Tuesday 22nd October 2019

Gremlin here....

At a glance, it's gonna look like this website is gone; it's not: it's still an absurd number of gigabytes clogging up the server. Which is a large part of the point here.

Quick backstory....


At the beginning of 1997, I started up this site. I'm not sure I had much reason to start it up—particularly in 1997, when there were less people online to happen across it—but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

At the time, hypertext was shuffling its way toward Version Four; in fact, HTML3.2 started up as I was trying to get the site online in January [a whole separate story which isn't entirely relevant to this], with HTML4 happening at the end of the year. For reference, I'm currently typing this kinda freehand into Notepad++ and adhering to the standards available back then:

Click to Embiggen

So, 1997 occurred; and whether I had a reason to have a website or not, I started filling this thing up with, like...stuff. Which was okay. I added a BBS and a chatroom; for a minute there, I had a guestbook because that was apparently an important part of this balanced breakfast at the time.

And then I had this: the index.html itself.

At the time, elsewhere on the 'net, the index.html of any given site was typically more of a splashpage designed to load quickly for those mere hundred percent of visitors operating beneath ISDN speeds. Usually something relatively catchy, with either a small table of contents linking down to more specialised subsites or—possibly more often—a link from the splashpage itself to whatever larger file would contain real information for whatever purpose.

On this site, I kinda broke convention and just added something of a read.me to the index.html—or, for those using wintel at the time, a readme.txt or something.

This was all a few years before anyone shortened weblogue to blog instead of blogue.

And that was okay. My site had whatever subsites—some of which eventually spun off into their own domains—and an index.html full of whatever amount of text wherein I just kinda banged out whatever sounded bangoutable on a given day.

So, yeah: blogging. Or bloguing. Or whatever. Before it was cool.

Very little of which is especially relevant to the current problem with this site. Which is itself the problem.

Fastforward maybe five years. More or less. Now, websites in general are getting more talkative. Or typeative, anyway. The trend of having a site primarily to house several megabytes of prose—however prosaic—is underway. And, to meet the demand of that, we're developing interactive Content Management Systems meant to simplify the process.

Not that one led directly to the other. It was still the nineties when I started using inclusions here, converting the whole site from whatever.html to whatever.asp or whatever.php—whatever best worked on whatever sorta server I was using at the time. And that was okay too: I could just bang out whatever was going on, not unlike I'm doing right now, directly into WordPad, between calls for whatever.inc above and beneath.

It was a little awkward, since I was typing things directly into whatever.asp, which wouldn't quite open correctly on my computer; too much of the inclusionary data was serverside and basically unavailable clientside in iBrowse or NetScape or whatever version of ExploderLite was on my palmtops. But it usually worked out: start with the opening inclusion; bang out whatever I'm typing today; close out the inclusion; upload to site; refresh; read through the thing real quick to see whether I'd misspelled anything in a programme that didn't underline invented words; optionally fix and resubmit. Sometimes I even got everything looking right before anyone else happened to see it.

But then CMS became a thing.

With CMS, I can just have a big huge buncha stuff on the server, including a sorta halfassed wordprocessor which underlines mistakes. The inclusions are all in place even before I start typing; and, if I get tired of how the inclusions look, I can just rewrite the theme and switch over to the new thing from the backend.

Described that way, it sounds like a good thing overall. And, probably, it is.

Until everyone starts obsessing over Web2.0 starting around fifteen years ago.

It was a stupid thing to obsess about. Partly because it just was; it was just some flashy buzzword no one clamouring for it really understood in the first place. Because, partly also, it wasn't a new thing: the BBS and chatroom and even guestbook I'd had here in 1997 were all Web2.0; UseNet was Web2.0 the hell back in 1979. All Web2.0 was ever really about was interactivity. Which itself was just a reminder that the human animal only ever listens to anything as a way to catch the opportunity to jump in and start talking.

So, a big element of any CMS is the ability to comment. To produce one of a billion things no one should ever read. To leap in with FIRST!!!1 and impress precisely zero people in the world.


So, now I've got a CMS on this site; its presence makes it a little easier for me to add whatever buncha text however often, and it allows You the Visitor to respond—possibly to anything I'd actually written, despite any urge you might display to plant your flag as evidence that no one else in the history of ever had outrespoded you.

It also opened the door to spambots.

To clarify: it opened the door to literal spambots, rudimentary though those might have been at the time; it also allowed for spammy meatbots who'd register and jump through whatever bothersome hoops were required to get my increasingly beleaguered attention and potential approval.

All of which sounds simple enough to ignore. Like, I used to think that too.

But here's the problem: in the last fifteen years or so, regardless what tests a given meatbot might be required to pass in the hopes of securing an audience it could beg for approval, this site—the CMS itself—has accumlated an unknown number of tryhard losers in its database. It's an unknown number because things are so damned clogged that I can't actually get the backend to load at all anymore: I get an Error500 when I try to get back there to sign in and see what's too big to allow the database to let me in and see what....

You see the problem.

So, now, I'm just banging this out in Notepad++ because that's something I'm able to do. Save; AltTab to the local file opened in Chrome; F5; watch for anything I might have mistyped.

Which isn't entirely optimal. Like, it's not really the final form. Whatever the final form will be instead.

It might be something as ludicrously simple as writing up a new CMS which doesn't allow comments. Or—and potentially worse—a CMS which allows comments coming in from facebook.com as some inclusionary module thing. I dunno.

What I know, at the moment, is that I haven't bothered writing anything to this site in over a year, simply because getting into the backend to do it has become increasingly annoying and slow. Until now. Now, I can't get in there at all.

So, here's the plan—to risk misuing the word....

Write this; upload. Probably link to it from social media in the assumption that few people are reloading my site every day after nothing's changed here in the last fifteen months.

Probably just kinda archive the existing CMS; probably lock it down entirely, just to prevent bots of any composition from trying to add their selfimportant cries for attention to my database.

Open Photoshop and start playing with aesthetic elements, plotting out what the next version of a graphical site should be; merge and slice and position and maybe get that into place sometime.

Lock out the damned comments. Because, relative to the vast clump of tryhard loserbots begging for attention, zero percent of anyone cares about feedback around here. You can tweet at me, or comment at facebook.com, or whatever; responding directly to any content here is just...it's not worth the gigabytes of useless data that the system accumulates in the interest of fairness, or whatever.

And that's fundamentally it. This is a textfile; it's basically just HTML3.2, in 2019. Contain your applause for a guy who remembered how to code for a world containing only three StarWars films. Literally: you can't comment on this thing. Ever again.

So, I'll save this and read through it; then I'll upload it. And then it'll be the site in its evident entirety until I get around to doing something else here. Which might be as late as next year, just because I've got a few things going on at the moment. But, who knows....

Have a webcomic, I guess:

More later....