I first got online in the early 90s. While some of my friends were goofing around on BBS‘s, I was using my dad’s Compuserve account to post icons I had designed for Windows 3.1. Later on, in 1995, I had dial-up Internet access at home, and a friend had shown me Joe the Circle, one of the first webcomics. This really kick-started my interest in web design, and I had a website on Geocities that year. The idea for Yellow Number Five was born around this time. I graduated high school in 1996, and my early website (which was already coded by hand) moved to Xoom, and then later to my first ISP, SpiritOne, when I started working at Egghead.
My first domain name was yellow5.com in November of 1997. My friend Steve Havelka convinced me to split the cost of registering the domain with him (back then it was still $35 per year!). We both put up sites: I put up the first Y5 band page, and he put up Pokey the Penguin. He later bought me out of my share the domain name because I was broke. Around the same time, I redesigned my homepage to be “Grog and Trog’s Virtual Whatever,” which was a shared homepage for myself and my roomate, Aaron Bertrand (aka Trog, our nicknames from Outdoor School). By early 1998, I had started working in the campus computer labs at PSU, and by June I was going out with Annie. At this point my homepage mostly featured photos of Aaron and me, and some horrible angsty poetry about a girlfriend who had dumped me before I met Annie.
In February of 1999, I started an online journal (no one used the term “blog” back then), which I posted to under the nickname “bug.” I was inspired by my friend Daniel Achterman’s journal, which was, in turn, inspired by Microserfs. In June, I moved out of the Ondine and into an apartment with Annie. At the same time, Miles Johnson and I split the cost of another domain name, spaceninja.com. We chose the name because we liked both words, and they sounded even better together. By late 1999, the earliest Space Ninja Design page was online, and my SpiritOne homepage was no longer shared with Aaron, and was redirecting to Spaceninja.
Early in 2000, my homepage was heavily redesigned and featured a discussion between myself at the time and myself 7 years earlier. This gimmick allowed me to discuss the content of the pages as well as just post links to funny stories that were being forwarded in email. In February, motivated by Steve’s comic Pokey and Miles’ comic Isometric, I put up my own comic, called Hammerspace. In July, I purchased my first solo domain, killingmachines.org, and quickly put up a communal blog for the three of us. We were using the FCS program that Steve had programmed, and we debated about whether or not the site qualified as a blog (I argued that it didn’t, since we didn’t post enough links). At this time, KMorg featured a wallpapers section and .plan files for the three of us.
By February of 2001, we had already figured out that we wanted to do something bigger with KMorg, so we relocated our blog to the Rusty subdomain. At first, we thought it would become a ‘zine, but by April, we already had the beginnings of the weblog community up, running a modified version of FCS. In May, Rusty passed 10,000 hits to the front page of the site, and by July we had redirected Rusty to the Rusted subdomain, because it sounded cooler. In July, my friend KT decided that there was too much romantic discussion going on, and suggested another name change. In March of 2003, we changed the Rusted software from FCS to F5k, and in January 2004, I changed it over to Movable Type.
Rusted stayed where it was for the next three years, until a major server crash in April 2004. During that time the initial group of three expanded to a larger group of twelve, but by 2004, I was really the only one posting to it. So after the crash, I relocated the blog again to spaceninja.com/, and locked all the accounts except my own. In February 2005, I switched software again to WordPress.
Since 1996, my site has evolved from a personal homepage on Geocities to a group weblog which ranged from three to twelve authors, and then settled back down to one. It has been through five different systems, ranged from being updated by hand, to using custom blog software, to a large proprietary system, and finally to an open-source one. it has gone through seven different servers, four domain names, and three pseudonyms. It has been online for nearly ten years, And I’m not done yet!