dan.tobias.name | About Me | About This Site
DOT-NAME?  Whazzat?

Whether you just stumbled onto this site during random surfing, or you are a long-time visitor to my pages and are just now discovering my redesigned personal site, one of the things on your mind (besides "Boy! This site really looks great!" :)) is "What's the deal with that .name address? Aren't Web addresses, like, supposed to end in .com?"

Actually, if you're the Internet-clueful type I've always primarily aimed my sites at (anyone with aol.com at the end of their e-mail address need not apply... :)) you probably know that not all Web addresses end in .com; that's just supposed to be for commercial sites, and .org, .edu, .gov, and other endings are there for other sorts of sites. But, unless you've been keeping up with all the developments in domain names as chronicled in Dan's Domain Site, you may still not have heard of .name. It's the brand-new domain ending that was launched in early 2002 for the specific purpose of letting people get addresses based on their real name for personal sites. Addresses in .name are of the form firstname.lastname.name. Finally, somebody putting up a personal site doesn't have to use a domain suffix implying that it's commercial or an organization or a network or something. Since I'm a strong advocate of using the Internet namespace logically, naturally I had to put my site here, and I took that opportunity to give it a major overhaul for the first time since I started it in 1995 (seven years ago! Amazing how time flies!).

My personal pages have gone through several URLs since they were launched. Originally hosted by Webcom (one of the earliest commercial Web hosting providers) complete with a URL containing a tilde (~) -- how geekish! -- it moved to Softdisk, then my employer, when they went into the ISP and Web hosting business. When I left that employment, I got the site its own domain name so I could move it freely to other hosting providers (and have in fact changed hosts twice since then) without changing its address each time. But at the time the choices in domain naming didn't include anything specifically suited for individuals -- the domain endings (TLDs, or Top Level Domains, as they're officially known) showed the bias of the early government-sponsored ARPAnet, which only accredited institutions could join in the early days, by being oriented towards types of large institution -- educational, commercial, governmental, military, etc. -- with no room for personal or hobbyist uses. Thus, I ended up getting dantobias.com, not because I had the "dot-com-itis" affliction that believes that all sites should have this ending whether commercial or not because the drooling idiots on the Internet can't remember any other sort of address and they should be pandered to instead of educated, but because it seemed like the lesser-of-evils choice since I might do something commercial there eventually, but I certainly was not an organization or a network infrastructure provider.

Now that the .name TLD is out, I've decided to use it for my personal site. That brought up the issue of what to do with the dantobias.com address. No, I don't want to just let it expire and possibly get registered by somebody who will turn it into a porn site... that seems to be what frequently happens to expired domains. Anyway, if I ever do something commercial online under my own name, the address would be useful for that. My solution was to use the two names to make a distinct separation of the types of content in my site, to give all of its parts a more coherent focus. The more "personal" stuff -- pages about me, and various opinion stuff, "cool links", and the guestbook -- in other words, the kind of things you might expect to find in a personal Web site -- are now in the .name site. Meanwhile, the more "businesslike" things -- my tech tips and the like -- remained in dantobias.com and its subdomains. However, later, when I managed to get the dan.info domain (which had previously been taken by a fraudster in the sunrise period, but was released in Landrush 2), I made another switch and began using that for my informational sites, like domains.dan.info and webtips.dan.info. The main dan.info page is now a "portal page" providing an entry point into all of my various sites. I think this organizes my cluster (or clutter?) of sites better.

This move has given me a chance to clear out seven years of debris from my site, like a spring cleaning. I hope I didn't inadvertently delete whatever part of my old site was your favorite, just like your mom threw out your whole comic book collection that would now be extremely valuable. But such an overhaul was needed to get the site's content more relevant and better ordered; some parts were getting a bit stale.

At the same time, the site also got a "visual" makeover, which might surprise some who know me as more of a "logical-structure" than a "graphical-design" type. However, I'm not against making the site pleasant on the eye in addition to being logically structured, and it's not necessary for it to keep on forever looking the way it did in 1995, so here it is. I'd like to thank my friend and co-worker Sheila Smith for helping with this; she's a graphical designer, and we've been trading assistance on our respective sites, me helping her with HTML and CGI coding and she helping me with graphical stuff... and, in the process, helping both of us to learn a little about the "other side". Thanks, Sheila!

My "logical" side still insisted on completely valid HTML, though. I also did many of the visual features, such as font faces, sizes, and colors, through Cascading Style Sheets rather than cluttering the code with lots of font tags and color attributes. However, I didn't go the total purist route... there are still a few presentational tags and attributes that require the pages to be validated with the "HTML 4.01 Transitional" doctype instead of the strict one, and tables are still used for layout instead of DIVs... maybe in the next redesign I'll go totally purist with this stuff. As it is, the basic layout should work in all browsers, but it'll look a little plain if stylesheets are unsupported or disabled. It even works on Netscape 4, with its notoriously buggy stylesheet support, since I followed the KISS principle: Keep It Simple, Stupid!

Regarding browser support, I'm not one to put a "Best Viewed Using..." notice on my pages... use the browser you like. I use Mozilla as my main browser, but have tested these pages on various other browsers... not to say that weird glitches won't sometimes creep in, like when I was informed that the front page had mysteriously spread out its text way to the right in MSIE (it worked fine in Mozilla, Netscape 4, and Opera, and used to work in MSIE before)... I fixed it, but that sort of thing could pop up again when I least expect it. Using fully standard HTML helps prevent such surprises, but nothing is perfect... browsers have weird bugs that sometimes have to be worked around. Let me know if the page fails in some browser version or other. If it's just a slightly odd-looking layout on some old or obscure browser, I might not do anything about it, but if it seriously impairs site usability I'll have to come up with some workaround.

Anyway, here's my site; I hope you like it. Use my guestbook to leave your comments.


This page was first created 02 Mar 2002, and last modified 19 Jul 2002.