Loading Iteration #6…

Welcome to my new homepage on the Internet!

A Brief History of Snowgoons

Dialup beginnings…

I’ve had a website carrying this name since the late 1990s, which makes this site around about as old as Google, and only a little less successful. The first iteration was as my personal homepage, provided by my ISP Freeserve (I lived in the United Kingdom in those days.) At that time the site proudly proclaimed itself:

The Internet’s Least Informative Web Site…

A tradition I think you can agree it maintains to this day, a little over two decades later. The Internet Archive has a snapshot from 2002 for the curious.

The Dot Com Boom

Naturally, the time came whereby the site, or at least my ego, outgrew a mere .fsnet.co.uk address, and a .com was needed. It seems that time was in 2002, when I acquired the snowgoons.com domain, and with it the email address I’ve used ever since.

Apparently it took a little longer for me to actually build a new site though, and it wasn’t until 2003 that the redirect to Freeserve went away, and a bold new site was launched to an expectant world!

Well, maybe not. That site was “Coming soon…” for about three years. But it did get there in the end, in 2006.

Fruit of the Poisoned Tree

Sadly for that iteration of the site, which was probably the only one that had anything useful on it (details of various electronics projects that I was pursuing at the time), the “Coming Soon…” page lived for longer than the site itself. In 2006, Apple had released their “iWeb” WYSIWYG website building tool, and by 2008 apparently I had noticed - and mistakenly thought that if I switched to using that (and the “MobileMe” hosting service bundled alongside it) maybe I’d be more diligent at keeping it up to date.

Diligent I was not, but it did mean a facelift and a brief period of time as a gallery of my photos uploaded through iPhoto.

Unfortunately for that site, Flickr was becoming a thing at around the same time, so it didn’t even serve as the main place to store my photos. Oh, the indignity…

What a way to make a living…

So, my personal homepage toddled on that way for a few more years, until something crazy happened in 2013: I decided to chance my arm at making money through offering consultancy services. Not, I hasten to add, in website design.

That’s probably something I could write a separate post about someday… But suffice to say, my website needed to Look Professional. It would need keyword-heavy content, so search engines could find it, and contact forms, and carousels, and all that important stuff that makes a website terribly boring. And thus, the Snowgoons Consulting website was born in 2013.

By 2014 I had been lured (it didn’t take much) back into full-time employment as CTO of a small Internet startup - another story for another day - but having put a fair bit of effort into the site as it was then, it lived a lot longer than my consultancy career - all the way up to the present day, 2020, in fact. I’m fairly sure we were supposed to have flying cars by now, but anyway…

And so, here we are

Given how good I am at keeping my websites updated, you’re probably reading this in around about the year 2049. So I should remind you, future person, that in 2020 there was a global pandemic of a disease CoViD-19, caused by a virus known as SARS-CoV-2. At the time of writing, it’s not clear how this will all pan out, but one of the concrete results was that half the planet was ordered to stay at home in enforced isolation, or ‘lockdown’, to limit the spread of disease.

Now, there are a few things you can do when in enforced social isolation. Here’s a handy checklist:

Things to do in lockdown Status
Learn to play the piano Honestly, who’s got time for that?
Learn to paint Absolutely. I will.
Buy an exercise machine Done.
Use the exercise machine Doing! Honestly!
Rebuild your home Kubernetes cluster about 5 times Done. Maybe 6 or 7.
Balcony gardening Done a lot. Quite proud actually.
Binge everything on Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime… Done.
Get back into PlayStation games like a teenager Done.
Finally do something about that damned website you didn’t update in years… Errrrrr…

So, there it is. About 8 weeks of lockdown and finally I’m doing something about the website. Naturally, I have spent far longer playing with various different tools and frameworks for building the website than I ever will on updating the content, but you know. Baby steps.

So, welcome to iteration 6!

One more thing… Why ‘Snowgoons’?

Snowgoons was not my first personal address on a network, oh no. Indeed, the first of these was probably 2:25/5000.513 if I remember right - the FidoNet address of the BBS (Bulletin Board System) I ran in the very early 1990s.

But - ignoring FidoNet/AmigaNet bridges - my first Internet home was using Demon Internet’s “Tenner a Month” dialup service, launched in the UK in 1992. As one of the first couple of hundred subscribers to the service, I had my choice of user/domain names - so naturally I chose “NCC1701D”. I think the reasons are obvious, and require no further explanation.

Unfortunately, when some years later I decided to switch to FreeServe (the clue as to why being very much in the name - and a tenner a month for an impoverished student was a lot of money), it turned out that all the good names were already gone. Notably including NCC1701D. Who could have guessed?

Faced with a subscription page and being forced to choose a new name, I naturally did the sensible thing and researched heavily what sort of name might be appropriate, in the knowledge I would probably still be using that name in decades’ time… Haha, no, of course not. What I actually did was look at my bookshelf, and the first book I laid eyes on was of course the truly brilliant Attack of the Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snowgoons.

So that’s why Snowgoons. No regrets!