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The best Royal Pingdom posts of 2008 (Happy Holidays!)

First of all, a big thank you to all our readers. We hope we have been able to provide you with interesting, fun and thought-provoking articles over the past year, and if you have discovered this blog recently, thank you for joining our ranks!

We have published more than 200 posts in 2008. Since we won’t be updating the blog until next Monday (December 29), here is a selection of our very best and most popular posts from 2008 to keep you entertained in the meantime. They are listed below in chronological order (starting with posts from last January).

Happy Holidays everyone, and we’ll see you back here next week! Thank you for reading! :)

(To read an article, just click on its headline.)

Web hosting names that make you go “Huh?”

There are a lot of web hosting companies out there with unusual, strange, or just plain weird names (and URLs). We collected some of the strangest ones in this post, and even more were added in the comments by our readers.

The state of Linux according to Google

This is a look at the state of Linux through the eyes of Google Trends, Google’s highly useful search trend analyzer, comparing distributions, desktop environments and more.

When data center cabling becomes art

We have posted pics of some truly messy data center cabling in the past, but this time we figured it was time to do the opposite: Show how some people have managed to organize cables into something close to art.

The seven largest Open Source deals ever

In light of the billion-dollar MySQL acquisition, we decided to find the largest deals in open source history. A lot of open source companies have been bought in the last couple of years, with hundreds of millions of dollars trading places in the process.

Web hosting now vs 10 years ago

It’s no secret that there has been an on-going war over customers in the web hosting industry for many years. Together with the technical evolution of computer hardware, this fierce competition has drastically increased what you get for your money when you buy a web hosting account. This post compares what web hosts are offering now with what they did 10 years ago. The difference is startling.

When geeks and graffiti combine

This is a geek graffiti collection with some really cool pictures from all around the world, all with some relation to IT or the Internet.

17 brilliant 404 pages and why they are cool

When you end up following a dead or incorrect link or mistype a URL, you are likely to end up on a 404 error page. It doesn’t have to be a bad experience, though. We prowled the Web for funny and original takes on this classic error page and ended up with 17 great examples.

How we got from 1 to 162 million websites on the Internet

We have come a long way since the first baby steps of the World Wide Web. Back in January of 1996 we had 100,000 websites, and if we go back to mid-1993 there were only a total of 130 websites. So how has the number of websites grown over time? Here is how we got from 1 to 162 million websites on the Internet.

The history of computer data storage, in pictures

Nowadays we are used to having hundreds of gigabytes of storage capacity in our computers. Even tiny MP3 players and other handheld devices usually have several gigabytes of storage. This was pure science fiction only a few decades ago. For example, the first hard disk drive to have gigabyte capacity was as big as a refrigerator, and that was in 1980. Not so long ago! This post is a is a look back at some interesting storage devices from the early computer era.

Map of all Google data center locations

When Data Center Knowledge published its “Google Data Center FAQ”, we used that information to construct a map with all current and under-construction Google data center locations that are known today.

Google domain names – the funny, strange and surprising

Google owns a whole bunch of domain names other than the obvious ones like google.com, blogger.com and gmail.com. We decided to find out which ones, with some truly surprising results.

What the inside of a container data center looks like

There has been a lot of talk about container data centers lately (sometimes also called modular data centers). Most of the time we are only presented with an image of a branded shipping container, but let’s face it, all the interesting stuff is on the inside!

Gallery of Network Operations Centers

A Network Operations Center rests at the heart of every telecom network or major data center, a place to keep an eye on everything. This is a set of pictures of different NOCs from telecom companies and data centers (and one content delivery network), some amazing, some more modest.

Smart and funny use of Google Adwords

Text ads can be smart, funny, and sometimes unintentionally hilarious when they show up in the wrong context. Let yourself be amused and/or inspired by this list of really funny and original text ads from Google Adwords.

IT posters to cover your empty walls

If you’re like us and have lots of empty wall space in your office you need to check out this list. We collected a list of posters that focus on interesting information rather than nice-looking sunsets. And of course all are computer and network related.

Javascript framework usage among top websites

Which Javascript frameworks are the most common? To answer that question, we examined a set of almost 200 popular websites to see if they use a Javascript framework, and in that case which one.

Women in Open Source

There are lots of women involved in Open Source, but for some reason men just seem to stick their nose out more and put themselves in positions where they are seen (and of course there are more of them). This post highlights some of the most influential women in Open Source.

Social network popularity around the world

With the help of Google data, we looked at 12 of the top social networks to answer a simple, but highly interesting question: Where are they the most popular?

New SSL policy in Firefox hurting tens of thousands of sites

With Firefox 3, Mozilla changed the way Firefox handles SSL certificates. This change could scare away visitors from tens of thousands of websites that have expired or self-signed SSL certificates.

Linux popularity across the globe

The Linux landscape is constantly changing and has a strong community of both developers and users. But where is Linux the most popular, and where are the different Linux distributions the most popular?

23 awesome license plates for computer geeks

We here at Pingdom are computer geeks, and proud of it. None of us have any geeky vanity plates (custom license plates) on our cars, though. But others have, and we love those. This post is a gallery of pictures of some of the coolest vanity plates we have ever seen, collected from around the Web.

The Web back in 1996-1997

Back in 1996 the Web was starting to gain some serious momentum, but it was still just a few years old. Now in 2008, looking 12 years back into the past of the Web can be a both nostalgic and entertaining experience.

Why is almost half of Google in beta?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a beta is “a nearly complete prototype of a product.” Google is known for keeping their products in beta (much) longer than most other companies. But exactly how many of their products are in beta? When we investigated this, it turned out that out of the 49 Google products we could find, 22 were in beta. That’s 45%!

10 amazingly alternative operating systems and what they could mean for the future

This post is about the desktop operating systems that fly under the radar of most people. We are definitely not talking about Windows, Mac OS X or Linux, or even BSD or Solaris. There are much less mainstream options out there for the OS-curious.

Blue Screen of Death in unexpected locations

The infamous Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) probably hasn’t escaped the notice of anyone who has used a computer in the last decade or so. There is actually a ridiculous amount of BSOD photos to be found around the Web. And not just of PCs. As this post will show you, the blue error screen seems to show up everywhere, and often in highly unexpected locations.

A visual history of 11 successful blogs

Many of the blogs that have a huge following today go back to much more humble beginnings. This post is a look at how they got started and what they looked like in their early days, compared to today.

Load size analysis of the top 100 blogs

This report presents an analysis of 100 top blogs, picked from the Technorati top 100 list. For each of these blogs, the front page (homepage) has been analyzed to see how large its download size is and what contributes the most to this size.

How nine of the world’s largest tech companies got started

Many of today’s largest tech companies, such as Sony, Nokia, Samsung and IBM, have been around for a very long time (some since the 1800s). Their beginnings were often very humble, and it is fascinating to look back and see how they actually got started.

The world’s most super-designed data center – fit for a James Bond villain

This underground data center has greenhouses, waterfalls, German submarine engines, simulated daylight and can withstand a hit from a hydrogen bomb. It looks like the secret HQ of a James Bond villain. And it’s real.

The history of PC hardware, in pictures

It’s easy to forget that PCs have only been around for a couple of decades, and initially were nowhere near the powerhouses we have on our desks today. For example, did you know that the first “portable” computer weighed 25 kg (55 lb) and cost close to $20,000, that the first laser printer was big enough to fill up most of a room, or that you basically had to build the first Apple computer yourself?

We hope you like this collection of posts. Happy reading!