Sunday, June 5, 2011

How Do We Appropriately Celebrate The Arrival Of The 100,000th PF Tutorial Visitor?

A nice surprise may be in line for a new visitor, and you (yes, you) can help me pick the surprise.

In late 2004, I started working on the text for a user group lecture for the BLUG meeting scheduled for the the following January.

The original manuscript was in Norwegian, but after a rather successful and surprisingly well attended user group meeting, I wrote up an English version and posted both online. With some encouragement from Greg Lehey (I'd participated in the group of volunteer reviewers for his third edition of The Complete FreeBSD), I submitted a proposal to give a half day tutorial for the 2005 AUUG conference in Sidney.

The proposal was accepted, as were several of the followup submissions to other conferences, and via a sequence of conferences and some private sessions, the document kept developing. In early 2007 I started working on turning the manuscript into a usable book. As regular readers will be aware, the much revised second edition was completed during the second half of 2010, and even that version has recently been subjected to its first update thanks to the ongoing development of the OpenBSD operating system.

The original tutorial has kept attracting a relatively steady stream of new visitors from all over the world, even though I have not added any new material to the document since I started working on the book version. New material will, rather, find its way into slides for the next session (such as the most recent one at BSDCan 2011), or will be put in the queue for possible upcoming book material.

During periods when I have had little visible output to offer, it has been interesting to see that the documents attract visitors and the occasional comment or suggestion for improvement. Then a little while back, I realized that in a not too distant future, the number of unique host names or IP addresses that have visited the tutorial tree will roll past a hundred thousand (100,000).

That particular number is possibly only significant to me, I keep the count of unique hosts accessing mainly to get an idea how many people have looked at my work. The raw number of page hits for the same location (we don't have any numbers for the early days when it was hosted at a now-defunct ISP) is fairly close to one and a half million, but I feel that number is a rather pointless statistic.

But when visitor number one hundred thousand arrives, how should we celebrate? I'm inclined to try to identify and contact the lucky visitor and offer a prize of sorts, but I have not quite made up my mind what and how. I'll welcome suggestions sent to via email (to with a recognizable subject.

It is worth mentioning that neither the tutorial nor this blog directly generates any revenue for me. I did for a short time have Google-supplied ads running on both sites, but for reasons that have never been quite clear to me, Google chose to terminate my AdSense account a few days before my second USD 100 transfer was due.

1 comment:

  1. How about ( if possible ) a personal tour of how your day looks like managing networks ( and therein, the nitty-gritties of pf/OpenBSD ). If not personal, then a screencast/youtube video. I am sure there would be something new to learn. :)


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