About YourFriendPaul

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What YourFriend Paul Is

They” finally came up with a name for personal pages that don't really serve a purpose. It turns out that it's a "vanity page", so I guess I'll have to accept that that's what this website is.

The site keeps getting bigger and older and having more obsolete parts. I hate getting rid of the stuff I put up years ago because the old pages reminds me of what was popular at that stage of web design. The way things are going, soon I'll have to have two "The Old Site" sections just to give me somewhere to keep all the old, old stuff that probably doesn't even work anymore.

Please remember that some of these pages were made very long ago. I don't update them and some of them won't display right in "modern" browsers.

This site used to be called "The Missing Links". Now you'll know why it's there if you see that somewhere. It means that I either haven't updated the page, or that I missed the link during the last update.

Who YourFriendPaul Is

For a long time my name didn't appear on my website. Being anonymous seemed good — what if I put up something controversial? I guess those concerns are gone now.

I often use OPunWide as my username, and used to list my webpages as made by Paul Procrastinator. I've been putting off changing that to my real name, but now the process has started.

So, time for some history. I've been in tech industries since graduating from U.C.S.B in 1977, working first in disc drives and then in communications. Compared to most people in tech, I was in very few companies: Okidata; Practical Peripherals, which became Hayes Microcomputer; and Xircom, which became Intel. I started in hardware and moved into software. My first non-school programming was done at home on an Atari 1024ST, using C and Forth.

I've been enjoying putting web pages together from their beginning, probably because it seems to combine technology with art. At some point I'll put some of my drawing and paintings on the website. At least that's what I keep saying.

Why YourFriendPaul?

I had just gone through yet another email and website address change. It was because of some corporate buy-out, or maybe some corporate decision that didn't consider the impact that the change would have on its customers. I just got fed up with the whole thing. It was time for a permanent address, even if it was going to cost me something extra.

While I was considering making the move, I wrote someone an email. and although I don't normally sign them individually, for some reason I did it that time:

Your Friend,

Click! Could that possibly be available? Yes! And it's been costing me web hosting fees ever since, but saved me from having to inform everyone I know yet again that my email was changing when Time Warner bought Adelphia.

Where YourFriendPaul Is

Or physically on Google Maps.

History (When YourFriendPaul Is?)

The remaining early parts of this site are from its third version, which I called "web3". It went live around 1996. Back then your internet provider also gave you a free website, so I made one.

The technology was very limited (no php, minimal javascript) and being able to put a bunch if pictures in a grid was cutting edge stuff. When blogs started much later, it was still a pain to make something as simple as this The BlakeBlog link button button, because then it was done with background colors using inline CSS.

I've been neglecting the site for a long time. Other than a couple of link fixes, my last post was five-ish years ago. It now needs a painful WordPress update. So why a note now?

"Social media" is shifting as Elon Musk's Twitter melts down. I'm making new accounts. One of them wants to "verify", or actually my link, by having me put a link to it. And that required changing this page.

Let's get back to history…

2008: another update

November 2008 — time to reorganize again. I would like to move things around, but it would break the old links, and those pages just plain are not worth updating, so if any of you are digging around where you shouldn't be, that's why it's the organizational mess that it is.

In this most recent update, I dumped the name "Missing Links". It was a nice pun when I first decided that it would be the site name, but it's time to retire it. Pages that haven't been updated recently may still refer to it.

These pages go all the way back to 1995 or so — can I really trust the file dates? Back when Netscape Navigator was the king, and Internet Explorer (I remember fighting with version 2, that's how I came up with 1995) either didn't exist or was so buggy that it wasn't being used.

The third version comes was put up in early 1996, and even included a java applet that made text move around. Very high tech for those days. Unfortunately, bandwidth was low, standards were just emerging, and things changed quickly. The site consisted mostly of links to things I found interesting or useful. Just having a bunch of pictures connected with the links was enough to make a site look fairly good in those days. Now, of course, it looks kind of pathetic.

2000: a dumb down update

Around 2000 I did a major site update. I wanted to explain why the major change was taking place. At the time, I had told one of the people that worked for me about the site because they had an interest in making their own. They came back the next day and said that they couldn't get beyond the first page. At that time the sitemap pretty much did double duty as an About page, and this is what I wrote:

The old site entrance had some people stumped; they just couldn't figure out how to get past it. (If you're stumped there, just move your mouse around and look for something to click on. Eventually a clue will show up if you don't get it by moving the mouse.) There are links to all of the early website pages once you go through the original entrance. Most of those older pages were optimized for the 4.x versions of the browsers. Although it was once the entrance to the entire site, the old entrance is now used just to gain access to all the old pages.

For newer pages, I have given up on trying to make this site look good on Netscape 4.x, and to a large degree IE4.x because there are too many places that they don't follow the specs. They also are lacking a lot of the newer features, and part of my reason for doing this is to keep up on the latest web design features. As of the last writing, it looked good on I.E. 5, but I don't have that anymore, so I'm only checking it on IE6 and Firefox.

I was amazed by the concept that I had to dumb down the cool entrance to my website to make it user-friendly, but accepted the fact that it was useless to have a site where people couldn't make it beyond page 1.

An even older history says what I was thinking the last time I did this, but it's not all that different than what is here. Before that, I kept a loose history of changes that included technical details that nobody but me cared about.

Home Page for YourFriendPaul