Why I Reopened Sapphire Paw

[July 16, 2023; updated July 20]

My wife was spending time on marginalia search🌎, looking at new retro-themed websites, and also at the Internet Archive, finding our old websites and swimming in the nostalgia.  Meanwhile, a Tumblr friend posted about “browsing a random dude’s website” and finding a page with just a picture and no additional context/information: I bless the rains down in Anaheim🌎 (the “random dude” turns out to be Douglas Crockford, inventor of JSON and author of Javascript: The Good Parts.)

All this made me realize some things:

  1. I did not really have a place to put typo and 12-tone, even though I had modernized them earlier in the year.  Wouldn’t it be nice to bring them back, right here in their old home?
  2. I want Decoded Node🌎 to focus on being directly helpful, or at least technically interesting (for the “war story” tag), and not cynical or cranky.  It isn’t a good place for everything I wanted to write.
  3. Tumblr is fairly ephemeral, and other “social media” does not even pretend to be a blog format.

Overall, then, I wanted to write in a more personal voice, flaws and all.  I wanted to give the web more heart.  I’m sure some old-timer will tell me the heart was gone by the 80’s or the 90’s, but since my parents finally plugged their aging 14.4 kbps modem into a (second) phone line in 1999, it’s that 1999-2003 period that I miss.

Well, somewhat miss.  We didn’t get even CSS 2.1 support in all browsers until after the Great Stagnation.  To write for the post-Internet-Explorer web is as though a great burden has been lifted, or a deep shadow banished.

I also get to choose what I want here.  One does not really choose how to make a boxed theme for a platform accessible.  If one wants to browse the web without Javascript, and a large platform rhyming with Frogger wants to push people into themes that require Javascript to render… one will soon find a number of articles unreadable.  If a large platform goes down or paywalls itself, then it takes everything it was hosting as collateral damage.

I guess one other inspiration has been the solar powered Web server🌎 from Low←Tech Magazine, which I read about ages ago.  (NOTE: the link may be offline, particularly in winter, if there isn’t enough sunlight in Barcelona, Spain to keep the battery charged.)  It seems like a good guiding philosophy for my own personal site: if page weight is kept down, so too is data transfer time🌎, and therefore energy usage.  I don’t have the luxury of literally running the site on solar power, but I can follow the aesthetic.