Master of My Domain

by Jin, 11-27-08 // 3 comments

Lately I’ve been in a nostalgic mood towards the web. After reading some web designers posting their first web designs on their blogs, I can’t help but to start digging for my own.

It turned out harder than I expected. My current personal site has been inactive for years since it was hacked in the early 2000s. The internet wayback machine hasn’t archived all the content of my site. I could only find bits ‘n pieces of it, scattered through out the past decade or so.

I created my personal page in 1995, off my college’s server. With very limited web technology at the time, it was more of a “hey I’m on the internet!” type of deal. Mosaic didn’t even support background color or images in a table cell. In 1998, I reserved a domain name finally, I wanted the .com version, however some Chinese dairy company beat me to it. Having my own domain was a thrill, and a big deal back then. It was like owning a piece of real estate on the internet, or sticking a little “ME” flag on the moon. I was the master of my domain.

My personal site had always been just that, personal. I put up pictures of my friends, pets, places I had been or the projects I was working on. I wrote a custom ASP guest book and a personal journal (I guess I can call that a blog now). My site got hacked twice. Once in 2001 and last time was in 2003. I lost all the files. I wanted to rebuild my site, but at the same time I didn’t. I felt like I was being a bit suffocated by the internet. It was moving too fast for me. Plus, having a personal site never served any purpose in my opinion. When I freelanced, just about all my clients were referred to me through friends, not because of my site.

Anyways, I found some bits ‘n pieces of my site, or what was left of it after the hack. Some are just a “under construction” type of place holder images. I get a chuckle out of looking at them now. I feel they’re so pretentious looking.

old site

“Why so serious?” I don’t know. This was one of the intro splash pages that was all the rage in the late 90s. :)

old site

A temp “coming soon” page I put up, after my site got hacked. The fine print reads “To the hacker boy, I sincerely wish you find the joy of the opposite sex one day, and have friends outside of your mother’s basement.” I was maaad!

old site

This is the latest reincarnation I put up last year. I intended to make it a blog site, but never went anywhere with it.

I wonder if there is still a point of having a personal site (assuming if you’re not blogging). Thirteen years ago when I created my first personal page, it was meant for my real life friends to visit. Nowadays, with all sorts of social networking sites and their endless widgets, does anyone still maintain their own site? Do you still need to be the master of your domain, or just be a tenant of Myspace or Facebook’s apartment? Maybe just simply hang out on Twitter, where everyone knows your name.

While I’m still soaked in this retro mood, I dug up some ancient web sites I made about ten years ago. Check out the “trends” of the 90s design: tiny type, bar code, lines and more lines, 45 degree angles etc

old design
old design
old design

Lastly, here are some of my inspiration sites from way back. I’m surprised they’re still up, because many haven’t survived the testament of time and economy. (formly three oh) (is dead, but deserves a mention)


also feel free to contact me on twitter or via email
Sander 11-27-08

Great design walkthrough. Funny that websites are important but then again not so important anyway. When I think about my first website(s), at the time I was very proud and showed anyone my creations. But when I think of it now, I don’t even have screenshots (maby on my old PC but thats history). The funny thing is that from my offline creations I have everything put away in a box, for future reference or nostalgic moments. Makes you wonder indeed. Thanks for showing your designs.

Jin 11-27-08

Thanks for the comment Sanders. I really WISH I found find my very first page. It was really hideous. I need to start doing a better job of backing up my stuff. Then again, who has stuff on their HD nowadays because of cloud computing… :)

Victor 11-28-08

Jin, I remember when you made that site for BOCA Software for me and my company (all two of us :)). It could have been used for a lesson in basic geometry. Still a good design in its day though.