In July 2000, I started a blog. I used the less-than-a-year-old service called Blogger, three years before Google would buy it. They had a nifty FTP service which meant I could host the site on my own domain and servers, but use their clever (as it seemed at the time) back-end blog-creation code.
I was able to add other contributors and was aided at first by McBain, then by Spadge and eventually Scott joined in. A small team of bloggers ensured we were able to put out rather a lot of little posts, much in the way a site like Daring Fireball does today. In fact, I’m rather amused at how my original design looks like linked-list blogs do to this day. Of course, as my tech skills grew, I was able to download all my old posts and put them into a MySQL database and replicate the basics of Blogger in some hand-churned PHP. I was one of the first sites to use Tamsin’s amazing WeatherPixie service and was lucky enough to get my own custom Trooper featuring my very own cat, the late Tony the Snotcat. In May, 2003, I was able to try my hand at Standards-compliant CSS and ditch Blogger for good.
There was a design between those two designs, but Wayback appears to not have cached the images. You can see it here, but without the little drop-shadows, it’s not what it should be. In 2004, while being hosted at Ourshack, a collective with a rack-mounted BSD box, it underwent its final redesign. Embarrassingly, almost six years on, this design is still in use today, albeit not for long. I did eventually get round to making a logo, luckily.
After that, it was hosted at Sharedserver, before moving to my own server at Cat5. At the height of its activity and popularity, 23x.net had a Page Rank of 5, which was quite impressive at the time. Whether or not this blog, the continuation of what was started in 2000, will ever reach that height remains to be seen. The old site, running on its home-grown code, is being retired shortly. I’ve removed the login block and have posted the last post. All old posts will of course still work and will soon be displayed with a microblog-style single post page without any surrounding crap. Something like this, probably.
Running a blog for almost a decade taught me a lot about how websites work and made me a better Sysadmin. I learned what proper HTML and CSS were and about optimising PHP (or sites in general) for performance. I learned the basics of SEO, which to be honest haven’t changed that much in the last few years, in spite of what snake oil salesmen will tell you. I also learned how much community is on the internet. Twitter was the death knell for 23x as it was, but for a site that remained web 1.0 defiantly for almost a decade, I think it did ok.
You can follow the contributors on their Twitter accounts here: Scott, Spadge and Jared (that’s me). I will continue blogging here, on this very blog, and over on Monsterbook, but the old blog has coughed its last post.