It’s been quiet around here

I have to admit, it’s been quiet around here for the last few weeks… even months.  There is no one specific reason – it’s more of a combination of a few.

The main one being … you guessed it: WORK!  I’ve been extremely busy at work lately and didn’t have a spare moment to even read the feeds, let alone blog on my own.

The rest – just contributed: this year being rich in friends and family visiting Cyprus, me moving to a new phone, Facebook changing their policy on publishing to profiles via third-party tools, and even Instagram Importer WordPress plugin suddenly not synchronizing any more.

This is not how I like my blog.  I like it to have fresh links, posts, and pictures on a daily basis.  Or at least weekly.  Going on for almost two month without posts (with one or two exceptions) is not acceptable.  So, I’ll be back.  Now.  I promise.

This blog will not contribute to the “blogging is dead” myth. :)

Four years at Qobo

Last week marked my fourth year at Qobo.  Here are the blog posts that cover my first, second, and third years.  And with one more now, I think it’s starting to fall into a trend of crazy years.

Yes, indeed.  The last year has been no different.  There were all the usual components:

  • A tonne of projects!  We’ve done more in numbers, complexity, and variety of projects this year, than before.
  • The team is growing.  And while not everybody stayed, we’ve found some new great people to join the team.  Overall, we are more now than we were a year ago.  And we’ve also expanded the roles.  We have dedicated quality assurance and support people now.
  • New office.  There is an office story every single year.  First we moved the Nicosia office, then we opened a Limassol office, then we opened a London office.   And this year we’ve moved the Limassol office to a larger space, as we couldn’t fit all the new people any more.
  • Technology.  Over the last year we have almost doubled our infrastructure (thanks a lot Amazon AWS).  We’ve played with Docker containers.  We’ve moved from HipChat to Slack (somewhat a forced move, but it was interesting from the technology perspective, as we have a lot of integrations).  And we have grown our Qobrix platform and some of the applications built on top of it significantly (over 160 versions released in a year).

I’ve learned so much, it almost seems that even the last year was a lifetime away.   I’ve enjoyed working with everyone on the team, and even with most of the clients (evil grin).  It’s unbelievable how much we have accomplished this year.

I also think that the next year will be even more interesting and challenging, as we’ll probably need to shift from the current mostly startup-like operation to a more of a settled and predictable one.  Chaos can be very productive, but it’s less so with more people on board.  So I’m excited to see what’s gonna happen this year.

Cheers and thanks to everyone who has been around this year!

The blast from the past

There are very few things that make you think of time and remind you how old you are like that email that I received another day.  Red Hat Bugzilla sent me an automated email about the update on the bug in Fedora 3 (!!!) that I commented on … in November of 2004.  Yeah, that’s good 13+ years ago.

This is so long ago, it’s almost unbelievable.  Back in those days, I was working at PrimeTel and even had a slightly different spelling to my surname.  Oh, boy.

Goodbye Foursquare and Swarm

It is the end of an era for me, and for once it’s me ending it and not yet another web service or social network disappearing.  Today I’m saying goodbye to Foursquare and Swarm.

I have been one of the early adopters of Foursquare and an active user for a few long years.  I loved it from the moment I heard about it.  The idea was brilliant and the implementation was good too.

For me, Foursquare was a very elegant idea of a social network.  The combination of the city guide with crowd sourcing and a gaming component was cool.   It provided an easy way to find new places, get recommendations, reviews, and tips, and wrapped it all in a points system that made sense.

I thought that it was also useful for the business owners – knowing who checks in at your bar or restaurant, where else they go, how often they come, and what they think is great.  Being able to offer promotions and special offers based on the check-in history of a user, I thought, was genius as well.

But for some reason, Foursquare never really took off.  Sure, I loved it and recommended it to every person with the mobile phone.  But it never quite got as mainstream as, say, Facebook.  Pity.

But then things got worse.  Foursquare has split the mobile app into two – Foursquare as a city guide, and Swarm as a game.   Swarm is still feeding Foursquare with content, but now there is no particular reason to install Swarm and use it.  I don’t think there was a single new user or anyone who just uses Swarm, without Foursquare.  I might be wrong, of course.  But from what I’ve seen, even fewer people were now checking in and contributing.  Those who did were mostly doing so out of habit from the good old days.  As did I.

A few days ago, something else happened, which, for me, was the last drop.  My Swarm app kicked me out and asked to re-authenticate.  This was weird.  But I did it anyway.  And then, for some reason, all my history was gone.  I still had those few friends in, and my settings were all good.  But the history began anew.  What?  No!  Sure, I can dig into it and figure out if I did something wrong.  Or I can contact support and let them fix it.  But what’s the point anyway?

There is no benefit to using Swarm anymore.  It’s points for the sake of points.  So I’m over and out.

Goodbye Foursquare and Swarm.  It was fun while it lasted.