Site HistoryWith the purchase of a digital camera in February, 1999, all the costs of film development weregone. I had always taken a lot of pictures; but now I could take hundreds in one sitting.
At the time I worked for a growing, independent Internet Service Provider (ISP). So, initiallymy pictures were posted into my existing accounts. Soon, the number of pictures exceeded my file space. So, rather than bug the engineers to raise my file quota (an amazing 40 megs per account already), I'd simply build a new account on the server as needed. I knew that one dayall of that space would go away, but amazingly that day did not come until almost 2 years later.
In the spring of 1999, we went public on the Nasdaq exchange along with several other previously independent ISP's as OneMain.com. Eventually, we'd be tied into a national serverand billing. But, in the meantime, we were autonomous to run according to our own plans.We simply reported our financials to a parent company now. Even the file space that I tookup was miniscule compared to our total capacity available.
In July of 1999, I registered 3 domains with Network Solutions to merge all of the disparate web space under one umberella. pics-by-jim.com, .net and .org were active within hours and ableto be viewed by the world within 5 days. At some point, our web designer at the time, Julie,encouraged me to put a copyright notice on all of the pictures. I resisted because of the volume of pictures, but was able to find a program that would automatically put the text ona directory of pictures. Additionally, it would create smaller thumbnails that would allowthe visitor to preview the image before seeing it large.
Back when the site was started to this period, I'd display all of the images on a single page.Not a problem if you had a T1 connection to the internet, but for the normal dialup user youmight have to click reload several times to get it all to load successfully. I went to work ona program that would display a few on each page. I enter the title of the page, the date I tookthe pictures, the directory where the pictures sit, whether they are marked with copyright ornot. Then, I enter a range of picture numbers 205-270, 279-350, etc. which allows me total control over what pictures I want shown. And all my html is automatically generated. With backand forward links and automatic links to the large pictures. Much better for the visitor and so veryeasy for me. I simply create html, a watermarked and thumbs directory on the server and uploadthe pics and program-generated html. Then add the link to the index page pointing to page 1of the html and another series is done.
The next important date is April 15, 2000. Our integration is getting closer. Local officestaffing cuts are discussed and I'm asked if I'd like to move to California or Pennsylvania?I'm psyched to go to California and plans are made to fly another supervisor and myself outto scout apartments and jobs for others. But from a pics-by-jim.com perspective, this marks the date that I begin hosting on free space offered by an engineer. Since integration willkill all of my unbilled accounts I start uploading future projects to his box. I get offered1 gig of space. Thank you so much Eric. :-) Its on a personal spare box he built himself whichallows him to test programs and languages not on our main server. Once again, I knew postintegration it would be going away but it was offered 'while it lasts' and I am grateful.
Thursday, June 8, 2000--Earthlink announces a definitive agreement to acquire OneMain.com withthe deal expected to close 4th quarter, 2000. Billy and I fly out to California the followingweek like we planned. But there is initial uncertainty about the new deal and what will happen.(Later Earthlink would announce that any OneMain committments would be honored including relocationallowances, et cetera.) And OneMain integrations continue as scheduled.
Initially, we're scheduled for integration in August, 2000. A continuing series of companies needingconverted ahead of us puts off our integration. Then, its decided that we'll be the first OneMain company to be directly integrated into Earthlink's network rather than OneMain's. Iam the programmer responsible for converting all of our data over to the new format and writing validationprograms for the staff cleaning up our existing data. This pace stops a planned upgrade to the webpagesof pics-by-jim.com but it pays the bills and I love the work. :-) Since we don't know technically when we're integrating we also cant say when we'll be available for California or any other Earthlink location. But the longer integration is postponed, the longer pics-by-jim.com lives. There was never a point where this affected the quality or timing of our data. All delayswere not due to us, but it did give me a few more months.
On Thursday, November 30, 2000, I kill the accounts I don't intend to pay for and convertthe remaining accounts over to be billed December 1. So, while my main index stayed the same, some of the links to pictures died.
On Wednesday, January 10, 2001, a conference call concerning integration deals me a double blow.That our existing 40 meg of space on accounts I planned to keep went to 6 meg (and then to 5 meg)per account. And that each additional meg of space over that allowance is billable at $1 per megper month. (Though this last part turned out to be in error, it prompted me to move my site.)By Friday, I had signed up with a new host and completed domain transfer. I backed up 200 megof personal webspace to make sure I had an online backup and fixed most of the html to pointto the backup. Unfortunately, this took up 200 of 250 meg reserved for pictures. It was withthis reduction from 40 meg to 5 meg that additional series links went dead.
By Thursday, January 18, 2001, the correct web hosting plan pricing was announced. I amgoing to select the 300 meg for $35 a month. But since I had spent every waking moment outsideof work getting the site moved, I'm not moving it back. Once I get the web hosting account inplace, I'll move the content over from my pics-by-jim.com webspace and revise the links again.At that point I'll have 250 meg of space to repost the pics. (And even more space is coming 'soon'!) The new host also retains features that I've become accustomed toas an employee here. Like cgi, perl and shell access. I get to continue learning andenhancing the features of the site. Additionally, with php and mysql on the host, I'll learn theseto build additional features perhaps.
Our integration happened overnight January 22, 2001. Co-inciding with that, the remainder ofthe pictures went offline with the personal engineering box. Thanks again Eric for being agreat host!
I've loved every minute of my last 3 years here. It was out of programming for our integration that I decided to pursue data processing in my next job. So, I'll be working a block from where I work now running the nightly computer updates for a credit union starting February 1. By staying here, I'll continue to take pics for the people I've met here and in an area I love. Stay tuned...pics-by-jim.com rolls on!
This page last rendered Tuesday, January 23, 2001at 12:58:12 p.m..