Onno.Com is 15 years old!

Mar 15, 2012 in Life

wpid-welcome-onno-com-2012-03-15-16-25.pngWe’re well in our teenager years!

I claimed the domain on March 3, 1997. The first web pages went up a few days later.

In the beginning I had a specific need for the web site. Locating it at onno.com was pleasing to the ego. But back to the purpose. In early January of ’97 I relocated to the US from England to work for Apple in Cupertino, CA. My new role was Product Marketing Manager for OpenDoc – a technology for developer to build their application from smaller pieces that could be mixed and matched depending on the user’s needs. Just around that time Apple had acquired Next (or as the inside joke went, Next acquired Apple). Quite soon after getting off the plane and inhabiting my new office on the 4th floor with a lovely view of the Mount Hamilton range two things were obvious:

–        a substantial re-org and layoff was just weeks away, and

–        OpenDoc was not going to survive.

A team member and I, forgot the guy’s name, decided to use the time between now and when D-Day would be to prepare for the next step in the career: we walked down to the Computer Bookstore on the ground floor, bought ourselves copies of Java In A Nutshell and Symantec’s Visual Cafe for Java. To learn Java I wrote a Checkers game as an applet. Once that was working well I wanted a place, a web site, to host that applet so that my intended new colleagues of Sun Microsystems could play with it and admire my knowledge of the Java technology. And thus: onno.com.

Later it became a personal web site and blog to host my photographic exploits and my stories about travel, cycling and whatever else I choose to write about. The first number of years this was all handcrafted html. Over time I replaced pieces with off the shelf tools: the photo gallery moved to MobileME and very recently to onno.smugmug.com, and the main content is now managed by wordpress running on onno.com. The hosting moved from pacbell.net to yahoo to lunarpages.

A few times a year I get inquiries to buy the domain. A t-shirt company in Colorado tried a few times; it was never clear why “onno.com” was meaningful to them. Various fellow Onno’s asked including Onno Tijdgat who was known as a hacker during the 80-ies and the Chaos Computer Club days. The most recent request was a few months ago from a Polish company building a portal at onno.pl. I somewhat regret not having grabbed the .nl and .org domains at the time and so now other Onno’s occupy those.

The site hosted Rachel’s photography business for awhile before we moved it off to its own home at rachelgracie.com. It hosted my consulting business for the year it was active. Last year onno.com was hacked and I spent some long nights going through every file to check if it was compromised. And I once got a death threat – a comment on a story about gun control.

Sadly I don’t have a backup from the very early days of the site. The image you see above shows what the main page looked like in April 2002. Web crawlers visited the domain a few times and so there are some fun nuggets in the wayback machine. Such as my December 2000 roadtrip: http://web.archive.org/web/20010216193812/http://www.onno.com/travel/newyearseve.html and the 2000 Thanksgiving weekend Amtrak journey: http://web.archive.org/web/20010422061814/http://www.onno.com/travel/allaboard.html. I may lift a few of those and re-post them; I have quite fond memories of a some of those trips.

Social network here, there and everywhere

Oct 20, 2008 in Life

dashboard21.jpgHow the world has progressed from mailing lists and bulletin board systems. Where is Compuserve?

I continue to find “social networking” fascinating. I put the term between quotes; it is not as if humans weren’t socially networking before the founding of MySpace or Facebook. All these nodes in the world wide web do underwrite that humans are social animals first. The success of the telephone a century ago, the ringtone explosion, Japanese teenagers sending each other grainy photographs on their mobile phones and so on.

Social networking intrigues me both personally and professionally. I live in Rochester, NY but most of my family and many of my friends are elsewhere – personal web sites, Facebook friends, twitter updates all help staying in touch with each other and so over a distance of thousands of miles and six time zones I still know that Gero is stuck in a 3 1/2 hour traffic jam due to a truck accident. I have to say though that much of my family is disappointedly cyberspace-inactive. Professionally it helps maintaining connections with peers in the industry while we all move positions, change jobs – and it adds to a manager’s ability to stay aware of the professional well-being of remote colleagues (Facebook status updates can give interesting hints on a colleague’s gearing up for a job change). In my usage I try to separate LinkedIn contacts and Facebook friends between professional, work-related and personal respectively although the line is rather blurry.

Facebook, MySpace, Twitter are all so successful also because they feed into the narcissistic tendencies of many of us allowing us, encouraging us to twirl our experiences, our virtues onto the world. I happily do. Yesterday I went on a bike ride. Before the ride I twitter that I am about to do this and I twitter upon return. The pictures from the ride need to be uploaded to my .Mac gallery, to Flickr, to Facebook and I need to write about the ride on this blog. The stats recorded by my bicycle computer are uploaded to BikeJournal. If I read something interesting on cycling or social networking then I need to bookmark that to del.icio.us. And in between I need to worry about my Technorati authority (only 2, what’s up with that?). All this easily takes much more time than the bike ride itself.

Am I profiling myself enough? How much would my personal brand gain if I also joined Friendster, Friendfeed, Plaxo, Livejournal? Heard the other day that World of Warcraft is becoming Golf of this millennium – the place where business deals get done. I never played golf so maybe I have a shortcut here?

At the same time email is still a key communication tool. With the 11066 unread emails I have as of this writing, keeping up with all the twitter messages, facebook status updates, flickr discussions etc etc how do you stay abreast of that deluge of information? How do you know what to pay attention to and when? How to avoid being interrupted by each incoming email during writing a paper or software? Last week I unfollowed someone because he was just twittering too much.

An MIT project now implemented at MovableType, Action Streams, can be useful. Action Streams allow you to aggregate and share your actions and profiles around the web in one place. Maybe that can optimize my “post ride”-workflow?Ambient information devices then help you assess the state of information waiting for you. There is the Chumby – love to get a few of those. There’s the glowing orb. The cute rabbit by Nabaztag.

For now I am starting in a cheap and simple way. Our Mac Mini is supposed to be our media server but actually spends a lot of its time on my desk. By keeping it in Dashboard mode I can have occasional glances at stock quotes, the weather, San Francisco web cams, IP addresses on our home network, Dutch headlines, Facebook and twitter updates, and a world clock.

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