Milestone: 100!

On June 18, 2017 – a little over two months after launch – Free Radical got its 100th verified user. Onward and upward! I made a celebratory baked potato, but since no one showed up to share it, I ate it myself.

Market-leading growth

Our user base has grown by 24% since yesterday, and at this rate we should have 100,000 users a month from now. I’m in talks with venture capitalists.

No, really, an entire month with S3

A couple of weeks ago, I described a month’s worth of experience with hosting Free Radical’s media on S3. This update responds to some predictions now that I have an entire calendar month under my belt.

One month in with S3

When I was estimating Free Radical’s operating costs, I predicted that S3 storage growth would be linear. That turned out to be very much the case.

Costs of hosting a small server

I had no idea how much it would cost to host a Mastodon instance. This is for everyone like I was who’s thinking about running their own server but wants to know what to expect.

Free Radical currently has 62 users. The numbers here are what I pay our small little instance and would certainly jump up if we grew by a factor of 100x.

Translating toots with Workflow

If you’re using Mastodon on an iPhone, you’re probably using the excellent Amaroq client. For some very good reasons, it doesn’t have a built-in feature to translate toots into your own language. That’s OK, though. We can implement that ourselves!

This will walk you through the process of installing Workflow on your iPhone, then configuring Amaroq to use it to translate toots from your timeline. There are a lot of steps here, but most of them are for the one-time setup. Don’t worry: you won’t have to do all of these every time you want to read something written in French.

Our first silenced instance

I silenced our first domain this morning (and updated the status page) because a user pointed out questionable content and I agreed with their assessment.

Much has been said about that particular instance and I’m not getting into all that. It did want to comment on the rationale behind the action, though:

Why I've automated deployments

Free Radical is running on a Digital Ocean VPS. Instead of deploying it manually, I turned the process into a couple of Ansible playbooks1 that do the right things quickly and repeatably.

I describe what it does in the README, but that’s just a feature checklist. So why would I go through the effort? There are several reasons:

Migrating media to S3

This morning, I moved all of the user-generated content on Free Radical from local storage to S3. It was completely painless and Just Worked – yay! There are a few reasons why this can be a great idea:

Beginnings

I launched the Free Radical Mastodon instance on Friday, April 7, 2017. It was approximately the 250th instance in the fediverse and there were about 100,000 users. Today, 6 days later, there are 613 instances and 222,814 users. Make that 223,021. No, 223,050.

We are growing like wildfire.