If you’ve been following Internet news recently, you know that the World Wid Web is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year. Lots of people have been talking abou tthe first websites they ever set up. Unfortunately for me, my earliest sites were not captured by the Internet Archive. But I started on the web around 1995 or 1996 on Angelfire. From there I went to Tripod and Geocities. Eventually, I joined the two so that I could have a whopping 20 MB of hosting space between the two providers. I’ve mentioned it many times before, but my first web presence was a Squaresoft fan site – mostly revolving around Final Fantasy 6 (3 in the US) and Chrono Trigger. I also used it here and there in High School for various things. When I got back to Tripod in college and found that Tripod had deleted that site, I created a personal site for the first time. Around 2003 I started messing around with running my own server using Fedora Core 1. And since 2005 I’ve been blogging here at It’s A Binary World 2.0. And in the last few years I’ve had a web comic and a site that comments on commercial comics. It’s incredible that we’ve gone from 10 MB at Tripod to my current host giving me unlimited storage because it’s gotten so cheap. I’ve gone from one website to 3 with more to come in 2014.
So I jumped into the Wayback Machine to see how my websites have changed over time. Man, design-wise I’m a bit embarrassed. It is so much easier now with WordPress, themes, and CSS customization. For example, here’s my Tripod site in 2004 – which used to be www.ericsbinaryworld.com (This is why my blog is, at the time of this writing, at server.ericsbinaryworld.com. Although, as I mentioned before, that may soon change) I had an intro video (which was all the rage back then). But even then people found them annoying so I also had a link to skip it. Which would take you here. I had used image maps before, but they still weren’t completely passe at the time. Interestingly, I had a little proto-blog going on at the bottom of that page. Also I was trying to sell my photos on ebay, how quaint. (By the way, you can use the Wayback Machine’s interface to scroll through the changes to my websites over time)
I’ve split my server Wayback into two links because when I first started I was using frames and that breaks the Wayback Machine’s ability to go forward in time past a certain point. Looking back at that it’s so funny that I thought I would somehow become a new web host running a server out of my dorm on a crappy old PC running Fedora Core 1. i was about 10-20 years too late for that. Still, the way I organized things is definitely revealing into the way my mind worked then. Later on, I went for elegance in simplicity. And it remained that way (with a few tweaks here and there) until now. I plan to change it over the next few months as I decide whether or not to move the blog and clean up links and other things that broke because of the move to Dreamhost.
So, there you go, a tour of my 18 years on the Internet, slightly more than half my lifetime. (And, unfortunately, only the last 10 years captured on the Wayback Machine) It’s been a whirlwind of a journey through different topics and design preferences. (And that doesn’t even count the often recounted way I’ve gone through so many different phases of what I talk about on the blog or the theme changes the blog has had) It’ll be very interesting to see how it goes for the next 18 years as technologies come and go and things go in and out of style. First everyone had personal home pages or fan tribute sites. Then everyone had blogs. Then everyone got scattered. Some to MySpace and then Facebook. Others stayed with blogs and yet others went to other types of CMSes like Joomla or Drupal. See you at the next anniversary.