A Personal History About Writing On The Internet

It has been a while in coming, but I have recently consolidated my writing on the Internet to a domain that I own and hosting services under my control. I've been publishing my writing on the Internet since the fall of 1999 when I started blogging using a service called EditThisPage.com.

Over those 14 years I have had to move my writing from one service to another as each has gone out of business. From EditThisPage.com to Weblogger.com to Blogger.com to Wordpress.com and now to frankmcpherson.net, or what I am calling FrankNet.

In The Beginning, EditThisPage.com

EditThisPage.com and Weblogger.com both ran on software called Manilla that did not render static HTML. While tools were made available for backing up and exporting data, I never was able to convert that to HTML. Consequently, the only place where some of that early writing is still accessible is on the Internet Archive, some times referred to as the Wayback Machine.

The earliest writing of mine from EditThisPage.com that you can find is from May 20, 2000. On that site I kept an index of some of the writing I did for some other sites, and some of that is in the Internet Archive.

Weblogger.com And 9/11

By the end of 2000 the EditThisPage.com site was becoming increasingly unstable, and therefore I moved my writing to Weblogger.com, which also ran Manilla and therefore made the migration simple. Unlike EditThisPage.com that was free, I payed to host my content on Weblogger.com and with that came the expectation the service was more reliable. I used Weblogger.com until 2008 when the company hosting it apparently went out of business. Suddenly one day I could no longer access the site, at which point I moved to Wordpress.com.

The earliest of my writing on Weblogger.com that is in the Internet archive is on March 31, 2001. Perhaps the most significant of what I wrote during this time occurred after 9/11, the first of which was on September 13, 2001. Then on September 15, 2001, and then one final one on September 22, 2001 after which I apparently moved on.

Wordpress Sanctuary

As I said, I've been using Wordpress to host my original blog, Notes From The Cave since 2008. Wordpress is a much larger brand and company than either of the others that I used in the past, and I am using their free service to host that blog.

I've actually been really pleased with Wordpress, and I am using it to host RealPersonalComputing.com, which is where I am writing my more "professional" online content on personal computing. About six months ago Dave Winer, who created the Manilla software released a product called Fargo.


Fargo is an outliner that runs in a web browser, written by Dave Winer, the father of outliners. In many ways Fargo is the merger of the products, Frontier, Manilla, EditThisPage, and the OPML Editor, that Dave created prior running almost entirely within the web browser.

Fargo exists due to the maturation of web applications and the existence of robust web services like Dropbox, Amazon Web Services, and node.js, and I think it is a testament of how far we have come.

For example, back when I used EditThisPage.com I had several painful experiences of losing what I wrote when the web browser accidentally refreshed. I learned the safest thing to do was to use Notepad to write and then copy and paste my writing in the EditThisPage.com web form.

I have yet to lose significant content in Fargo mostly because what I write is automatically saved to Dropbox as I write, a feature you used to only find with desktop apps like Microsoft Word. However, because Fargo is entirely on the web, I can use it to write using any computing device connected to the Internet.

Blogging Again

As an outlining tool, Fargo is a powerful organizational and productivity tool that people use it to maintain to-do lists and write programs, but it also includes powerful web publishing tools.

The web publishing part of Fargo is capable of rendering sites in a handful of different formats, such as the "blogHome" type that this site uses. Earlier this year Dave added a blog type format called "stream" that in reality is a return to blogging.

Somewhere along the way blogging moved from a date oriented format to a title oriented format, and I honestly think that with the change blogging stopped. For me the change occurred when I moved my blog from Weblogger.com to Wordpress.com, which emphasizes the title oriented format. Dave Winer attributes the change to Google Reader, which forced RSS items to have titles.

If you go back and look at the version of my blog on EditThisPage.com you will see that the "title" for each page is a date. In the beginning, blogging was literally a daily log of items one found on the Internet which you either wanted to share with others or store for later retrieval. Along with a link to another web page, you may find a sentence or two about the link, perhaps an comment about why one found the item worth reading.

The creation of my own stream type blog in Fargo made me recall how I used to write back then, and how similar it was to the sharing that occurs on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus, but with the benefit of being stored on a server in your control.

So, I am happy to say I am now blogging again, on my new Webnotes site, but there is still room for stories (or articles) or essays and for that I have a few other sites, a few of which are dedicated to a specific topic. I've also redirected frankmcpherson.com to point to the Webnotes site as my primary location on the Internet, previously I had it pointing to my Google Plus profile.

Last built: Wed, Oct 1, 2014 at 5:36 PM

By Frank McPherson, Saturday, July 19, 2014 at 3:27 PM. Ask not what the Internet can do for you...