This morning we woke to the news of Stephen Hawking’s passing. There are eloquent tributes and remembrances from those who knew him. One quote early this morning caught my eye.
Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up. ~Stephen Hawking
He was a remarkable and inspiring man. As an aside, I’ve been trying to locate where and when this quote came from. If you have an attributable source for it, please let me know!
How do I stay curious?
I read. I probably read narrower in scope than I think I do, but I try to stretch often. I’m pleased that many of the SF/F authors in this thread I’ve either already read or their books are on my TBR list.
I try to watch documentaries and attend talks outside my knowledge comfort zone. I’ve been attending physics lectures once a month and my brain walks out of the hall after each in wonder.
Curious & current technology
But what about being curious about technology? It’s very easy to become overwhelmed and frustrated by the rapid changes. Much of what I learned is archaic by modern standards. But not all. One area that’s been slow to change is HTTP. The current protocol, HTTP/1.1 was released in January 1997 with some improvements in June 1999.
Changes are afoot and I’ve kept an eye on SPDY and HTTP/2 but until last week hadn’t done much more than that. I recently checked out some books from the library and followed up with some online research to help me make sure I understand what’s changing.
What do you need to know about HTTP/2 (aka h2) as a small business owner? Not much at all. In all honesty, did you know about any of this before reading this far?
What can you do to improve your site today? First and foremost, make sure you have an SSL certificate — I recommend let’s encrypt. Why? While the standard doesn’t require encryption the web browsers will only support those sites with it!
That’s the only thing that’s critical. Everything else should help your site no matter what standard.
My next priority is to work on other optimizations. Compression, minification, and image optimization will still help your website.
I’ll also continue to advocate looking long and hard about use of third-party assets. What are they? As a teaching example, many clients link to google fonts. What if that site was unreachable? It would impact the performance of your website. (I’m not slamming Google fonts. Today.)
Finally make sure that you web browsing methods are kept up to date. I know change is difficult, and there are cascading trade-offs, but please upgrade from Windows XP and Mac OS 10.4!