This isn’t quite the blog post I intended to write today.
You see, today is the 20th anniversary of me starting my original blog over at roberthampton.me.uk. My first post hit the internet at 10.37am on 22nd March 2003. It seems like a long time ago – not least because that day was a Saturday, and the idea that I would actually be out of bed at that time on a weekend seems fanciful now.
The following decade or so was fruitful, but then there was a gap between 30th December 2015 and 31st August 2017 when I deliberately stopped the blog. Even when I started up again at the new hampo.uk address, there were the two rather barren years of 2020 and 2021, when I hadn’t officially stopped the blog but still didn’t write much at all.
I came back in January 2022 promising to write more, and I hope I mostly lived up to that. It helps that, with lockdown restrictions lifted, and now an actual boyfriend to enjoy social events with, I have been getting out a lot more.
It was 20 years ago today that I made my first foray into the world of web publishing.
I was 14, and had taught myself HTML from a series of articles that appeared in Acorn User magazine. AU had also given away a CD-ROM packed with internet software for Acorn computers, including an early web browser called ArcWeb. With that, and the Zap text editor, my journey into the wonderful world of web design began.
A minor detail like not having an internet connection didn’t stop me from putting together a basic website. I was perfectly happy browsing files on my 210 megabyte hard disc. I couldn’t put anything online, however, until the end of August 1997, when I got a 33k6 modem and a dial-up account with ArgoNet. On 31st August 1997, while the rest of the world was mourning Princess Diana, I was busy uploading my first website.
FABland (there’s a long story behind that name, and don’t ask me to tell it) was mainly a repository for some little freeware programs I had written and wanted to share, together with some terrible jokes I had stolen from the Internet. However, I also had a “my viewpoint” page, which I updated occasionally. Yes, I still have those writings archived, and no, you can’t see them because they are mostly embarrassing sub-Adrian Mole teenage angst and some really bad opinions. That was the first time I exposed myself online (not that anyone was reading).
Two decades have passed. Acorn has disappeared into the annals of computing history and I have swapped my RiscPC 600 for an Apple iMac. I’m an anxious adult instead of an anxious teenager. So why am I talking about my first website now? Because I want to explain why I have chosen this seemingly random date to trumpet my return to the blogosphere.
I ended my old blog in December 2015 because I had limited time to devote to writing. When I did have a moment to write something, it felt like a chore. The former condition still applies for the moment, but the latter doesn’t. I can’t say I’m terribly sorry to have missed 2016, the year when all hope died, but more recently there have been times when I’ve been itching to write something long-form – threading fifty tweets simply won’t do.
I thought about picking up on my old blog as if nothing had happened. However, I’ve decided to go for a completely fresh start and a slightly different focus. The old site will remain online as an archive, but all new stuff will go here, the third incarnation of my online presence.
Over the previous 20 months, an awful lot has happened (emphasis on awful), so I’m looking forward to catching up with you all. Follow me on Twitter to make sure you don’t miss anything. If you’re old school, subscribe to my RSS feed. I am also on Instagram and Tumblr.