Happy 20th birthday, Slashdot!

Slashdot is celebrating its 20th birthday.

Today we’re marking Slashdot’s 20th birthday. 20 years is a long time on the internet. Many websites have come and gone over that time, and many that stuck around haven’t had any interest in preserving their older content. Fortunately, as Slashdot approaches its 163,000th story, we’ve managed to keep track of almost all our old postings – all but the first 2^10, or so. In addition to that, we’ve held onto user comments, the lifeblood of the site, from 1999 onward.

20 years is indeed a long time, and especially so on the Internet.  It’s pretty much impossible to imagine the Web without social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  Without YouTube.  With no Wikipedia.  Without Gmail.  Heck, without even so much as Google search.  Well, it was around, but not many people knew about it yet.  Blogs weren’t invented yet.  Web 2.0 was years away.  There were no RSS feeds yet.  Heck, many people who can’t imagine their lives without the Internet today weren’t even born yet!

I was introduced to Slashdot back in 1997 or 1998 by my good friend and mentor – Vladimir Ivaschenko (aka hazard).  I think it was on the same day as he told me about Freshmeat.net, later re-branded as Freecode.com, the best resource at the time to find and learn about Linux applications (to which I haven’t been in years), and Linux Weekly News, which I am still a frequent reader of.

I’ve been reading Slashdot since then myself, and I have recommended it to every IT professional and technology enthusiast without exception.  IT industry in general, the Web, and the Open Source movement wouldn’t have been the same without Slashdot.  And neither would I.

I have learned a lot about a lot from Slashdot – new companies, new technologies, new ideas, different perspectives, influential people, and more.  I’ve linked to Slashdot posts and comments from this blog more times than I can remember.  (Google Search estimates 1,060 pages linking from this blog to Slashdot since I started posting here 17 years ago).

If I had to pick a single my most memorable moment about Slashdot, that would be without the doubt September 11, 2001.  I wasn’t anywhere near the United States that day, but it wasn’t about the USA.  The whole world has changed that day.  Nobody knew what was going on.  Everything just stopped, or slowed down to a crawl.  Everybody was trying to understand, or at least find more information about what happened.  All the news sites – from the major ones, like CNN, to the small local newspapers – were dead under the traffic spike.   Slashdot was pretty much the only one that could cope.  It was slow, but it was there.  Countless people in the comments were sharing bits and pieces of information.  People were sharing photos and videos and redistributing them across a number of FTP sites.

At the time I was working at PrimeTel.  There were quite a few people and everyone was desperate to know more.  I remember downloading the pictures at turtle crawling speeds, and sending them off to a huge TV I had next to my desk (I was working on project involving video walls and a network of window displays).  A crowd of people from the office were just standing nearby, staring at the TV with planes exploding into the towers, towers collapsing one by one, and all the havoc and rescue efforts afterwords.  This was something… A decade and a half later, I still get shivers remembering that day.

This was the most powerful moment.  But there were many more.  There were numerous times when I started researching something just because of a story or a comment posted on the site.  There were a few times when I changed my opinion after an insightful comment.  And there were plenty of moments when I burst into uncontrollable laughter.  Oh you guys in the comments, you are something!

I’d like to thank everybody who contributed to Slashdot in these last 20 years and who made it possible, and who kept it alive and kicking.  You rock!  Here’s to the next 20 years and more stories and insightful, interesting, and funny comments – Cheers!

 

15 Year Blog Anniversary

blogging

Today is the 15th anniversary of this blog.  As most of you know, 15 years in technology is forever.  15 years on the web is even more so.  Here are a few highlights to give you a perspective:

  • First post dates back to October 26th 2001.  It wasn’t my first blog post ever.  It’s just that the earlier history wasn’t migrated into the current archives.
  • Archives page provides access to posts of every month of every year, except April and May of 2009, which were lost during a major outage at a hosting company at the time.
  • The blog survived a multitude of migrations between blogging applications and their versions (static HTML diary, Nucleous CMS, Blog:CMS, WordPress), design changes (a dozen or so WordPress themes), and hosting companies (from a home server to the current Amazon AWS setup).
  • Way over 8,000 posts written.  Hundreds of comments, pingbacks and trackbacks received.  These varied across a large number of topics, anything from personal, work, technology, movies, photography, Cyprus, and more.
  • Millions of page views.  Hundreds of thousands of unique visitors.
  • Millions of blocked SPAM comments.  Millions of (mostly automated) attacks, varying from SQL injections and dictionary password attacks to a some more advanced techniques targeting particular pages or WordPress and its plugins vulnerabilities.
  • A variety of content reorganizations – posts, pages, categories, tags, short codes, templates, plugins, widgets, links, etc.
  • A variety of integrations – web services, social networks, automated postings, aggregations, etc.
  • A variety of monetization options – from “this is not for profit”, to ad spaces, to contextual ads, to sponsored content.

Have a look at some versions saved by the Internet Archive, dating back to 2004.

So, what have I learned about blogging in the last 15 years?  Quiet a bit, it turns out.  Here are a few things that I think are important enough to share:

  • If you don’t have your personal blog yet, go and start now.  It’s well worth it!
  • Make sure you own your content.  Social networks come and go, and when they go, chances are, all your content goes with them.
  • Don’t stress too much about the format, styling, and scheduling of your blogging.  If you do it long enough, everything will change – the topics you write about, how much and how often you write about them, how your site looks, etc.  Start somewhere and iterate.
  • Don’t go crazy with features of your blogging platform.  Sure, there are thousands of plugins and themes to choose from.  But all of these change with time.  When they go away, you will have to either support them yourself, move to newer alternatives, or loose them.  Neither one of those options is pleasant.
  • Things die.  They disappear and then they are no more.  That’s life. This happens.  Don’t worry about it.  Do your best and then move on.
  • Have fun!  It’s your personal place on the web after all.  Try scheduled posts to get into the habit.  Try planning to get a better idea of what you want to do.  But if it doesn’t work or becomes too difficult, move on.  As I said, it’s your personal place and you don’t owe anybody anything.  Do it for yourself.  Others will come and go.

Here is to the next 15 years! :)

beer

Happy birthday, IMDb!

imdb

According to Wikipedia, Internet Movie Database, or IMDb, as we know it, has turned 25 years old (launched on October 17, 1990).  What an achievement!  There aren’t that many websites around that are that old and still that useful.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish a very Happy Birthday to everyone who was involved with the site during all this years.  Thank you!

I hope one day we’ll overcome all those copyright restrictions and it’ll be possible to watch movies and TV series directly on the site, much like the trailers are now.

Thank you all!

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank every single person who took a second out of their busy day today and send me some birthday wishes.  This was absolutely and truly AMAZING!  From closest friends and family to distant relatives and ex-colleagues, with people I haven’t spoken to in years, I appreciate each and every one of you.  I tried to reply to everyone, but this was simply overwhelming and I might have missed a few.  If I did, please don’t hold it against me – it wasn’t on purpose.

Every day of every year I know that I am surrounded by amazing people.  And yet, on occasions like this, I am reminded once again as to how many great people are around me.  My life wouldn’t be the same without you all.  Thanks a lot!

Huge Thank You!

I wanted to take this opportunity and say a huge Thank You to everyone who made yesterday a very special day for me.  It was truly one of the greatest birthday celebrations I’ve ever had.  You are all truly the best!

Since the early morning till late night I’ve received countless phone calls (from several countries), text messages, emails, Skype, Google Talk and Facebook messages.  I’ve got a few awesome presents and cards.   I had a surprise party at work, which included a chocolate cake with my name, and a case of German beer (unbelievable!).  I’ve also had plenty of drink – enough to kill a small army, I think – at Ship Inn in the company of friends.

It was an absolutely amazing day!  Thank you everyone!

 

Go celebrates 4th birthday

I haven’t yet had my hands on the Go programming language, but I’ve kept a bit of an eye on  it.  It sounds interesting especially for those tasks that would benefit from concurrency – things like web spiders, email processors, etc.  The language had recently celebrated the 4th birthday, and there is a nice retrospective on the project’s blog that shows how fast it is getting accepted and which projects and companies are using it.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg. The number of high-quality open source Go projects is phenomenal. Prolific Go hacker Keith Rarick put it well: “The state of the Go ecosystem after only four years is astounding. Compare Go in 2013 to Python in 1995 or Java in 1999. Or C++ in 1987!”

Happy 10th birthday, Fedora!

Dear Fedora,

I know we have our disagreements.  At times I don’t know where you are going.  Or whether even you know where you are going.  But that’s OK.  Because you are still awesome.  You still pay my bills.  You are still fun to use.  And you are still on every single computer I can get my hands on, both at home and at work.

It’s your 10th birthday.  And you’ve grown up a lot.  It seems like only yesterday I was upgrading my Red Hat 9 machines to an awkwardly named Fedora Core 1 Yarrow Linux, and yet here we are – expecting the 20th release.  You’ve kept your word on releasing every 6 month (albeit with a few weeks delay every single time).  You’ve grown.  You’ve changed.  You’ve matured.

While I had a few hiccups with you over the years – those Gnome and KDE fights, those boot loader changes, and still painful inclusion of SELinux, you’ve always been there for me.  I’ve helped me to build numerous projects.  To make new friends.  To understand the world better.

Please continue to be what you are.  Please continue to change.  Please continue to improve.  Just, if you can, think of me, your biggest fan and seasoned user, once in a while.

Happy 10th birthday and a huge thank you.

Yours truly, Leonid.

Happy birthday, Evernote!

Evernote is one of the most useful web services out there.  I am using it daily for two and half years, and I’m also a subscriber to their Premium service, which makes it possible to have off-line notebooks on mobile.  Today, Evernote celebrates its fifth birthday.

evernote 5 years old

Huge thanks and congratulations to the whole team on this huge milestone. I hope you guys will continue doing what you are doing and bring us more handy features.  Keep it up and happy birthday!

Happy 10th birthday, WordPress!

Today is the WordPress Day.  Thousands and thousands of people gather in hundreds of cities and towns all over the world to celebrate WordPress’s 10th birthday.  In 10 years, WordPress went from just another PHP application for bloggers to a feature-rich platform that runs a huge chunk of the Web.  WordPress came a long way, grew and matured.  As did the community (of which I am a proud member) that developed, designed, translated, documented, optimized, argued, sponsored, tested, troubleshooted, and generally improved the system in so many different ways.

wordpress 10 years old

A big thank you goes to each and everyone involved in WordPress.org, Auttomatic and all those gadzillion projects.  But, I also want to specially thank Matt Mullenweg, without who, I think WordPress wouldn’t be the same, if it would be at all.  Thanks man, you are an inspiration to many.  Keep it up and happy birthday.

P.S.: As I was writing this post, I realized that there was no meetup organized in Limassol, so, albeit with a very short notice, let’s get together and have a pint at Alio Olio after work.  I’ll be there from around 5:30 until whatever.  Here is a quick link to Meetup event.