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The Lost continent of

You've found a bug on my site!

Deep in the fundamental heart of mind and Universe, there is a reason

Slartibartfast

This Website

Current features, and a History

I have been playing with this website since the mid-1990s, back when the Internet was still all about Newsgroups. My first website was a single page of HTML 2.0, containing a single inline image — my first ever ray-tracing experiment, Lapis Lazuli, or simply Blue Egg...

The egg from which this website has grown... That page has long since fallen victim to entropy (it was for the best...), but I rescued my 'Blue Egg' from an nine year old disk. To my surprise, my desktop machine (A PC running Linux) was able to read the antique Macintosh floppy without any trouble.

Since then my site has been through a lot of changes, it's growth paralleling my personal career path in the computing industry. In it's first iteration it existed only as a few files on a first year University student's floppy disk, seen by only me and my classmates. Now it's an amalgam of programming code, and XHTML markup, is hosted on a serious Linux server that I installed and built, and has been seen by many thousands of people.

Random Features

Ever since the turn of the Millennium, this site has served as a bit of a test bed for the programming work I develop for my web application company, Messiah Ltd. It now has more than it's fair share of mostly silly features, many of which are aimed at making each page view more or less unique:

Standards and accessibility

This website (now actually more of a 'web application') is hand coded, as are all of our sites in my favourite text editor, in nice, standards compliant XHTML, the current W3C markup recommendation. The images are either PNGs, or JPEGs, as appropriate. The design has been optimised to adhere to published standards (rather than pander to any particular browser's idiosyncrasies) and is text mode and screen reader friendly (try opening it in Lynx...).

Random History

It's all rather embarrassing, but in the interests of historical accuracy, here are some random snapshots of lost.co.nz through the ages (even back to when the site was still living at http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/~mongo/...)

1997

www.lost.co.nz in 1997

A blast from the past? Dug up from an zip disk backup, this was not actually the first face of my website — yes the website was once worse than this! Note the 'innovative' use of a background image, and transparent .GIFs...

There is also some Javascript there to greet you appropriately, 'Good Evening' in this case. I'm pleased to note that my past self was careful here: in the absence of client-side Javascript support the greeting would become simply 'Welcome' — the page would not break. The importance of the principle of graceful degradation is a lesson some of my professional peers have still not learnt...

1999

www.lost.co.nz in 1999

I've ditched the homemade icons, and opted for textual links. The site's much faster and easier to navigate as a result. I've started a 'news' section, and have added search functionality.

I've ditched Javascript for good. I now do all my 'dynamic stuff' server, rather than client, side. It's more work at first, but gives me much more control, and makes the site more accessible.

2000

www.lost.co.nz in 2000

Same basic organisation, and look, as before, but I've changed the logo, added a notebook theme, and trimmed away a lot of the cruft. I'm starting to learn that simpler is better...

2003

www.lost.co.nz in 2003

Maybe simpler is not better after all...

Complete redesign finally embracing the comic book theme always lurking in the background. RSS news feeds, server-side scripting, photo galleries, all contained within a big content management system.

Note the nifty translucent PNG buttons at the top of the page. They work well on all browsers extant, with the notable exception of Internet Explorer — never one to embrace standards...

2004

www.lost.co.nz in 2003

Yet another redesign... The grey boxes of the previous design seemed a bit cold and boxy, so it was time for yet another revamped look.

Instead of just updating the look I got ambitious and ended up updating everything. Site layout, code, categories, you name it. I think I ended up making edits to pretty much every file on the site — there's over a thousand of them...

Stupid, stupid, stupid! Will I ever learn to do one thing at a time? Instead of spending a couple of days playing with just the look of things I've ended up having to spend weeks and weeks just to get it back online.

I am pleased with the results, I just wish I had of taken it one step at a time for once... :-)

Why 'The Lost Continent of'...?

Way back in history, when I first went flatting with some friends (after coming back from overseas), three of us went to open a flat account at local branch of the ASB Bank. We needed to call the account something, and I, having just read a reprinting of an old Flash Gordon serial, wanted to call it 'The Lost Continent of Mongo'. At the last minute I decided to drop the 'Mongo', as it was more confusing for our poor bank teller. Later, when I registered a domain name, I chose 'lost.co.nz' (as it just seemed to fit). Naturally the site became 'The Lost Continent of', just like my bank account...