Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Bagels suck, what’s up?

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

It’s been 2 years!

I’m an engineering manager at Twitter, I had another child (A boy named River!), and life is great!


Friday, October 2nd, 2009


Another crazy couple of weeks. Two weeks ago I went out to NYC to meet with some investors and potential customers about Vanilla. Had an amazing time hooking up with everyone, and also managed to squeeze in some socializing with old friends from the very first forum I ever created – the one that inspired Vanilla.


Yesterday I just got back from San Francisco where we pitched Vanilla at the annual TechStars San Francisco investor day. The response to Vanilla has been fantastic, and we’ve met a ton of bright & interesting new investors as a result.

Now that I’m back I’ll finally have a little bit of time to help out people at the community forum. But there’s no rest for the wicked, and I’ve already got a long list of meetings lined up with investors.

Read Write Web Interview

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

I was recently interviewed by Jolie O’Dell from Read Write Web. Check it out!

Source: Video Interview with Founder of Vanilla, “A WordPress for Forums”

Jolie did an awesome job of editing so that I didn’t look like an idiot. For example, I am 6’4″ tall, and I accidentally kicked the camera during the interview. She ninja’d that right out of there.

Regarding “A WordPress for Forums”: I’ve heard a lot of people saying that since I got down here to Boulder & TechStars. I think people see the correlation because WordPress and Vanilla are both open source projects, they both focus on delivering something elegant and easy to use, and Vanilla is now trying to do what WordPress has done by turning it into a real business through these various revenue streams. I met Matt Mullenweg this past Monday and joked with him that I had purchased!

The bottom line is that WordPress is amazing, and I find the comparison very flattering.

Thanks to Jolie for the interview!

The Vanilla Blog

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

It’s long overdue that I take all my Vanilla & Garden related posts and put them somewhere separate from my personal blog, and that day has finally come. I’m happy to introduce you to The Vanilla Blog.

I’m going to be making my best efforts to post regularly to that blog about anything and everything related to my work with Vanilla.

How Do You Use Vanilla?

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

foobar graph

I’m doing some research for an article I’m writing, and I thought it might be better to once again reach out to the people who use Vanilla.

How do you use Vanilla?

ie. A support forum? A fansite? etc

How has Vanilla been helpful to you in achieving your goals?

ie. My customers got the answers they needed; We grew a great community of fans; etc

Has Vanilla saved you money? time?

Please share as much information as you want. You can post in the comments here on this blog, or email me at mark [at] lussumo [dot] com.


Garden & Vanilla 2 on GitHub Now

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

Garden Platform

After a very long week of scrambling, Garden & Vanilla 2 are now available on GitHub.

Things you need to know:

1. Garden & Vanilla 2 are currently beta products that contain bugs and incomplete features.
2. Garden & Vanilla 2 should not currently be placed on production servers.
3. There is a first draft of documentation available at
4. You can not currently upgrade your Vanilla 1 database to Vanilla 2 with the code at GitHub (you’ll be able to soon).
5. If you start to use this code, be prepared to erase your Garden/Vanilla database a few times before the codebase is final. Data WILL be lost.

About GitHub

We are absolute newbies to GitHub. We’ve heard fantastical and amazing things about it, and we can’t wait to start working with all of you on patches, fixes, merges, branches, and all that awesome stuff. Please be patient with us as we learn the subtle nuances of GitHub.

Contributor’s Agreements

We’ve been speaking with a number of lawyers and leaders in the open source world since we got to TechStars. These people have helped us to decide upon releasing the code under the GPLv2, just like Vanilla 1 was. They’ve also recommended that we have contributors sign a contributor agreement before we take any code from anyone. So, if you find a bug and want to fix it, you will have to agree to our contributor agreement first. We will be using the industry standard Sun contributor’s agreement. We will be announcing the URL where you can review and agree to the contributor’s agreement next week. You can also just contact us directly and we’ll get the agreement to you. You can review our contributor’s agreement here. Please note that you must have an account at the Lussumo community forum in order to contribute.

Issue Tracking

If you download the code and encounter errors, please use the issue tracker at GitHub. We will be retiring the old one and moving our existing issues over to GitHub this week.

What Next?

Sleep. Glorious Sleep.

Updates & Downtimes

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009


I am pleased to announce that I have worked out a deal with Rackspace to get moved to their new cloud solution. This, of course, will mean some downtime on (and sister-sites) sometime within the next two weeks. I’ll be announcing the exact time after I get everything in place.

I’m even more pleased to announce that the Garden code has now been opened up to a handful of developers from the Lussumo community. We’ve made the transition from SVN to GIT, which is proving to have a bit of a learning curve for me, but should assist greatly with the distributed development that a project like this needs. They have also set up a trac issue tracker and are in the process of creating a roadmap and bug & incomplete-features list. We’ll be making that open to the public around the same time that the public beta goes out. I have to give a hearty thanks to Damien Lebrun (Dinoboff) who has been leading the charge in all of this progress.

Gimme Gimme Gimme

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

Canadians: Make Your Voice Heard

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

Subversion: I’m a fan

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

No, I’m not talking about the act of overthrowing. I’m talking about the version control tool. Many years ago I was introduced to the concept of version control, and I loved the idea of it. However, at the time, the implementations available (especially the Microsoft-OS-Based ones) were sub-par.

When I decided to release Vanilla to the public a couple of years ago, I started using Subversion to manage my code-base. At the time, I was the only developer working on the project. This *kind of* defeats the purpose of version control, but it worked great for me because I had an instant back-up of my code across various machines; and I knew that no matter what happened, I wouldn’t lose all of my hard work.

Over the years, the best thing I’ve noticed about Subversion is just how little you have to use it. I truly believe that any great technology should be judged by how much it stays out of the way. It’s there, doing it’s thing, and you almost never have to touch it or even remember that it’s there. Subversion falls into this category so well that I have to go back to the book almost every time I need to do something other than committing my changes or updating to the latest ones from the repository.

I recently had a massive problem on one of my client installations. The system was live, and one of the pages that they had previously not been using started to get used. This page, as it turned out, had a huge number of memory leaks. SQL Server started choking, and before I knew what was going on, my customers had been completely locked out of their database. The real issue was that I hadn’t done an upload to the live system in over a month. This meant that the development version of the application had over a month’s worth of changes in it that had not yet been fully tested and could not be pushed to Live. If it wasn’t for subversion, I would have been completely screwed.

Here’s how I fixed the problem. I checked out the latest copy of the codebase to a folder on my computer. Then I updated to the revision of the codebase that was committed *just* before my last upload to Live. Then I worked on that codebase, fixed the problems, recompiled and replaced the Live system with the fixed version.

I had the problem fixed in a couple of hours thanks to this awesome tool that never gets in my way and is always there, working, when I need it. So, yeah. Subversion? I’m a fan.