A rantbox by Michiel Scholten

Twenty years of blogging

Twenty years ago - not long after the turn of the century - I was tinkering with some PHP code to replace a static HTML page I had been experimenting with. It was becoming my private website, in the classic sense of the word: where I put stuff I am interested in, about who I am, and in this case also to introduce my homeserver called 'xcalibur', after the well-known sword of the King with his round table.

'Static HTML' is not entirely correct here; it was already a bunch of PHP pages, some of which even provided almost-realtime information about the system it was running on (see below).

At the time I was a Computer Science student at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, had just acquired the hardware of the 'xcalibur' server from an uncle that was into tech and photography (and smoking, I still remember the smell of the first few days of the tower running in our attic, venting his chain-smoking odours). It was intended to host a few websites and to tinker around with other networking stuff.

I wanted to exercise my English writing skills, and thought it fun to have an echo room out on the wild wild web. When Christmas holiday 2003 came around, I had some free time on my hands, implemented a MySQL-backed rant box, and have been blogging ever since.

In the 2017 post where I described moving the weblog to Pelican, I already wrote a small timeline and reasons not to use things like Wordpress (did barely exist when I started). It has always been my toy, my venting place, and my online documentation system, especially later on, when I started writing howto articles; mainly to condense what I had to research and fix recently, for future reference by myself and hopefully a few others.

I love having my own place here; it has always been independent from whatever platform-du-jour, has never been involved in ads, and has been a welcoming refuge for my thoughts. I certainly plan to keep it around for many years, and maybe have a few visitors enjoying my work :)

Twenty years I have been tending my own garden. I am really curious to how it will look in twenty years time.

For fun, here are some early posts in 2004, not much changed personally :D (Screenshot from the Internet Archive with bigger font and slightly other list-styling than the original, so that's why the navigation looks cramped)

Weblog homepage in early 2004

The homepage in november 2003, where I noted that I wanted to create my own weblog, but thought it too involved for what I had to say (not much, I thought):

XCalibur homepage in 2003

Real-time server information in november 2003 (fancy!):

XCalibur server info in 2003

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