I’ve had some form of personal website since 8th grade. I started it as one of my ‘personal projects’ in a computer class in school. We needed two. One of mine was playing Zork Zero, which I absolutely loved. The other was creating my own simple webpage. The instructor would push out my updates to the library web server, and I could pull it up from home! It even has a CGI counter that I copied from somewhere.
In college, I gained access to free web server space, and so I started over. I called it JMCNET, and I had it looking very stylish:
I still have the content and the markup for most of this site. Unfortunately, UMKC ran windows servers, and FrontPage was their thing, so that’s what I used to create the site. I don’t think there is a server anywhere that can run this site. The earliest blog posts on this site were first published here.
Not long after that, I learned about using photoshop to create templates for websites. This blew my mind, so I set about to redesign jmcnet again:
Got to love those gradients! I was quite proud of this at the time. The mixture of “flat” and gradients, maybe we’ll see this type of thing return in the future, right? Right…
In 2004, there was a web hosting company that was giving away two years of hosting for some reason, and I jumped on that opportunity. That’s when I moved over to linux hosting and started learning php. Those early sites iterated fast. I bought the domain joshuamcharles.com. This was the coolest thing ever for me.
But over time, the technology became very repetitive, and I didn’t want to spend as much time building the site. I started using wordpress, and then moved to another hosting provider, buying the sudolife.org domain. I still used a separate “home page” though, and it began to reflect my appreciation of minimalism:
And now we’re to the present. Having a personal site has always been an intersection between learning, playing, and experimentation. It’s been a blast, but I don’t really think of my personal site as a project any more. It’s not that interesting to me. Now it’s a place to talk about my personal projects. It’s a place where I document my thoughts, my progress, my ideas. It’s my life, but not really. It’s my pseudo life.