It's a teenager! -- 09/26/09

As I sat down to write this entry the thought suddenly struck me: this site is now a teenager!

When I sat down to write my first entry, I was not thinking about the future. My concentration was on getting my web site started. It was something I had wanted to do for (what had seemed like) a long time.

The Netscape Navigator browser (a direct descendent of the Mosaic browser) had come out about two years before I started my web site. In the fall of 1994 I had been introduced to Netscape Navigator by a systems programmer at work (Link Flight Simulation). He wanted to show me this new toy that the network guys were playing with. (We were the IBM mainframe people, the ones who developed and maintained the shop floor data gathering systems, the inventory and production control systems, the manufacturing bill-of-material systems, the financial systems, all of the batch and online CICS systems; they were the ones who played with UNIX systems and networks. We called them the toy shop.) At home I had an AOL account with a slowspeed dial-up modem and a cost of five cents per minute of connect time, but at work I got to play with this fascinating new World Wide Web.

There was lots of talk about the educational and economic future of the Internet. Just as with radio and television, people pontificated about how the Internet could be used for educational purposes. Others talked about setting up online shopping centers. I was fascinated by people who were setting up their own personal web pages. A few were even posting entries to online journals or diaries.

I wanted to have my own web page and one of the things I wanted to do was to post journal-like essays, descriptions of my day, thoughts about the world, anything I felt like "talking" about. The trouble was that by now -- early 1995 -- my life was in too much of a state of uncertainty. My employer had been purchased by one of the major aerospace companies and they planned on relocating our operations to the Dallas-Fort Worth area in Texas. Nancy and I did not want to go there (and, no offense to any Texans reading this, but I have since been to that area and I am so glad that we rejected that possibility). The problem was, the Binghamton area job market was terrible. It had depended heavily on high tech aerospace companies and IBM. The fall of "the evil empire" and the following slashing of the defense budget combined with IBM's problems at that time had devastated the local economy... and the local housing market had collapsed. So... we knew we would be moving someplace else... and we needed to get our house ready to put on the market... and we had to find jobs somewhere else... and there was no sense in finding a local ISP for Internet access and web site space because (1) I was too busy and (2) we would be moving soon and I would have to face the problem of finding a new ISP and moving all my files and domain name, etc..

And I found a job in Rhode Island -- but couldn't find a buyer for our house in Binghamton (we ended up renting it -- for less than our monthly mortgage payment -- and didn't manager to sell it until two years later) -- and Jeremy and I moved to Rhode Island and stayed with my mother-in-law while Nancy stayed in Binghamton for two more months (partly in hopes of being able to sell the house there and partly so Jill wouldn't have to leave school in the middle of cross-country season). And we found a house (the one we live in today) and I was working very hard, putting in long hours. For example, in January of '96 I worked every single day of that month except for New Year's Day, including Saturdays and Sundays... with two weeks that month where I put in more than eighty hours in each of those weeks. Eventually the workload became more reasonable but, naturally, I found other things to keep me busy: I ended up as volunteer on an advisory committee on block scheduling for our local school system and Nancy and I became coaches for the recreational soccer team Jeremy played on.

That is what led to my first web site. Jill had pointed out that a company named Geocities was providing free space for web pages, so I set up a web page for our soccer team. Then Jill and I both decided to use Geocities to create our own personal web pages. So, I finally got my web site started about a year and a half after I had first wanted to build one and I wrote and posted my very first entry -- "A Lunar Eclipse" -- on September 26, 1996.

And today is the thirteenth birthday of this web site; it's a teenager.

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