Slashdong: One Year On, One Year Out

It's funny. Here I sit at the same desk, doing the same thing I was on this night last year.

Fiancee's gone (though she's just asleep in the other room this time), and I'm sitting in my office, wiring together sex toy circuits. They're a hell of a lot more complicated this time around, though.

Anyways, yes, it's February 24th, what I have decided to be the birthday of Slashdong. This means that I get one post to use my sex toy blog as a mind dumping blog, smug in the knowledge that thousands of people will expect dildos and instead get the sage advice of a 26 year old engineer. Suck on that, RSS subscribers.

So, here goes. The following is an unscripted braindump. Not that any of my posts are ever planned, but, well... Yeah.

Now, if you're going by domain registration times, Slashdong's birthday is December 19th, 2003. However, it was comatose for over a year. Let's take a little trip down memory lane to explain this.

Start Nostalgic, possibly boring story of Slashdong Prehistory

December 17, 2003. I decide that a joke I've been throwing around for a long time, "SexQuake", needs to see the light of day outside of my mind. The idea was to buy the VR Innovations Virtual Sex Machine (something that I am now aware of being a piece of crap toy). Anyways, with computer controlled penis pump in hand, I figure hacking the serial protocol will be as simple as throwing down a port spy on the thing. I would then make a Quake plug-in that would set the pump speed in response to some game metric, like kill score.

I need $400 to get the machine. Of course, I don't have $400. I still don't. So, I ask for donations. I also commence outright begging.

I get $40.

With this cash and domain idea from The Reverend Scott Motherfucking Crawford, The Ride, I end up registering what you're looking at right now, I also pick up .com and .net because damnit, it's an awesome domain name.

At this point, Slashdong was the first domain name I'd bought since Numberporn (which, for those of you not aware, is my personal blog. The "qDot" LJ account mirrors it) and IA1 Hacking (Still around, but pretty much defunct 'cause damn, that thing was hell to use). So, I hadn't done much graphic/web design in a while. The first header graphic for slashdong was this (God, this is worse than showing pictures of myself as a teenager):

Click it for a larger version, but if you're too lazy, the slogan was "sex for nerds, what else matters?".

Luckily, I realized this sucked a whole bunch (except for the /8========> symbol, something we still use every so often today. Yes, that is comic sans as the dong font. Funny how the dropped curve on the D fits so nicely). Unfortunatly, the next revision wasn't much better.

Once again, click for larger version. The slogan this time, "Having tomorrow's sex today", while better because it wasn't blatantly ripping off something, was still way, way too serious for the site. However, for ALL of 2004, this is what the site looked like. Just that header, and a promise that someday, I'd actually do something.

Someday rolled around in October of 2004, specifically, October 17th, 2004, at exactly 2am. It was at this exact moment that I was sitting in a strip club, last call happened, and the breakfast bar opened. The rest, as they say, is history. From this hallowed night came the idea for Eating Out, the food review site for strip clubs. I also realized that I had the perfect domain name to host it on, since I hadn't done anything with Slashdong yet.

I realize that the site can't fucking POSSIBLY go live with that header. It's boring, it doesn't really have all that much to do with sex, hell, it's STERILE.

Where the vision of a circuit board dildo came to me from, I have no fucking clue. I would say in the shower, since that's where good ideas happen for lots of people, but I had not yet reached the point of thinking about circuit board dildos in the shower (oh, the days on innocence), so I'm just going to say it was a random epiphany. One lathed, circuit textured curve and bump mapped cylinder later, and what you see at the top of this page came to life.

And god damn, it was motherfucking GOOD. I'm still impressed with myself over that.

Eating Out went live on February 21st, 2005, to tepid response, as I was not yet an internet blog-god.

3 days later, The SexBox Happens, 60000 uniques happen, and the rest is documented throughout this site.

Eating Out still sits in the exact same state as it was in the day of release. I hope to one day redo the site, but I'm not really holding out for it. I'm kinda busy these days now. I still maintain it's an awesome idea though.

End story of Slashdong Prehistory

However much I spin it in the press these days, being here, now, was in no way in the plans. Ever. I call this an education site, I act like I knew what I was doing the whole time, but, really, that's bullshit. Slashdong didn't become an education site until I needed a quick excuse for happening to run a site with a gigantic dildo flying through the header, though I do now maintain that it /is/ an education site. Even so, it started as a joke, as everyone can now see assuming they read the above history (See? Now if you skipped it you have to go back up and read! I MADE YOU SCROLL! HAH!). SexQuake was an IRC-borne idea, the donations didn't work out, but I just happened to have a soldering iron, an XBox controller, and a spare dildo at the exact right time to make whatever sort of history it is you make when you've got a semi-popular webpage.

Somehow, from that joke, I've turned into some sort of information resource on sex technology and sex in video games, so much so that I'm speaking on it in public places in front of audiences that care about that sort of thing. I've learned a TON about electronics over the past year, hell, here's what my desk looks like now:

In the past year, I've gone from being a blogger to a freelance, paid writer; from being an engineer to being a slightly better engineer (but really, I'm still not too great at this. I'm just better than most of you. ^_^); from being a non-entity to being "qDot", man of mystery, to being Kyle Machulis, sex toy engineer, sex in games expert, and all-around slightly confused person.

With a year of very wacky experiences behind me, I have the following advice. Mostly for myself, but if you wanna take it, that's cool, too:

  • If you put shit up on the internet, people will read it

  • No, really. They will.

  • You will have no control over who the people that read it are.

  • And thus the hard part of the lesson kicks in. Be ready to back up what it is you do with either some plausible explanation, or sheer stubborn will. Both is best.

  • Nothing on the internet ever, EVER dies.

  • it's your best friend, or your worst enemy, or sometimes both

  • If you made it where you are by being you, realize that people talk to you for being you, not at whatever subject matter they pick for you

  • I need to tattoo this one somewhere on my body. I have a huge problem of thinking that I've gotten a speaking/press thing out of some combination of luck, faith, and outright lies, and then procede to spend a ridiculous amount of time immersing myself in a subject, only to come out on the other end much more knowledgable, but with nothing interesting to say.