also very grateful to the three people who have mailed me donations of their old photos of Hong Kong. They've come from England, Australia, and here in Hong Kong, and I'll be adding them to the website over time.

Finally, two new projects this year that have turned out well are the wartime diaries, and importing larger sets of data:

Wartime diaries, aka '71 years ago today'. Most of the 900+ People and 1,500+ Diary pages added over the year have been related to these wartime diaries. Special thanks to Barbara Anslow who got the ball rolling when she supplied her wartime diary for us to publish, and to Brian Edgar who has contributed a lot of his time and research to the project.

Importing data. Thanks to Rob Weir for sharing his research on military installations around Hong Kong. Rob provides regular lists of installations to me in a spreadsheet format, then I import them to make lists of Places. We're currrently adding Pillboxes along the Gin Drinkers Line.

2012 in numbers

Here's how all that content you've created looks like in numbers:

Pages on website201220112010
Forum topics639525350
Diary pages1,589  
Total pages11,8658,1146,160
Total comments17,47714,91011,370
Jurors Lists (years)271911
Newsletter Subscribers   
Email subscriptions603353180
RSS subscriptions8253 
Facebook 'likes'463273 
Wartime Diaries subscribers   
71 years ago81  
70 years ago37  
Website traffic (thousands)   
Unique visitors15011388


Looking ahead, the big new project for 2013 is:

  • Upgrade the website software. As mentioned above, something I'll need to do as support for the current version of the software will end later this year.

I'll also keep working on the current projects:

  • Wartime diaries. I hope other families will share their diaries with us, and we'll be able to include them in the project.
  • Old photo + Who/What/Where/When. I'll keep choosing old photos to clean up, research, and post their stories here. 
  • Talks. Several close relatives are teachers, so I must have the gene that like to stand up and talk to groups of people... I hope to give new talks to the people I presented to in 2012, and also hope to find new groups to present to.

There's some good personal news: I've just started a day a week of paid research on historic photos. Although it's not directly related to, I hope the contacts and resources I find for this project will also be helpful here. More details (and a request for your help!) will follow.

I hope you'll keep up the good work too, posting up more photos, people, places, memories, questions... it's all welcome! If you've only been a reader til now, how about making 2013 the year you dive in and share something with us. It's easy to get started, eg leave a comment, upload a photo, write a message in the Forum, or help type up a page of a juror's list.

Thanks again,