How it took me nearly 30 years to make my own website

Sure, anyone can buy a domain, get a template from a website builder drag and drop your brand images and be done for the day. But I’m a different kind of assho –er, jerk.

Where it went wrong

Wayyyy back when us adults had to walk uphill in the snow both ways…

No. Actually I’m from Texas, it only snowed twice in Houston. And by snow I mean a flurry that was melted the next day. Back in ‘84 and again in ‘91 if memory serves.

The issue was in the 90s, a worldwideweb presence was just never thought of. At least not for personal reasons. Back then, there was really nothing, just companies with a URL. They’d pass it out to customers and when they got online they’d either see “Under Construction” because no one really knew how to build a site, or they didn’t know they could hire someone to do it for them. OR the customer would see some basic information, like you would see on Google Maps for a business entry.

a few years later, between Windows 95 and Win 98, we got rudimentary MySpace like options. But they were a bit complicated. GeoCities, Angelfire you’d make your page based on your interests. GeoCities used locations to categorize interests, Area51{.verbatim} for all things science fiction, motorcity{.verbatim} for anything cars related and so forth. Angelfire I don’t recall their structure. But in either case, one would have to write down a very long URL just to get friends to check out your page. something like{.verbatim} back then you HAD to write it all out to the .html or .htm, so of course one wouldn’t get much traffic. Unless your page had to do with some topic of great interest.

Now my problem was I had page on angelfire, I have no earthly recollection what the URL was. Well not that my page was on angelfire, but that my data was in the hands of someone else. I had spents dozens of hours writing out my page in HTML, just because I wanted to give it a try. Sidenote HTML 1.0 tables were the devil, which is why I never ended up as a web developer. Back then browsers would load a page piece by piece, and since we were all on modems. One could see an image load as though it were being scanned. Have a picture gallery? you better have a lot of patience or upload a low resolution image.

OR, have a low resolution image in the gallery, and have that pic link to a page with the full resolution picture. Yes, I overthought every aspect of my page.

Then I went off to Basic Training. Now I don’t recall exactly when, but it was a point in time where I didn’t have a PC, only access to one, like the library. and to keep all the soldiers from looking up porn, it was easier to NOT have a browser than try to block all the bad sites. So all I had access to was email and back then everyone read every electronic-mail we got. Why would we do that? because back then getting an email from someone is as rare as getting a handwritten snail mail today. That’s why.

well in this particular email I got was informing me that angelfire was going to do some maintenance on X date. All pages in my category were going to be deleted, or maybe moved to another category. What I do know is that it was recommended to download images/assets/some fancy word they used back then. And one could re-upload to the new category/page with the same credentials after X date.

Now I knew I had a backup/originals of the pictures I had on my gallery, I also had some pics that were hidden. As a precaution I reached out to a friend from AOL if they’d be willing to backup my stuff. it would’ve all fit on two or three floppy disks, and I’d pay him. However I didn’t think ahead, the next time I would be able to check email would be a day or two from the deadline. I should’ve just sent my friend the login info. But I was trying to be polite, so “foreshadowing” I lost the page, and the pics. All turned out to be irreplaceable, see the computer back home. I was renting out my place to a friend. A friend who had a girlfriend, a girlfriend that would become quite violent when she got angry. Which was frequent when she did not get her way. Well more foreshadowing, she broke my computer assuming it was his. She paid me back about $50 and my friend paid a few hundred. Still shy of its value back then, and nowhere near the cost of losing those pics.

Moral of the story, keep more than one backup AND don’t have your webpage be under someone elses control.

The Potatoes

Since the 90s I’ve dabbled with some programming languages, more of a curiosity than wanting to do any real coding/programming. In fact I was/am more of a script kiddie. In other words I knew just enough to be dangerous to myself and others.

I don’t recall any time between late 90s and around 2008 where I was really doing anything in the commandline. Aside from the few times in the late 90s/early 2000s that I tried to install Linux, (SuSe and Red Hat if you were curious). In 2004 I bought my first Mac. Even though I had been covetous of a Mac since 98. I forgot where I found the information, but the first thing I ever typed in the Terminal on a Mac was sudo purge{.verbatim} the reason was, I had this thought that a Mac could run/do anything you throw at it. I didn’t fully understand RAM. Other than more is better, so after maxing out the RAM in my G5 Power Mac and not being able to have nearly every app open all the time with multiple tabs/windows etc open at all times.

For the record, sudo purge{.verbatim} tells all the contents on the RAM and disk caches should now be removed, and that space is now available for others apps to use.

fast forward a few years and a fellow roller derby ref and I have a conversation one pre-dawn morning. He’s a web developer, worked at the time at a major newspapor and Linux fan. A shorter version of this story came out and his response was along the lines of “I can do so mech more and faster in the commandline than GUI”

I had no response, but it got me to thinking. Which I then added to my treasure trove of endeavors and things to try and learn. Some time in 2010 I got into a few things. one was a small app that I found from searching for “app that skips Pandora ads” See I’d gotten into jailbreaking iPhones for friends and family. This of course was easy, because at the time iPhone 4 had a bootROM exploit. So one could go to and enjoy the glory of having a jailbroken iPhone. Side note I generally use my previous gen iPhone even after I get a new one and keep it on the iOS version I buy it at to make sure that when a jailbreak is available I won’t be a version higher than what can be jailbroken.

The Meat

I had already dealt with having my data lost, while it was just a few MBs it was priceless data to no one else but myself. Even when MySpace was around I didn’t like that I didn’t have full control of my page/data. Sure there were themes to customize. But there was no way I could make my page show my Top 20. At best I could turn off or on. Perhaps I could have shown between 1-8, But I was still limited to the overall frame/template/outline of MySpace.

Of course I’ve wanted a webpage – talk about stuff fixing