I hereby decree

by David LeMieux


Today I made some tough decisions. I turned off PictureNest and I decided to shut down J.otDown. The driving factors for these decisions are varied, but ultimately the same result comes of them; I no longer have to worry.

PictureNest, to be brief, was a fun project that allowed people to take photo-booth-like photo strips using their webcams. The images were hosted on Amazon S3 and I created a uniquely database-free environment that made scalability a non-issue; nearly 30,000 strips (or 120,000 pictures) were taken in a time-span of almost a year. It was awesome. Recently, however, people have been using PictureNest to create obscene and inappropriate images. Ultimately I wanted the site to be G-rate (or PG), and I didn't want to have to manually moderate all the images every day. Neither did I want to face any trouble that may have come of it.

It was not an easy decision, and the problem wasn't unmanageable yet, but it was a preemptive strike against future problems. It is sad it had to be so.

J.otDown has been more or less useless for the past few weeks. My database account maxed out on file size and I didn't find a suitable replacement. I did make some headway on creating an S3/SimpleDB version, but ultimately decided that I really don't have the time. My life has gotten a lot busier, in good ways, and instead of trying to maintain a site that would eventually need more updating I again decided to plug the leak.

I hate to turn off things I make. It makes me sick, almost physically. I feel like I am letting people down. I feel like I am losing a part of me. That said, I now feel like a burden has been lifted.

Am I running away from the problems? Maybe. But I honestly don't feel like I have time to face them. The problems were not insurmountable, but there is a tipping point when something turns from a hobby in to a full-time gig. Sometimes that can be a great thing. This time, however, I contemplated that path and decided against it.

I may bring these services back. They will most likely be back in a different form.

For now they are over. I hit the reset button on my personal projects. The only real survivor is E.ggTimer and even that needs some attention. I will get to it soon, I hope.


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