10 years ago, I was bored. So, I decided to create a web site. 10 years later, here we are. End of story.
Okay, it's not quite that simple.
I first went online, if you could call it that, back in the mid-80s. I was on my Commodore 64, using a top-of-the-line 1200-baud modem, connecting to QuantumLink. It was basically a glorified BBS, but it was a full national network, and at the time, it was the most amazing thing I'd ever seen. I could download files, send e-mail, read the news... You know, the kind of things you take for granted today.
I never really knew what the Internet was until I was in college. My first experiences were with telnetting to MUDs reading USENET, and browsing Gopher sites.
Yes, Gopher. We lived in primitive times back then, my friend.
And whilst in the Gopher-space, probably sometime in 1993 or so, I stumbled across Andy Eddy's FTP site at Netcom. It was the resource for video game FAQs on the whole of the Internet. It consisted of probably 100 or so USENET FAQs covering mostly arcade fighting games, but a few console games as well. Unfortunately, being on a public FTP server with a limited number of connections, it became harder and harder and harder to get to as time went on.
A few years later, I'm sitting in my apartment in Houston, Texas, bored on a November weekend. The World Wide Web was in its infancy, and the idea of having your own "Home Page" on the Internet was still a very new thing indeed. AOL had just recently started up a new feature where users could get a whopping 2MB of web space on their servers, and since you could have five screen names, that meant 10MB of space.
So, with nothing better to do, I grabbed all of the FAQs on Andy Eddy's site that were allowed to be redistributed, and sorted them out. I taught myself enough HTML to cobble together some index pages in Notepad, and uploaded everything to AOL. I submitted the site to Yahoo!, posted a note about it on USENET a few days later, and waited. By the end of the first week, I was getting around 75 hits a day.
A few months later, I moved the site off of AOL and onto a local ISP's servers. Next came the domain name, then a database back-end so I wouldn't have to upload everything by hand and edit all the pages in Notepad. Then I started running advertising, changed networks a few times, kept expanding the site, bought some servers and began co-locating, quit my "real" job, rode the wave of the Internet boom, created and opened up the boards, added interactive contribution features, and worked myself into the ground.
By early 2003, I was just about to burn out. I was spending upwards of 80 hours a week some weeks just keeping things running. I was the site editor, the board administrator, the contributions manager, the server administrator, the database admin, the network admin, the business contact, the PR manager, and pretty much every other position involved in running a major web site. I realized that I couldn't take it much longer without snapping, so I had a choice: quit and walk away, or share the load. That's where CNET came in, and that's where we are today, give or take a few bumps in the road. I'm the Senior Editor of the site I created 10 years ago, still doing for the most part exactly what I've done since 1995, only with a whole lot of help.
I never imagined when I started this place up that I'd still be running it after 10 years, much less have it be my full-time job. I thought, back two years ago, that maybe I'd just keep going until the 10th anniversary. I'd quit, maybe take a sabbatical, and then, well, I hadn't really thought it out that far. But I couldn't see myself continuing on forever.
Now that the 10th anniversary is actually here, I can't imagine leaving.
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I enjoy using the comedy technique of self-deprecation - but I'm not very good at it.