A sufficiently outdated technology is indistinguishable from a rock.

My Second Blogiversary

Date/Time Permalink: 03/15/08 11:05:59 am
Category: Site News

Today marks the second year since the founding of PenguinPetes.com and this blog. That makes it past the mark where approximately 50% of bloggers quit (at the 18-month mark), and puts me in closing distance of the average age of the top 100 blogs by ProBlogger's reckoning (33.8 months). In Internet years, it's old enough to buy smokes.

So, a look back on the past 12 months at the territory I've covered, counting from here. This'll be either posts that got a lot of attention, were landmarks, or were amusing quirks. Be prepared to either enjoy the Narcissistic inventory of my belly button lint or become bored silly and go do something else.

My second year got off to a bang with Ubuntu is not Linux - pass it on!, which the masses rejected mightily, and I tried to straighten it up with No, really! Ubuntu is not Linux! Try it on for size! and pissed everybody off even more. They've pulled 24 and 72 feedbacks at this time. Would you believe, after all that, that I am stubborn and stupid enough to be planning yet a third explanation of the Windows-to-Linux Immigration Factor? This time with diagrams? Because there's something important there to understand - not about computers, but about people! It's about what people do, how they act, and it's about having the courage to change what you can, the serenity to accept what you can't change, and the wisdom to know the difference. It's about Tao and Go strategy and winning through working with the universe instead of against it.

Worst attempt at humor: No. 43: How Not To Be a Geek. My apologies.

And on 04/16/07 at 01:20:24 am, the big bomb dropped: I asked Is the Tux500 racecar advertising project a scam? and began the fight of my life. For two months afterwards, I was to be confronted with an Internet cult of personality attempting what may well stand as the biggest fleecing of the Free Software community in history: Suckering $600,000 (the figure climbed up to that) out of Linux users to put a $10 sticker on a worthless race-car. My standing against it inspired the perpetrators into hacking attempts, flamage, business sabotage, and threats both legal and physical against me. I'll follow that whole sticky tar baby up in a post on its own later, because it's worth examining the aftermath.

May 7th was the next time I finally got a chance to shake the Rottweilers off my tail long enough to think about something else, and started the Flash category. It's gotten the most hits this year, collectively, and the searches that come in indicate that most people aren't even aware that you can develop full Flash applications - logos, animations, games, anything you want - on Linux, using only Free and Open Source Software. Knowing how to create Flash files is as good as money in the bank in today's global web market, so I encourage anybody out there to use these tools, and hopefully they will develop further. I'll pick up Flash tutorials again some time - but don't hold your breath for that roller coaster idea. I may be 80 years old before I figure out how to do it.

The Linux Insecurity Complex was the next big hit. It got a lot of traffic from diverse sources - not the big social media sites but dozens of small blogs. It was the kind of post that seemed to make a lot of people think, and after all that's what I'm here for.

Interlude: .buıʞoo1 ʇou ǝɹ,noʎ uǝɥʍ dn ǝpıs-ʇɥbıɹ sı ʇsod sıɥʇ Gotcha!

I started another new category, graphics tutorials, for all the doodling I have time to share. It gets traffic all the time dribbling in - there's more demand for Gimp tutorials, especially ones that match Photoshop tutorials trick for trick. Eventually, the category will contain something about every way to make an image I know. I still like the Gimp mirrored-ball number - it's my favorite "You drew that in WHAT???" picture.

In September, somebody gave me the computer they were throwing out... and for the first time in some seven years, I did *not* delete Windows. Instead, I rehabilitated it with Linux live CDs and Free Software tools, and have since kept it around for the occasional compatibility test. Out of that came Why Windows Users Are Insane, which got some linky-love and a fun comment thread.

The same Windows box became home to my first time installing BSD, and some reflection on the different communities, among others. For the first time, I was getting BSD users in the comments, some of whom hardly beat me up me at all.

In Ahhh! What did they do to my Gimp? I proved (by the comments) that Gimp users really are nearly as capable of flaming when incited to outrage as Photoshop users are just by waking up in the morning. By the way, just to demonstrate: Gimp is probably my all-time third-favorite FOSS program, right after Emacs and Firefox. Yet I'll still criticize it. It makes Photoshop look like a loser, but I'll still find fault with it. Just something good to point out, if I'm ever accused of blind zealotry (which I am not... often).

A post that's been getting a lot of attention is 10 Reasons Why the Command Line is More User-Friendly than the Desktop. The opinion is heavily divided on this one - between the people who see what I mean and the people who, well, don't. It helps if you note that I didn't say the CLI is better than the GUI, didn't say the CLI is superior to the GUI for every task, didn't say the CLI users are better than the GUI users... etc. Just making a point about what's user-friendly, and in the process demonstrating that the term "user-friendly" is such a subjective definition.

All in all, an exciting year. My thanks to the readers, and the commenters - including the ones who don't like or don't agree with what I have to say. Remember, it's a blog because it's give and take - I learn from the comments when they have something to teach me, too. But I hasten to add that I've changed my policy from absolute liberty to moderating comments that are nothing but personal attack, on either myself or others here - not always, but sometimes. I have ideas for better ways to handle this in the future; but I'm not going to make any promises on something until I have it already written and ready to patch in.

It's a path to enlightenment, and both the beautiful sunrise on the horizon and the thorns we step on along the way have something to teach us all.

Now, then, commenters: How about a general performance review? What kinds of posts should I be doing more of, and what kinds of posts should I steer clear of? Open mike, here, no taboos.

A special sig to celebrate my second year

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