An outline of how we got started, where we’ve been, and where we looking to get to
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2016

A technology conundrum

If you had to create a new type of community that was flexible, allowed members to come and go (yet be notified when someone replies to their posts, or when something new was posted), suited your needs, came with all the modern trappings you’d expect from today’s technology, and didn’t, well….. suck, what would it look like ?

2017

A catchy name

Let’s take two words – well, one to start with. I wanted something different, and “phenomenal” was always on the list, but needed to be shortened to ensure that the remaining word meant that the length of the domain didn’t exceed 8 characters. In this day and age, you’d be surprised at just how difficult that is. The second part of the name popped into my head after watching TV (although I can’t remember the program) – “lab”. I played with the two words for a while, then chose to drop “enal” from “phenomenal” and then suffix with “lab” – landing up with “phenomlab”.

Domain registered

Well, it’s a start. The domain of phenomlab.com (plus other extensions) is registered. Not entirely sure what I’m going to do with this yet, but I have an idea that I want to test…

Twitter account renamed

My original account of “cybersnort” (yes, I know…) was renamed to phenomlab to partner with the new domain I’d created. It’s all about the branding after all….

Sharing knowledge

I started writing some articles around how to survive in Information Technology and Security (some of which I’ve resurrected and placed on the hub) around July 2017 as a way of “documenting” my journey from start to finish. I then hit on the idea of helping others with their journey, and began offering advice and assistance for those looking to get into the industry. Such advice ranged from reviewing resumes to which courses / classes that person should take.

Being a mentor

I decided to offer my services for free to act as a mentor for those looking to gain entry into the Information Security (InfoSec) profession. After 27 year’s experience myself – all of which self taught – what better way to give something back to the industry I fell in love with aged 16 than to train others and help them on their journey to become the “next generation” ?

2018

Raising awareness

There’s always the need to raise awareness around Information Security, and technology alike – in terms of how it can enrich your life, but on the flip side, make it much worse if that same technology is not secured properly. People seem to be blissfully unaware of how simply it is for a cyber criminal to gain access to your email account for example, and it’s time we changed that. Rather than taking a foie-gras approach, wouldn’t it be better to use a structured approach like discussion ? Where people can ask questions and get decent answers ? Yes, of course it would…

2019

The “hub” idea

The idea and foundation for the hub is born. One developer, one goal, one mission. To deliver a discussion forum that stands out above all others by allowing you to discuss literally anything related to Information Technology and Security

Development begins

And so, it begins. The first line of fully productive code that will eventually land up as the phenomlab.com product is written. It’s a small segment of what it is today, but it’s a start – and heading in the right direction. Being a sole developer is a lonely experience though…

News bot added

“Nucleus Bot” added – to be used for automated postings such as the news feed, and much more in the future. The general idea here is that we take news articles from various reputable sources, and discuss them as a way of raising awareness, increasing knowledge, etc…

Switch from GA to Matomo

We’ve decided that GA (Google Analytics) collects far too much information for our liking, and we really can’t be sure just how much of this is being shared with third parties. Based on this, we still track usage of the platform, but now host this ourselves via https://matomo.org/

New caching engine added

We’ve recently added a new caching system, which will provide a huge speed boost to both the main website (where you are now), and the discussion forum over at https://hub.phenomlab.com. Take a look at some of the speeds we’re able to achieve (in seconds) ?

Privacy controls enhanced

What do we know about true privacy ? Not very much it seems if you consider the recent Facebook scandals. On numerous occasions, we’ve heard about information concerning individuals shared with other organisations that were never given that right in the first place.

2020

CDN support added

We’ve recently added CDN support, which should make the site much faster for those visiting from countries outside of the UK ! Seeing as the founder of this platform is also the co-founder of https://hoppyhope.org (a self funded rabbit sanctuary), it made perfect sense for us to partner with BunnyCDN 🙂

Single Sign-On added

We’ve made some significant changes to the authentication mechanism of Phenomlab. This means that the login location has changed, and after a short transition, you’ll no longer be able to login at https://hub.phenomlab.com – instead, you’ll need to login at https://phenomlab.net/session/login. We’ve made this change in order to support a number of new integrations that require the linking of the main website here, with the forum. Taking this route means we can extend the capabilities already on offer – meaning you get an enhanced experience 🙂

Removal of Google ReCaptcha

What is is with Google and their policies around grabbing as much info as they can ? Here at Phenomlab, we believe in true privacy. Based on this, we’ve started removing Google ReCaptcha from this site, replacing with Honey Pots where we can. Privacy isn’t a “nice to have” – its a right.

Major profile area overhaul

We’re currently developing a major new design – in fact, a complete overhaul of the profile system ! We are positive that you’ll absolutely love the changes, and the new functionality they bring. Watch this space for more updates – we’re almost ready for launch 🙂

Real-time notifications

We’ve recently enabled real-time notifications. Previously, you’d need to reload the page to see new discussions, replies, reactions etc, but now, you don’t need to.

Private messaging added

We now have private messaging on the community hub ! This is fully encrypted end-to-end, and is so secure, not even an admin can view your message ! More about this exciting new feature to follow.

Migration to .net domain

Phenomlab.com is soon going to be changing it’s domain space to Phenomlab.net and will be hosted on a new server. Nothing will change in terms of logins etc – this site will be redirected and will become https://hub.phenomlab.net. Similarly, the main site where you login will continue to function, but will instead be redirected to https://phenomlab.net.

I’m looking at splitting what Phenomlab does into two segments. The .net part of it will continue to operate in this manner, and will always be available (and more importantly, free). The .com version will eventually be spun off into another project.
Watch this space, as I will provide updates here

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