Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Farewell to an old friend

I have just killed one of my darlings. I have taken down my homepage that I had since 1998. I started it when I was visiting chair in Finland, and the wonderful IT person they had offered to teach all of us in the project how to make a simple website. You had to write it in html then, but it was easy as long as you didn't want anything elaborate. My first website, containing five or six linked pages, was hosted on the university server, and I kept adding to it. It was quite remarkable then to have a personal webpage. So remarkable that when I moved to San Diego I was allowed to transfer it to their server. It was still remarkable enough when we moved back to Sweden and I asked the IT person to allow me to put it on the department server. I was the only one except the IT person who had access. At that time you could mess up the whole university web, but I was trusted not to. I was the only person in the department who had a homepage. Everybody thought I was showing off. I was by now using Dreamweaver. The site was still very unsophisticated in appearance, but full of content. Many people told me it was useful. I had a huge link collection: at that time searching the web was a lot more difficult than now, and I provided the students with links to good sites. I had my publications with links first to my own additional pages (I learned from the beginning not to overlaod individual pages), then to publisher sites. I had subject index to my own work so that anyone could easily find where I had written about Diana Wynne Jones or aetonormativity.

Then we moved to Cambridge, by which time a university server would not host a private homepage. I registered a domain and found a host. I had to change hosts because updating didn't work, and the first host had poor customer support. I get upset when things don't work, because I am a user, I don't know how to solve a problem. I postpone it in all eternity. I couldn't update the site for a long time, and a site that is not updated is dead. I had emails from people telling me that my links were broken. I spent hours trying to make things work. I knew how easy it was to use Blogger or something similar. Things have changed since I sat in Finland and wrote my html. (Once upon a time in Stone Age, I wrote my own database programs).

Farewell, my old faithful friend. Everything you did for me during these years can be done easier and aesthetically more appealing today. Who needs a link collection? Who needs course descriptions? My book reviews? My hobby pages? Everything is available elsewhere, everything is connected to everything else, and an old-fashioned homepage looks like a runic stone. Rest in peace.

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