I have upgraded my nodes to Steem v0.18.0. Edit: Now on v0.18.1. This means my witness node will participate in the scheduled 17th and 18th hard forks happening tomorrow, Thursday March 30th at 15:00 UTC (11:00 AM Eastern US).
If you're not familiar with what is changing with the Steem network, read the changelogs here and here. There are a few changes that every user will notice, so get ready to learn a bit after tomorrow!
A big thanks to the Steemit Inc team for listening to the majority of the top-voted witnesses' opinions on two features: mitigating potential abuse with a fixed 7-day payout window and more notably, the divided reward pool. And thank you to those who participated in sharing your opinions, witnesses or not.
While Steem v0.17.0 was in its release candidacy phase it was becoming more clear that there were some witnesses that were very opposed to some of the changes in it. It became clear after a discussion with the top-voted witnesses that there needed to be a poll made so that our opinions could be collected and condensed into a broad-view to see where everybody was and what specific issues were heavily opposed. I coordinated this polling, and made and updated a spreadsheet to present the clearest view of where witnesses stood as a whole.
I'm collaborating with @timcliff on updating the Steemit FAQ.
I continue to provide help, support, moderation, and perform other tasks as an admin on steemit.chat.
Using and testing Busy.org, submitting a few bug reports to their github along the way. If you haven't used it yet, give it a try!
I continue to work with Steemcleaners to minimize spam and scams on Steem.
Since my last update, I put some work into the Steemit wikipedia page and continue to maintain it from time to time.
Steem/Steemit Github issues for bugs or other issues when I see them. I'd really like to see the return of direct linking to Steemit, and at least 7 other people (on Github) agree! Paraphrasing @joseph: "I heard reddit+money and I was sold"
I donate 200 STEEM per week to Steemcleaners, 200 STEEM per week to @luzcypher for the Steemit Open Mic contest (join it!), and 100-200 STEEM per week as a bonus to people who share their original music with that contest.
I donated another $30 SBD to Busy.org to help fund their continued development. I'm increasingly convinced that our success lies in using Steem in multiple ways with multiple front ends, and having them all work on the same platform seamlessly.
With Dan leaving Steemit Inc and major plans ahead of us, it's a different era of Steem now. I believe this HF17+18 release is a good first step. I look forward to the better processes that Steem releases will have. I also look forward to Steem as an open and simple platform that will be more attractive to application developers who may not simply want to make another blogging-oriented site.
I'd like to hear your feedback and thoughts as well, so leave a comment if you like :)