Personal website safari

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My personal website started out as a vanity site (of sorts) - just claiming it because I could. Over time I’ve put up various sorts of material, and these days I struggle to have the time for much besides tasting notes.

The one thing I intend to do, but haven’t gotten around to, is mirroring content. That is, copying & pasting the text of things I might put elsewhere, so that it functions as an archive for the future in case that service dies (or simply stops offering a feature that allows me to contribute content).

Maintaining the website has a relatively high cost in terms of time and money, when compared to just having a space on Blogger or similar. But I stubbornly continue, content to know that I’m not beholden to some company strategy I’ll never see or have influence over.


The problem with a true personal home page is that you have to create a single presentation for every possible audience – friends, employers, private detectives, groupies – which is hard unless you are willing to transform yourself into a creature of pure branding, like a Facebook user.

It’s good to have my real name as my domain for email, but I now realise the home page side of it is an unworkably broad design brief. I’ll never sum up my entire being to my own satisfaction, and if I half-ass it, it just continually bothers me that people can go and look at this subpar reflection of me. So over time I just made it more and more laconic, and finally replaced it with a sleeping javascript cloud that poops a rainbow when you tickle its tummy. I find I’m a lot more comfortable putting my name to that.


who among us who have been online since the mid-90s didn’t, at one point in time or another, start at some random "neighborhood in geocities and start going systematically from one site to the next? even i have feigned boredom long enough to do that.


In the 90s I was a member of the Michael Smith web ring.

I still have a site but its mainly full of my fitbit data and mercurial repos.


I’ve been running a personal wiki on a Raspberry Pi since 2014, starting with a Pi1, now a Pi3B. Mediawiki is fairly easy to install, and does an adequate job of caching pages, so long as you don’t get too fancy with templates. Fast storage, like a hard drive, is key.

The main problem is the number of scanning bots that know how to post spam on an open mediawiki, so IP posting and instant sign-up got closed right away.

To handle the threat of high traffic, I bundled much of the site into a Tiddlywiki, a wiki framework in an HTML file, and stuck it up on github. I even added Disqus comments to it.

The fun part is that even if github was pressured to take the file down, any copies posted elsewhere, saved to a local drive, or on that USB stick that you hide behind your light switch plate, it’ll still connect to the Discus comment space, unless someone ever thinks to take that down too.

As always, there’s an XKCD for that:


Sure, if you’re of that mind. I do it for myself and honestly don’t worry about branding myself. I just post shit that moves me, and to heck with it if no one else notices. Lean into your weird, that’s my motto.

I own my name as well, but the domain just forwards to my other domain. My real name wasn’t available when I originally was looking for one, so I went with something esoteric and weird and keep sticking with it.


I own my name as a .com, and for a long time had a Flash interactive of a giant reflected face peering into a fishtank, a hand reflection would follow the mouse (as would the eyes), and you could tap on the glass next to various thing to interact. An angler fish / projector would roll a projection screen down from it’s rod and it’s lights would flicker on, a brain rose out of a treasure chest, and a school of fish would scatter when you clicked on the tattered piece of paper they swarmed randomly around. There’s probably some SWF->HTML5 converted I could do to get it back, but it was fun while it lasted. None of the links ever went to finished projects, natch.

I worked on an update, a ball concept that came out to my liking that represents my 4 favorite environmental aesthetics (crumbling architecture, gears, moss and under water) that roughly map to content categories, and I even managed to build it in with javascript, but never finalized the navigation, added animations for three sections or had anything to put on it really, and struggled with mobile so I stalled out.

I’ve learned a lot since 2013 though…tempted to jump back in with my “spare time”


Semi-periodic reminder that the website featured in the screenshot, that of the Heaven’s Gate cult, is still active & being updated by the still-active members left behind for this purpose, presumably waiting for their chance to ascend when Hale-Bopp comes again in the year 4385.

Also a reminder that QAnon believers aren’t gonna stop believing anytime soon, no matter who wins the US election.


I built a couple of personal sites in the nineties, one based on a TV show and another based on life in Japan. I took them down around 2015 because hosting was too expensive to justify what little traffic I was getting. I kind of miss them from time to time.


In 1994 one of the local alt weeklies bought an existing Bulletin Board System, to be a sort of online version, but also a regular BBS. It made sense right then, just on the cusp of the internet being very available, people could dial in without fancy equipment.

In 1996 they had a forum about our Fringe Festival. So I posted every day that week about what I saw, way more immediate than old media. In essence “blogging” except the term wasn’t yet invented. It was as much to show the immediacy and intimacy of the medium.

So I continued that style for some years in the local newsgroup, including posting about upcoming used book sales. Part of an ongoing campaign to try to show to community groups the potential of the internet. (Many had webpages early on, but they were static, and distant, stuck in how things used to be before the internet.)

In 2000 I got tired of the Fringe Festival not using the internet (each year they put the schedule online, but nothing else.) So I wrote about it, and when absolutely no response, I turned it into a webpage. It took longer to write than tag it into a webpage. And I was able to put up new content every day of the festival each year. Eventually they caught on, but I think because everyone else was doing it by then.

So 20 years later the page still exists. Mostly it’s the list of upcoming used book sales in the area (nothing happening this year). It shows up first for relevant searches, though I have no idea who checks it. I’ve never had a domain (my name was already taken) and it is just a personal page at my ISP. Actually, when I moved to high speed internet in 2012, I kept my shell account at the ISP (well no more dialup), paying $11.50 each month to keep the webpage alive. So it’s pretty old at this point, represents how it was, and is at the oldest local ISP (there was one before, but it merged in 2005 with a larger company).

And it’s text only, except when I put up an actual photo.

The problem with webpages is people have to find it.


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