Happy New Year, and a look back at 2005

We spent the New Year’s Eve at our favorite rock star’s place having sauna, and welcoming the new year with Pikkuoravat, Verka Serduchka and Sovetskoe Shampanskoe. Globalization was really showing through, with SMS messages arriving in several languages and from several different time zones. Some samples:

  • Polish: Szczesliwego Nowego Roku
  • German: Ein frohes neues Jahr
  • Portuguese: Feliz ano novo
  • Italian: Felice nuov’anno
  • Frech: Bonne annee
  • Russian: S Novim Godom

While not as adventuristic as 2004 when I scaled mountains in Africa, rode the motorcycle in Caucasus and saw the Orange Revolution begin in Ukraine. The year 2005 was focused on learning and development.


The Midgard Site Creation Wizard was launched in early January making it easy to set up new websites from scratch. It also enabled creation of reusable style templates.

I started my flying lessons in late February at BF-lento, had the first solo flight in early May, and passed the check flight in August. After acquiring my Private Pilot’s License I’ve been flying at the Malmi Aviation Club.

In February I also got the first look at the Digital Business Ecosystem, an EU-funded project to developer peer-to-peer systems to help small companies to network and work together. DBE would later feature as a major OpenPsa feature.

Jukka Zitting, the original founder of the Midgard Project returned from hiatus in February and launched his own consultancy, Yukatan. One of his earliest projects was development of a Java Content Repository interface for Midgard. Since then he has also worked on other things like DBE and development of Exorcist, the cross-CMS replication tool.


In March, Midgard got its integrated content indexer based on Apache Lucene, which ensures all content changes are immediately available to search results.

We started the process of developing OpenPsa2 by visiting a partner company in Rome during early April. In addition to writing specifications, we also spent a lot of time scootering around the city and enjoying the ancient historical sites. Pope John Paul II died while we were in Rome, gathering millions of grievers to the city.

After the trip to Rome we gathered Midgard developers for a Midgard Developer Meeting in Helsinki. We amused the group with a sightseeing flight over the city, sauna and some Georgian food. The meeting resulted in some very nice new technologies, including the Query Builder database abstraction tool.

In end of April I also visited the Russian Open Source Forum to talk about the TownPortal community portal application we originally built for the town of Bælum in Denmark. Maddog told me lots of stories about free software in Brazil.

In May, MidCOM was established as the default PHP API for Midgard development. OpenPsa2 development was happening on top of MidCOM, and the Aegir2 project was started to replace the current Midgard administration interfaces.


Sometime between May and June, AJAX started to establish itself as a valid programming technique. It and Microformats enabled us to develop some very interesting UIs for the upcoming OpenPsa2 application.

In late June I joined the Shnjaka expedition to sail on a sown Viking ship on lake Onega. The trip took me to the backwoods and small villages of Carelia, and involved many different models of transportation including hitchhiking, several trains and back of a police car.

In early July, our partner Protie acquired the majority of FTC, the biggest Midgard hosting provider in Finland.

Midgard’s documentation started to move to wiki format in late July, powered by a new version of the net.nemein.wiki component. The move was completed during the fall, when all old documentation was Exorcised into the wiki.

In August we got Mac OS X packages of Midgard. The packages made installation on Mac systems very easy.


In September, Midgard got recognized in two categories of CMS Watch Vendor Kudos of 2005 list: Templating and Page Assembly.

Later in the month I flew to Tbilisi to present Midgard in Georgia. We spoke with several ISPs, the Georgian Parliament and Ministry of Education, and it will be interesting to see what will come out of that.

While in Georgia we also visited the Cave city of Varzia, and scaled the dangerous walls of the Vanis-Kvabebi cave fortress.

In October we got a new event calendar for Midgard, redesigned from ground up to support Microformats and the Pyhä skiing center activity calendar requirements.

In the last weekend of October we had another Midgard Developer Meeting in Linköping. As the AnyKey office is located in the nearby countryside, we were able to avoid the riots in the city.

During November we started fencing with Kerttu. As the only participants in the sabre course at Ylioppilasmiekkailijat, we got very good private instruction.

Tuomas Kuosmanen introduced us to the Tango Desktop Project by designing new user interfaces for both Aegir2 and OpenPsa2. Tango will play an important part in the visual identity of Midgard 2.

In late November I flew to Brazil to present Midgard and the DBE project at several conferences.

While in Brazil, I also attended the Nivea Sun Regata in Porto Alegre in the beginning of December. After brief run aground we finished fifth in the Ocean class.

In December we got the Pear packaging of MidCOM finally going. While the old PEAR versions gave us some problems, the PEAR 1.4 packager worked very well.

Conclusion of the year

During the year 2005 my blog readership rose steadily from about 500 visitors per day to over a thousand. In December I had 33,600 visitors reading the site from 10,300 IPs. Pretty satisfying growth, though I guess it will plateau now.

As for new year’s resolutions, I’d like to learn sabrage, and become better at customer service.

Harpers.org has a quite different kind of summary of 2005:

It was revealed that the CIA had set up a secret system of prisons, called “black sites,” around the world; it was also revealed that the National Security Agency was spying on Americans without first obtaining warrants. Journalist Judith Miller was released from jail and said she wanted to hug her dog. U.S. Congressman Tom DeLay was arrested; U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby was indicted. The Pentagon admitted to using white phosphorus during the 2004 attack on Fallujah, Iraq, and allocated $127 billion to build a robot army. The total number of American soldiers killed in the Iraq war rose to 2,174, while the total number of Iraqi civilians killed rose to 27,636. “We are all waiting for death,” said an Iraqi soldier, “like the moon waiting for sunset.” The U.S. Defense Department, in violation of the federal Privacy Act, was building a database of 30 million 16- to 25-year-olds. The Department of Homeland Security announced that it had wasted a great deal of money and needed much more. Starbucks came to Guantanamo Bay. Scientists began work on a complete, molecule-level computer simulation of the human brain. The project will take at least ten years.

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