20 Years on the Web

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I just realized today that I’ve been surfing the web for 20 years. In November 1995 I got a promotional internet starter kit from MCI, which was basically a disk with Netscape Navigator 1.22 and instructions for how to get hooked up to the world-wide web via MCI as your internet service provider. I had been active on CompuServe through the late late 80s and early 90s ([71350,615] was me), but this world-wide web thing was already at a whole other level. There was a lot to explore, and for a year I did just that, teaching myself HTML along the way.

In November of 1996, I decided that I was ready to create my own web site. I got an account with a Chicago-area ISP called EnterAct, and stood up a simple web site at http://enteract.com/~miacis that I entitled “Mia’s Home Page.” Mia was the older of my two Malamutes at the time, and the first photo I posted was a captured still from a Super 8 movie of her and her sidekick Trouble out at the Busse Woods forest preserve near Schaumburg on 11/20/1996:

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I added photos to the site occasionally, and shared the URL with friends and family to keep in touch. The site had no structure or plan, and after a few years it was just a long series of thumbnails, each pointing to a page with some text and photos:

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In 2000, I registered the Mahugh.com domain name and moved the site there. I had registered Mahugh.com a few years earlier, but let it lapse — I was lucky to get it back. This time I’m holding on to it.

In 2002, I did a comprehensive re-design of the site, to make it easier to navigate and easier to maintain. I got rid of all JavaScript and tried to make each page a polished example of separating content and presentation, with pure content in the HTML and pure presentation in the CSS stylesheets. Here’s what Mahugh.com looked like from 2002 to 2005:

20-2000version-2002backup

In 2005, I interviewed at Microsoft and Vic Gundotra was my final interviewer. He asked why I didn’t have a blog, and a few days later I downloaded WordPress and installed it at an ISP named TextDrive. I re-designed Mahugh.com yet again, and made a home page with a single featured photo and a sidebar of links to various sections, one of which was the blog:

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I also re-organized all of the photos from previous versions of the site and put them under a Photos section with a hierarchical set of photo albums by various topics:

20-early2006-photos

Now 10 years and 755 blog posts later, Mahugh.com is simply a WordPress blog, hosted by MediaTemple, and my photos and other content are on Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, SwayInstagram, Medium and other sites. I dabbled with a few other options before coming back to WordPress in 2012, but I’ve put in the work to make sure all of my blog posts from various WordPress versions and other platforms are consolidated on the site, going back to my first Hello World post.

I’m currently running WordPress 4.4 and using the SmartMag theme, which I like because it’s very readable on most form factors. Here’s what the home page looks like today:

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