fifteen years online

Toronto, 2013.10.18

Fifteen years and eleven days ago, I registered my first personal Internet domain: etherlabs.net. It was home to my own personal website, as well as the websites of several friends all under the etherlabs.net name. It was great fun, in those early days of the 'net. In the late eighties I'd been the first person I knew with an Internet email address; now I was the only person I knew with a personal Internet domain. Then someone else with an idea came to me looking for a home for their site, and it took off. Over the years I hosted many, many domains.

But inevitably I started running into problems. First, keeping everything online came with expenditures that I couldn't always afford. Back then, hosting domains was a pricey proposition, and I eventually found it cheaper to run my own hardware out of a variety of locations ranging from the offices of friends to my brother's apartment, but a second round of equipment failures eventually spelled the end of that system. Then there was the constant upkeep in helping out the people who were piggy-backing on my own domains. In the early part of the 'aughties, spam email was an enormous problem for someone like me maintaining a sendmail system out of his own pocket and time. I also had users who were exploiting systems vulnerabilities to do things they shouldn't be. It was a mess.

So I closed down the etherlabs.net experiment, and registered emuu.net.

emuu.net

The name comes from my own initials: 'mw', pronounced 'em double-yew'. emuu.net has been, ever since, my personal website. That was nine years and eight days ago. When traffic got to the three million page-view mark, I stopped counting.

Since then, etherlabs.net has served as an experimental home for a variety of projects, usually related to my day job or a business idea (such as Caritas, our online jewelry business that wasn't), or a community project. It's currently a staging ground for ideas for my employer's product suite.

risktopics.com

Which brings me to the future. I'm going to very shortly release another website on the world. It'll be called "Risk Topics" and will start with a semi-organized brain dump of everything I know about getting a service organization through its first SOC-1 or SOC-2 audit. This is a burgeoning problem, and there aren't too many I've been working on this for quite some time now, and expect that it will be a running project for years to come.

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rand()m quote

(In which I leave the final word to someone else.)

One day you will take a fork in the road, and you're going to have to make a decision about which direction you want to go. If you go one way, you can be somebody. You will have to make compromises and you will have to turn your back on your friends. But you will be a member of the club and you will get promoted and get good assignments. Or you can go the other way and you can do something [...] for yourself. If you decide to do something, you may not get promoted and get good assignments and you certainly will not be a favorite of your superiors. But you won't have to compromise yourself. To be somebody or to do something. In life there is often a roll call. That's when you have to make a decision. To be or to do.

-John Boyd, US Air Force