Where Did You Go? Where Are You Going? Part II

Where Did You Go? Where Are You Going? Part II

When we left the story yesterday, I was suffering from burnout and a loss of passion for the site.  I needed to find a new career.  

As luck would have it, a reader of the site offered me some work doing freelance programming for extra income.  I explained I wasn’t really a programmer, but he was fine with me learning on the job, for which I was very grateful.  I gained some programming skills and earned some money at the same time.

Unfortunately, his biggest client stopped paying, so I needed to start a real job hunt.  I happened upon a Craig’s List ad for a company searching for programmers to work in business intelligence.  I applied and got the job.  My first “real” job in 8 years.  The first few months of the job were just training to learn how to do business intelligence using the Microsoft SQL Server stack.  It was a small company with great people and I learned a lot.  After a few years, it was time to move on, and I was fortunate again and was able to land a job as a programmer at the University of Michigan hospital in 2015.  

I’m still working for U of M, but I’m no longer in Ann Arbor.  This is a bit awkward, but I caused the CoVid 19 Pandemic.  After a rough patch of years at the end of BBspot, Mrs. BBspot and I were back on solid ground. She got an offer she couldn’t refuse and took a job at Texas A&M University in College Station in 2018.  For a year and half, she worked in Texas and I stayed at our home in Michigan.  She would come back very often, but it wasn’t the best arrangement.  

Near the end of 2019, I asked my boss if I could do more work from home, so I could travel to Texas and be with my wife more often.  Unfortunately, company policy was only one work-from-home day every two weeks, and that wasn’t going to change.  I enjoyed my job, and dread nothing more than job hunting, so this wasn’t the answer I wanted to hear.  Fortunately, a short time later CoVid 19 struck, and my position became work from home permanently. You know before where I said I didn’t cause the 2008 economic collapse, well in this case…

After quarantining in Michigan at the beginning of the pandemic, I effectively moved to College Station later in 2020.  We still spend a lot of time in Michigan as both of our kids are still there.  Also, I’m not the biggest fan of Texas, so spending time in Ann Arbor soothes my soul.  

Over the past 12 years, there have been several times when I’ve thought about restarting the site.  Even times when I started taking some actions to make that happen.  Back in 2017, I went so far as to write a story and publish it on the site.  Over the years though the site had fallen into disrepair.  Like an abandoned home ravaged by the elements and interlopers, it was not fit for living anymore.  The custom content management system that was created for the site stopped working as required upgrades to the server broke it. Databases that housed links and BBlog entries disappeared.

So how did this get started again this time?  The short answer is I don’t know, but I can give you some hypotheses.  When people enter my life now, they have no idea about my history online.  About how the Department of Homeland Security contacted me to remove a story, or about how CEOs of companies retweeted my writings.  About how I got a book deal, my TV appearances, my Wikipedia entry, none of that.  When I would bring it up, they would inevitably want to go visit the site.  Unfortunately, the site had fallen into such disrepair that there wasn’t anything to see.  I felt like I should at least put in some minimal effort to create some historical landmark for people to visit.  

We just returned from a 2.5-week vacation this January, and I think that provided me with enough energy to start pounding some nails and clearing some debris from this abandoned home.  I was able to reconstruct the archive pages thanks to the Wayback Machine. No need to figure out why the 20-year-old code that I didn’t write stopped working. With that completed, I started doing some other cleanup work; removing old files, and deleting dead links. It just started to snowball from there, and here we are.

Where are we though?  Part of me would be happy for this to take over my life again, and part of me fears where that leads. My life is in a different place now.  I’m armed with the experiences of the past 20 years.  I don’t foresee this becoming a full-time gig again, but it could be a fun hobby if I’m capable of that. I’m having fun.  It’s exciting to be creating again.  I can focus on the parts of running a website that I enjoy without being stressed out about it.  I would love to get back to the glory days, but the Internet is a different place than it was 20 years ago, and I’m at a different place too, literally and figuratively.  

Lastly, I don’t remember if I did a proper goodbye when the site stopped.  All the BBlog entries were lost in a tragic database accident. My guess is I didn’t. I’m sorry for that. There wasn’t a singular moment where I decided I’m never going to update again.  It wasn’t fair to the people that supported the site for years. Maybe this “Hello Again” post will make up for that. I’m sorry I dropped out of existence.  I’m happy to be back.  Let’s see where this goes. Stay geeky.

This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. Chris Mark

    Glad to see you back. Hope all the intervening drama hasn’t ruined your sense of humor.

    1. Brian Briggs

      I don’t think my sense of humor has changed.

  2. Angel

    I’ve always wondered what happened. It was sad for many of us diehard fans to see the site cease to be actively updated, but, life happens to all of us and things change. Glad you’re in a better space in your life right now. Wishing you nothing but the best always.

    1. Brian Briggs

      Angel! So good to hear from you again. Thanks.

  3. Ferdinand

    So good to have you back! We missed you so much through all the years.

  4. selucius

    Whoop! Gig ’em Aggies! I’m sorry you’re not a fan of Texas but if you had to be anywhere, Aggieland is a pretty great place to be.

    1. Brian Briggs

      I can agree that there are worse places in Texas to be.

  5. Gary Smith

    I don’t recall a goodbye, there were just no updates one day. I mean, I got to the site and saw the same links as the day before, and thought, that’s weird. Then the week, the month, the year… Then one day I stumbled across it and saw the half-life article posted a couple days earlier, then I posted about it on Facebook, but then, well nothing 🙁

  6. R

    Welcome back. Still have you link on my start page. Checked it again today! It’s been a long time. It’s funny too because my start page is from an internet provider I had over 17 years ago still in their private ~/pages

  7. Yuri Button

    Welcome back, Brian. We’ve missed you. I’m so glad things are looking up!

  8. EvilMark

    Fantastic! I am so glad to see you revive BBspot. Also pleased the BBspot Update email still uses the same template. But, most of all, I’m glad you’re doing well.

  9. Derek

    Well, this was a very nice surprise so see a BBSpot email come through… it did end up in my spam folder though (something you might have to investigate), but welcome back! I have a lot of your old emails still saved… even though most of the links are now 404.

  10. Robin Turner

    Good to hear you’re back after all these years! I also went through a few different hiatuses (hiati?). First my main website, sensiblemarks.info got wiped (which is what you get for having your friends sublet their web space to you), then Livejournal went down its long road to that limbo occupied by Yahoo and MySpace. I blogged Medium in a desultory way for a few years, then last summer moved everything over to Vivaldi and started blogging more … well I was going to say “regularly”, but that would be an exaggeration. Let’s say less infrequently!

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