After a few years of playing around with html and small scale web hosting from a home computer I decided to get more formal and buy a domain and some proper hosting. I'm sure that my path to this domain/blog is typical of many in my demographic; none-the-less here is my story.
I have been playing around with making web pages for a long time. Beginning in junior high school I started making simple web pages for bands, primarily using the infamous Frontpage software and free web hosting. This was the era of Geocities, Lycos, and my personal favorite XOOM. At some point bands broke up and sites like MP3.com and Garageband, that allowed free audio streaming along with a small profile, became the online outlet of choice making the old Frontpage authored sites, with the requisite popup ad and 60 character URL, passé.
Around a decade later, after beginning library school, I came upon a need to relearn and expand on my past experiences with making web pages. At this point I started experimenting with hosting from my own machines. An old 300mhz G3 blue and white powermac on my home DSL line became my server. Installing the Apache web server, configuring the router, and accessing my machine from the Internet gave me some sort of beginners geek thrill.
As one of my first projects in library school, I created a website devoted to photos of area libraries. This coincided with my previous career as a photographer and satisfied the requirement for the library technology 501 class. Along with HTML and CSS I found myself needing to experiment a bit with PHP and MYSQL to get the contact form and web stats software going. Just this little exposure to CLI and the realization that there is so much powerful software available for free really set me off in my current trajectory.
Over time the unreliable nature of my DSL connection coupled with aging hardware lead to me taking down my public sites. More recently, I have found myself using a series of different setups including xampp and virtual machines to explore wordpress and drupal from within my own machine. These solutions have worked fairly well but really just increased my desire for proper hosting.
Around this time I was reading the Linked Data book, more specifically, a referenced article (Norman Walsh. Names and Addresses), which partially motivated me to lookup and grab my last name as a domain. While I haven't gone any further than reading about URI/linked data, the use of URI as name, identified and controlled through a domain identifiable to me was too intriguing to not to jump on.
The boring conclusion to this personal history is that the domain led me buying some proper hosting to learn with. Bringing us full circle to this blog that you are reading.