Greetings. My name is Graham Palmer and this website was produced purely for entertainment purposes, and to keep my mind occupied.
The first website I ever created was back in 1999 and the Internet was a completely different place then. We communicated by means of what were called 'message boards' and in order to get online we had dial up connections which were not only exceedingly slow but also gave a horrible screeching noise every time we connected. These connections were very expensive and we had tight limits on the amount of data we could use.
People who have 24-hour a day high speed broadband connections don't know what they've missed!
There was a whole plethora of search engines, the majority of which have now crashed and burned. My own favourite was called 'Snap', but we had a choice of such distinguished alternatives as Lycos, Excite, Webcrawler, Infoseek, Ask Jeeves, Altavista, Yahoo; there was even a very popular one called Mamma, and an imaginatively named Dogpile! It is very interesting to note that most of these are now gone and yet Google, a relative newcomer, has become one of the most wealthy companies on the planet.
They were very exciting days with new websites coming along jostling for position but to be realistic the vast majority of these sites were dreadful. Artwork was primitive, and when images included text this was usually ugly and blocky; scalable fonts were still in their infancy.
Everyone used a desktop computer to get online and these were often pretty primitive too. Small monochrome monitors were standard; to be realistic the download speeds that we had in those days just weren't high enough to support the millions of colours that we now take for granted. It was very much the Wild West; it was not unusual to open a website and find hundreds more duplicates of it opening at the same time, so that you were forced to switch your computer off to get rid of them. Many people harken back to the good old days; but it is too easy to look at them through rosy coloured glasses.
Google has been given a lot of criticism of late but it has to be admitted that they clean the web up dramatically. It was common once upon a time for thousands of pages to be generated by scripts instead of by humans; many of them were just accumulations of search terms with unintelligible text; using a search engine to find a website that was actually written by a human could mean ploughing through dozens of junk sites first.
Some of the search engines, notably Yahoo, went some way to eliminating this problem by having teams of editors to approve sites before they could be accepted in their lists; but it could be a very expensive process for a website owner. Having handed over about US$300 to Yahoo there wasn't even a guarantee the site would be accepted, and there was no refund if it wasn't! Hobbyist websites didn't stand a chance.
The Open Directory, or DMOZ, came along; they used volunteer editors to vet websites and they didn't make any charge for inclusion. Their sole criteria was the quality and usefulness of the websites. Some of the editors did abuse their situation to promote their own sites and those of their friends, but the overwhelming majority made a serious effort to create a well-run and worthwhile directory. Unfortunately, with no money coming in, this was unsustainable in the long-term and DMOZ (I never did learn what the letters stood for!) is no more.
I gave up creating websites for a living some years ago but for some strange reason which I cannot put my finger on I missed it! So, I created this one mainly to see if I could still handle the latest technology. After all, nowadays a website has to be attractive looking whether it's viewed on a huge widescreen monitor, or a tiny mobile phone! The days when we could knock a site out in an afternoon using FrontPage is well behind us.
I feel very privileged to have seen the birth of the Internet; I only wish I had been a little bit more sharp off the mark and snapped up some of the domain names that nowadays can change hands for tens or even hundreds of thousands of pounds. I don't think any of us in those days, though, dreamt of the way it would take over so many of our lives.
Thank you for reading my ramblings! If you want to get in touch you can contact me by post at Burton Road, Carlton, Nottingham NG4 3BG, or drop me an e-mail - graham (at) bestcarsforwomen.co.uk.