USA :: December '96 -- May '97

Subject: REBOOT!
Date: Mon, 05 May 1997 09:33


09:12 64th & Granville; Vancouver -- Canada :: 05 MAY 97

Do not under-estimate the time-intensive labour required to move 65MB+ of web site to new digs.

You begin by finding a new home. You have to decide, do I want to rent an apartment or buy my own house? Will it be (http://www.landlord.com/~myflat) or (http://www.myhouse.bc.ca)? In an industry known for bad landlords, and rental units always on the verge of collapse, my brief internet experience includes plenty of moves and six or eight email addresses. This situation is regrettable but not really a problem so long as you can notify everyone about address changes. And so long as you haven't printed up a couple hundred dollars worth of business cards and letterhead specifying soon-to-be-defunct email addresses and web URLs. Which is my present condition.

When your internet identity includes a URL--a homepage--the situation becomes even more difficult. On the net, people you've never met know where you live, and expect to find you there indefinitely. How do you notify them?

No. It was time for a permanent presence on the net, or at least a presence that follows you around.

So, a little digging turned up a new home and an IP# to use while the net godz debated my selection of a domain name. With the godz occupied, I got to work on http://206.26.226.237/, the new home.

For a week I was doing little more than downloading files from Whistler Net and then uploading them to synaptic. My laptop is relatively tiny and really doesn't have the space to hold the entire website, and living out of a backpack isn't conducive to porting one's 26" tower computer along. So, lots and lots and lots of files. Lots and lots of really BIG image files. A total number of files in the low thousands. Took a long time costing me plenty in connect time charges for going over the allotted 90 hours last month.

Finally, the net godz got back to me on the domain name: "You will stand up, grizzled netizen, and be known forever more as "synaptic.bc.ca".

Kewl! thought I. "Hey, how much do I owe you guys?"

The godz replied, thunderously, "We are not the Gods of Internic, who ask tithings of those seeking the honour of Dot COM! We are The CA Domain Registrar! who convey their honours to the worthy, not the wealthy!"

"KEWL! Now I can afford that ZIP drive."

Standing up and being counted included creating all the redirect files for Whistler Net, so people looking for me at the old place wouldn't find an empty house with no forwarding address. Lots and lots of redirect files. They were small, but it still took a while to write the scripts that generated each individual file. And then it took a while longer to get them in place.

Then, being a net savvy and sensitive webmaster, I decided I should find all the web pages which linked to pages in my ejournal and notify the webmasters of those pages that the site had moved. Lots and lots and lots of links. Hundreds of them. Modem wilting amounts. Particularly since Netscape kept eating up all the memory in this itty bitty laptop which meant stuff that was normally kept in speedy RAM would have to get temporarily stored on disk, then read back into RAM, then stored on disk, back to RAM, back to disk, to RAM, to disk, RAM, disk, RAM, disk, RAM diskRAM, disk, RAMdiskRAMdskRMdkRKdMAsk.... The computer ran slower, and s l o w e r and sssss lllll ooooo wwwww eeeee rrrrr and ... you get the drift. A stop action video camera shooting one frame every ten seconds would have shown a Netscape web session unfolded at a seemingly normal pace for a 19200 baud connection while I buzzed around the terminal like an insect on amphetamines. So, I'd log off the net, close all my programs, exit windows, shutdown the computer, reboot the computer, reload windows, startup all my programs, log onto the net, web over to ALTA VISTA, search for all the links to my old site find the place in the list I'd left off and then, RAM would get stored temporarily to disk, and back to RAM, disk, RAM, etc., etc., etc.

Handily, ALTA VISTA's search engine allows you to seek only pages with links to your site. Just type "link:http://www.domain.com/folder" and it'll find pages containing an HTML tag reading <a href="http://www.domain.com/folder...">. Nice feature. But ALTA VISTA doesn't search every page on the web, so even after visiting all the 200+ hits it returned for links to the old Nomadic Spirit site, I'm still turning up one or two every so often through various other means.

The really frustrating part of the process begins once you've located a page with a link. Not all webmasters put their contact addresses on all the pages in their website, like I do. Actually, many websites are a navigational nightmare if you're looking for the contact address of the webmaster, particularly if you don't hit the homepage on the first shot, often the only place you'll find a contact address. Eventually, I learned to give up after three attempts at navigating to a contact address--unless it looked very promising, which it often seemed to be--falsely, but maybe the next page? RAMdiskRAMdskRAdikAdM... <ARRRGH!> REBOOT!

Having another webmaster link to your site is a fine honour, perhaps the finest complement one webmaster can give another. However, it shouldn't have surprised me that of the hundreds of links to my site, not all would come from pages with which I'd like my work associated. For example, the World Sex Guide's Prostitution FAQ points to one of the Nomadic Spirit pages. Ewwwww. And another webmaster appears to have lifted the work I put into the Chief Seattle reference page. These fired up the ire sufficiently that I created The Dubious Distinction Awards. In the first two days, I recognized four webmaster's for bestowing "Dewbies" to four of my pages and announced the awards to the internet.

HA-HA! Webmaster's revenge!

On the third day I had to retract one of those awards when I recognized the rather odd sense of self-deprecating irony in that webmaster's choice of links. That's five Dewbies and one retraction in three days--with The Dubious Distinction Awards page itself as one of the culprits (see what happens when ire gets the best of you?). Such is life.

The only piece of work left to complete the domain change process is creating a page of links to the pages linking to the Nomadic Spirit, a reciprocal links page. Sounds like a lot of work, but fortunately I can just copy and edit Netscape's bookmark file, to which I religiously added links whenever I found them. The result may not be particularly pretty, but hopefully it will suffice as my grateful acknowledgment to the honour bestowed on my efforts by all those webmasters.

~~~ Responses Sought ~~~
The [baby] boomers have caught on!
Everybody stop!
  graphical element Exclamation bubble in a Tank McNamara cartoon from the lips of an extreme sports athlete;
upon noticing an advertising billboard using images of his obscure extreme sport to ply product.

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