Robert Hampton

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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.

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22nd January 2010

Rickety argument
Posted by at 8.53am | In the News | No responses

Metro says:-

Video games and social networking sites have been blamed for a shocking rise in cases of rickets in children.

Er, no. Bad parenting which allows kids to sit for hours playing video games and using social networking sites is to blame for a shocking rise in cases of rickets in children.

I only mention this because I know someone somewhere will call for something to be banned to solve the problem.

27th October 2009

Under Destruction
Posted by at 1.06pm | Web | No responses

So it’s goodbye to GeoCities — Yahoo finally called time on the venerable webspace provider yesterday. The news didn’t really come as a shock — in fact, I was more surprised to discover that GeoCities hadn’t shut down years ago.

I never actually used GeoCities myself. Being the nerd that I am, I taught myself HTML code during the summer of 1997 and made full use of the free web space that my first ISP, Argonet, offered with their dialup package (speeds up to 34k!). I was rather scornful of GeoCities pages, with their vomit-inducing colours, distracting Animated GIFs and annoying JavaScript adverts popping up everywhere.

GeoCities was home to hundreds of thousands of web sites, but I think it’s safe to say that very few of them contributed greatly to the wealth of knowledge and useful data available online. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that most of them were vanity pages created purely for the satisfaction of their owners (nothing wrong with that, of course) or for people to share photos and stay in touch with family and friends. The latter function has been rendered largely obsolete by the advent of Facebook et al — no HTML skills necessary, just an agreement to turn over your personal information to an anonymous datacentre in Silicon Valley. And if you want vomit-inducing colours, just set up a MySpace page with some custom CSS.

Meanwhile, for pure self-aggrandisement, a personal blog does the job nicely, I’ve found. 🙂