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2021-09-10

5 Years

We made it to five years!

When I started writing PNut, it was in part to become a better programmer. I had built some minor apps for App.net, and was working on an effort to suspend spam accounts that were enveloping that network. As App.net's light started to fade, I began forming my code around ADN's requirements and reaching out to folks in the community.

One of the best qualities of those who've joined PNut has been how disparate the group has been, in general. It's also a particularly hard demographic to maintain, if I were to try. There aren't always strong existing friendships, or common hobbies that might keep us all together. It's natural for a group like ours to spread, as the Internet itself cements itself in the mainstream and other niches branch into our lives.

This Year

I wanted to mark and reflect on the past years of our small community, and I tried thinking of ways I could do that somewhat tangibly, and specifically for the real value of the network -- the unusual group of people here. I talked to my friend Greg MacNair, who's designed visuals for the Monday Night Dance Party on occasion, and asked him to make charicatures of our community members.

Below are gracious folks who let Greg mess with their likenesses, and each of them will be given a higher quality version to do with what they like. I'm hoping to catch 'em all, but we'll just have to see how far we can get -- hopefully I'll be asking you if I can have a charicature made of you later this year. ;-)

@thrrgilag @jdscolam @ludolphus @shawn

Thanks for being you.

@33MHz / Robert, on behalf of PNut

2021-02-27

Version 1.0

This year we get to celebrate version 1.0.0 of the API being released!

This is a stake in the ground, saying we will mature what has already been built, while also making many small improvements to the "terms of the deal" between the API and applications. The list of changes is large, mostly around making it easier for developers to work with it, and improvements to channels.

Now we're using the Rust language in production! It's fun to have it running.

Doomsday

Bad times have come and gone more ways than one in the last year! And we're still here. :)

We're still bumping along fine, with exciting development and a cool crew of cats hanging around the water cooler. There are no plans for that to change. If you want to be involved in Pnut on any level, I'm glad to hear what that might mean.

E-mail Digests

I want to highlight one feature from the release that you all can try out: periodic E-mail digests.

This can be enabled from https://pnut.io/account/notifications#digest, where you can set a few things to be notified about.

If you want to change the pace at which you are notified, you can use this to only get notifications once a day or every few days. The digests also include more interesting highlights, like "trending posts that are not replies, from people you follow", and "posts from people you follow who haven't posted much recently".

Anyone can now also get instantaneous E-mail notifications for follows, reposts, and bookmarks. :)

Explanations

We are fleshing out how Pnut and social media work in the About area of the site.

Take a look at the release notes for more specifics from this update!

@33MHz / Robert, on behalf of Pnut

2020-01-01.a

What we know so far - v0.9.5

Hello! We've been given a new year, and we are in #hackathon season.

I want to take a moment to look at Pnut's recent history. I keep open communication in the Developer chat room, so please do drop in there or just talk to me directly if you want to have input in the network or have questions.

Money

Pnut brings in a couple hundred dollars every month. After expenses, a little of the money stays in the bank. More than three years in, Pnut has the funds to survive for years, as far as regular expenses are concerned. The initial investment I made for server hardware included a duplicate of all the hardware in use, so hardware failures are already accounted for. We already made a full hard drive replacement once, preemptively.

If you support Pnut with money, that is fantastic! Thank you!

Over the years, some folks who've really wanted to support this project have had to stop their subscriptions, and that has been understandable. But the financials are a consistent encouragement to me.

Engagement

We had a strong start three years ago, and then a steady decline since App.net closed in March of 2018. If you look at basic stats, we've stayed fairly steady this year, after sliding down to a happy medium of activity in March.

We track just a handful of things that I can translate into engagement metrics. I know how many posts, messages, etc., were created in a period of time. The discerning developer will notice that the https://api.pnut.io/sys/stats endpoint gained a new field called counts.users.today on the last update, which is just a set of user IDs that have hit the API in the current UTC day. This is the closest Pnut has to a "monthly active user" metric, but it's daily.

These are napkin stats:

  • 90 accounts use Pnut in a daily fashion. Some of those are feeds or bots.
  • 110 human users create a post in a month.
  • 60 human users create a message in a month.

Development

Apps for users are the lifeblood of the network, and we still have good support for major platforms. There is a hearty band of developers who maintain and iterate their apps. This is a hobbyist platform for sure. We improve the infrastructure when we have time and when we have an itch to scratch.

Existing apps continue to be supported by the likes of @rafaelcosta, @ludolphus, @thrrgilag, @xyz, @ericd, @kwood, @lechindianer, @hutattedonmyarm, @dasdom, @ravisorg, @unixb0y, @mcdemarco... the list goes on!

New apps are still being built to fill needs – these recent additions, for example:

  • Gamma; an Android app from @xyz
  • PiNut; an iOS app from @unixb0y
  • html.is; a sparse but accessible web app by yours truly

The Takeaway

We are a small community that supports itself financially and with developer support. I think there are some holes in our community engagement. I think that is what I am worst at. This year I will be challenged to either foster a more lively community, or slip past another threshold of holding attention.

We don't need to worry about Monthly Active Users or harsh statistics like other social networks, but there is a felt loss of perspectives and stalwart users that I think discourages other folks from sticking around.

Cheers to a new year!

(You can take a look at the Developer change log for details on the latest API update.)

@33MHz / Robert, on behalf of Pnut

2018-12-31.a

New Year, New Update - v0.9.2

As we close out the year, we have a few improvements to get out the door. Most of it is behind the scenes or small changes. But we wanted to note that instead of developers paying a recurring fee, they will now only pay $42 once.

Existing developers no longer have any expenses there.

Happy New Year!

Developer change log

2018-09-13.a

Badges - v0.9.1

The badge system has been updated to actually have multiple badges. You're welcome to suggest a badge that would be fitting for our community on the GitHub repository.

We've also increased accessibility via RSS, and given visibility to responses to your polls. Hope you enjoy!

Developer change log

2018-06-00.a

User Streams - v0.9.0

This update has been a long time coming! The major new features is User Streams, which is a much faster way for some clients to connect.

With this update, there are a few streamlining changes for accounts and payments.

Now, even invited users, without a Pnut Badge, will have 512MiB of free storage. This simplifies app development, is more convenient for users, and opens more possibilities for apps.

Users can now gift a 1-year Pnut Badge to another user for $30, giving themselves and the new user an extra month on their paid badges at no charge.

And going forward, any new user is either free with an invite, or $30/year or $5/month with a Pnut Badge.

Take a look at the other changes below!

Developer change log

2017-11-30.a

Translations - v0.7.5

With the latest changes, we've introduced a simple way for people to contribute localizations of the account area of pnut.io! We just have French and English so far, but it will be fun to see what other translations we can get together.

There are also bookmark E-mail notifications for pnut Badge supporters, and a number of smaller improvements. App Streams are becoming much more useful, with many stability and efficiency improvements, making them more useful for notifications and server-side apps.

Developer change log

2017-11-16.a

Audio, Access, And More Refinements - v0.7.4

With today's update, audio uploads are now treated as first-class files! We now have more tools for developers to handle audio files.

@xyz's open source app, beta is now being used for canonical posts and user profiles! His app has become a very nice part of the ecosystem, and we're glad to put it front and center, so new users can jump into a smooth experience from the start, and then explore new apps from there.

For many more details, check the Developer change log.

2017-10-14.a

House Cleaning - v0.7.3

There are a number of slight improvements and adjustments to the site and API. The biggest change is that you don't have to have an invite to sign up for pnut, anymore. Without an invite, you can simply pay for the pnut badge benefits ($5/month or $50/year) and create your account!

You can read more details on the developer change log.

2017-09-30.a

App Directory - v0.7.2

Hello again! We're glad to be bringing improvements to the app directory with this update. They are sorted into a few categories, and you can now recommend them! You can see people you follow who have recommended an app, as well.

This update also has redesigned some of pnut.io, a few small performance improvements, and users now have "badges"! We'll be bringing more to badges in a future update. For now, developers can start to play with the basics.

As always, you can read the more technical changes on the developer change log.

2017-09-10.a

Personal Data Export - v0.7.1

This is a small update, but I wanted to explain one particular piece of it: now the Storage link in your account side bar has been changed to Data, and it has a link to request that your data be sent to you. It will zip everything into a file and send you a link in your E-mail, to download it.

Pretty simple. Currently, it does not include your storage files, if you have any. It really is a minimal export, with just the data from your posts, messages, etc.

The update gives developers a few refinements, there are a couple performance improvements, and better app pages.

Thanks to everyone for making the first year of pnut a wonderful ride!

2017-08-27.a

Search - v0.7.0

We now have basic user, channel, message, and post search in the API!

Developers can now handle files more easily, with derivative files and automatic thumbnail creation of images.

Also with this update, TOTP login authentication is available to any user, whether you have a pnut badge or not.

Head over to the developer change log for more details.

2017-07-25.a

Files - v0.6.0

Today the API has been upgraded and the account and website interfaces have been updated significantly. You can read the more technical details in the API Changes.

Two major changes to the landscape here at pnut are the addition of file storage and, with it, an opportunity to support pnut more directly. Something of a business model has emerged for our hobby love. I want to keep the financials legitimate, so I didn't want to introduce a "free tier" storage teaser. But I also didn't want to bar anyone from reasonably having file storage if they want it, and it is also better for those who want to donate to have as few third parties as possible -- so storage and a few other perks have been packaged in a "pay-what-you-want" subscription. You may pay as little as $3 USD on a monthly or $10 USD on an annual subscription, getting you:

  • 10GiB File Storage
  • Repost and follow E-mail notifications
  • RSS feed of personal and unified streams
  • multi-factor authentication for pnut.io

To enable these features, buy a badge! (If you're already giving through Patreon, we would be glad for you to move your contribution here instead, so we can give you these features for your support!)

Finally, developers will be able to build attachments into posts and messages without a third party service!

New developers will also have to pay $10 a year.

We hope you enjoy sharing photos and playing with files!

2017-04-15.a

New Logo! - v0.5.0

Today the API has been upgraded and the account and website interfaces have been updated. You can read the more technical details in the API Changes.

We now have a logo! Many thanks go to @brainseller for championing a clever, sensible, clean logo.

The largest API change in this update for end-users is that "App Streams" have been released; this allows developers to send you much more timely and efficient notifications, especially for Channels and private messages, where it was unreasonable to do so previously.