JDD, Librarian

The Horror
Picture of a smiling man in a tweed jacket with the words The Horror blinking in a speech bubble.


[Explanatory note, January 2, 2021]

I created this web page not too long after I became a librarian, for a personal site that I never quite got around to making public. Which was probably a good thing as it might have given prospective employers the wrong idea. It was mostly a reaction to dressing up for a succession of job interviews in one of my father's tweed jackets, with a conservative 50s style haircut and a pasted-on smile. "Is this the kind of conformity demanded by my new profession?" I wondered. "Is this who I am now?" In the late 90s, I guess "conformity" in the abstract was something I was still concerned about. As things transpired, I needn't have worried. The answer to both questions was "No".

If this page holds any interest in the present, it is as a minor work of personal digital archaeology. It was recently recovered from a box of 3.5 inch HD PC-formatted floppies I'd kept from my Library School days. The filesystem metadata dates the files to May 16, 1998, but of course you can't always trust filesystem metadata, and I remembered it as being something I'd done a bit earlier, in late 1996 or thereabouts. There are a couple of other clues though:

  1. The DTD is HTML version 3.2, which was released by the W3C on January 14, 1997 and superseded on March 15, 1998. The HTML editing software I was using would almost certainly not have implemented the spec on the day it was released, so likely the page was made some months later, say somewhere between mid-1997 and mid-late 1998.
  2. But, more importantly, the META tags in the HTML tell us the file was created with the freeware (or more accurately, careware) HTML editor Arachnophilia, version 3.4. That version was released on November 12, 1997 and superseded August 12, 1998. So the page couldn't have been made any earlier than late 1997, and definitely before mid-1998 when I started working at my first permanent full time librarian job. I didn't wear much tweed after that.

So, we probably can trust the filesystem metadata in this case.

As I recall, I was unable back then to get the text to blink properly. I'm still not sure why that was. I've updated it with a CSS animation and it now blinks the way I wanted it to back in 1998. I left the <blink> tag in the HTML for that late 90s authenticity however.

Although I haven't used it in many years, I was happy to learn today that Arachnophilia still exists and is still being actively maintained by its creator, Paul Lutus. Arachnophilia was really helpful when I was learning to code HTML, all those years ago. (Software-wise, Paul Lutus is better known as the author of Apple Writer, a popular word-processing program for the Apple II. The rest of his CV isn't too shabby either.)

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