10 years of piggott.me.uk

August 12, 2014

Sunday was the 10th anniversary of piggott.me.uk – I registered it on August 10th 2004.

As well as providing me with my a decent email address and allowing me to avoid lock-in to any single email provider, it has been home to more than just this blog. In fact, piggott.me.uk as it currently stands is not quite even half as old as piggott.me.uk the domain (see this blog’s Hello world! post – created on September 19th 2009).

I’m less interested in talking about the content of this blog because it’s comparatively recent, and WordPress itself does a good job of indexing the archives anyway.  The history of its predecessors is more interesting, so here archive.org steps in and provides us with the following wonderful snapshots from the early days – as far back as April 24th 2005.

That first snapshot is https://web.archive.org/web/20050424052005/http://www.piggott.me.uk/ which is a pretty minimalist index of hosted applications. Yes, the markup was pretty terrible, but the appearance wasn’t so bad and it did the job.

You’ll notice that the three listed items – Forums, Gallery and Chat – are deliberately marked for exclusion by my robots.txt. This is to protect the guilty, and by that I mean the ten-or-so large group of school friends who all used these services I hosted. We had a lot of fun, but I don’t think the archives should be publicly accessible! Update (02/04/15): I’ve removed the exclusion rules in order to simplify my web presences; there’s nothing bad on the forums anyway.

Next is just a basic page from June 29th 2006 that says “The server is down at the moment due to a disk failure. Traffic has been redirected to this server to explain the problem. We hope to be back in operation soon.” : https://web.archive.org/web/20060629112116/http://www.piggott.me.uk/

The significance of this is as a reminder that for just over the first three years the domain and sub-domains were home hosted – all the way up to September 29th 2007 according to https://web.archive.org/web/20120623020014/http://fahstat.piggott.me.uk/ (which in turn is referenced by Farewell FAHStat). I also recall that the home hosting of websites had gone on for more than three years; prior to August 2004 I had hosted those same applications indexed above on one or more free sub-domains from a dynamic DNS provider. What I do not recall is which provider it was or what the sub-domain(s) were. That use of dynamic DNS may well have continued for the first few years of piggott.me.uk too, because although it does seem quite late, I also vaguely recall that our telephone exchange did not support ADSL until 2006. Prior to whenever it did, everything I hosted was served over a 64kbps ISDN link(!).

Our final stop is https://web.archive.org/web/20060901033726/http://www.piggott.me.uk/. This gives us a somewhat broken (the graphics are missing) but passable snapshot of the appearance of this blog’s predecessor, which I started on May 29th 2005. It also tells us that January 17th 2006 was the beginning of the end of what was nearly a year of highly verbose blogging. I have my own archived copies of the raw content (words and pictures) of the entire blog – it is from these that I can see that the first post was on May 29th 2005 and the last was on April 22nd 2006. Those copies will remain private though; the majority of them would be better described as journal entries than blog posts and as we see on archive.org it was in the weeks leading up to January 17th that I decided the content shouldn’t be publicly accessible. But I can only assume the switch from public to private was why in the months that followed my input declined, until I stopped writing even privately and replaced that version of piggott.me.uk with a simple index page to hosted applications – not that unlike the first one linked above.

As well as the blog posts having already been made private by that point, most of the links from that index are broken/not archived. But one works, and it’s a treasure for which there are two snapshots: forums.piggott.me.uk . By now I’d moved the forums to their own sub-domain; it had previously existed at piggott.me.uk/forums. In recent years I discovered that the original location had been archived in some depth and so also in recent years I excluded that location from display as described above. The two snapshots of the latter location are:

  1. https://web.archive.org/web/20051223210637/http://forums.piggott.me.uk/
  2. https://web.archive.org/web/20060129083025/http://forums.piggott.me.uk/

From a quick check just now it does appear that most of the content – thread listings, thread content, and user profiles – is fortunately not included in the archive*. The main index itself is just the right amount – we can get a feel for the nature of the discussions that took place from the items that feature on it, and from the footer we can see the scale – a total of 3,890 posts by 28 members by January 29th 2006.

*If it was, I’d feel compelled to exclude the whole sub-domain from display by archive.org, and that would be quite a pain – I’d have to recreate the sub-domain just to provide and maintain the requisite robots.txt rules.

At last we reach the part where I should write a conclusion, but I don’t have one – there is no real point to this post to repeat. So I’ll end with this:

Here’s to another 10 years – hopefully between now and then I will write more than I have in the last few years (but not as excessively as I did in in the early days!).