The following graphic dates back to September 1996, a couple of eternities in Web time. At the time, I'd had a Web site of my own for five whole months, and this was the sub-spiffy new logo, my third up to that point. (The first of the infamous "bird" logos was version 4, which debuted that December.) You almost certainly don't remember it, and there's no real reason why you should.

Chez Chaz

(Actually, this is a new copy of the file; the original version was a .GIF with the background set to transparent, which would have made it less easy to read here. If you really want the original file with the 9/15/96 date stamp, go here.)

By September '96, I'd had about 700 visitors, of which half were very likely me, looking to see that everything was okay. (I was using a different counter service back then, which didn't allow me to exclude my own visits, and anyway I was on a dial-up, so I didn't always know my IP address.) The site, which had started with seven pages, had grown to about thirty; Vent #21, my recollections of erstwhile teen-dream Debbie Gibson, had just gone up.

You might be wondering why I'd put up a Web site in the first place. There were two reasons, really, of which the first was a variation on "Because it's there": my ISP of the time offered a whole megabyte of free space and a dumbed-down FTP tool to simplify matters, and why wouldn't I use it? More to the point, though, 42nd and Treadmill was making noises about some day having a corporate Web site, and somebody on staff, I decided, ought to know how the silly things operate.

In 1999, I bought the domain, moved the site to a full-fledged Web host, and set up a SiteMeter account starting with 6445. (The old site had had 6,444 visits, according to the old counter.) But the biggest change came in June 2000, with the introduction of actual daily updates. As I wrote then:

Version 7 (you're soaking in it) introduces my Sort Of Blog, a way for me to get some stuff on the table without regard to the semi-regular Vent schedule or the ongoing necessity to update the other sections. Most of the existing pages will continue as before, though minor design changes will be forthcoming here and there, and the usual sporadic updates will continue to take place, as the saying goes, When I Get Around To Them.

The entire site was still hand-coded in WordPad, and would remain so for the next two years. I changed hosts at the end of 2001; in the summer of 2002, I added a comment facility. (This guy here was the very first commenter.) It worked well enough, but the off-site server that worked the comments was down often enough to goad me into bringing the function in-house, which meant a switch to a real live Content Management System. I installed Movable Type in August; it's been here ever since.

A lot has changed since 1996, and I suppose so have I. Certainly I'm twelve years older, and quite a bit greyer, if not appreciably wider. The site has grown to approximately 12,000 pages. The four-Vents-per-month schedule still holds: 48 X 12 indeed equals 576. In 1996 I was living in the third of four CrappiFlats™; today I own (subject to the usual mortgage) my own place. I'm still working at the same joint. (It has a Web site. Mine looks better.) Never much of a joiner, I never signed up for WebRing or anything like that; I've accepted exactly one ad, which appears on exactly one page; I still don't have a tip jar. (Not that this should stop you from sending me stuff if you're so inclined, but there are far more deserving individuals out there.) About the only thing I can say here that I haven't said before is "Welcome to Year Thirteen." And thanks for dropping by.

The Vent

  9 April 2008

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 Copyright © 2008 by Charles G. Hill