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A few words about my website.

This is what happens when a geek has a hobby.  
I have been a developer of some sort since I ended my career in the Army.  When I got out after a 12 year run on active duty, I didn't really know what I wanted to do, so I decided to return to school, and try to make a living doing what already I liked to do anyway... which ended up being a pretty good idea, I think. Whoever said 'don't make your hobby your job' couldn't have been more wrong, in my humble opinion.

RIGHT: An early version of my website, from 2001

I started my website in 1995.  Its hard to remember, but the "World Wide Web" went public mid-1995 or so... and when I started my site that October, it still wasn't widely distributed.  America Online and CompuServe opened a portal to the web, but the "Internest Service Provider" market was just beginning.  Most folks hosted BBS's, which quickly faded once the "web" caught on, but at the time I started my site, the whole idea of having a personal website as an idividual was still pretty new.

I got started it with the goal of keeping my family up to date on what I was up to... I had moved across the country from them, and I was failing miserably with the letter-writing thing.  Yeah, email was pretty 'edgy' then, also.  Most of my family were on America Online, which had started allowing folks to browse the web using its interface, and I thought that if I could put something out there that they could get to, which would be "cool", and it would let me play around, learn, and have fun... all while letting them see for themselves what I was doing. 

So, all that to day that this is actually a pretty old website... almost as old as a website CAN be.  I changed domain names a few times, and I've used a couple of different hosting companies, but I've kept at it, and now its very much a habit, almost a part of "me".  I have to say that it sure has been a great hobby!

Most personal websites seem to be a blog of rants and musings by the person who owns the site... I also have (or have had) those things on this site, but there's quite a bit more than that here, as I'm sure you may have noticed...  My primary goal is still to keep my family - most of whom still live across the country from me - up to date as to what's going on in my corner of the world.  But I also like to have fun, and share interesting tidbits I pick up or run across... so the site has become quite large over the years.  It has also become a good resource to record things and refer back to them from time to time.  A modern day scrap book.

Rest assured, this website didn't happen all at once!

Its been growing since the 6 pages that constituted my very first shot at a personal website in 1995.  At first, when I added new updates, pictures or whatever, I'd just overwrite the pages I already had.  After a short time, my cousins started to ask about pictures I'd had up there before, and I got an idea... Rather than overwrite, I instead added additional pages, and turned the original pages into "landing pages", adding links to the related content for that section.  That ended up turning the site into a growing log of sorts and it's grown from there as sort of a personal, and eventually our family, journal.

Timeline of Domain Names this site has used:

1995 - In August, CERN releases the World Wide Web to the public.

1995 - In October, I started my website.  The URL was www.ados.com/~jimb - Hosted in a "Tilde folder" by   my ISP.  They went out of business sometimeafter 2001 or so, and now that domain belongs to a   document management company.

1996 - GobleCreek.com - Hosted by a service out of Detroit.  I liked the name, but folks had trouble spelling   it.  Eventually, I moved away from Goble, Oregon, and the creek it was named after, so it didn't make   sense.  I kept the name for few years but eventually I let it go.

2003 - JimBesso.com - I used my name as the domain name for a while, but after a bit, I ended up not liking  that idea as much as I thought I would, so I changed it... I should have kept ownership the domain,   though, just in case I ever decided to run for office or something.  :-)

2004 - MyPNW.com - I liked this name over the years, and I'd checked on it from time to time, trying to decide whether I was going to make the jump or not.  It was either this, or "MyNWLink", which ended up being taken when I changed the name. 

2005 - MyPNW.us - The Detroit hosting company had a "We'll never raise your rate as long as you're a customer" thing going when I signed on with the start of GobleCreek.  They did a great job for a long time, but then I guess they were moving on to something else, and I started running into more and more difficulty, and I was getting less and less help. I moved to GoDaddy.com as my hosting service (they're awesome!), but when I did, I couldn't move my domain name over because my old hosting service had it locked, and wouldn't answer my emails, so I changed it to ".US", which caused some problems until the .COM dropped off, and I was able to repurchase the MyPNW.com domain name through GoDaddy... they both work, now, but I'm more used to the ".us" extension, and I like it better anyway so I just forward the ".com" stuff to it too.

2014 - MyPNW.com - Godaddy's hosting had proven outstanding.  They have tools that allows a high amount of self-service, which I enjoyed.  The pages were served up fast enough, and things worked well, over all, for nearly a decade.  But there were two instances where they really exemplified that I was just a number, and not a very important number at that.  First, in 2012, they migrated my site to a new server, but didn't carry over my database informatoin.  They told me how to update my site to repoint the databases, but then I ran into connectivity issues because of security they had between their  "legacy" and new systems.  I spent quite a while rebuilding the databases from backups that I had, but the church site I was hosting was down for several days, and they decided to go in a different direction. Then, in 2014, a failure on their server deleted my site's content, and it took them two weeks to get it restored.  I got to thinking that I wasn't going to get it back, so I went looking for a new host, and found Arvixe.  I moved my ".Com" domian to them, and made it my primary domain,
again.  When the ".US" expires, it will fall away into the annals of history.

      No plans to move the site to another name... :-)

2015 - Well, I might not have had "plans" to move my site, but my Avrixe was less than positive, so I moved back to GoDaddy, using MyPacificNorthwest.com as the domain name.  I kept having to say "my P-N-W, for Pacific Northwest, so I just went with the longer verson  I decided to use Wordpress, which was something I said I'd NEVER do, but I was hoping that it will make it easier to keep things up to date.  (Since my site is back here, it didn't.)  The site was PAINFULLY slow...  I suppose I could have moved my site to a Linux-based server, which would have made things faster for me, but I'm a .Net developer, while I was using WP, I wanted to keep the option open for cranking out little helpers and the like, or just playing around - being a dev is a hobby of mine, also

2017 - Wordpress worked well enough, but I noticed that I STILL wasn't keeping my website up to date enough, so my excuse that it was 'easier' and 'faster' did not prove to be accurate.  The site was PAINFULLY slow.  On top of that,  missed fiddling with things (back to that hobby thing again), so when i got tired one day of my WP instance failing to implement a theme because it timed-out, I decided that I would shake off the dust of the "old" site, and go back to it. It might not be as efficient, but it is a lot more fun.

Ever wonder what is the oldest page on the site? 
Its this one,  "The Oregon Coast", which was added in early 1996.  I scanned some pictures I took using a hand scanner (remember those?), and posted them online.  That page took FOREVER to download back then!!!  I had some others with it, but I deleted them over the years, but that one has remained.  I've modified it to fit the latest version of the "template", but the content hasn't changed.

Over the years, the site has gotten quite large. 
I guess it helps (?) that I'm not limited by a "theme" (some folks, for instance have sites devoted to a particular thing, like Microwave Towers (see here)... Ultimately the goal of my website is to keep my family up to date with what's going on "way over here" on the left side of the country.  Its sort of become our "Digital Scrapbook", if you will.  I'm consistently adding items to the site - I enjoy Family, Travel, Taking Pictures, History, Programming, Science, Humor, Weather... you get the idea.  Facebook slowed things down for a while, but I've started to catch things back up, so I should be on track soon.

How big IS this site, anyway?

Well, its actually kind of surprising!  I have a bit over 2200 pages, and more are added every couple of days or so.  If that sounds extreme, at one point I had over 8,000. Unfortunately, I didn't really start archiving things until about 1997, and then not very diligently, so pages got dumped.  Also, when I was changing the look and feel of the site, it required thousands of updates, and I didn't have time, so even more items from the early days were dumped. In 2003, I figured out a way to make new versions of the site "compatible" with the older ones, so I started leaving them alone, letting them display in their "old school" glory.  The ones that looked really bad would get updated to make them fit better, but I missed some here and there, I'm sure... if you run into one that looks particularly bad, please let me know.

 In 2012, a third party script I was using was taken over by folks who were using it to inject malicious code.  I got a series of emails from Bing and Google, and I had to fix a lot of pages on my site in order to stop it from hapening.  At one I used to have a section called "The Morning Break", which was renamed "The Daily Update", that ran for just over 14 years.  It had trivia, humor, news, and the like.  I published every day as part of an emailed newsletter that folks signed up for.  At its height, I had more than 300 folks signed up, but then Facebook got really popular, and the interest waned.  All of that added up to a TON of pages, plus I was adding a lot of "Stuff" pages.   I literally had more than 6,000 pages referencing that code - most that no one was using - so I unfortunately dumped most of them to save time.  I wish now that I'd simply written a macro or something to crawl my site and do the updates, but it is too late now to hand-wrangle over that.

        Added in 2001
Updated in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2014
Part of MY website                This site is primarily intended to be a means to keep my family up to date... if you have a question or comment, EMAIL ME