Ahoy, dear friends, followers and newbie Steemians!
I will explain the reasons for the hiatus in a different post, I owe you that much.
Last week, a discussion broke out between two of my schoolmates about Bitcoin, with one, who had heard of it only two weeks earlier and having done no research about it whatsoever, taking quite an agressively skeptical stance, stating outright "I don't trust it, I can't touch it". As you know, I'm not really a cryptocurrency enthusiast and heeded Steemit's call merely for the promise of free speech; however, the months I spent among so many anarchocapitalists and cryptotraders made a deep impact on my understanding of the underlying philosophies and principles, and so I could forward and explain some of the arguments and viewpoints. The strongest of which was "cryptocurrency bought me a great weekend in Amsterdam", of course :)
The other schoolmate had friends who held BTC and hence was informed on their current value. The last figure I had in my head was something around 600$, but he cited much higher values. So I did the only reasonable thing to do in this time and age: I whipped out my smartphone and looked it up on the internet.
Being a lazy ass, I simply went through my bookmarks to go to coinmarketcap.com instead of typing it out (I still don't like touchscreen keyboards). I forgot, however, that my bookmark went directly to coinmarketcap.com/currencies/steem – can you imagine my surprise to find STEEM valued at ~$1? The last time I checked, it was crawling around the $.15-$.20 floor!
So I used the Whitsun holidays to do what I did back when I registered on steemit.com: I shut up and observed; this time with the added benefits of a better knowledge of the culture, a feed of contributors I'm following and knowing which "whales" are working on the technical backend.
I found I missed a few important moments in the development – some I didn't.
Steemit is still in beta. That was a surprise. Not a big one, but still.
Basic social media functionality has still not been implemented. PMs, for example, or something like a profile page. But it is possible to upload profile pictures and define an "About" field, which is a small step in the right direction.
@dan threw the towel. Damn! I really liked his philosophical, well-educated views on many topics regarding freedom and ecomony and government, although his approach is completely different from my own. I hope he will have his hands and mind free now to continue his efforts to make the world a better place with engineering.
The bickering among the "whales" and factions has not ceased. And that's a good thing; where there is dissent, there is discussion, and from the extremes of differing opinions can arise a better consensus.
It is now possible to directly upload images from submit.html – great feature!
New and better tools have been developed. steemdb.com (a block explorer) and asksteemit.com (a search engine) caught my eye first and foremost, but I'm sure there are more; the community is surely thriving!
NSFW content can be shown or hidden according to user preferences. It is good to be treated as an adult.
The next hardfork will implement linear rewards. A great experiment to undertake.
Resteems and original content are still mixed up on the blog page.
Without doubt, a lot more happened in these six months, and I am sure each of you has a different view on what was important or defined the direction Steemit is heading into. How many make-up video tutorials and plastic balloons have ruffled everyone's feathers? Are pictures of weed buds still a safe source of income? Why was Steemit not ready for "Mogul"? :p