Note: This column represents the opinions
of the writer and as such, is not purported as fact|
An Update And Reader's Responses
the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook
are revealed for all to see!
Aardvark has been published regularly since 1995, making
it possibly the longest-running Net-news and commentary site in the
When I first started it all those years ago as a one-page weekly roundup,
it was really little more than an exercise in online publishing designed to
further my own knowledge of such matters.
To my surprise, it rapidly gathered a small but loyal band of followers who
checked in each Monday to catch the latest news, rumours, and the regular
"I can't believe it's true" feature that poked borax at the sillier side
of the Net.
After about a year, Aardvark became a daily publication and began
covering news in realtime,
scoring more than a few international scoops
and covering many storylines`
that will probably never die.
Take a Wander Back in Time|
If you want to take a browse through the Aardvark archives, I've been able
to preserve some (but not all) of the stuff that's been published during
the past few years. Here are some index pages to help you find it:
There's also a lot of other stuff on the server that you can access through
the Google search form at the bottom of the page, or by working out
the URL yourself (It's the Aardvark IQ test).
A couple of years later, in 1997, I also launched 7am.com which began to take up an increasing
amount of my time (about 15-16 hours a day actually) and eventually saw me make some
very bad choices. However,
despite a raft of other other commitments, illness, plus regular power and phone outages,
I have continued to publish Aardvark each and every weekday. In fact it's
become a very significant and important part of my daily routine.
Unfortunately it appears that it may be time for this to come to an end.
Despite the very welcome donations made by many readers some months
ago, I simply can't afford to go on publishing Aardvark.
Likewise, my efforts at raking up sponsorship for Aardvark have met with only
limited success and would not turn it from a loss-maker into a money-maker
or even into a revenue-neutral proposition.
Even attempts to get some regular (paid) syndication for this column on other
sites or in print media have failed. Perhaps the mainstream media don't want
to risk offending important advertisers; or maybe it's just that my market niche
is too small.
I guess that ultimately, any publication is only worth what people are prepared to pay
for it, and with a few notable exceptions in the form of generous donations from
some readers, that isn't a hell of a lot in the case of Aardvark.
Now, having poured all the money I have (and some I don't have :-) into the
development of my X-Jet engine, I'm faced with no alternative but
to focus on tasks that generate immediate revenue.
I would love to have kept the X-Jet engine as another great Kiwi development
and export-earner but the financial support simply isn't there. I've sunk
over $100K of my own money into its development but no other funding (apart
from the small technology grant I was eligible for) has been forthcoming.
The most frustrating aspect is that even given the tidy amount spent so far,
the results achieved have been widely acknowledged as very impressive and
the project requires only a further US$90K-$100K to reach the commercialisation
I'm now so disillusioned that
I'm considering releasing
all my research into the public domain under a GPL -- however, even that is
not without its risks. I don't really want the design for a simple, efficient,
low-cost jet engine being handed to those who might choose to misuse it.
Exactly what I do from here isn't totally clear but it may, unless a better
opportunity presents itself here, involve relocating overseas
(albeit only temporarily I hope) -- not because I want to, but because it
simply makes good sense financially.
Doubtless Telecom, a certain number of Aussie-based domain name resellers
and a whole heap of others in the industry will be keen to see the end
of Aardvark -- so every cloud has a silver lining perhaps ;-)
Which reminds me, I was going to have a good bitch at Telecom today over the
way that their IPNet bandwidth seems to be dramatically overcommitted.
I've been getting packet losses in excess of 50% within the IPNet network
from about 4:30pm through to 10-11pm every evening -- as have a number of
others who have emailed me.
This results in regular timeouts on webpage requests, ftp and usenet sessions.
It's starting to look as if Telecom will meet the government target of providing
14.4Kbps connects to ninety-something percent of the population -- it's just
that the throughput will be about 200 bytes per second due to IPNet congestion.
(Damn... it's going to be hard to give this up :-)
I will continue to update the series I started on
Promoting Your Website as promised (part 3 is
now online, the rest will go up later this week) but I'm still
undecided what will happen to the Daily edition from this point onwards.
If I do continue publishing something while I work out where I'm going, it
will likely be on a reduced scale and not to such a rigid schedule.
I'd like to thank all the readers who have made Aardvark such a personally
rewarding experience over the past seven years -- especially the "personalities"
and characters who have also made it so much fun.
These people include the newsworthy, notorious or just plain nice folks who
have directly or indirectly played a part in making Aardvark the
popular site it has become.
as: Danny de Hek, John O'Hara, Chris Tyler, Don Sledge, Mike Masters,
The Wood Brothers, David Maire, Dave Blyth, Peter Mott, John Wooding,
Patrick O'Brien, Alan Brown, Nigel Horrocks, Chris Barton, Russell Brown,
Paul Brislen, Michael Foreman,Scott Mathias, Ken Rutkowski, Patty Phillips,
and quite literally hundreds of others.
Note that until I decide exactly what's happening, I'll continue to maintain
advisory well ahead of time if/when those services are discontinued.
Have Your Say
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