Robert Hampton

Another visitor! Stay a while… stay forever!

12th March 2014


Today the tech world is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the world wide webnot to be confused with the Internet itself, which came into existence much earlier.

Even more pedantically, today actually marks the anniversary of Tim Berners-Lee’s original proposal for the web in March 1989. It wasn’t until Christmas 1990 that the first working web browser, imaginatively titled WorldWideWeb, became available, and the first web sites began to appear.

For its first few years, the web was mainly a curiosity used by students and scientists at various academic institutions. Then, around 1994, the original Netscape Navigator browser was released, and web usage began to grow significantly.

I remember the first day I got online – 30th August 1997 (sorry to say, the date sticks in the memory because Princess Diana was killed the very next day). I eagerly tore open the package containing ArgoNet‘s Voyager Internet Suite, listened as the US Robotics modem made various screeching noises, and gazed in wonder at the text and images that were very sloooowly downloaded. Grey backgrounds. So many grey backgrounds! Still, to a 14-year-old who still considered Bamboozle on ITV Teletext the height of sophistication, it was amazing.

Then my mum picked up the phone downstairs and the connection dropped.

Read the rest of this post »

12th March 2013

Setting the scene

It’s March 2003. I am 20 years old and living in a semi-detached house with my family in a dodgy part of Liverpool (Dingle), and I’m at home, staring at my computer screen, fingers hovering over the keyboard waiting for inspiration.

At this time I had no presence on the web to speak of, after shutting down my old web site in January 2001 becuase I was bored with it. That was all about to change.

In February 2002 I registered, out of vanity and a fear of something called “cybersquatting”. I had no idea what I was going to do with it, until one day, when I was idly surfing the web and discovered that former Star Trek actor and soon-to-be geek icon Wil Wheaton had an entertaining blog. I decided I wanted to do what he did – a blog, that is; not piloting the USS Enterprise.

The Web 2.0 revolution hadn’t quite exploded yet. MySpace was six months away from launching and Facebook would not exist for another year – and even then it was restricted to students of certain American universities. However, one concept which had started to catch on by this point was blogging. Lots of blogs were springing up on services such as LiveJournal and Blogger.

Read the rest of this post »

11th March 2013

Everything old is new again

Sleepy robMarch 22nd will mark ten years since I started my blog. By way of celebration, I have been reviewing my old blog posts, going right back to the very earliest entries.

In the intervening decade, a lot has happened and many things have changed, in the world at large and with me and my life situation. Both are reflected in the blog to a certain extent.

There are certain ever-present themes, however: my obsession with computers, slightly ranty political posts, enthusiasm for railways, trips out and about, that sort of thing.

Looking back at the old entries, some of them are downright cringeworthy. In spite of that, the trip down memory lane has been fun.

Over the next few days I will be looking back and posting some retrospective thoughts here. I hope you find them amusing. In the meantime, enjoy the suitably retro design, which is based on the way the site appeared when it first launched back in 2003.

20th November 2012

This time it’s personal
Posted by at 11.42pm | It's My Life, Meta | 1 response

We’re just over four months away from “celebrating” the tenth anniversary of this blog. 22 March 2013 will mark a decade of my writing borderline nonsense on a little corner of the Internet.

The only problem is, I’m not sure I want to carry on for much longer. Ten years is starting to feel less like a milestone, and more like a millstone. Around my neck, that is.

Read the rest of this post »

23rd March 2011

What do you want from me?
Posted by at 4.55pm | Meta | 1 response

Yesterday marked 107 years of electric train services between Liverpool and Southport, but I missed an even more important anniversary: my first post on this blog (which annoyingly is numbered 2 in the archives for some reason).

Yes, it was eight years ago yesterday that I first mashed the keyboard with my fists to send my thoughts over the internet. Over the years my audience has steadily grown, to the point where at least three or four people are reading regularly. I hope you are enjoying my frothy mix of trains, comments on the news, snippets from my life, trains, a smattering of gay issues, stupid jokes, trains and trains. Oh, and there’s stuff about trains.

Since I joined Twitter, the blog has changed a bit. Some subjects, about which I would have written a short blog post, are instead being dealt with in Tweet form. That means that the volume of blog posts has decreased, but hopefully the quality of what I am writing is still good. I’m also thinking about whether I should make more use of YouTube and start videoblogging.

So to my regular readers, what do you want to see me write about in the blog? Silly stuff? Trains? Gay rights? Stories from my life? Incredulous rants about the news? Stuff about the telly?

Should I focus on one area rather than the mish-mash which is on here at the moment? Should I tweet less and blog more? Would you like to see my big fat face on YouTube? I want to know what you think, so leave a comment.

30th March 2008

What I did instead of talking to people
Posted by at 2.03am | It's My Life, Meta | No responses

Not a good idea to upgrade WordPress at half past midnight when you’re tired and already fed up. I kept getting errors about unexpected T_ENDIFs, whatever they are. For some reason, it only worked when I switched to the Iyonix and uploaded the files again using FTPc. Score 1 for RISC OS!

And the clocks have just gone forward, so it’s now 2am, not 1am! I’m going to get even less sleep than I normally do.

27th March 2008

Posted by at 10.45pm | It's My Life, Meta | No responses

I missed the fifth anniversary of my first blog post. I was going to do something to commemorate, but then… forgot. Ahem.

Oh well. No April Fool joke this year, either 🙁

Can you tell I’ve lost interest? Never mind; have a look at this slightly disturbing BBC news story instead.

6th February 2008

Posted by at 12.20am | It's My Life, Meta | No responses

OK, so that didn’t last long. I’ve put the robots.txt file back the way it was, after a quick glance at my stats showed that people are stumbling across various bits and bobs via search engines, and presumably finding them useful.

I’m still thinking about the long-term direction for the blog. I’ll probably work it out just after I find a long-term direction for my life. Don’t hold your breath, people!