2003 – 2008
StatGFX has been shut down. I sincerely thank all those that have used and supported this service in the past. It was a great experience, and I enjoyed very much building and maintaining this site, however I no long have the time or interest to continue it.
At the site’s peak there were well over 1,000 people showing off their stats through this Web site on forums and sites across the Internet, and millions of images would eventually be served. There were plans to build this site into something much greater, but those plans were never realized. Read below for a little history. If you have any questions please contact me through my Web site.
StatGFX started in late 2002 as a simple script that would parse statistics from the United Devices Web site and create a dynamic image displaying statistics. The inspiration was a similar service that SETI@home users had been using for some time, however cancer research seemed a more laudable goal for distributed computing than looking for little green men so I decided to create the same thing for United Devices. Originally this was used by members on the Trillian forums who created a team at United Devices.
Over time, interest in the project grew modestly, and there were requests to add support for multiple other projects. Eventually statistics for SETI@Home, Folding@Home, Project Dolphin, Uptimes Project, Tiny Key Counter and Distributed.net were added. People were showing their total keystrokes, CPU hours and uptime in their signature. Many of these projects are no longer in operation, however they were entertaining diversions. Multiple templates were added, and the script was improved over time as well. In December 2002, the statgfx.com domain was registered
By May 5, 2003 the service had outgrown its shared hosting environment. The decision was hastily made to move the service to a dedicated server. The future of StatGFX was announced, and users were asked to send in donations to help keep the service alive. At the time I was a poor college student and didn’t have the money for a dedicated server. However, eventually enough money was raised to cover the setup and first month for a server. Though I had no server administration experience or frankly very good prospects, I was able to get the service back up and running and began working on the “2.0” version of the site
Over the next year or two work was being done on a completely new service. This was an exciting time. Even though the site was burning money, there were prospects of something big. Not only would there be significant improvements to the code base for statistics images, but new features would be added. It was going to be the place for people to manage their signatures online. Users would be able to make their own templates, save signatures, host images, have random image URLs and more. A lot of work was done on this, and some of the functionality was finished.
Eventually, as I continued my education and started my career I no longer was able to devote time to the project. Other options were becoming available, and the prospect of the site becoming profitable faded quickly. By 2005-2006 development had completely ceased, and I was only doing enough to keep the site running. The project experienced server moves on two different occassions, each time resulting in downtime due to my not having the time to properly maintain it. Eventually the decision was made to shut down the site entirely. I was no longer able to maintain it, and there were fewer and fewer users.
This project became one of the first big projects that I had worked on as a beginning programmer, and it was a great experience to have hundreds of people using something that I created. In the end, this project did have a significant impact for me, and while the grand plans I had for it were never realized, this did serve an important purpose. First of all I did it because I enjoyed it, but it helped me to both grow as a programmer and provided a reason to learn system administration, both skills that would become essential in my early career. It also helped fuel an entrepreneurial spirit that I would go on to cultivate and provided useful experience in building and providing a Web service. Thanks again to all those that supported this project.