I glanced at the calendar earlier this week and realised that as of today, it's been two years since I started as Lifehacker's editor. That put me in the mood for some nostalgic indulgence, so I decided to find out which of the posts I've written over that time have proved the most popular. Reckon you can guess what comes on top?
The results are sometimes surprising, but that's perhaps to be expected — many of them reflect popular topics which people have searched for on Google, rather than the core audience of daily Lifehacker readers who have much more ongoing influence on what gets written (and to whom I remain eternally grateful). Anyway, here's the list, counting backwards from 10 to 1 (per Google Analytics) and some relevant comments:
10. How To Move Your Outlook Files From One PC To Another We write a lot about Gmail around here, but there's still hundreds of thousands of Outlook users there, and they clearly need help with the fiddly process of migrating from one machine to another. This kind of how-to advice remains bread-and-butter material here at Lifehacker.
9. The Master Packing List For Compact Travellers Last year's Hand Luggage Only project remains the single most ambitious thing I've attempted for Lifehacker: a month travelling to every Australian state with nothing but a single carry-on bag. While few people would need (or want) to do that, the advice on how to pack compactly is valid for a much wider range of situations.
8. Finding The Best 3G Mobile Broadband Deal Mobile broadband has become an increasingly popular means of accessing the Internet, so it's no surprise that people want information on which plans they should choose. This guide has since been superseded by the 2009 edition (and the 2010 update is imminent), but the general principles it espouses remain useful, I guess.
7. Improve Your Willpower By Shifting Your Tooth-Brushing Hand I have tried this, and I'm not sure if my willpower has actually increased — but then again, it's quite difficult to measure.
6. The Hulu /iView/iPlayer Overseas Viewing FAQ One of the most frequent questions I get is "Why can't I watch Hulu?" (or whatever streaming media service from overseas you can name). This FAQ was written to provide the depressing answer to that question: you can work around geo-blocking with VPN technologies, but it's rarely an effective permanent solution, especially if you only use free software.
5. iPhone 3GS: The Key Australian Details Yes, we love our iPhone, and in the run-up to the release of the 3GS, it was hard to keep track of the trickle-fed information on pricing, plans and availability. (We're seeing a similar pattern with the iPad in 2010, but not with quite the same levels of excitement.)
4. Hand Luggage Only : The Big Lessons Learned One of the obvious lessons of Hand Luggage Only was that you really can travel for extended periods without a massive suitcase — provided you don't care about how you look and are prepared to do a lot of laundry. At the time, mobile broadband services looked pretty good across all the providers — I have the impression that services have actually declined since, and it might be time to revinvestigate . . .
3.e - tax 2009 Now Available For Download It makes sense to do your tax return electronically, but quite why Lifehacker's post on the 2009 version becoming available ended up ranked so highly on Google is one of those mysteries of search engine automagic.
2. Google Maps Offers Real-Time Victorian Bushfire Updates Google's integration of bushfire data into maps offered a handy real-time guide to where fires were affecting Victoria during last year's bushfires. Not only was it an impressive use of technology, it also helped reduce traffic to the Country Fire Authority site, which was buckling under the strain of the disaster.
And at the very top?
1. Best Australian iPhone 3GS Deals Yes, the iPhone strikes again. Like the broadband directory, there'll be an update to this along shortly (no matter how long we have to wait for the iPhone 4G).
Thanks again to all the readers for sticking around for the past two years. We've got a lot of new stuff planned for the site in the near future, and we're always keen to hear your thoughts, ideas and questions. Keep hacking!