Happy Birthday Zanshin

February 20, 2004

Eight years ago today, February 20, 1996, the domain registration for zanshin.net was completed for the first time. Neither I or my fledgling ISP really understood all we were doing so I ended up with a .net domain. At the time I thought I wasn’t a commercial enterprise, and I wasn’t a non-profit organization, so by process of elimination I asked for and received a .net domain. (A short five days (5 days!) later zanshin.com was registered. If I had only known then what I know now.

There have been some 12 iterations of the sites look and feel. Roughly seven or eight of these made it out into the wild. Structurally it began with simple HTML tags and lots of non-blank spaces. Then I discovered tables, and frames, and the magic one-pixel spacing GIF. Today zanshin relies on CSS and XHTML. I’m inching closer and closer to being fully standards compliant.

Initially zanshin.net was my own mini-portal, a collection of links that I used frequently and wanted to share. Gradually over time it evolved into a weblog. There are nearly 400 entries here now, spanning back to late 1999. The transition to MovableType in 2002 freed me from the drudgery of hand coding each entry and the output here increased dramatically.

I don’t know how many people have visited the site in the past eight years. There have been various counters but no one continuous count. The current counter, started in September 2001, has nearly 4400 visits and nearly 6000 page views. I’d like to think that the six years prior to this counter equaled that number giving me about 9000 individual visits. Not a lot, barely three a day on average over the life of my site. For me it isn’t how many people have visited, rather it is that people can and do visit. Once I post it here, anyone in the world can read it. Self publishing is rather mind bending in that regard.

Having a weblog has been, at times, a profound catalyst in my life. Designing and building the site itself has been a wonderful creative outlet. Capturing my thoughts, ideas, opinions, and feelings to share with the world at large has been invaluable. I rather like the whole experience, and I am eagerly looking forward to the next eight years.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.