It is surprising on a number of levels I chose to redesign www.brumm.com right now. Once upon a time such an endeavor was much easier, and was accomplished much more frequently.
Not only was it a lot easier in earlier times, but my overall health was better. Oh yeah, and I was younger.
I have done a redesign twice since 2008, when I had major surgery. In my absence, web design continues to get more complex. I am glad I got a foundation back as early as 1995, when I first attempted to code html.
It may be more difficult to write and keep up with all the possibilities of design that once were non-existent, but this doesn't mean it has made the Internet any more interesting. Quite the opposite. When I bother to look at it with a critical eye, much of it now looks like pages from the exact same magazine. A lot of this is because the purpose of the net, once thought to provide all sorts of progressive possibilities for culture, has instead deteriorated into the largest shopping mall on the planet.
Malls all look alike, too, pretty much.
Enough whining. Here is the history of the pages you've come to, known as www.brumm.com.
For several months in 1995 I was a member of Delphi, which was an online info exchange company much like AOL or Compuserve at the time. They allowed an unreasonably low number of minutes for a fairly high price, and charged by the minute after that.
After amassing a $178 bill for my time on Delphi in the second month, I realized in order to stave off bankruptcy I had to find something else to use to connect. It was too much fun (i.e. addictive) having my computer communicate with me, with unknown persons off at the other end of some other computer interacting with me.
This was the future now, then.
A friend told me about a local ISP (Internet Service Provider) here in San Francisco, Hooked.net. Their offices were in the China Basin building. They were not always reliable, but this was not unusual in those days. A very slow modem downloaded email and text fine, but as the internet was born, things got choppier. They gave unlimited use of their services for $25/month.
In the beginning, Hooked.net provided some web space (about 1 or 2 megabytes) for each customer, and at first had their own editor to use to create and put a picture or two on a "web" page. This primitive system really sucked and looked terrible, but it was still new and exciting anyway.
Soon thereafter, Netscape made its first appearance online, and the world of the world wide web began to change.
Enjoying it so much, I bought a little program on a 3 ½ inch floppy disk to help writing html code. It came with lessons about html, too. I can't even remember what the program's name was, but I know at first it was very much advanced compared to my understanding or skills.
Soon I was creating so many pages with klutzy 256-color graphics and snickering content, that the Hooked limit on space was overrun. They didn't really care for awhile, but it was disturbing because if they decided to, they could have suddenly billed us according to the space we used and it would turn out to be Delphi once again.
Many of the Hooked folks became friends as we all got to know one another during those first years, and not only online. We had coffee get togethers and other social gatherings. It really was much more social than today's "social media."
Those of us who were interested in writing web pages followed one another pretty regularly, to see what the other people were doing. Hooked made this easy with their own series of newsgroups for subscribers, based on the Usenet model of that time.
Usenet news got absorbed by Google groups at some point. I think some of them still function.
The other options we had in olden times was telnet (to get to the Hooked computer) and IRC (Internet Relay Chat), which was the precursor to "chat" as we now have it, though concurrently the same concept was a lot of what was happening at AOL and other service providers that slowly allowed their members to access the Internet.
In 1996 several friends got a domain from Network Solutions (the only domain registrar in the world at that point). Domains were free until about 2 or 3 years later, when the yearly fees began. So I went and signed up for brumm.com. It was very easy then. I could only determine maybe three other people with the Brumm surname were online in 1996, though of course I don't know that for sure.
I housed my www.brumm.com domain first at a Fremont, California, company, zoom.com. There had problems.
The experience I got then did give me a lot of knowledge with coding and how it works. I never cared so much for the coding, but got excited to see the final product. I love instant gratification.
After a few years at zoom, which I believe folded after some sort of immense spam scam the company promoted, if my memory serves me right, I transferred my domain to he.net (anagram for Hurricane Electric). They were professional, reliable, and easy to deal with.
Still later it was on a (late) friend's server space that she and her husband leased at he.net.
When they thankfully decided to dump that expense, I tried a cheap and dubious hosting service for a few months, then switched again to another, but they proved to be a big mistake!
My site got hacked, and the "cheap" company wanted more to fix the "damage" in order for me to get back up and running than they were going to charge me for rental over 3 years.
I moved again in 2008 to sonic.net, in Santa Rosa, California, a company I was pretty familiar with since the 1990s. Though it does a bit more than some of those really cheap services, it is not a fly-by-night operation. Of late I have added all my land line phone service to the company, and they get high marks from the EFF for how the company is run.
My web design mania decreased a lot as far back as 1998 when I had my first of two aortic dissections.
In 2013 I was officially diagnosed as having Marfan Syndrome. My late 40s and 50s were not spent in any manner as I expected, and I am just not as efficient as I might still be if the health issues hadn't surfaced.
I'm not sure if what we once termed "vanity web sites" really hold much use these days, but my own purposes are still served by having a domain and a lot of storage space. I've never been too concerned about getting a lot of hits (being "popular") but do like to have the resources to fiddle around with things when I want.
My last revision in 2010/2011 was essentially an html5 site. I believe everything on brumm.com will be with the advent of this redesign.
♫ "Street Sounds" from Bennis ♫