I maintain this blog because I liked blogging. Online presence is what I lacked in real life – having too few friends to begin with. I decide that I will write down and share my very own opinions in this little blog.

But things didn’t start well, it was a long trip before I finally settled with this somewhat polished blog. Before this, I tried and moved between different platforms, testing out their capabilities. It even brings up childhood memories, albeit fragmented.

For as long as I can remember, my passion(though I am lazy) for blogging all started with a few tech blogs I’ve been visiting all these years:

Azofreeware, I visited this blog for portable programs. Back when I still was a kid, my uncle tried to lock me out of computer games with Windows Live Family Safe. Which I bypassed with portable software that required no installation.
Freegroup, I also visited this blog for similar purposes. But I found it amusing it shared not only software, but also other free stuffs(hence the name freegroup). It was where I searched for free online web hosting sites. I highly appreciate the effort of the editors, I still frequent this blog, since it provides really useful resources and information which I may not know otherwise.

Of course they weren’t always like this, this is the most updated screenshot of these two blogs. I also visited various other sites which inspired me to embark a journey on blogging. But I simply can’t recall them. Anyway, my first attempt on building online presence dates back to primary school

My very first attempt was to host guestbooks, a simple web application where visitors can leave comments. I could see the comments and reply to them one by one. A very convenient feature for early webmasters. I searched for “Free guestbooks” and this came up:

Title translates to: “Tovery Free Guestbook”

Free resources were my limits. As a kid, I certainly did not have the money to pay for anything. I didn’t realize how important paid spaces were until years after. And since it was really dated, I can’t figure out what my old account credentials was.

I didn’t really care about what my guestbook was, or what I had to do with it. I just name it something like “Karsten’s guestbook”. As you can imagine, nobody bothered to leave a comment. I tried to get my classmates to leave a comment or two. Only 1 classmate left a message, with pure random Chinese characters, a prank at its best for children.

I wasn’t satisfied with guestbooks, I soon realized guestbooks simply weren’t interesting as people couldn’t interact on it. It’s only a guest-to-owner conversation thing. Of course you could leave a new comment just to reply to an old message, but it was frustrating. Then I figured, why not a forum?

I visited forums for mainly Little Fighter 2 modifications. ibbs was among one of them. I found many LF2 mods and they brought me hours and hours of fun. I tried to make my own mods and guides and posted them on the forum, but they were bad so I received negative responses. My childhood friend also posted his guides, needless to say, he failed as much as I was.

The homepage of ibbs, typical phpbb interface.

Communicating online wasn’t as instant as it is nowadays, you wanna talk with many audiences, you use forums/bulletin boards. I tried to host my very own forum with the Chinese forum software Discuz! As you can imagine, nobody but my only classmate bothered to leave spam on it.

Then I resorted to blogging finally. I needed something to express my view to this world, my anger, my depression. I knew from the very beginning that blogging was like an online diary. In the early days of the Internet, blogs were really online diaries. I needed it, I needed affirmations.

Yahoo! Blog was my first attempt.(It was called Yahoo! 360 outside of Hong Kong). The design of the blog wasn’t as good as WordPress or other platforms, but hey, I had semi-complete control over my blog. I could control how my blog look and feel. It was my very first personal homepage. I filled it with light blue and tried to write something on it. I couldn’t find my blog because the service is now defunct.

I have to admit that I was obsessed with computer and everything computer. As a child, I realized Yahoo was a bad search engine and Google was the better one – I was the pioneer among my classmates on this. I used everything Google. Mainly search engine and Gmail. At the same time, I found a free blogging platform called Blogger(I later realized it was acquired by Google). It had a simplistic design, even worse than Yahoo! Blog. But hey, it was my second try on blogging. Like the previous blog, I posted random comments on my life and nobody visited it.

I would then struggle between blogging platforms like Blogger, WordPress.com, and other minor blogging services. I didn’t like being confined in a cage, I wanted more freedom over my website. I also wanted my own domain. Yes, I was smart enough to know that the domains given to me by Blogger, WordPress.com were merely subdomains. What I wanted was a TLD(Top Level Domain). Then I started searching for “Free web hosting” and “Free domains”.

For free web hosting, I came across many choices, of the ones I really used, there are 000webhost. I successfully built my very first blog on it, but it was soon scrapped because of the unstable server it provided(expected on a free shared server). I even went as far as using the SaaS platform OpenShift to get free web hosting. But as you can imagine, OpenShift was too laggy and I simply couldn’t use SSH to manage my website.(I still can’t be bothered to get a VPS not only because it is pricy, but also I don’t like fiddling around with command line)

This is why I vowed not to work as a programmer.

So I got free web spaces, but I also needed free domains. I wasn’t satisfied with the subdomains given to me, they looked long and stupid. I needed something short and memorable. I googled “Free domains” and this came up:

It was really tempting.

I started with a .TK domain. It was fun, my first domain was karstwo.tk(It isn’t available anymore, I unregistered it). I also came across Freenom, which provided more than .TK domains, but also .GA, .CK, etc. I would later realize free domains were untrusted, they were flagged as not safe by major browsers.

Free web hosting also has a problem – the employees were free to remove your website on their whims. I realized it only when a Hostinger employee threatened to remove my free website hosted on it. I had no clue what happened but that was that, it was removed. Good lord I didn’t write anything important on it, I wasn’t really engaged with writing blog posts.

And so it was like trial and error, I tried many platforms to host my blogs, and finally settled with Hostinger, again. This time I paid for the space because I worked for it. I also got a domain that I really liked. Here I am, this very blog that I love and own. I tried my best recalling how I tried to build my online presence. I will continue to do so, and feels completed doing so.

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