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— Private: Internet —


Even though it gets more and more difficult to imagine that there was a time before the Internet — it did exist, that time. When I went on-line, I proudly owned of a 2400 b/s modem. With it, I could call several telephone numbers and got connected to a BBS. Some BBS's offered email and forums but I could not afford to participate because I was afraid of risking horrendous phone bills. I used BBS's to download new drivers for the PC-DOS computers and, of course, to download free programs. A client was needed to log into such a system, in fact just a terminal program but it had to be purchased for a lot of money. Later, Hyperterminal became part of the operating system.

When I got a 9600 b/s modem, I used BBS's more often. However, BBS's were far away and I had to pay the phone company accordingly. Connecting over the Atlantic Ocean cost several $ per minute. I ordered a home telephone exchange directly from the manufacturer in Germany because even owning one was a crime here at the time (I took a considerable risk, having been an officer of the PTT itself then). However, I got myself a second modem and built up a BBS locally. I dialled from one computer to the one running the Wildcat BBS system; it was even reachable from the Mac I had bought my wife. When I finally understood how a BBS had to be configured and set up, the Internet was born and the BBS on the decline – or on the die out, rather.


In the same year Internet access was offered in Switzerland, I applied for it. My new 14'400 b/s modem was breathtakingly fast. I had started a bit late to get acquainted with BBS's and I did not want that to happen again. With Composer that came with Netscape 2 I started creating web pages for my own use, later I got Netscape Gold.

A project from those times is Universe. From a CP/M Perl data base I had programmed a hierarchical data base system running on DOS, which I rewrote first for Windows 3.1 and then converted into HTML. Another of those projects was NGC. To be able to write a conversion program, I had to understand HTML first, and since then, I have never used a web tool anymore and write every page in a text editor.

I had my first free web space at Xoom.com, later bought by NBC and I got liable for costs, which I did not fancy to pay. I found my next free web space at Netscape: mywebpage.netscape.com/hwernli/. Netscape discontinued to offer webspace and this site has beeen down since 1. March 2008. I used it mainly to store pictures and files requested by visitors to my web site. The home page looked the same as my old site horo.homepage.bluewin.ch and was linked with the English version of this site. My old site, also hosted for free, was linked to the German version of this site.

Web Server

Since I have got my own URI with this site, all hosting problems are solved and I can concentrate on other web projects. I started to run my own web server in 2005: horo.dyndns.org. I use the free Xitami by iMatix as HTTP daemon, not very stable, even iMatix confirms that, but it does nicely for my experiments. I use it mainly for private purposes and there are only a few pages open to the public.

I ran the free 4images system from www.4homepages.de with a free template from Bali Web Design www.vierstra.com on it. 4images was developed for MySQL 3 and PHP 4. The challenge was to make it work with MySQL 4 and PHP 5.

Additionally, I have a simple but very effective Wiki installed that runs without mySQL: wiki.splitbrain.org/wiki:dokuwiki. This is very handy because there are enough containers to hold information and fragments of information I come across. And I can manage it from anywhere in the world.

Collaterally, CygWin was running, a Red Hat Linux distribution that can be put on Windows. The processes running under the Linux hood make the system ready to accept a secure connection, creating a private tunnel through the public Internet. It was interesting to configure something like that.

Web Projekts

Besides my own web projects I also worked for others. The first version of the union's web presence was created by professionals. When they went together with some other unions, I created a new site and submitted it as an example. It got accepted. I was horrified because it was so bad. I started anew and published that one. For the next overhaul, a professional designer was brought in. The web site was drawn on paper and I built it up to the specifications laid out. The result was very appealing and for me a very interesting endeavour because I had to learn a lot to meet the specs. I was in charge for the site until mid year 2006.

After finishing a three day long Webmaster course, I wanted to deepen what I had learned and built up a web site for the Astronomische Gesellschaft Oberwallis (our local astronomical society) AGO. At first, I hosted it in a sub-directory on my own site at Xoom, later I could copy it over into a sub-domain on the astro!nfo server. In 2004 I built up the site anew from scratch. I also built up the Internet presence of the Société d'astronomie du Valais Romand SAVAR in 2000. With a colleague of mine, the web site www.susten.ch was operated for several years. The local societies got a free web space and the local business enterprises got a chance to get involved in a web presence at very favourable conditions. The site was discontinued by the end of 2005 because societies and business have started their own web sites meanwhile.

  © 2004 - 2017 by Horo Wernli.