A Brief History of 10stripe

by Alex Freeman

In the interest of posterity, and because I wanted to remove a bunch of stuff from the main page without losing track of the past, I have compiled here a brief recap of some moments in the page's history.

Somewhere around 2000: I start a homepage on Homestead.com. It is of exceedingly poor quality. I hassle my friends into visiting. I am routinely frustrated by Homestead's terrible (and I believe Java-based) WSIWYG editor.

Somewhere around 2002: I take an actual class at a community college (I was in high school, it was a night class) on HTML. I learn quite a bit, all things considered. I quickly realize how I could have made the original page much less terrible.

Fall 2003: I get to Rose and am given some free webspace. I make no effort to utilize it.

January 2004: It's cold out, I'm bored, and I decide to make use of my free webspace. The early page consists mostly of an opening page with random, rarely interesting news and a few slung-together humor articles. I give it the tremendously uncreative title Alex's Page. The page takes a "Maddox-esque" tone for a while. It's basically just a diversion I use to waste free time (hey, I remember that!) and amuse myself. The page is only really known to a few people I talk to in person. I hassle them into visiting.

Mid-January 2004: The first "real" article, AMD Explained, goes up. It's initially pretty rough, but it's the culmination of several months of somewhat obsessive research into AMD processors. It is the only thing on the page up to that point that I can take credit for with any real form of pride. The next few months are filled with more junk articles and occasional updates to the AMD page. In honor of the 2004 election campaign I create a parody page encouraging visitors to vote for Vomiting Kermit for president, in what is still one of the dumbest things on this site.

Summer 2004: I spend about 2 months in California without any internet access and with very little to do in my limited free time. This time spawned one relevant article, an entire new section of reviews no one ever read, and a major crisis on the backend. Up to that point, all new pages were created by opening a template page, saving it with a new file name, and adding content. This worked pretty well until I wanted to make some site-wide changes. With a burgeoning collection of pages (reviews added something like 200), the idea of manually updating ever single page was unthinkable. I got into using Dreamweaver templates and was instantly hooked.

September 2004: I finally put a counter up. I find it entertaining to flip through the results and look for oddities. I start keeping record of interesting search results.

March 2005: After being unsatisfied for months with the delays involved in updating a Dreamweaver template and waiting for the change to propogate to 400 individual pages, I adopt SSI. The site design changes again (I declared this Alex's Page 5.0). The new design is much less ugly and wastes much less space. When it was under development, I had this to say about some previous layouts: " the first was crap, the second was inconsistent and a pain in the ass, the fourth died before it was born because it made the back end ungodly". The third was mainly about standardization around Dreamweaver templates (see Summer 2004).

Early-ish 2005: I pick up some advertisers after originally offering ad space for exactly 12 cents. I will eventually lower my price to the point I am paid in candy. I ain't in it for the Benjamins.

May 2005: I officially pass 10,000 total hits, which is neat but unimportant.

November 2005: I sign up for another hit counter, Google Analytics. I cave in to peer pressure and post an image gallery that includes areas around campus, my house, my dog, and pretty much anything but me.

December 2005: Google searches for my name return my site as the first hit. Almost simultaneously, I reach 15,000 total hits. I also find out MSN's search algorithm has broken and temporarily lists my venomous review of MxPx's cover of "Summer of 69" as the first result for "Summer of 69". It's a good period for the page.

January 2005: After several months of AMD Explained being the most popular page I have (more popular than the index, even) and drawing a lot of search engine traffic, I realize the merits of shifting the site's focus. I start to expand on technical content and trim "fluff". The first major expansion is the Big Power Supply Guide. To really get the results I want for this guide I am forced to adopt some CSS and revised page layout techniques. This leads me to once again reconsider the overall site layout as part of my plan to refocus the site. On February 20, the first pages with the new CSS layout finally start to go live.

February 20, 2006: Just after midnight, the page reaches the 20,000 hit milestone.

April 2006: The next major expansion, the Big Processor Guide, goes live. It is accompanied by new, prettier CSS and revised navigation tools. Some new CSS tricks allow things like printer-friendly pages.

June 2006: After much hemming and hawing, the page is finally rechristened 10stripe.com.

January 2007: 50,000 hits.

February 2007: A new hosting account with Dreamhost is used to host the 10stripe.com domain in parallel with the original site on the Rose-Hulman server. A number of articles are trimmed out in the process.

March 2007: Revisions to the CSS and some new modified PHP come online, making life easier. The PHP automatically creates tables of contents and page title attributes.

April 1, 2007: On April Fool's Day, the old location at Rose-Hulman's site is permanently redirected to 10stripe.com. The transition is finally complete.

July 18, 2007: The site stops serving ads, ending its experiment with Google Adsense.

August 31, 2007: For the first time ever, someone visits the site with a Nintendo Wii.

December 8, 2007: 10stripe gets its own blog, which is named 10blog.

December 16, 2007: The site starts serving ads again, but now the ads are for Amazon.com products. This is known as the Bookshelf.

About the Author

Photo of the author

Alex Freeman is the founder of 10stripe and the one that keeps it running day-to-day. If you can come up with a better authority on 10stripe's history, do mention it.

You'll have to forgive him if this page is routinely out of date; it isn't the highest priority on the site.

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