Retiring Psion's Other Dimensions
A milestone marks an important passage. Used originally by the Romans along the Appian Way, each stone was placed at a location determined when a wheel four feet in diameter had rotated four hundred times. The actual mechanism used, an early odometer, was originally invented by Archimedes, although the exact engineering of the mechanism was forgotten and only recently duplicated. Not even Leonardo da Vinci was successful in recreating it.
Upon walking a mile, it isn't unusual for a pedestrian to stop at the marker and look back at the path they've followed. A moment of quiet reflection upon the journey before continuing.
In a metaphorical sense, a milestone marks an important moment or perhaps a passing. For me, just such a moment has occurred. A few minutes ago, I pulled all the files off the original Psion's Other Dimensions and cancelled the account.
In late 1993, when I first experimented with building a web site, it was common for people to throw up lists of information populated by links. Usually bland, a patterned background distinguished a site as being well-designed and appealing. Some people began experimenting with animated gifs.
In 1994, I was bored with a simple page that just announced myself to the world. Most sites did little more, and almost all of them were just a soap box for one person or organization to stand up on and bellow to the masses. I had played around with the CGI scripts provided by my host and realized I could do something more by tweaking the abilities of the guestbook function. I could give my visitors a chance to talk back and support, debate, or complain about what I had written. There were a few sites doing this then, but not many, and I thought this approach would really distinguish mine.
And so Psion's Other Dimensions was born. With simple, clean graphics created on my old Amiga, and a philosophy of healthy debate, it was my first effort at being a web master and the key to my current occupation.
Even then, I knew that I wanted to do more. The seed of Psidonia had been planted when I spent a great deal of time arguing with my host about improved CGI capabilities needed to add functionality to the site. I realized I needed a host who would allow me to do all of my own programming and not stand in my way with worries about security.
I found such a host in llamacom a couple years later. I registered psidonia.org and began experimenting with PHP programming and database interfaces. It still wasn't enough, though, since I didn't have hands-on access to the server to install the patches and functions I wanted to play with. So, when I bought my house in 1999, I subscribed to DSL and transferred my domain to a box in my home, where I could do what I wanted, even if that wasn't always the best idea.
Even though Psidonia hasn't seen much action for a while, I still have plans for it. My original notion of providing a site where the readers could answer back seems to have caught on everywhere. Folks even have a clever name for such web logs or "blogs." It's so common now, I consider the idea kind of boring. But I don't yet have a good idea what I'd like to offer to improve things. Maybe I'll finish that RPG. [shrugs]
And through all that time, and enduring occassional ribbing from anyone who discovered my dirty secret, I kept that old CRIS account and POD. CRIS was sold to XO, and a lot changed, but that old dial-up account remained intact. For years, I expected to find a notice from them every time I checked my email that they were discontinuing the service. The truth is, POD was comfortable. It was a nice milestone to keep around. A reminder of the way things were in the beginning. A place with nostalgic fixtures. And it was a handy location to stick graphics to minimize the load on my server.
But lately, I get tons of junk mail through firstname.lastname@example.org. The account has been handed around from one spammer's list to the next, and the traffic frequently hits five hundred pieces of junk mail every day! And with my upcoming vacation and inability to collect email during that period, I really didn't want to worry about all that mail accumulating on my server.
It's sad, but those times are now behind us. I've taken a snapshot of the old place, and I'll put it up here on Psidonia eventually to remind us of that first haven we gathered in to heckle each other. Thank all of you who stopped by and shared your thoughts; I appreciated the companionship. It's always so much nicer having a few friends along while you're walking from one milestone to the next.