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Incoherent ramblings, devlogs, edgy philosophy and other topics of interest


[#131] [Sat, 01 Jan 2022 22:01:08 CST][tech]
■ XENOBYTE.XYZ F.A.Q. #1

Q: What is this site all about?

The original concept for the website was that of a clearnet sandbox to host what used to be in third party domains such as gitlab and twitter. Not just as a learning experience, but as a way to present myself to the development community from an independent platform, not unlike the oldschool hacker and programming blogs of the 90s that I so much enjoyed surfing through.

As the site's content slowly grew it also doubled as a informal curriculum and as a showcase of my work to potential clients, with the latter eventually formalizing into our anonymous engineering services as a means to score more interesting projects than those locally available.


Q: What kind of traffic does a niche site such as this see?

I don't keep close tabs on the traffic statistics since the site has never been promoted outside two or three underground messageboards, and there are no monetization schemes to look after. That being said, the total unique visitor count for 2021 stands at ~40K, with an increase of around 300% from the previous year.

never made more than 20 facebook friends, but 40K cybernauts visited my site in 2021 alone


That's with bots, spiders, search engines and other miscellaneous requests filtered out.


Q: Is this an individual project or a team effort?

Everything published in xenobyte.xyz is authored by the admin.
However, in some rare instances where client requests call for extra manpower, I have a couple of longtime colleagues I like to team up with. All opinions, jokes, blog posts, media, grammar error and so on, are solely the opinion of the author etc. etc.


Q: Why does the site's name keep changing? Doesn't it hurt brand awareness?

Partially. Like previously stated, the site hasn't been formally promoted in any way, and it wasn't until late 2018 or so that our engineering services were opened up to the public. Not to mention that, although there has been a clear increase in anonymous project requests, most of our business come from local clients. I rather keep refreshing the site's name when the registry is about to expire to keep the project's aesthetic fresh.

However, the constant domain changes have definitely taken their toll on the site's visibility and overall placement in search engine rankings, which already punish xenobyte.xyz for clashing with a other similar domains and products, not to mention the absolute lack of data collection greatly lowers the site's position in most search engines (google).

I'm still undecided on whether to change the current domain name or keep the current. Should it happen, it will certainly be for the last time.


Q: How profitable is larping as a 1337 hacker, if at all?

Not at all. That's not to say that the concept of providing engineering services "anonymously" couldn't be profitable, rather the business model around a successful example of such services demand resources beyond my original and current means, not to mention the deplorable state of the global economy that makes navigating the ridiculous amount of bureaucracy and legal bullshit required to formalize the idea that much worse.

Thankfully, the demand for competent engineers is only increasing and as the supply fails to meet the demand faster than Microsoft add abstraction layers to its enterprise tools, many potential clients are starting to look beyond the mainstream sphere since, more often than not, their problems can be solved by a single, knowledgeable programmer. I'm also well aware of the changes required to try and steer the concept into something economically viable, it's just not currently feasible. Hopefully in the future.


Q: What is the cost of running a personal website such as this?

The cheapest plan on virtually any VPS provider will do. Currently, the site is hosted in a $5 per month machine to accommodate for the much more resource intensive gitea instance. For a site as relatively simple as this, however, even an alternative site builder like neocities should suffice just fine.


Q: Why the anonymity? Does it hurt the business?

For a random, law-abiding, personal site such as this, it's not even close to being worth the hassle that ensuring actual anonymity requires.
As for the business, since its purpose was to expand my potential client / project pool (regardless of profit) and there are plenty of alternatives to the official payment and organization frameworks, the stigma associated with faceless, online business is almost gone. Worth a shot.


Q: Do I have any formal engineering education? What are my thoughts in going to college for this kind of work?

I have a Computer Engineering degree from my state's university and yes, it's absolutely useless and a total waste of life. I should probably write a blog post explaining myself to thoroughly cover my reasoning, needless to say, the quality of modern academia is unacceptably low. The time, cost and effort commitment are beyond ridiculous just to ultimately receive what is already freely available. Autodidacticism and mentorship (in its archaic practice) are the last, true path to knowledge for the average person in this age of ignorance and hyperrealism.


Q: What happened to the TOR access?

Haven't found the time to set it up. TOR activity has been rather sketchy as of lately, too.


Q: What does xenobyte™ mean?

Ayylien code. It's a WH40K term (I think?).


Q: What happened to the tutorials section that was available back in the xenspace.net days?

It was supposed to be revamped into a proper tutorials section in a future update (it originally consisted of a list of links to blog posts), but it was eventually buried by actual priorities and haven't had the chance to get around doing it since.

The blog post format does have its advantages, and there are a couple of relevant entries in the works concerning a client request turned free software that will be complementing this blog post right here. I'll probably formalize the tutorials section and reintroduce the previously available entries after some revisioning.


Q: Is the RSS feed dead?

Not yet! Because this site is custom made using original software, I have to manually update every single relevant log file, be it an SQLite databse, a README.md inside a repo, the project's HTML page, or an RSS feed. As the website's content grew, so did the amount of work it takes to keep everything synchronized. I think I've organized my workflow to minimize so much redundancy now, I'll be refreshing the RSS feed from now on.


Q: Are any of the old social media accounts active? Can I follow you in any other platforms?

I used to manage an official xenobyte.xyz Twitter account, used solely as a backup news feed that has since remained inactive. There just wasn't much of an incentive to keep the account active beyond its purpose, and was slowly left for death. However, I occasionally receive emails asking if some seemingly related online profile belongs to me or represents the site, a potentially dangerous confusion that can only be remedied by either emphasizing our lack of participation in such services or keeping an officially endorsed presence in said platforms. It'll most likely be the latter, stay tuned.