Linux Weekly News (aka LWN) is celebrating its 20th birthday. Wow, that’s quite impressive! Not many web sites can say that. But even fewer can do so while covering technology news related to Linux and other Open Source Software.
I’ve been a reader of LWN since their early days. I’ve been subscribed to it also at different times during the years (see 2002, and then 2004). And I’m glad that they are still around. I still catch up with the RSS feed on a weekly basis.
Happy birthday, LWN! And thanks for all the hard work and excellent content.
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!
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! :)
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.