Category Archives: Website

Making Websites

This is not the first website to exist under mattsnow.co.uk. Back at the start of Year 8 (12 y/o) in secondary school I actually managed to put together a somewhat useful website mainly to host pirated flash games to get past the schools automatic filtering system. To accomplish this I had the brilliant idea of changing references to things like “Games” to “Gnomes”. Surprisingly it took the I.T department several years to manually add me to the block list. The actual design process involved finding a free template somewhere and modifying it in notepad to my needs (my skill in HTML hasn’t progressed far from changing and adding the basic tags). To fill up the pages I added in random features from websites like dynamic drive. I also setup a live webcam using a camera my Grandma got free with something that could act as a webcam too, along with the free (now defunct) software dorgem. It updated the image by re-uploading the picture via FTP every 5 seconds. For the short amount of time it actually was live it was mostly pointed into my garden / the surrounding streets.

Very old site

I know, quite offensive to look at

The oldest version I still have has been uploaded here. Back in 2006 there wasn’t a huge selection of free web hosts (unlike the unbelievable deal from x10 this is running on now) so we had to be crafty with the size limits we were working with. Most of the time the hosting was ran on one of the Internet’s most ancient of web portal’s: angelfire / lycos. They generously gave you 20MB of free space as well as embedding adverts on all your pages. To host a selection of .swf files we made several accounts and had them all interlinked to one another. Today on x10 you have an unlimited space limit with no adverts. Times certainly have changed.

This is what it all ran on

This is what it all ran on

Soon I realized this thing I had cobbled together could induce headaches if looked at for any length of time. It was time for the grand redesign. Again I found a free template and changed random parts of it until I was happy. The “new” template of the site is live and is a huge improvement over the first design. The fancy navigation buttons are powered by some freely available javascript code, as well as the slideshow of random pictures. The status update box is just an iframe pointing at a .txt file, which I manually updated about twice. For all the game thumbnails I spent an entire Sunday manually playing each game a little bit to take a screenshot, before cropping, naming, uploading and coding in the image. Some of the games had copyright detection built in, that somehow detected what domain it existed on and restricted access accordingly. I then directed users to get around this by using the right click menu!

Crafty crafty

Crafty crafty

The music and video pages are now mostly non functioning, but back when the hosting sites still existed I had a small selection available that I thought might be popular. A useful feature I added was a fullscreen image popup, bearing in mind that most of my userbase were kids in school. On the footer menu the “press here” button opens a picture of the internal school homepage at that time, albeit with my details should anyone look too closely! Before I scrounged enough money together to actually register a domain name my site was (still is) provided a domain courtesy of Nauru. Nauru is a small island in the Pacific and a former British colony – today the worlds smallest republic. It’s entire source of wealth is mining centuries worth of bird droppings for phosphates, which are rapidly being exhausted. In an effort to diversify their income, anyone can register for a free .co.nr domain name. I think this is an excellent idea and a good way to advertise across the web. The only catch is you have to host a link back to them which looks like but1[1]. A small price to pay, and you can still visit my old site at mattsnow.co.nr. After the school blocked me I lost interest and eventually most of the hosts lapsed (as well as the domain name) until this recent resurrection. That is pretty much the story of the rise and fall my my previous web endeavour, not a bad start at age 14. Hopefully this new blog can offer some more useful content to the public!

Share Button

Leave a Comment

Filed under Website