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[email protected] | 09Apr2017 | Yaroslav Kokodyniak

Easter Sunday 16 April 2017 InfoUkes will be online for 20 years

It appears that Easter Sunday this year InfoUkes will be online for 20 years. Had not realized it till I was doing some maintenance work on some of our servers the other week.

We started off with 6 individuals & 1 server in 1997 and it dropped off very quickly to just Dr. Andy Ukrainec and myself and eight servers. we went from an original 128kb/s isdn to 1.5 Mbits/s ADSL to our present 25 Mbit/s VDSL line. One has to be insane to do such a thing without support from the community but realized the community was not capable of running such an entity -- oh man you do not want to hear our original meetings with community organizations -- there was a professor obsessed with penthouse.com :O. Long story on how Andy and I counted how many times this professor mentioned it -- I am still in awe for somebody with a PhD -- if I told you, I would seem out to lunch at some of the shit I heard. Both Andy & myself have gone thru dark periods in our lives that distracted ourselves from the site and at protracted times it appeared we had completely disappeared off the radar screen (after a few years of InfoUkes inception) other than keeping the site running which also requires a lot of effort.

I used to get "hostile" calls in the middle of the night when InfoUkes first came on line -- I actually used to confront them and 1 or 2 had long conversations. Just shocked me that Canadian anglos were upset about a Ukrainian web site coming on line -- seems most were left wing extremists at the time. BTW, I also got death threats from people claiming to be KGB -- I laughed. Considering Litvinenko, I guess that was not wise LoL. But hey I am still alive

It appears we are the original and only existing Ukrainian community server after all these years -- there is one other that started after us in the diaspora, but it has less than 2% of the content. The List servers started back in 1990 by Dr. Andrew Ukrainec on a server placed in a back corner of a laboratory in McMaster University electrical engineering lab. Professors and lab techs never noticed it but the professors of the department were so proud of the volume of web traffic going to this laboratory yet never realizing it was a Ukrainian server sitting on their premises in a back quiet corner and not their servers. I also had a server running in the Mechanical Engineering department at the University of Toronto till it was shut down by the administration -- it seems topics like Holodomor/Famine & Internment were considered inappropriate for a university engineering lab.

(I was raked over the coals by the Chairman of the department, who was also my PhD professor/advisor -- I payed a personal heavy price -- no PhD despite being told by people in the National Aeronatics Establishment [NAE] of the National Reserach Council [NRC] my work was equivalent to 2 PhDs -- also, almost became a Canadian Astronaut during that time period -- was in the the top 19-49 out of 5330 applicants for a final 6 candidates -- close but no cigar LoL) --

I ended up moving the web materials to the McMaster server, thus starting the web aspect of the McMaster server. In the end, we had to create a server independent of the lab because of certain individuals in the USA who complained to University administration of the servers on their premises, thus InfoUkes was born.

Still trying to determine if we made an impact or not. The organizations I tried to wake up to the power of the internet are still mired in a lawyer mentality and treat their websites as such, instead of a living breathing entity. Various academics did wake up and have proven positive in their endeavours via blogs, online articles, social media and such. At times we have thought we were truly insane doing what we did because we were not always sure we were reaching out to the right people.

Our sucess stories include waking up Canada on the internment issue, being insane enough to staying online for 20+ years with a negative income stream. Many people in the community insisted that they would crush us -- always laughed and said please do as they had no concept of what is required to keep such a beast running & growing. Nobody ever crushed us in Canada & USA. We still get approximately 100k+ hits a day

Glad to see that people in Ukraine used such technology for the Orange Revolution and later the EuroMaidan. They were more successful in using the technologies that we always advocated as a leveler of the playing field. They were the ones that actually took what we did initially much farther and had a greater impact. That is a good thing and they should be credited for that.

Been working on content wrt the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Hope to have it online soon which will make us the source for such material. Anyways everybody will be the judge of that.

Despite being online for 20 years, we had survived many Russian DDoS attacks and had remained online despite such attacks -- you do not know what effort was required to battle it off, but we succeeded. We are under a persistent attack from central Russia (for the last year or so) via a bot-net but they are for the most part neutralized/mitigated. We also had never been hacked despite very many attempts to do so. Guess it helps having two engineers with advanced engineering degress running the servers and both being total computer geeks. :)  Also log everything so we see the attacks happening in real time.

I laugh that UWC -- after being on our site for 10 years and was never hacked despite numerous aggressive attempts (especially after I helped them recover their domain which was taken over by a foreign entity during the Orange Revolution), decided to stiff us for their bill -- was hacked within months at a new site several times. Never happened when they hosted on our site. Difference of having computer savvy engineers running the show versus hacks they went to after and charged them much more for just hosting. But hey that is lawyers -- the original pond scum. :)

But I digress. The mail lists are small but the site is humongous -- still have more GB's online than other sites and still is secure. Content needs work but there is never enough time. :)

The underlieing infrastructure is about to be changed in a major way -- very long work in progress that I mentioned a few years back -- part of it as I have to get off my ass and do it -- I always seem to get to 95% of the way and stop. The 9th server is about to come online. I guess working security is always the issue. I want air tight security.

Anyways 20 years is still a major benchmark and thought worth mentioning.

Still we are wondering if it is worth the pain as everybody is a critic. As I am insane it will continue LoL :)

DISCLAIMER: I did not speak on behalf of Dr. Andy Ukrainec.

take care

Gerald William Kokodyniak M.A.Sc.
InfoUkes Inc.
[email protected]

[W.Z. It is amazing how quickly 20 years have passed in our lives and in the life of Ukraine. The above ramblings by Gerry Kokodyniak on the Politics mailing list provide an intriguing glimpse into the evolution  of the InfoUkes website, which has played such a major role in the Ukrainian digital world. Perhaps Mr. Kokodyniak and Dr. Ukrainec could be induced to write an autobiographical book on their experiences. Further, perhaps some aspiring PhD student might consider writing a thesis on the historical development of Ukrainian presence on the Internet in Canada, the United States, Europe and within Ukraine.

As I have written previously, Gerry Kokodyniak and Stefan Lemieszewski have been posting on the Politics mailing list very insightful articles concerning the Russian hybrid war against Ukraine and the corruption prevalent within Ukraine and around the world.]