O’DonnellWeb will be 16 years old on 12/31/2011. It’s hard to believe I’ve been writing here for 16 years. It’s even harder to believe that anybody reads. The archives only go back to 2001. The earlier stuff is lost. I probably should be thankful for that.
The story of how O’DonnellWeb came to be. (This is an edited repeat post, because I’m lazy that way.)
It was a cold and windy one, that night of Dec 31, 1995. OK, actually I have no idea if it was cold or windy. What I do remember is that my wife was 7+ months pregnant with out daughter, so we were not going anywhere to celebrate the passing of the year. She retired to bed well before midnight, leaving me alone with a computer and a lot of homebrew. That was a recipe for mischief.
Being the geek that I am, building a web page seemed to be a great way to spend New Year’s Eve. In fact, I decided that I wanted a page online that year. Armed with nothing more than Notepad and Netscape 1.0 on a Windows 95 machine, I set off the figure out how to build a web page. It really wasn’t that difficult. The number of HTML tags back then was very limited, and I was able to look at the code on IBM.com and a few other sites to figure out how it all worked. Several hours later it was nearing midnight and I was ready to launch my first site. I read the scarce documentation available and deduced where exactly on the server I needed to FTP my file.
It didn’t work. The file was there, but I got a You are not authorized error when trying to access the page on my 14.4 modem. It was probably about 3 AM when I finally figured out the arcane syntax of the Unix CHMOD command and made the site available to the world. However, technically I was online by midnight. This would not be the last time I spent 3+ hours figuring out a single Linux command.
That original page has been lost to the mists of time, or something. However, it did look a lot like this.
I bought the ODonnellWeb domain in 1998. I’m not a digital pack rat. I don’t have copies of all the old sites. If you are interested, Archive.org seems to have me covered from early 1999.
That first silly web page had a surprising impact on my life. Several months later I parlayed my rudimentary web skills into a job with a tech start up, and 16 years later the Internet is still paying my bills.