October 2017

Launch Debugging

Extract from Version 5 of the vinceunlimited website
Version 5 of the vinceunlimited website

Thanks for taking a look at my re-launched web site. It has taken many hours to get to this stage so your few minutes of viewing are really welcome

It wasn't until I got it all uploaded yesterday that I realised there were a few bugs, as I suppose there often are with projects of this scale.

The main problem encountered was my coding. All links were shown as [typical] /linkname but in the uploading process they were saved as /linkname.htm I quickly got around this problem by renaming them all via my FTP client back to /linkname This got the site up and running. A cheeky fix but it worked.

However, as I am a perfectionist at heart and I wanted ease of use in future uploads I decided to re-code all the pages, all 107 odd desktop and mobile, to suit. I'm not sure what you did today.

Now, I shall start the actual process of updating my files so the site is properly fully populated. Watch this space.

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Author: Vince Poynter
Version 5.002 1 Oct 2017
First Published: Version 5.002 1 Oct 2017



September 2017

vinceunlimited Web-site Version 5 Launched

Original sketch laying out version 3 of the vinceunlimited website
The original sketch laying out version 3 of the vinceunlimited website, now finally achieved at version 5

Dan, dan, delah! Der, der, der, derrh! Tah Da! And however you might spell a drumroll. vinceunlimited.co.uk has roared into stage 5!

And it's a return to the original vinceunlimited concept idea. I have gone back to basics and have elected, once more, to learn how to and then do all the web-coding myself. And appropriately, the latest standard for web coding is HTML 5. So I've had to learn a whole bunch of updated rules.

Plus to do this properly I also had to learn the associated coding for CSS and Javascript. If you are unsure what all this means basically the HTML bit handles the layout and words, the CSS stuff seperates out the colours and styles and the Javascript jibberish allows complex page selection such as the Random Page Selector button actions on the right.

My original vinceunlimited site, forseeingly known as version 1, was catipulted onto the main stage in October 2003. It was hand coded in a contemporaneous version of HTML.

Version 2, appeared on the internet in May 2005 with coding that took my site to the next level with a better layout, a sidebar and dual colours.

I always struggled with getting HTML coding to set and wrap around images and with image links and couldn't find the time and way to code version three which was planned to look like the image above but I was saved all this effort by the introduction of Apple's colouful WYSIWYG iWeb App so this became the basis for actual version 3, in March 2010. Are you paying attention to these dates. A quiz will follow. But Apple had other ideas about keeping this iWeb pet project alive and I had to find another way to maintain my web prescence.

In 2012, July to be a bit more precise, with the development of FaceBook and Twitter, personal web-sites seemed to be going out of fashion. The era of the common blog had really started. And this bandwagon was truly seized upon when I clambered aboard a WordPress site, effectively making this the fourth version of vinceunlimited.co.uk

But WordPress is mostly about piggy-backing on other people's hard worked designs and trying to disguise this plagiarism with a bit of personal customisation. I always found this awkward and unsatisfactory so decided to go back to first principles and code the thing again myself, hence this version 5.

Have I bucked the trend? Am I just showing off? Or am I just avoiding the sheeple? These questions and less will be answered in the next few years.

For the full vinceunlimited story check out the Versions link at the top right side of this site.

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Author: Vince Poynter
Version 5.001 30 Sep 2017
First Published: Version 5.001 30 Sep 2017



History Of The vinceunlimited Website

Composite screenshots of the vinceunlimited websites versions 1-3

Cast your minds back to 2003. Cars were drawn along by horses, someone was working on the wheel design and nothing was ever any good because nobody had come up with the idea of sliced bread. Probably. However some steam powered computers were starting to be on the desks of ordinary decent folks. And this intrigued me. The content on this magical non-TV was relatively sparse and what was there seemed within my creative abilities and often well below. So, like an early pioneer I decided I wanted to stake my claim in the ever burgeoning wibbly, wobbly web. I was always writing stuff down, coming up with ideas, sketching down jokes and such but wanted an outlet for my creativity. I always fear that my body of work may never get out and would remain forever stagnant, in my drawers. The web seemed the latest place to publish stuff so I undertook to learn how to secure my bit of web-land.

I soon understood that it's not just a case of clicking on a blank bit of the internet and typing away. Plus this was way before a modern world of helpful Apps and YouTube guides. In those days everything was hand coded to order in a strange new programming language called HTML. I had to buy a book [ask your great-grandfather] to learn about this new fangled HTML gobbledygook. I had tried a bit of code writing in the earliest days of computing, a touch of CP/M in the 1980s and a fragment of MS DOS Basic following this so I was already used to seeing such weird combinations of alphabet characters and rarely used symbols lurking on a screen display.

I undertook to code. And code. And code. I was relentless. It was relentlessly boring. But I was on a roll. Then a wrap and finally a Burrito just to sustain myself. I had a vision of what my site would be like. In those days the internet was usually accessed by a dial up modem through your local telephone land-line and it was miserably slow. If you started to download a sexy picture of a woman one morning it would slowly build one line at a time from the top of the picture and by midday you may be able to tell what colour eyes she had. No idea if she was naked. The dial-tone, in the style of Murray Walker, would interrupt itself long before that. So I determined that my site had to rely on written content and not be peppered by irritating images failing to render.


vinceunlimited Version 1

Screenshot of the Home page of vinceunlimited.co.uk version 1
Home page of vinceunlimited.co.uk version 1

Preparation technically began in Jul 2002 when I registered vinceunlimited.co.uk. However, coding began in earnest around August 2003 and by October of that year the site was ready to be published. I had hand-coded 166 pages of wordy musings all interlinked and spattered with hyper-links to other relevant sites.

As can be seen from the accompanying screenshot the site was based on a theme of black text on a silver-grey background with the eponymous title in green. I used underlining for links. It had no graphics.

The four basic navigation sectors remain to this day being the major sub-sections of Ideas, Opinions, Personal and Writing.

During the course of the next two years various version 1 versions and updates were released adding new content, correcting spelling errors and de-bugging any failing links.

Version 1.01 [Yes, I anticipated up to 99 version variants, or at least possibly more than 9] was published in January 2004 and indeed one of the first changes was a versions page, which was helpful for all my stalkers. I modified the Home Page to work on more machines, changed all the poor quality links, an unfortunate side effect of hand coding all the HTML script which ran the pages and surmised that now that I could test the links in a real world situation the number of mis-links would minimise. I invited readers to be my eyes and ears out there (or should I say eyes and thumbs).

Version 1.01 also included new page additions. The major change undoubtably being the publication of the sitcom episode Site for Sore Eyes. A major publication from me taking ages to convert to HTML from the original Sanskrit.

The second version of the first version followed almost as if fate had determined it, in March 2004. Version 1.02 added some sketches plus I released a tantalising start to a full stage-play, along with some extra ideas. After all, I didn't want to loose my reputation as an ideas man. Unless the change was to a ladies man, naturally. No, no. Not a ladyboy. That is entirely different.

You can see, even in these earliest incarnations one thing I wanted to do was get my pre-written content out there. Somewhere. Anywhere.

It was February 2005 before version 1.03 sprouted legs and got going, boasting over 80 pages. However, the big news for me, as the website author, was the fact that I had my first feedback, despite the fact that, at that time, I hadn't yet launched the site on the unsuspecting general public. Up to then most readers probably knew me, or knew someone who did. This prompted me to formally notify Google of my presence. No posters, email shots or TV advertising had yet occurred (as if).

I found it interesting to watch people browse the site. It was designed to be read so a user could logically pass from page to page. Readers, however I discovered, have their own agenda along with their own twisted minds so the hyperlinks were abused and ignored with the inevitable disarray that follows. What was wrong with the homepage? One wouldn't read a book by grabbing at random chapters but internet browsing had made us work in this fashion which was a nightmare for me as a web designer. And it is this disordered chaos that resulted in the first memorable quote about my site. A work colleague, upon being asked what he thought of my site said "...it is rather opinionated..." Admittedly, not the most complimentary of comments but a positive reaction at least. So I enquired further and asked which part of the site he had read. He replied "The opinions section." Ahem.

Pages that were new in v1.03 included My favourite TV and films, Road tests and Quotes.

The final iteration of version 1, Version 1.04, was never formally acknowledged as a separate version as it only pre-published current pages. They were all crafted around March 2004.


vinceunlimited Version 2

Screenshot of the Home page of vinceunlimited.co.uk version 2
Home page of vinceunlimited.co.uk version 2

It took about a year before Version 2, appeared on the internet in May 2005 with coding that took my site to the next level with a better layout, a sidebar, dual colours and a nifty 3D surround effect as shown in the screen capture to the left. It also featured an animated, scrolling copyright notice relentlessly passing across the top of every screen. All this on nearly one hundred pages of wit, intellect and entertainment.

Because of the time taken to recode all the eighty plus pages of the site to the new layout I had not been as productive as I would have liked but did find time to add a major Political Section which could have resided under my Opinions section as it was a major opinion on the political system in Britain. Disillusioned with the encumbant political parties I decided that instead of claiming I could do better I'd offer my own alternative version.

I also added to my Ideas and Opinions sections. Plus more Road Tests including a test on a Bentley Arnarge, no less. And Alphacar, an epic vehicle related poem that takes the reader on a journey through many car types.

Finally I gave a small obituary note for the loss of my previous obtuse links at the foot of each page. They had to go. The concept was just too ahead of it's time [read as: ...no one got it].

Version 2.01 was another tranche of uploads hoiked up to my web host in one go (Why are they always web-hosts? I'd personally like a web-hostess). This July 2005 subset was a mere updating and increasing of pages including a major new addition for this version, the publication of my stage play Perpetually. A long page in web-site land translated to the screen from a 67-page printed version. Yes the whole lot on-line.

Plus a road test on my Honda CX500 and two chapters to my growing autobiography. I let loose on my earliest schooldays and a paragraph or two on my family. It was a big step and I couldn't tread those paths without mentioning people that are alive. I did note that if that might be you note that the blind never read ill of themselves. And wondered, is that a proverb? Which is where my next new feature came in.

I added a brand new page that I called webquotes. So named to distinguish it from my other quotations page.

Finally, I had so many ideas floating around that I posted not one, not two, not even indeed any number totalling four or above, but instead three new ideas, with an assurance that there was many more to come. Some just languishing around lazily on my hard drive just waiting to get electronically heart massaged into life.

During September 2005 version 2.02 added a new page within the Opinions section, plus a road test article on my Kwaker 750. I also added to my autobiography with an anecdote or two about water-skiing, within a section I entitled Action Vince.

As usual more of my zany ideas were included. Four newbies this time, taking the total to fifteen.

Finally, conscious of the changing nature of personal web-site activity, I embarked on a new web-blog. Which, by it's sporadic nature started to affect my neat version numbering system. The purpose of the blog was to float little ideas and opinions that may not justify a whole new page. But one entry did became so absorbing that I decided to transmutate it into a whole page.

It wasn't until June 2006 that Version 2.03 arrived including a ten most hated list along with another list for my top ten artists and a couple more ideas.

Plus a new invention of mine providing neat little thought provoking rhymes and a pitch. Not to mention some quote and blog updates. Which I have now done.

It was another six months before I updated again. Version 2.04 was released in December 2006 and notably included some radio scripts I had previously submitted to the BBC. Plus I fingered my keyboard to spill the beans on a few future concepts within my fiction and TV Shows pages. Along with a few more jokes and quotes.

Finally, I was as proud as pudding to announce that my site had now received actual feedback so my points of view page was born.


vinceunlimited Version 3

Original sketch laying out version 3 of the vinceunlimited website
The original sketch laying out version 3 of the vinceunlimited website

In HTML coding I always struggled with word wrapping, getting the text to set and hug neatly around images. I also struggled with graphic based links and couldn't find the time and way to code version three which was planned to look like the image on the right.

Also, although the concept of HTML coupled with CSS was initially released in 1996 it didn't really appear on my radar and be understood by me until much later. Despite much standard HTML testing it never quite looked like I wanted it to look on a Mac and PC but a potential saviour was waiting on my desktop.

In January 2006 Apple had launched a seemingly perfect tool for me. The introduction of their colourful and simple to use Mac OS iWeb Application appeared to offer a solution. It was generally six or so months between major updates of my web site due to work and mortgage paying requirements. I enjoyed the writing but the coding was a bit arduous. Every page seemed to need an HTML update at each major iteration. But iWeb promised drag and drop images and simple WYSIWYG text updating.

I decided to go with it and embarked on a long process of selecting a layout, then transferring my 120 pages or so of HTML coding back into standard text and then into iWeb, along with adding some carefully selected pictures with graphic touches to suit the site look.

Screenshot of the Home page of vinceunlimited.co.uk version 3
Home page of vinceunlimited.co.uk version 3

iWeb became the basis for version 3 of my web-site but it took until March 2010 until it was ready for publication. Are you paying attention to these dates? A quiz will follow.

One issue was the abandonment of my version variants. iWeb was designed to be a living, breathing application. I could have opted for formal version updates or theme changes but the concept seemed to suit a live update process, leaving the home-page to be a set look and updates added as required to various sections. This would assist in me maintaining a consistent web-site look, which is important to regular readers. However, the downside is that each time a visitor came to the site it would look unaltered, unless they delved deeper into the sub-sections.

Most article updates started in my blog section. It was becoming a trend of personal web-sites. FaceBook, Twitter and WordPress was encouraging the process of regular, daily, even hourly updates. And everyone was moving away from the concept of personal web-sites. Ease of use for the masses meant that peoples' personal web-space was being absorbed into the major players.

I too had embraced these new concepts. Around October 2007 I had joined FaceBook and in January 2009 Twitter. Although I tended to keep my various on-line identities as separate entities.

Various blog entries were added to my iWeb site between the launch date and March 2011, including transcripts from the best of my own Twitter feeds.

In the end Apple had other ideas about keeping this iWeb pet project alive and it's last iteration was in July 2011. It became clear that I had to find another way to maintain my web presence.


vinceunlimited Version 4

Screenshot of the Home page of vinceunlimited.co.uk version 4
Home page of vinceunlimited.co.uk version 4

With the continued growth of FaceBook, Twitter and WordPress personal web-sites appeared to have become a bit passé. The era of the common blog had really taken root. For one thing this solved the issue of static front home pages as the blog style content kept the front page looking fresh. So this bandwagon was truly seized upon when I clambered aboard a WordPress site, in July 2012, effectively making this the fourth version of vinceunlimited.co.uk

Over the next couple of years I persisted with my WordPress site, trying one or two pre-determined layouts as I went. WordPress is mostly about piggy-backing on other people's hard worked designs and I always felt that trying to disguise this plagiarism with a bit of personal customisation awkward and unsatisfactory.

Another nail in this coffin was the increasing charges made for using this service. Admittedly someone has to host a web-site and it is right and correct that this service should be paid for. The provider has to hold your site contents and feed it out to those that request it. I was always a tiny, minor player, considering the traffic that went to some sites so I always opted for the most basic of services and WordPress provided this sort of service free. However, when I wanted to add audio files in August 2014 a use charge was levied. Not based on actual number of downloads but on an assumption I was the BBC. This affected my view of the service.

Additionally, I missed the days where I could feel pride in the fact that I hand-coded my own web-site. Anybody could put out a blog, not many knew how to write the background stuff. Plus converting standard WordPress pages to include additional sections and getting the articles in them to be searchable is really difficult. At least, I never discovered a way.

Furthermore the promise of riding with a pack like WordPress is that one can expect a bit of cross fertilisation to help with getting my thoughts and words out there. Go to the .com page and there are countless adverts showing off the sites' wonderful users' content. But I saw very little evidence of such subtle advertisement and what interest I did received could have just as easily arrived randomly.


vinceunlimited Version 5

Screenshot of the first Home page of vinceunlimited.co.uk version 5
First Home page of vinceunlimited.co.uk version 5

For all of the above reasons I decided to go back to first principles and code the thing again myself, hence this version 5, based on the original concept idea I had for version 3. All hand coded in HTML 5 with external associated CSS stylesheet and JavaScript files.

Innovations in version 5 include a three column layout with blog style front page featuring text wrapped images with each article to have a release date as well as first published information. Also one click access to a mobile view version, clickable photo icons, vSearch, opportunities to advertise with vAdvert plus a 'Type' drop down menu and 'Random Page Generator' links, along with a mini live Twitter feed. Other than all that just the same as always.

So what will the future bring? Well firstly I need to reestablish my web-site presence, flying solo again as vinceunlimited and not via a third party. I need to rebuild the approximately 200 plus pages of site content once more so there is a great library of my stuff and re-establish links where possible. And I need to find space for all the previously written blog articles to nestle, fully searchable by date, title and theme. And I need to get all those brand new blog ideas which are currently festering on my hard drive out into the big old webosphere.

And when all this is done I will no doubt settle back, have a quick ponder then immediately look to version 6, which will be much more Web 2.0 with live floating graphics, interactivity, 4D content and maybe even touch and smell sensitive. All as an implantosite in your brain. Probably.

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Author: Vince Poynter
Version 5.001 30 Sep 2017
First Published: Version 5.001 30 Sep 2017