I’ve never been particularly satisfied with any web page hosting solution. For years I resorted to maintaining my own simple HTML (i.e. no CSS). If not a little lame and somewhat messy to maintain, this worked more or less fine for me for many years. Now, with the proliferation of handheld devices such as mobile phones, my basic HTML pages are even less appealing to look at and navigate.
I recently settled on and switched to the Notrack theme. Notrack seemed as good as any to get reasonably decent looking pages across platforms without any external dependencies nor requiring visitors to trust active code. The one notable exception are with fonts, which some Noscript users may find wants to block. This seems like a modest trade-off. For those that block fonts, the pages should still render fine with the exception of a few icons.
I have now been making some of my own tweaks and adjustments to the theme. I found the default icons, fonts, and some white space margins to be too large for my taste so I’ve reduced them. I also made FreeSans the default font in all places where FreeSerif was used. I also got rid of the photo gallery portions, which I don’t use or need. I went around and around figuring out what pages I wanted to maintain. Outside the home page, I settled on a blog, plus a list of publications and talks. I may reorganize or add a bit more, but for now this seems manageable and good enough.
On a more personal note…
For more than 20 years I’ve hosted a personal web page on a series of systems and domain names where the risk of losing control over my home page URL has been both real and realized. I’ve registered and have used dozens of domain names for various projects since I’ve had a home page, but until now I had never used one of my own for my own personal web space. With the rise of free or low cost third party hosting for web content, code repositories, and email service, doing some of this yourself may seem quaint and old fashioned. However, relying on others, while often appropriate and convenient, may eventually bring disappointment and frustration when something beyond your control breaks or changes. So while I will continue to rely on others for some portion of my online presence, I am reclaiming a starting point to me and my stuff. Piggybacking on the DataPlane.org name and project I run, I have decided to host it here.
A downside to maintaining these portions of my online presence myself may be that I might not do such a great job at it. Additionally, perhaps one one day something about DataPlane.org changes, or my mortality will eventually catch up with me. Then what? Hopefully by that time I won’t care. Everything here is easily archived for posterity if anyone cares about it other than me.
I have no doubt that one day these pages will go away or change considerably At least for now I have wrested back some control.