Fourteen years -- 09/26/10

Fourteen years.

Wow... that really is a long time.

And yet it is not...

Yesterday Nancy and I spent most of the afternoon with my college roommate and his wife. Our college days were three times as long ago as the start of this web page.

Fourteen years ago. It was in the last year of Bill Clinton's first term in the White House. Four Presidential elections have been held since I started my online babbling.

Adam was a freelance photographer who sometimes worked on indie movies as art director or production designer. He was four days short of his 28th birthday.

Jeremy was eleven years old and in sixth grade. Jill was fourteen and a freshman in high school. (But when I started -- and for several years afterwards I called them "Jennifer" and "Sean" -- at Jill's request -- but then switched to their real names when they said they didn't care.) Nancy had a job title of Senior Database Architect, still two years away from leaving the high tech world and becoming a math teacher.

Me? I was really enjoying my job at that point. It had been a bit rough going at the start of '96, working to develop some courses (design the courses, create the graphics, build the exercises, and write the books) against some impossibly short deadlines. For example, except for New Year's Day, I worked every single day in the month of January, 1996. There were two weeks in that month when my total hours for the week exceeded eighty-hours. That was all in the office time, so add half an hour commute time each way. February was easier; I think I only worked part of two weekends in the office (although I put in a lot of hours at home preparing to teach these new courses.) But later that spring that hard work paid off, the courses were successful, well-received by the students. I found myself training new instructors to teach the introductory course. As I began my first jimsjournal entry, I had been training an instructor from England and was looking forward to a trip to England in the later part of October to assist and observe him teaching there.

I had wanted to have my own web page from the moment almost two years earlier when some of the systems guys where I had worked (at Link Flight Simulation) were passing around copies of Netscape Navigator V1.0. At home we were using AOL to go online. I began to think all during '95 about signing up with an ISP that could host a web page -- but we needed to leave Binghamton (my employer had been bought and the new owner wanted to move it to Texas) and we wanted to move to southern New England, preferably to Rhode Island... so I was job hunting and then I got a good job offer that I accepted and then we had to try to sell our house and buy a house and move, etc. -- and then I started my new job and had no time for the web.

Well, actually, I had started another web page before I started jimsjournal -- I had made a page for our youth soccer team (Nancy was coaching Jeremy's team and I was assistant coach). Jill had found this crazy place -- Geocities -- that was providing free hosting for web pages and -- we thought this was absolutely amazing -- they were rapidly approaching one hundred thousand users. (And today Facebook has around half a billion active users.) So she started a personal web page and I got myself some HTML practice with the soccer team page and then I signed up with Geocities to host jimsjournal.

Originally, the journal part was just going to be a part of it. I wrote some essays about the future of online learning and I had a list of links to various online education sites and studies and white papers about it, etc. I had pages of photographs (mostly ones taken along the shore), and I had some thoughts of writing some stories and maybe some poetry to put online.... But eventually, the journal part of it took over...

So... fourteen years... more than a thousand entries... (Well, somewhere between 1055 and 1060. I did count them a couple of entries ago just to get a general idea of how many entries there were (1055, which would make this number 1057), but I don't guarantee 100% accuracy -- besides which, I think that a couple of entries may have accidently been lost.)

Fourteen years...

And still going...

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