History Of Vail-Industries.com

History Of Vail-Industries.com

Vail-Industries.com was registered on May 12th, 2001. The most common question I get is, “What is Vail-Industries.com for?” Well there is no way to truly describe what it is.
It has started out simple as a learning platform. Actually the learning platform started several years before Vail-Industries.com started. The learning platform started on an old Compaq Deskpro 6000. I installed a server operating system and tinkered with it until it ran “smoothly”. As I inherited (explained shortly) more computer equipment I slowly began to expand my network. I shortly had 3 “servers”, 3 laptops, and 3 “desktops”. I had set up one of my servers as a proxy server with a dial up modem. My entire network was up and running on a BLAZING 28.8 Kb Modem (for you kids, the little b means bits not Bytes {for you math folks that’s an average [factoring in packet loss and the stop bit] 7 bits per Byte, so one Megabyte would take roughly five minutes}) When I was unemployed, I would start and email to about 300+ contacts and it would take about 2 or 3 days to send.
Wow that was slow. Yeah it was. But then this new technology came out for Home internet access. It was called Digital Subscriber Line (just DSL these days). Instead of it taking 6 minutes to download a 3.5″ floppy, I could so it in mere seconds. And I had a static IP to boot! SWEET so I can receive email on top of sending it. That is SO AWESOME! I have my very own unique email address! It was advail@adsl-196-11.29-196.dsl.pacbell.net! Now there was a mouthful! Things kind of just ran with this for a couple of years. I actually got pretty good at giving my email address over the phone!
As time went by I wanted to learn more about DNS and Firewalls. Well to do both properly as well as set email up right, I needed a domain name. Everyone I knew at the time had at least one. So what do I pick? I wanted something with my last name but not my first. Ok, simple enough, right? WRONG! Any instance with just my last name was already taken except vail.org. And I don’t know about you but I would not qualify as a “not-for-profit”. At least in my head I wouldn’t, my wallet says otherwise. Ok so just my last name wouldn’t work. Let us add something business oriented with the possibility of expansion and not locking me down to a single industry. Well Vail Enterprises was taking (again in everything but .org). Hmmm. Multiple Industries…. Hmmm…… Vail Holding? Nah to Stock oriented…. Multiple Industries??? Industries? Hey I know! Vail-Industries.com! And an Icon is born! (If you would consider dried up bubble gum permanently pressed into the pavement as icon, the Vail-Industries.com would qualify too!)
istory Of Vail-Industries.com - VI-logo1-new.pngIntro:
It was tough for me to get all the pieces working write. Firewall – boy that was fun… DNS – Conceptually it was pretty easy to understand. Implementation was painful. The mail server piece? At this point, it was pretty straight forward. Getting all the pieces working? well that took about 2 months to learn the ins and outs of it… the toughest part was getting my non-routable IP’s (internal IP Scheme) to stop broadcasting as the IP address for the internet. But I got it working…
A little bit on the logo. Why look like that? Well I was living in a pipe dream when I did it. But it was the Dot Coms. Pipe Dreams were a common place of residency for people I knew. What I was thinking was that if Vail-Industries.com actually took off and did something that produced mass quantities of financial gain. I wanted something that would look elegant on a wall, hence the gold and platinum. But I also wanted something that was rough around the edges, alluding to my past. Like I said, pipe dream!
Anyway, after working on it day and night for 2 months, I didn’t really want to touch it anymore… It was running and “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. After several months of being asked when I was going to put up a website. I finally gave up and put this up, just to quiet people:

Welcome to Vail Industries
History Of Vail-Industries.com - constr38
We are under massive reconstruction… hopefully fixed tonight

“Tonight” never came. For many years I updated the website around the page, but never really got away from it. It ended up becoming a joke. (And yes I kind of put it here to have it continue its legacy)
I finally wanted to do something cool with the website. Something that would make me more functional and more sell-able. And having been a computer consultant for so many years, sell-able was important. Especially since the “Dot Com” bubble burst. Everyone was struggling to find a Job. The market had become flooded with people. It was so bad in the San Francisco Bay Area, that there were actual job postings for Custodial Engineers (Janitors) that required College Degrees. Staying in the Information Technology sector was a serious challenge. People went from making $150,000 a year to $35,000. Who would have thought that those pipe dreams we were living in would turn out to be pipe bombs that would eventually explode?
So I needed to do something. Something that made my resume available upon request. Something that allowed me to mass email my resume to contacts when needed. Something that would advertise that I am in fact knowledgeable in my field. OK, great. Intro ASP and CoolMenus4.
ASP gave me the functionality I needed. The ability to set up a web based mass mailing engine that relayed off of my mail server, it worked pretty well. But I needed something that was snazzy for when recruiters visited my website to request a resume. Well CoolMenus 4 (by dhtlmcentral.com) would do the trick. After tweaking CoolMenus to pull the menu settings from an Access DB, and setting a security level that ran in conjunction with cookies. I had something that would allow recruiters to request my resume in MS Word, PDF, or raw text (yes I actually get a lot of requests for just text.) Everything was working for the most part (minor problem with on of my menus but I restricted access to it as it was for me only anyway).
Eventually Vail-Industries.com moved, from San Francisco to eventually end up in Saint Petersburg, Florida. That was in 2005. Life in Florida has been great! The website however, got neglected. All that time at the beach or playing in the Sun, there wasn’t time to maintain the website. Then in Late 2007, I decide to add more personal content. I added streaming audio content with matching text that is based on date the page was loaded. I wanted to add the ability for the page to reload at midnight thus updating the content for the next day. That’s when I noticed the problem.
Somewhere along the line, IE6 was updated and CoolMenus 4 stopped working properly. I searched and searched and tested and tested. IE 5.5 (and older), Opera, FireFox, Mozilla (Yes they still have a separate browser from FireFox), and Netscape Navigator all worked. IE 6 and IE 7 all failed with “script errors”. And after searching I found many people were having the same problem, and no solution that I could find.
So there’s a problem, after spending several weeks searching for a fix and coming up with nothing. I decide to abandon CoolMenus 4. It appeared that dhtmlcentral.com had updated their website. They used this service that is based off of Joomla! which is a Content Management System.
This Website was updated to run on Joomla! Joomla runs on PHP, MySQL, and Apache Web Server. (It can be configured for others but I decided to go with their recommendations because of portability across platforms.) Each Piece by itself was easy. Getting them all to talk together was a bit of a challenge initially. I would like to take this opportunity to warn people that PHP states all of its extensions are disabled by default. However, with my install of PHP 5.25 everything was enabled by default, and I had to go in and disabled everything not needed.
The site remained Joomla for a long while. I actually got good enough tweaking it that it got me a part time, temp job doing development on another website. Which was fine for a while, until it ended. It was finely time to do something with the site. My income was extremely limited (almost nonexistent). I started researching what I could do with Vail-Industries and I had joined Solavei (which recommends WordPress for blogging).
As I looked at what I needed to do for SEO and getting the site properly searched, my Joomla setup with my fancy frontpage landing page (no good for SEO, not bad, but not good) just wasn’t going to cut it. So I had a choice, redo the whole thing in Joomla, or something else. I started looking into what “extensions” I would need to really boost the sites unique hits. All the good ones cost money. And in some cases, a lot of money. So what other choices are there?
I looked into WordPress. A majority of the “plugins” that I would need are free. Ok so far so good. It’s easy to set up, and easy to have content changing on the “frontpage” (it’s default :D). The thing that sealed the deal for me was that I could write blogs and update the site directly from my phone through a WordPress App (developed by WordPress). I have written a couple of articles that I about the ease of WordPress from various aspects and I decided to post a blog about the history of Vail-Industries.com.

So Welcome to Vail-Industries.com! Enjoy

Posted in Business Round Table, Internet, Ramblings, Technology

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