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Friday, 15 October 2010 6:19 PM MDT
Here's a brief note from this very same web site (www.aarongifford.com) circa September 1999:
18 September 1999 - This whole site is new! Even though I've had a home page of my very one since early 1994 (maybe it was even late 1993 -- I can't recall for sure), it has always looked absolutely awful. This site is an attempt to reorganize, rewrite, and redesign my haphazard collection of web junk into something slightly more pleasing to the eye and easier to navigate.Wow, it's been more than eleven years since I moved my web presence to my own vanity domain. Time flies.
It wasn't until 2003 that I started 'blogging here, at least according to my very first post—a test post.
It was indirectly thanks to Brandon Plewe (who was interested in geographic information systems back then), the son of Stan Plewe, who is currently Vice President for Administrative Services at Dixie State College of Utah who got me on the world-wide web in 1993. Brandon was back east (New York, I think) either going to school or having recently completed going to school. He pointed a bunch of us (via his father—I think) at Dixie College (as it was known then), faculty members like Gary Koeven, and Eric Pedersen (still the Director of the Center of Excellence for Computer Graphics, and also Professor of Visual Technologies), as well as several students like myself, at a little piece of Internet software called NCSA Mosaic.
(Side note: I couldn't find any online images of Eric or Gary. Sorry. And I didn't dare steal from Eric's Facebook profile. I had no qualms, however, filching Stan's image off Dixie's web site.)
It sure beat the pants of Gopher, the then reigning information access protocol of choice, this web thing. I had been speculating what Gopher would look like if one implemented a HyperCard-like front-end that could contain embedded images and text formatting instead of just simple links.
I couldn't rest, so on the IBM RS/6000 server running the AIX Unix operating system, housed at the Dixie College Science Building in a back room adjacent to the Center of Excellence, known on the Internet as sci.dixie.edu, I compiled and installed the free NCSA HTTPd software (from which the Apache web server would later evolve). Thus was born the sci.dixie.edu web server.
Back then there weren't many web servers in the world, and the creator of the World-Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee or one of his colleagues at CERN kept a list of all the servers, indexed in several ways, one indexing by geographical area.
So I sent an email with the web address of the sci.dixie.edu web server to CERN. It wasn't long before I had a reply—the new Dixie College web server was now officially listed. The email reply even noted that we were the very first web server registered in the State of Utah. Wow! I couldn't believe it! (And now I really wish I had a copy of that original message... *sigh*) Thus the Dixie College Center of Excellence (located in the Science Building, under the direction of Eric Pedersen) achieved a first in Utah in 1993.
Looking back at it now, I suspect that there were other web servers in Utah. I'm pretty sure BYU and/or the U. of U. had one or more. I'm not sure, but Novell may even have had a server already registered, but not listed in the then-definitive CERN server list in the Utah section.
It wasn't much longer after putting up the server that I started my own personal web page. Hence my 1999 note stating that I've had a web presence since 1993 or 1994.