This is a personal set of web pages that I've been slowly adding to since 1997, without much significant change in their format. Please don't bother trying to convince me I should be jazzing them up with dynamic flash gimmicks that depend on the latest, bloatiest browsers; if I'm missing a potential audience of people who only read things that look like adverts, I'm content to let them go elsewhere for their entertainment.
In the days before blogging became fashionable it was pretty
unusual for random individuals to have a web presence, except
maybe via CompuCities or GeoServe or something (and even
those tended to rot away pretty fast). This was especially
true for someone like me: an unemployed arts graduate who had
never transmitted an E mail, scurfed the interwebs, or
indeed owned a computer. But my flatmates with the
computer science degrees noticed that Demon Internet offered free
web‐hosting along with their domestic dialup service and said
“Hey, Justin, if we get a net connection for the flat, would
you be interested in acting as webmaster for the
As it happened I already had some content that would fit nicely. Years spent with friends down the pub debating subjects like time paradoxes and brand names ending in X had given me a range of topics that I could ramble on about – and even if nobody was very interested in reading them, publishing my rants on the Internet sounded like a good labour‐saving strategy. The next time a subject came up that I didn't want to rake over yet again, I would be able to say “If you really want to know my opinion, you can search the web for it”. (We didn't have a verb for that in the old days.)
So I told my flatmates okay, as long as I wasn't going to end up doing all the work of maintaining the FTP scripts and administrating their Linux boxes and so on, I'd be glad to set up the directories ready for them to put material into; and while I waited for that content to turn up I got on with churning stuff out for my own section, starting with a properly HTMLified version of my Famous Star Trek Rant, which had already been on the Internet in one form or another for years thanks to the geek contingent at the local SF society.
Eventually everybody else got Hivegerbil accounts, which were a great way of publishing exactly the kind of ephemeral personal trivia that I'd never been interested in broadcasting, and they lost any remaining interest in producing material that they might be expected to proofread before it went up. Meanwhile I had somehow ended up owning the Demon account and working as a Linux systems administrator.
The moral of this story is: beware of geeks bearing gifts.
2017 POSTSCRIPT: the one thing that original URL had going for it
was stability – I kept it stubbornly unchanged while
Demon Internet went through a long process of being bought by a
company that was then swallowed by a bigger one, and so on.
As the last fragments began to show signs of dissolving away in
Vodafone's stomach acids, I was aiming to have my site migrated
to a new URL by its twentieth anniversary. But meanwhile we
made the classic mistake of gradually getting the flat spruced up
to the point where our landlord realised he could make more money
by letting it to a single tenant. When our lease
disintegrated it took the associated broadband account and
hostname down with it, so it's lucky I had just finished shifting