It's been four years

The website was brought online exactly four years ago. As usual I'm using the anniversary as an opportunity to summarize the passing year. The number of visitors of this and the related sites steadily continues to grow twice a year and exceeded 200,000 this year. Fraqtive was downloaded over 6,000 times, just like last year, even though no new version was released so far; I'm going to make a new release later this week though. Finally my "flagship" project, WebIssues, experienced more than threefold increase in the number of downloads, almost reaching 10,000, and that makes me very happy.

After many doubts I eventually decided to take the risk and start working on version 1.0. It turned out to be quite a challenge, especially because I was doing everything from scratch and I had to learn PHP web development by experimenting on a living body. Fortunately I managed to extend the development team, which also proved incredibly difficult. It looks like most people who have the right experience to participate in such complex project very quickly lose their enthusiasm for work if they don't do it for money. It's not a very good omen for the free software, but I believe that those remaining dedicated units can still make a difference.

In my personal life it was also a very important year. Teresa and I are now engaged and we're planning to get married in June next year :). Besides almost everything is in place in our new flat, including the modest home theater I recently bought. It's really good to finally have a place of my own. I also traveled quite a lot this year - short vacations in Germany, festival in France, holidays in Spain, not to mention two trips with my company to Prague and Zell am See in Austria. Now I look forward to spending Christmas with my family and take some rest from coding and everything else.

Filed under: Blog

Vacations in Spain

Traditionally at this time of year I spent vacations in the Mediterranean area, this time it was Spain and this time I went with my girlfriend :). It was a 7+7 trip - seven days travelling around the country and seven days stay on Costa Brava in a nice all-inclusive hotel just near the beach. We visited all major cities - Saragossa, Madrit, Toledo, Cordoba, Sevilla, Granada, Barcelona, and more. It's a great country with very rich culture. As always I added some new photos to the gallery.

I was quite funny when we went to Gibraltar. By plain coincidence Teresa was wearing a white shirt and a red skirt, Polish national colors, which apparently happen to be Gibraltar national colors as well. At that day there was a national holiday so everyone were celebrating in the streets wearing white and red clothes; people took her for a Gibraltarian and sometimes it was quite difficult to find her in the crowds :). Anyway, it was a nice thing to experience a tiny bit of Great Britain (especially that I've never been to England) and drink a Guinness in a British pub :).

Another thing that I've seen for the first time was the famous economic crisis. You see, in Poland crisis only appears in some newspapers and in the mouths of some populist politicians; we're the only country in EU to have positive GDP growth rate and one of the lowest unemployment rate (although sadly some companies, especially large ones, still find an excuse to save costs on their employees). But Spain was heavily struck with the crisis; unemployment rate is growing near to 20% and a very visible symptom is unfinished building constructions in many places, including an entire commercial center near Granada.

Now I'm back to the serious work on version 1.0 of WebIssues which I mentioned in my previous post; a nice piece of the server's framework is already done, the protocol handler is rewritten and a new setup script is mostly finished. Although my initial attempts to gather a development team had failed, it looks like I finally found a good partner, so chances are the prototype of the web client is going to emerge soon. I'm also going to start defining the new features for version 1.0; there are lots of requests from users but obviously everything cannot be done at once and I want to avoid the second-system effect so I'm going to be conservative :). Also in October I'm going to finally release a new version of Fraqtive with minor bug fixes and improvements and I will update the Qt articles, so it looks like the last quarter of this year is going to be very productive.

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Hellfest 2009

A few days ago I was in France at the Hellfest open air festival. Three days, four stages and over 100 bands representing all major genres of metal. Among them there were many bands which I've never seen or even heard before, so it was a good opportunity to discover something new. Besides it was actually the first time I've been to such an event; I must say it was a really great experience, "fuckin' awesome" as Robb Flynn from Machine Head best described it. Also the weather was sunny and very hot, I even burned my forehead and nose a little bit, but that's quite usual in hell that you get burned, isn't it? ;)

We went by car and it took almost 24 hours driving one way, but at least we could stop when and where we wanted. On the way back we visited Paris, went to the Notre Damme cathedral and obviously the Eiffel Tower. There are some photos in Iron's web gallery if you're interested. Anyway, there is something to remember for a long time and obviously I can't wait to go to the next festival.

In the meantime, my flat started to look like a place to live. Two rooms are mostly done and the third one is in progress. Using the dining table and the bed after returning from the festival was a really nice thing, not to mention the bath tube :). There's still a lot to do, but these are small things and there is no need to rush. I should be able to find some time for pleasure, for example listen to music or watch some movies. Also I should catch up with WebIssues a little bit. The development version of the client will reach "release candidate" soon and I can't wait to finally start doing some serious work on version 1.0 of the server while I still have some motivation.

Filed under: Blog

MiMec 1.0

It's been a while since I wrote last time. Not because nothing has happened during the last few months, just the opposite. The most important news is that - just a few days ago - I got a mortgage loan and bought a flat in Gliwice together with my girlfriend. Getting the loan was a nightmare and at some point I started feeling like I was living in Orwell's world. Seeing all the ignorance and incompetence of people working in the banks I'm no longer surprised that we have the so-called global economic crisis. Fortunately, with help of some other people, we managed to do it in the very last moment. I think from the perspective of time the difficulties will only make the satisfaction greater.

Of course there's still a lot to do: we must do some renovation, buy furniture and everything else from a TV to cups and spoons. We won't move in sooner than in the end of May. Our plans, however, go much further than that - we already booked holidays in Spain in September and bought tickets for the concert of U2 in August. So it should be a good compensation for all the sleepless nights. In the meantime, I'm publishing a few our photos taken in December.

Another good news is that I assembled a small team of developers and we started working on version 1.0 of WebIssues. All my open source projects that I've released so far had the major version of "zero", so reaching version "one" will be a very significant milestone. Also all of them were in fact one-person projects (with small occasional contributions from others) and it's the first time I'm working with a real team in the free software world (professionally I've been a team lead in various projects for almost two years). Anyway I think now it's the right time to do that.

Filed under: Blog

Third anniversary of

Yesterday was the third anniversary of the website; for the first time I didn't even have time to write the summary. What can I say; during the last few weeks my life basically turned upside down and everything indicates that it's going to stay this way :). After long searching and almost losing all hope, I finally found my significant other. I don't even have to say how much she changed everything in my life; most importantly, I can now start planning things rather than living from day to day like I had for a long time. I'm sure that the next year will bring a lot of changes.

Back to this year's summary; for my personal life it was a huge breakthrough; in other areas there were also successes, but honestly, nothing truly spectacular. For the first time I was officially the team lead in one of the largest projects in the company I work for; I was appreciated for "performing exceptionally well" and it was the "first release for which the deadline did not have to be changed and what was initially promised was delivered on time and on budget". Nice and encouraging words, without doubt; especially that it's not a very common thing in the world of software development. Yesterday's celebration with my team in a sushi restaurant was the reason I didn't write this post yesterday :).

Making the new version of Fraqtive was quite fun; it was downloaded 6,000 times and it's the fifth search result in Google for "open source fractal generator". Not bad. My recent Qt Articles didn't receive any feedback so far, but had over 350 downloads, so I guess it's not very bad either. Work on WebIssues goes slowly, especially recently, for obvious reasons. The project had 3,000 downloads this year and won the contest which was supposed to be "a great platform to showcase code". Honestly I don't have a feeling that anyone has ever looked at it and that's too bad, because this project has a great potential, both in open source and commercial world, and I still can't find any serious opportunity to promote it. Next year I'm going to take a little bit more risk, because otherwise it doesn't really make any sense.

Filed under: Blog
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