Web decisions & a cute bit of history

When Hubbs first got into website creation, he discovered and shared a principle with me.

It is based on the old-hat concept that there is no free lunch.  If a server offers you free web hosting, it means that they pop their own advertisements on your site, advertising someone else’s commerce on your effort.

This does not seem to have changed in any way.  Even the “cheap” hosts are only “temporarily cheap” and often more expensive than the immediately higher-priced ones.

I was reminded of why we built our websites from scratch, in html, css, php and javascript rather than “borrowing” from the drag-and-drop sites.  It is this:  Web places that have “preformatted”, easy-to-update web templates usually charge per gadget.  Want a dropdown menu? $10 please.  Paypal button (so your customers can actually order something)?  $10 per button please.  Oh, you’d like an extra div (little interactive box)?  That’ll be another $29 “hosting” fine.  I mean, fee.

Here’s a link to a site Hubbs built a long while back, and kept updating until the restaurant closed its doors in 2003.  The mailing lists and online ordering continued for a while longer.  It is an impressively large site if you consider that every week for years, another recipe was added to the archives.  He even had a Links page leading to other holistic sites and to joke sites – some of which are actually still around.  I’m amazed what he achieved with very primitive means, very rudimentary graphics programs (we didn’t have the “latest and greatest”).

The Crazy Nut Restaurant

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The William Saroyan quote scrolls, and the little peanut man does a cartwheel on the home page.  All done in basic html.  Hubbs certainly bet on the right horse concerning the freeservers server, as they are still around today.  His own site, Moncrieff Web Design, was not so lucky.  Parked with 8k.com, it was first entirely cluttered with ads, and then the server disappeared.  (Of course if you look it up, today you will find a Gary Moncrieff Web Design… no relation.  Turns out Moncrieff isn’t such a rare name, only in South Africa.)

I am still considering how to approach the P’kaboo and Honeymead sites.  A lot of thought and design has gone into both.  But it goes beyond that.  The way people read, has changed.  Clearly a restart and a relaunch is indicated.

Now that I am here, I see bookshops, libraries and actual readers. In SA, there were readers… but the economy was so bad that they crowded into the one bookshop that sold only remaindered books, living, so to speak, on carrion. It is a self-limiting system.

Here, too, I see the e-revolution – teenagers squinting at tiny cellphone screens instead of reading books.  I bought two magazines today – I was the only one on the train station who was reading magazines.  (Sorry:  Journals.)  To my surprise there aren’t even proper bus plans – little map books outlining which bus goes where.  It’s all on Google, and if your smartphone battery is dead, you are phooked…

Take it a step further (“your ebook is reading you” etc) and you have the fact that Google is an AI.  An AI that watches and records our every move.  Are you comfortable with that?

Come, peeps, give some input.  Do you think reading is good for teenagers, and should be promoted, or is it obsolete in the world of online gaming and social media?  How do we go about this, rekindling a love for the (original) written word?  Humankind lives on stories.  It is who we are.  C’mon, this can’t be that complicated!

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Prehistoric Graffiti

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