What's up with UFies

You may have noticed that this site has been dormant for a long time. This is true. This started off as a fan site for Userfriendly and in 1999 morphed into UFies.org when the domain was registered. The only evidence of the original ufies.userfriendly.org is through the Internet Archive, and the 'older news' page is not found there. So I don't know how long the site has been around.

Let's just say that it's from back in the day when web rings where a thing.

This is the first change to the site since 2016, as it's been moved from the server it's been hosted on for the last few years to a new system, and a certain amount of cleanup has been done. I've removed all the CGI, template files, and anything executable from the site, and it is just a flag html site. Thanks to Movable Type for not only running the site since 1999, but also working in such a way that it outputs plain old HTML files, instead of relying on a database to run.

This site morphed from news about the community for the group of us who gathered in #userfriendly on IRC (undernet.org) into a news site, sort of like Slashdot.org and Digg. I didn't have aspirations to do it as a job, it was just a fun way of spreading out cool links to my friends. A combination of twitter, reddit and Facebook, just 20 years before them.

It was also a dumping ground for things as I learned Linux and technology, and I give the server this site runs on now and in the past full and complete credit for helping me become the technologist that I am today. Not all of it was pretty. There were database admin web apps sitting unprotected, files and test files left on the site, hidden only by their filenames not linked anywhere (like the site's SSL private key file), and a myriad of other things that I've been aghast at as I've been cleaning up the site. Each of those things is still a path in the journey though, right?

I'm keeping the site up for historical purposes, in all its bad design, broken-HTML glory. There's nothing here that's relevant to anyone anymore, but I hate it when sites I love disappear. It feels like there's a hole left in the universe (well, the internet anyway) where they used to be, and more often than not what's left turns into an ISP landing page or a redirect to some scummy looking, or completely irrelevant site. It just feels ... wrong. I also have a huge pull for the nostalgic. Looking through the files that make up the site and seeing file dates in the early 2000s gives my heart a little pitter patter for some reasons. The site was born when I was in my early 20s, single, just moved out of the house and was living in my first apartment, with my first cat. Computers were boxes with PS/2 connectors on the back, and cellphones aren't really a thing, much less smartphones.

So the site stays up. Please feel free to explore, see the old news bits and videos that I thought were fun or relevant. Exciting news like finding a leak of Half Life 2 screenshots or how to get Galeon to use anti-aliased fonts to the mundane of unscheduled reboots where I obviously was under the impression that a few hours of downtime for this little site warranted a post. There are some hidden gems in there, like a link to X vs XP (archive.org link) - which started me down the road to being a Mac nerd (relevant to a previous comment, the current XvsXP.com site leads to a home products review site).

Another artifact resurrected is Peer 2 Peer Personals, a dating site that I created in February of 1999 for the User-friendly (called UFies) community. This has also been stripped of any functionality, and is left there as a memorial to the project that could have turned into something real if more effort was put in. Who knows, maybe I could been a player in the dating site landscape today.

It never went anywhere, though I do believe that at least one marriage resulted from it. Now whether it was from the site itself or simply as a result of two people meeting in the community around the site (in the early 2000s Userfriendly was a viral phenomenon) - who knows. I'd like to believe I had some small part in it.

So there it is. The site is here, and for the first time in 4 years here's an update. Honestly it's been a wild ride and while I honestly doubt many people will see this - I don't care. There's a certain catharsis to writing this all down.

If you care to find me and say hi, just google me, I'm easy enough to find.

Update 2022-04-21: Someone noticed that the userfriendly.org domain is down, owned by someone else, and blank. The era is over for real now my friends :( Luckily someone also noticed this and posted on hacker news with a few links to archives that have been spidered over the years. I've added a link to the sidebar with this link for posterity. I have no idea about the copyright implications, but there's the link for you. I know I haven't been really "part" of userfriendly for almost a decade, but this really has hit me. It was a huge part of my identity over the years, and I've made both IRC and IRL friends through it, as well as it being a big contributing factor to my own personal and professional growth. Building this server, email, learning how to set up raid and linux servers and services has put me where I am now, 20+ years later. :(