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Looking Back at 35 Years (Sort of)

JUST this past month this site turned 20 and today I realised that some time around the end of this year the combined age of Techrights and Tux Machines would be 35 years. No kidding! That will be when Tux Machines is over 18.5 years old and Techrights is past 16 (less than 2 months from now).

The Web is moving fast, just like software. A century is off the scale for computing (nothing lasts this long) and a decade is also a long time. Several decades is exceptional, so I’m quite proud to have come this far. For sure, based on my situation, there’s at least another decade left.

Greetings From Manchester

Nice to meet you, I'm not meat
He’s no meat, he has feelings

A year ago Rianne became fully vegetarian (we had both been gradually stepping in that direction for about 3 years already) and last month we got to meet some adorable highland cows and sheep at the outskirts of Manchester.

Highland cows and sheep
Rianne feeding the sheep

Highland cows and sheep
That calf is truly adorable and he was bullied by the sheep

On Wednesday we went for a long walk in nature (about a mile from home) and passed by the construction site (less than half a mile from us) where there would soon be a new facility for sports and entertainment, right alongside the famous Manchester City Stadium. Mock-ups below.

Massive new music and sports arena next to the Etihad Stadium
Looking from our home’s direction

Massive new music and sports arena next to the Etihad Stadium
Looking towards our home

10+ Years in the Same Company, Focusing on Free Software

Roy Schestowitz

DECADES ago somebody told me that changing employers very often is a sign of weakness. Several times later I’d hear the same thing, which follows common sense. Loyalty to an employer or devotion to some particular path shows both a careful choice (of employer) and persistence rather than adventurism. The same goes for housing or residency. Some people move from place to place very often, having to relearn locations of things, spending a lot of time on paperwork, having to meet new people (and losing touch with old friends and colleagues).

When it comes to my current employer, this past week marked 10 years of me working there. There were better times and worse time, both for myself and for the employer.

For the first time in my life I can say that I’ve worked in the same company for over a decade. For just over a year (or about 2 years) I’ve been able to say that I’m the most “senior” (in terms of duration) regular employee there, sans the founder/CEO, who established the company way back in 1998. In a sense, this also means that when I joined the company (with about 20 people in it back then) I was the “latest recruit” and all those people whom I joined are now gone, except the CEO. It’s an interesting situation to be in.

Will I work another 10 years in the same company? It’s hard to tell. The thing I do like about it is that it respects my freedom of expression (it tells off Microsoft when they try to cause issues by phoning the CEO!) and software freedom in general. I realise that many people are forced to use Windows, at least sometimes, and not everyone is permitted to work from home all the time. I’ve worked from home for 14 years now.

Nearly a Decade in Twitter and Half a Million Tweets

Twitter at 500000

Twitter is not a site that I like. Honestly, I don’t! In fact, I think it is getting worse over time. In 2016 it shadowbanned me a lot of times and I receive plenty of abuse there. I now identify as living in the North Pole to avoid messages like “you’re English, so…” (method of shooting the messenger). I only very reluctantly joined Twitter after I had begun participating in for the purpose of posting Free software news. Prior to that I preferred just blogging, relying on people who subscribe to RSS feeds to find my writings. At the time there was also, which I’m proud to say I was ranked 17th on (they had millions of users at the time). Having taken a quick look at my Twitter account last night, I noticed that a milestone is approached and will have been reached by weeks’s end. I am nowhere near the most prolific users (like 38 million tweets for this Japanese account; see the out-of-date chart below), but quantity was never my goal and besides, as many people know, I primarily post in Diaspora these days, with posts being exported from there to Twitter. I vastly favour these Freedom/Free software-centric communities (like at the time and nowadays GNU Social, Diaspora etc.) and I humbly think that all this social control media phenomenon is a waste of human productivity and a threat to real, in-depth, fact-checked journalism. But no single person can tell the world how to use the Internet and how to communicate; if social control media is what’s “normal” and “necessary” now (adapting to the so-called ‘market’), then so be it.

Twitter top users

Members of the Quarter

Members of the quarter

Record Month for

2014 stats

I DON’T profess to know exactly what attracts people to this personal site, but the site is very broad, with over 100,000 Web pages that I have produced over the years. Although I hardly update this Web site anymore, it continues to serve many hits and uses up almost 40 gigabytes of bandwidth per month. It is still a lot less than what Tux Machines and Techrights are serving, especially via Varnish. In the next post I will provide a site performance (bandwidth) tip for Drupal. When sites get very large this becomes imperative for keeping costs down.

Traffic on My Web Sites

SOMETIMES I get asked how much traffic my Web sites are getting. The only honest answer I can offer is that I don’t know. It depends a lot on how it’s measured, what measures it (if anything), when it is measured (peaks taken into account), and how spiders or spam traffic get culled out. Bot traffic is increasingly made more sophisticated, so it is hard to classify one thing as a bot viewer and another as a human viewer. In any event, by far the biggest site that I run is Techrights. It has almost 20,000 pages that I wrote over the past 6.5 years., this one particular site, predates Techrights and has more pages in it than Techrights, but some of the content is not of high quality, e.g. my USENET posts. Then there is the site of my relative Harvey, who lives in Florida. I set up that site for him and have helped him maintain it since 2004. Recently, my friend Mark and I set up, which also attracts a vast amount of traffic. Those are just 4 of my sites; there are about a dozen in total (an almost complete list of domains is here, but it is not complete). Techrights is believed to be dealing with millions of hits per week, based on Varnish logs. It is hard, however, to dissect those logs because they’re all routed through a cache proxy and therefore have the same IP address for almost all traffic. My second most-accessed site is and this month (so far) it is looking as follows:

schestowitz-com-traffic (subsite alone)

tobkes-othellomaster-com-traffic looks like this


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Original styles created by Ian Main (all acknowledgements) • PHP scripts and styles later modified by Roy Schestowitz • Help yourself to a GPL'd copy
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