Robert Hampton

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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.

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2nd January 2011

Site for Sore Eyes
Posted by at 1.03am | Meta | 1 response

Well, there we go, the new design is now live. If you’re reading via the RSS site feed or Facebook, click through to the site proper to see it.

I think it’s beyond doubt that the site needed a revamp. Frankly, the yellow was starting to hurt my eyes. The last redesign was over six years ago – I found references to Movable Type, the blogging software I ditched in 2005, in the templates.

Some pages buried deep in dusty corners of the site still have the old design and I will get to them… eventually.

There will probably be lots of tweaks and adjustments to be made over the coming weeks. Overall, though, I think it’s a big improvement. What do you think? Comments are, of course, welcome.

If you hate the new look, bear in mind that it can never look as shit as this short-lived effort from 2004.

11th February 2010

Weakest Link
Posted by at 8.30pm | Meta | No responses

It appears that most of the web site (this one, that you’re reading right now) has broken. The blog appears to be OK, but everything else is throwing up PHP errors. Please bear with me while I try to fix it.

2nd April 2009

Great Google-y Moogly!
Posted by at 11.07pm | Web | No responses

Recently I’ve noticed that some TV and radio adverts, instead of giving a full web site address, are simply saying, “search online for…”.

I really don’t like this phenomenon, for a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s an extra step in the process: rather than just typing in the address directly, you have to Google for it. That extra 3 seconds could have been used for something else, dammit!

Secondly, it’s incredibly patronising to assume that your audience isn’t clued-up enough to remember a simple address like Non-internet-savvy people may be uncomfortable with dots and slashes, but they should be educated about them, not pandered to.

Thirdly, unless your site is popular enough to be the first result in a search, or you have an unusual name which is unlikely to turn up stray results, you need to spend extra money on Google ads to ensure that a search turns up your site (see, for example, the site for the Monsters v Aliens movie).

I hope this is a fad that dies out, not least because it’s quite dangerous to rely on Google searches alone to direct interested parties to the right place. Former US senator Rick Santorum learned this lesson the hard way.