Five years ago today on February 21, 2002 I registered the cementhorizon.com domain name. I'd wanted to setup a community site like this for a few years. I'd mocked up page designs, come up with a database model, converted the Cleo address book over from it's original Excel format to Microsoft Access MDB file and finally into a local MySQL database in preparation. I bought the name a few years after the domain name registrar business was opened up to competition for the first time in 1999 and was very proud of myself for finding a great deal from a registrar in Germany for 12 Euro instead of the standard 35$ a year. This was even better since at the time Bush's war on terror hadn't yet killed the dollar and 12 Euro worked out to 11 dollars and something.
I did a bunch of research and found a web hosting company to host with on the cheap. At the time I had no idea that olm.net would turn out to be a really poor hosting provider. After about three months of learning PHP from scratch, learning and creating cascading style sheets for the look of the site, tweaking MovableType for weblogging, putting up test pages and hand coded websites for the truly old school (Jacob, Michele, and Kris) on May 13, 2002 I launched the site.
Five months later I finalized the colors and logo for the site and rebranded the whole thing on September 25th, 2002. Over the years we've changed webhosts, unified eloise (photo albums) with the actual website (which were previously split across the hosting provider in New Jersey and a computer that I hosted out of my home on the west coast due to storage limitations at hosting providers), moved to a colocated setup with lots of storage and bandwidth, increased our userbase and accomplished the original goal of the site, which was to create a digital arm to a real physical community which would act as an adhesive to sustain a group of people over the years as they spread geographically.
It's now five years later and things are humming along nicely. There's a host of improvements that I want to make (maybe need to make is a better way to put it).
- Upgrade to Gallery 2 to replace the buggy, slow filesystem based backend of Gallery 1 with a database backend
- Upgrade to the newest version of MovableType to address the blog spam problem
- Migrate over to a RHEL4 based OS instead of the Fedora Core 2 OS to address the instabilities of the system and my inability to upgrade application software
- Migrate to a postfix/spamassasin/cyrus-imapd setup from our existing sendmail/cyrus-imapd setup to address the email spam problem
- Move our server to the new colocation facility to address the problem of outages caused by a power problems and upstream internet service provider problems
- Upgrade our hard drives to get more storage space.
In celebration of this birthday, come and join us for an evening.
WHAT: The CementHorizon Birthday Bash
WHEN: This Saturday, February 24, starting at 8 pm.
WHERE: Our apartment in San Francisco. Send an email to rsvp at cementhorizon.com for the complete address, if you don't already know it.
We'll have a photo booth and music and people. Come meet a blogger. Bring some booze, or teetotal it with Matt's chocolate fountain.