Sunday, August 09, 2015

On (finally) killing my website

Earlier today, I did something that I had been meaning to do for years: kill my website.
I took the whole thing down. It no longer exists. See? 2000 - 2015. May it rest in peace.
The screenshot above shows that (I no longer own the rights to the url) was “last modified on September 4, 2007.” I kept the site, which I originally created in 2000, updated on a semi-regular basis until that point, when I ran into an issue regarding the pictures and content on Lori's "side" of the website. That problem never got resolved, and I lost interest in keeping the site updated.

Which means I let the site languish for almost eight years. I always meant to do something about it, such as completely revamp it or move it to a new webhost - hence the notice at the top of the page - but I never took any action. I just didn’t have the time, the motivation or (quite frankly) the skill to do so.

Furthermore, I was unsure about what to do with some of the material on that site. If I revamped it or took it down, then what, for example, should happen to my “old” blog entries, my entire thesis on The Aesthetic Condition of the Urban Freeway, my travelogues from Japan, Ecuador and Dubai, my advice for suburban homebuyers suffering from the “drawbridge mentality” that rings just as true today as it did fifteen years ago when I originally wrote it, or my explanation as to why rabbits make lousy pets (which still generates e-mail from bunny friend and foe alike, a decade after I originally uploaded it)?

Of course, the amount of dated or obsolete material on that website far outweighed the material I wanted to keep. The decade-old article on Ecuador’s experiment with dollarization, for example. Pictures from Houston and North Texas football games in the early 00s. Links to my old Daily Cougar columns that are no longer active. There were light rail and streetcar maps I originally drew in the 2002-04 as a favor to Robert Schwandl, whose site once only contained heavy rail networks. Once Robert started carrying those systems on his page, however, there was no longer any reason for me to update them (my name is still on the Houston map on his site).

And then there were pictures of my wedding to Lori, which remained on that site over five years after our divorce was finalized.

In the end, I decided that the whole thing should come down. I let my registration to lapse, found the old password to the Earthlink ftp site which held the pages, and finally pulled everything down this weekend with the exception of a terse "home page" redirecting people to this blog. In the end, I thought it would be best to let die completely, and let my presence on the Interwebs be limited to this blog (even though this site, too, might someday come to a hiatus) and my Facebook page.

As far as the material I wanted to keep: some of it will be ported over here, as “retro” blog entries. My pictures of my trip to Japan as well as my first trip to Dubai, for example, as well as things I wrote during hurricanes Katrina and Rita (has it really been ten years?!), will soon go up here, backdated to when I originally wrote them. I’m debating about whether I want to do this with some other material – do I really want more hate mail about how rabbits make bad pets? – but that will be a decision for me to make as I port material to Blogspot over the coming months.

What to do about my thesis on urban highway aesthetics is a bit more troublesome. I could also port that to this blog, perhaps with each chapter being its own entry, but given that the document was originally written in 1999, it really needs to be updated, and the pictures are not of high quality as well. I think I am going to hold off on that for now; maybe I need to update it and republish it through professional channels.

So the website that I originally created back in 2000, using my very limited HTML skills, and which continually grew over the following half-dozen years, is no more. And I’m a little sad about it.

But I’m sadder that I didn’t kill it a long time ago.

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