April 13, 2011

Last month, Google began detecting faint 404 signals from my first website, the online presence of an effectively fictional school newspaper. The product of many fruitful hours in Netscape Composer and FrontPage Express, The Loveland Schools Press ONLINE drew a whopping ten minutes of attention from my sixth grade class, in between teacher-mandated doses of ClarisWorks and Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing.

In 1998, a cheapskate like me couldn’t find a better host than Fuse Internet Solutions: back then, with a standard Internet subscription, you could get 10 MB of space, a free hit counter widget, and a URL that didn’t begin with some bizarre “neighborhood” name. So the choice between my ISP and GeoCities was a no-brainer.

The newspaper has since moved on and shuttered at one of those ad-supported hosts. But in a fit of self-deprecating humor, I kept its original Under Construction page online. May it serve as an example of what can go wrong at the intersection of amateur journalism and animated GIFs.

March 8, 2006

…I started this blog. Well, not really: it was an ordinary personal website, intended to host well-researched essays and helpful tutorials on the Vietnamese language. The only thing is, it also had this “blog-in-kind” on the front page that announced any additions to the website. Over time, it morphed and grew into a full-fledged blog, and eventually the website became little more than the blog you see here. All I can say is that it really started with an article about sesquipedalia (in its original form).

I blame Movable Type, the software that has powered this blog from its humble beginnings as an announcements section. It made things so much easier than the tedious process I had suffered through previously: code a page in HTML, connect to the FTP server, find the right folder, upload the page, and repeat for every page that should happen to harbor a Related Links section.

Movable Type’s Save button made that entirely unnecessary, and it fueled alternating flurries of posts and lulls in activity that probably annoyed my regular readers equally. Though at least it allowed me to claim to my competitors – not entirely falsely – that this site was “Updated daily.” That was some claim to make in the days before LiveJournal’s entrance into mainstream culture (and later Xanga’s and MySpace’s).

I’m not going to go into a long diatribe about how far my blog has gone and what herdles I’ve had to overcome in keeping it going – I’ll save that for this time next year, my fifth blogiversary. (You knew that was a word, didn’t you?) For now, I’ll just serve up a few links from the (read: my) past:

  • The first incarnation of the first website I ever kept online for any prolonged period of time, The Loveland Schools Press ONLINE. Notice the tasteless cacophony of animation. After all, we were still in the late ’90s.
  • A mirror of the second incarnation of LSP Online. After more than a year of neglect, I later replaced the main site with a “letter from the editor,” declaring quite eloquently the site’s closure – as if that were necessary.
  • Archives from the original Minh’s Notes, before it took on a function more or less independent from MingerWeb, my long-defunct personal site.
  • A replica of the design that this blog wore from 2002 to 2003, refurbished with the latest entries.
  • The last blog entries ever to be published at my Netfirms site, which I maintained until I moved Minh’s Notes to my brand-new f2o account here.
  • Another replica of an old design here, the appropriately-elegant Notebook design that adorned this blog for most of 2004 and 2005, after over a year in production. Someday, I might give in and revert to this beautiful design for old-times’s sake.

And here we are. 2006. The day before my birthday, this site stands at 714 published entries, 428 approved comments, and 329 approved TrackBack pings, including those from one translation (Apuntes de Minh in Spanish), as well as a somewhat-popular feed aggregator for 357 blogs by 236 St. Xers. And lots more stuff that I planned but never got around to carrying out.

So that’s my state of the site address for tonight. I hope you’ve been bored utterly stiff.

December 11, 2005

The few of you who have me as a friend on LiveJournal will notice that my blog there has been updated for the first time in almost a year, with a verbatim copy of my last post here. This evening, while my host was perpetually down, I installed MTLJPost 1.9.2, the newest version of a Movable Type that turns my LiveJournal blog into an automatic mirror of this weblog.

My LiveJournal account used to function as an automatic mirror until about August of last year, when a previous version of the same plugin croaked on me, forcing me to basically abandon that blog, which ended up containing every Minh’s Notes entry from this website’s inception in March 2002 to that August. Now that the plugin has been updated, my LiveJournal blog will once again be updated on a regular basis, for those of you who hesitate to venture outside the world of LiveJournal once in awhile. You know who you are.

In telling people about this tonight, I’ve frequently been asked, “Why?!” Besides the fact that such a system is incredibly shweet – that’s apparently the jargon used by computer scientists – there’s a very practical concern: I need a backup. Ever since my first website, LSP Online, was located at WebJump (now defunct), I’ve kept a mirror of my site just in case something were to go wrong with my main site.

That strategy has worked. In the time I’ve maintained a web presence, two hosts (WebJump and Akshor) have closed their doors without notifying me beforehand, and for a time, both WebJump and my current host, freedom2operate, had downtime so frequently that I was forced to direct people to my mirrors.

After this exam week, I’m also planning to install another plugin that’ll turn my Blogger blog (also named 1ec5) into a similar mirror. But rest assured: this site will remain the primary location of Minh’s Notes.

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