All about Hear Ye!
Hear Ye! has existed in its current weblog form since January 1998. Today, it includes thousands of posts, links and many hundreds of thousands of words.
I've preserved every post I've made since I started, and you can them in the archives. You will also be able to see how my opinions and worldview have changed throughout the years. I have left old posts uncensored and unedited for this purpose, even though I am not proud about some of the views I expressed in early posts. However, the reason I have left those posts up is to show that people can and do change their views over time, even for issues which are deeply controversial because they strike at fundamental values. Maturity, discussion and debate, and exposure to a diversity of people and experiences all help us to re-evaluate issues that we thought we had otherwise figured out.
There are several ways to navigate this site. The front page
always displays the most recent posts. In the sidebar to the right, you can find links to the archives, posts sorted by category, and a search form. There are a couple other special purpose sections to this site. Best of Hear Ye!
contains some of the more substantive posts made over the years. Post series
shows various collections of posts which are tied around a common theme. The most evident of these themes is travel, and to this end, I also have my travel log published on the same page.
The timeline for hearye.org
: Entering my final year of high school as a 16 year old, using notepad, and a batch script for automating uploads of .html files, I cobbled together the first incarnation of Hear Ye! at www.zipworld.com.au/~stuloh/journal/. Before then, I had maintained a static homepage for several years, but it was not until Hear Ye! that I had a place which I updated on a regular basis. (In the 1990s, personal homepages were mostly static, one page things, inevitably with a tilde in the URL. I somehow still have a couple of them lurking around on my hard drive, datestamped as early as 1993.) I called Hear Ye! an online journal, since the term weblog had not yet been coined, nor had the E/N community formed. The term "blog" arose with the coming of the third millennium. I actually disliked the term "blog" when it was first bandied about, but after a few years the term entered into common parlance and now it's part of virtually everyone's lexicon. I soon added the Soapbox to Hear Ye, driven by a Perl CGI script, but apart from that nothing about the site was automated. Updating the site required editing the .html file and uploading it. Creating the archive files manually each month was a real pain.
: Added a mail form using a Perl CGI script.
: First anniversary of the site. Incidentally, also became a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (in the Windows NT4 days!). That's how I spent my summer. In hindsight, there were many other better things I could have done, but 'dems the breaks. And after all, with a straight 6.5 years of uni ahead of me, I had plenty of future summers to enjoy.
: One of many early redesigns of the site. (archive.org screenshot
: Began tinkering around with PHP, ASP and CFML.
: Made a Perl script to enable me to post from anywhere in the world (hey, that was impressive at the time, ok?). Also, the 1000th email sent through list-en, the mailing list of the E/N community. Another site redesign.
: Enabled posting to Hear Ye! via mobile phone SMS. As far as I know, probably the first blog to have this feature. SMSes were sent to an SMS gateway (in Italy!) which then translated the SMS to email. The email was sent to a personal pop3 mailbox, which was periodically checked using a cronjobbed perl script, parsed, then inserted into the relevant webpage. Later enhancements transitioned from using cronjob to procmail (eliminating any delay between the SMS being sent, and the post appearing online).
: I was interviewed by the Daily Telegraph about Hear Ye! It's a tabloid, but I took what I could get!
: Archive.org screenshot
. The list of E/N sites on the left bar was getting incredibly long.
: Made Up Over Down Under, a group travel blog, using a proprietary PHP backend. I later merged my posts from that blog into Hear Ye!
: Major back-end revamp. Finally transitioned from flat html files to a proprietary, full-featured PHP content management system (which I called Livewire). This refresh introduced categorised posts, permalinks, automated E/N List management, RSS feeds, location tagging, and site templating (skins). I spent many hours transferring posts I had already written into the database.
: 4th Anniversary of the site. (archive.org screenshot
: Added the ability for visitors to comments on posts.
: Entered law school. This might explain why there were few developments on this site for 2003.
: Transitioned to www.hearye.org. Second major back-end revamp. I added a bunch of new features into Livewire v2: a search engine, a mobile posting module (that allowed posting via SMS and MMS messages), thumbnailing of uploaded photos, quicklinks, "follow-up" posts (a feature I still haven't seen on blogs today), posting bookmarklets, and numerous other things. This back-end would see Hear Ye! through the rest of the decade, until the move to WordPress.
: Various refinements to user commenting (such as the ability to add comment threads to a watchlist).
: Another major site redesign. Apart from a few tweaks here and there, this redesign stayed around until the move to WordPress. Started separating out design elements from content elements (using CSS)
: Made the 4000th post.
: Became a banking and finance lawyer for a year. Our main clients were investment banks. Long hours. Hence, no real developments on this site for the whole year!
: 10th Anniversary of Hear Ye!
: Added a Liveblogging module to Livewire. Also started experimenting with AJAX on the homepage. In anticipation of getting an iPhone, I updated the backend post-by-email to accept audio, picture and video files. It was mostly unused as the move to California for my master's left little time for posting (but, fortunately, for all the right reasons).
: The first major change to the site in 5 years. Transitioned to WordPress and did a design refresh. Started integrating Web 2.0 stuff into the website.