Moving Home

Tue, 10 April 2012

Well, that's that done. Hughesd is no more. My web site is now daftworks.co.uk and my email address is too! I've had the same domain and email address for nigh on 12 years and it feels like I've changed something fundamental about myself. I know I haven't. It's just a silly address. Or is it?

I mean, I grew up when computers were just starting. Email hadn't even been invented yet and it wasn't until I started at university that the concept started to take off. Back then an email address was a novelty, used only for communication within the university, but it took off, didn't it?

Now I look at email and it's become a big part of day to day life for people and organisations. Many people consider email to be as official a communication medium as written letters. It is, after all, a written record.

Businesses use emails inconsistently, but everyone seems to be moving towards embracing the email as a legally binding document, and I think that's a good thing. As I said, it's a written record of intent and action in many cases.

So maybe changing my email address IS a big thing. Now I have to tell everyone that I've done it, for one thing, or they'll be emailing the ether.

So the new website then. What's that all about? DaftWorks?

Why change the domain name? Because I got fed up of this conversation:

"What's your email address?"

"daveh@hughesd.co.uk"

"Can you spell that?"

"my first name plus my last initial, then an "at" symbol, then my last name plus my first initial."

<pause>

"Can you spell that?"

<sigh>

" d , a , v ..."

It got tiring. So I wanted to change it to something that might be easier to say, easier to spell and hopefully easier to remember. I did think of dtwh.co.uk, but it again locked me into my own name. I wanted to expand the concept of a personal website and try and do something with it. selezen.co.uk sprang to mind, but again there was the spelling out thing.

I sat and thought about what I wanted to do with the site. I have a lot of creative ideas and they all have subsites, so why not make an "umbrella" site that could contain them and make a kind of brand?

Seemed like a good idea, I thought. "Battlebarge: a ????? production". A name which popped in my head early on was "daftworks". Anne used to call the cat this when it was younger and it always sounded like a good name for a website. It wasn't the best option for a name because again there would be the spelling issue. "how do you spell daft?" But it might work.

No matter how many other options I looked at, I couldn't get daftworks out of my head. I even designed the logo in my head whilst still thinking about other names. Hexology was another name option, but it was again a bad one to spell.

Well, eventually daftworks won. Some American bloke registered daftworks.com (and it's a bloody single page screen with a definition of what daft means and it doesn't even link to the guy's main website, ffs). Daftworks worked as an umbrella for comics and for all of the creative stuff that I've done (which, if unleashed on the public, will probably be branded as a DaftWorks publication).

I wanted to migrate my hosting to php-based to get access to the Apache functionality of friendly URLs too, which my existing IIS based hosting couldn't handle. The problem was that my Battlebarge comic is hosted using ASP (which, for the uninitiated, means that it won't work under php-based hosting packages). ASP support is costly these days, and I needed to move away from it. That meant finding an alternative to my own homebrewed comic hosting platform to a PHP-based one.

I played with LOADS of comic hosting scripts. The closest one was LiteDoodle, but it needed to use the modified date of the comic file, and when one copies files from one folder to another on the server via FTP then it doesn't preserve the modified date.

I ended up converting my ASP application to PHP. On my own. No converters, just lots of googling. I learned PHP in a week (at least enough to accomplish what I wanted to do). I'm quite proud of that.

So now HUGHESD is a DaftWorks production. I'm a product of my own product. :-)


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