My first “personal” website went online in January of 1996, and was hosted by dimensional.com here in Denver. It was really just a tech demo and advertisement for my web design services… 

Having a mix of programming and artistic skill back then was actually hard to find and turned out to be pretty marketable, and I sort of fell into the trade by accident. Between 1994 and 1996 I’d done several site designs for companies around the Denver Metro area and was pondering making a full-time job of it.

The Internet in the 90's was all about bevels and drop shadows.

The Internet in the 90’s was all about bevels and drop shadows.

In March of ’97 I created my first non-business related personal site using my Ri’Hahn moniker. It was pretty basic as I’ve never been one for tooting my own horn, and was still hosted at dimensional.com…

I had to censor my actual name... The Internet used to be pretty innocent just like we used to have phonebooks.

I had to censor my actual name… The Internet used to be pretty innocent just like we used to have phonebooks.

Later, after moving to Virginia in 1997 I fired up my first personal domain, rihahn.com, in 1999. It was more or less done for the grins and giggles as I had a T1 running into my bedroom, lots of hardware laying around, and it seemed like a fun thing to do.

The earliest version of the site code that I still have. This is the 4th version of the site from March 2000.

The earliest version of the site code that I still have. This is the 4th version of the site from March 2000.

This page is actually pretty complicated for the day; it’s made of a dozen images very precisely positioned to create what looks like a single image. This was to make the page look ‘active’ on a 28.8kbps modem while it was loading… A static image this size would result in a blank page for however long it took to download the entire image — around 10-15 seconds. But all of the smaller images would start loading at once and at least show that something was happening.

The JavaScript I wrote to run this page no longer runs in modern browsers for some reason, but there are mouseover effects and click animations on the buttons as well — also impossible to do on a static image.

The boxes on the lower right are from the non-existent visitor counter that has long since gone the way of the dodo. It would normally be horizontal numbers and the site was apparently in the 6-digits of visitors by early 2000.

Anyways, I used rihahn.com as both a personal website and a toy to play with rapidly evolving web technologies through 2002 when, due to a series of unfortunate complications with “real life”, the registration for the domain was dropped.

rihahn.com was quickly picked up by another registrar and was handed off from owner to owner over the next eighteen years. 

I would periodically check and see if it was available again just for old time’s sake, but a six-letter domain with a clean registration history from before the Y2K bug is a pretty hot commodity.

In September I noticed that the current owner in Germany hadn’t updated their site in a long time, and decided to check on the domain registration. rihahn.com was in an expired hold for 30 days, after which if the owner didn’t pay for it it would go into a pending delete status for 5-6 days, and then would become available again.

I whipped up a script that would check the domain status once per minute and if the status changed would then run an Automator script in Safari on the GoDaddy site to register the domain… I kicked off the script in the 4th day of the pending delete status, and five days ago I became the owner of my old domain once again. 🙂

Currently the domain is just receiving emails, but eventually I’ll set up a web server and put up another personal website on it.