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Saturday, August 23, 2014

re-visiting the old website (take2)

I found myself returning to my old website (of which I've told about in this blog), for several reasons:

One, the idea that a problematic creation of mine was out there was annoying me. 
The other, the thought that it should be simple enough a process to bring it to a minimal level of ok-ness, which drove me further ahead. 

Admittedly, it took time, as I was busy with other issues, but then it happened. While moving from one residence to another, I found myself in one of those late evenings when you finished your daily toll, are not awake enough to do more serious stuff but are not tired enough to go to sleep. And my fingers lead me to my website. 

And thus I found myself starting to check things out. Once I started, it became clear that I had to decide what was it that made me judge something as reasonable-enough and what didn't.

This was not a simple decision.

Back in 2000, my design expectations were very low and I could live with a very simple result. Design was not really an issue, as long as it did not hurt my eyes.
Legal issues were not a big issue back then.
Nowadays both design and law are.

I could not tell what was the source of most of the images that I used in the website. Some of them were my own work. Others were most definitely free to use. But others were of an unknown origin.
I could not find the creator, and therefore could not know whether their usage was proper.
Worse, it was safe to assume that like many other remnants of the first dot-com bubble age, it might be that ownership of such images has been passed along to some large corporation who may come and remind me of my youthful sins one day. 

Worse still, I discovered that the email I used there was no longer accessible. Lycos have deleted it, and being a non-US resident, I could not re-open it for free. Suddenly the project of reconstruction was beginning to accumulate costs! 

Beyond all that was the matter of design. Screen sizes of 2000 were tiny in comparison to today's technologies. My design choices of the time were limited by my knowledge, but even more so, by the technologies. The visual outcome in modern browsers is unpleasant. Not a good user experience. In retrospect, I could have done things differently, and much better. In current perspective, there is a great room for improvement. But good and proper redesign would mean a lot more work than I had bargained for. 

What is there to do ? 

Both the technical creator and the prudent adviser within my reached the same conclusion: the best alternative would be to shut it down. 


For Nostalgia's sake I kept a few screen images of the creation that was about to be lost. 

The welcome page
One of the saddest things in the technical world is a project stuch in mid-work, for eternity


The Search Page
In a time when there was no dominant search page, and a proper search meant using several search engines for the task, it was quite a nifty and useful little thing. 


The Technical page
This page was a very long page, providing useful links to all the technologies and web locations that interested me at the time. This image does not do it justice. 


The Opinions page
various opinions,  stories and quotes were discussed on this page.  Of them, the only that I truly was sorry to see lost, is the memorial section of my late brother, Moshe Shabtai, so, unlike other page-snapshots, here comes another part of the opinions page...

The opinions page - part 2
You can read more about my brother, Moshe Shabtai, on the IDF memorial site


The Favorites page 
most of the favorites page was automatically created, using the favorites lists of my favorite  browser of the time, Internet Explorer. I wrote a tiny java program for that purpose, fat2html. This is the source code and this is the bytecode



The miscellaneous page
Any organizing system requires one of these general compartments... 


The 'Under Construction' Gallery 

At first, this was actually a section I intended to construct (culture, games and other possibilities were considered). But somehow, I found myself finding more and more cool 'under construction' gifs and images, and thus the gallery was formed. In comparison with a current google query 'under construction gallery' it would not have fared well, but for its time it was fun to watch. Sadly, being unable to track down the source of most of the images, would mean that even if I find myself at some time trying to reconstruct the old website, this section would have to be created from scratch, following a prudent and just collection process. 



Having documented the website, I could now proceed to its deletion.

This is how website appears on freeservers,com after all its content was deleted: 

And then all that was left was the final strike - deleting the asset itself from the system: 

 Farewell, shabtai.freeservers.com ! 










[updated: 27/02/2105]