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website history

| deus62.com & livingwithmusic.com |

01 | deus62?

In the later 1990s, before computers were even a thought at schools in Germany, I founded a "Web Team" at the high school I work at.

Sometime during its lengthy history, I ended up with the moniker "deus" (Latin for "god" or "deity"), probably because I told everyone not to play games all the time ... although I myself liked to shoot things up in "DeusEx".

The 62 was added because, well, you can guess yourself.

02 | The Web

I have had websites of some sort or other up ever since the Web was invented and I had access to it.

For me, (web) design and blogging fulfill the same function as first-person shooters do for other people. It might be an odd comparison, but instead of throwing virtual mines at groups of slimy aliens and enjoying the mayhem, I get a kick out of designing posters, CD covers, flyers and web pages for myself (and sometimes for others), to relieve the stress I have in my day job.

That's why I have had many different sites, redesigns and projects online. Two of those became mainstays of my online life, deus62.com and livingwithmusic.com.

03 | The First Real Site

When Rick Ellis released the first version of pMachine in 2002 (this was before WordPress became a thing), I went online with my first real site, which was constructed using David Siegel's "Creating Killer Websites" tricks (essentially slicing up an elaborate design and sticking it into a convoluted table layout).

Note: In his fascinating 1997 article "The Web Is Ruined and I ruined it", David Siegel pretty much regretted having spread these tricks because they prevented the "proper separation of structure (HTML), style (CSS), and semantics (XML) [which] make content more compelling and design more effective."

04 | deus62.com

Employing the above tricks, I designed a more structured layout in 2002 when I bought the deus62.com domain, which was hosted by DomainFactory (they used to be excellent and have rapidly declined since they were bought by HostEurope, which was then gobbled up by GoDaddy).

05 | Same Tricks, New Software

Still using the same tricks, I changed the design and layout of my site when EllisLab came up with their new and much improved publishing software, "Expression Engine". Because pMachine was about to disappear into digital nirvana, I switched over.

06 | livingwithmusic.com

When my former hosting provider gave away really cheap lifetime hosting subscriptions for a day or two (some anniversary PR thing), I jumped on the offer and, because I had noticed that I was writing more about music on deus62.com, started a second website to cater to people like me, music collectors with substantial collections. Livingwithmusic.com was born.

Surprisingly enough, that site took off quickly, gained a substantial audience and even more exposure when it was featured (6th place) in the "Expression Engine Website Shootout". After the shootout, an interview with me was published on the ExpressionEngine website, driving even more people to my new website.

07 | 9rules

Because it had been quite successful, in 2005 I applied for a membership with "9rules", a somewhat "elite" blog network and quite the rage at the time (some of the most renowned bloggers and designers were members there for a while).

I was accepted and with my integration into the 9rules network, my readership again grew considerably.

08 | 9rules Exodus & WordPress

After a while, it became clear that the people behind 9rules were beginning to lose their footing (the network was later sold and has since become a mere footnote) and in 2008, I left, together with many others.

This move coincided with my switch to WordPress. Expression Engine had become a little too complicated for me and health problems were beginning to limit the time I could devote to my websites. WordPress was simply quicker for my purposes and allowed me to keep hanging on.

The first (I think) site I published with it was a minimal and elegant theme-based redesign of livingwithmusic.com, one which existed for the time I needed to learn how WordPress worked.

09 | Learning and Redesigning

After the switch to WordPress, livingwithmusic.com underwent constant changes, also because I was experiencing fatigue. For a while, I didn't really feel like devoting much free time to the project.

The site had reached a level of traffic that regularly brought thousands of visitors to certain key posts and pages. So, in effect, it was running itself no matter what happened in the background.

Interlude | "Blogging Is Dead!"

I cannot pin-point it exactly, but at some point after my switch to WordPress, I started noticing a decline in interaction with readers and visitors.

As more and more social networks began to take hold, people became reluctant to comment, discuss/debate or add anything worthwhile to other sites outside of those environments and with that development, a lot of the fun was taken out of livingwithmusic.com, which, up until that point, had accumulated anywhere bewteen 8000 to 10000 - often more detailed and sometimes very elaborate - comments on a couple of hundred posts, and had generated lots of (pleasant) e-mail correspondence.

10 | Fusion

In light of the above development, I decided to terminate livingwithmusic.com and integrate about 50 percent of the longer, in-depth and popular posts into deus62.com.

That worked for a while and across various redesigns, but in the end, I decided to stop blogging in the traditional sense.

Note: The domain was quickly snatched up by one of those people living off the traffic rank the domain had reached. Besides putting up a single page, nothing at all happened on that page and, I guess, the new owner lived off the generated advertising income for a while. What a waste.

11 | The End

Intermittently, my site would fall silent until I picked it up again, simply because I felt like tinkering around with it.

Remember my initial post? The site wasn't so much meant for others but for me, to turn my mind off from work.

Still, at some point I didn't feel like updating the complex publishing backend, themes, etc. anymore. I didn't think there was a point to it . Social networking sites had become totally prominent and online culture had changed fundamentally.

So, in 2017, I pretty much canned all my sites or put them into permanent limbo.

Then I deleted them.

Below is a screenshot of the final reincarnation of my old sites, all rolled into one: the final deus62.com run with a self-hosted WordPress backend.

Interlude | "Tinkering"

One of the main purposes of my old sites, especially deus62.com, had always been to stay in touch with friends from around the globe. They could always find me there, especially because I would never spend another second of my life on Facebook.

So, when I became increasingly interested in things such as downsizing, (more) minimalist living and new developments like micro-blogging, I decided to find a cheaper, less time-consuming and complex solution that would allow me to a) tinker with my sites as a hobby and b) keep them updated on a more regular basis as a one-stop for anyone who would like to know more about me or get in touch.

With carrd.co, I found that solution, tweaked things a bit and ....

12 | 2019

.... that's where you are now. For this present version of deus62.com, I don't need to bother with databases, updates, themes, spam moderation and whatnot.

I can always design a little, piece a few pages together in a couple of hours and be done with it.

Updating my micro-blog takes a couple of seconds per day (in comparison, my quickly cobbled-together Instagram posts take a lot longer (just because of the various steps involved and the many tags) and, if I feel like it, I can add a page like this one in an hour.


06 | 2021

[Update:] Yes, I'm surprised myself. As I outlined above, I often lost interest in my websites for a while, was too busy to update them, found many things too cumbersome or just lived the real life instead of a virtual one, something that as you grow older seems to be taking more prominence as you trundle along.

As I look back at what I have written and published here, I actually managed to keep it consistent since August 1, 2019. That's 694 days that I can add to my publishing schedule which - as of today - extends across more than two decades (online).

Best of all, what I had envisioned for this site worked out splendidly. Many people use it as a contact hub and I've managed to stay in touch with people from the US, Venezuela, Mexico, Brazil, Panama, Argentina and the Falklands, Chile, Russia, the entire UK, Denmark, Norway and Sweden, Spain, Italy and France, Nigeria, South Africa and Burkina Faso, India, Pakistan and Indonesia, China, South Korea, the Marshall Islands (!) and Australia, Greenland, Iceland, ... the list goes on.

I've had former students look me up, I've had former 9rules members (see above) get in touch, I've had former classmates of mine from CIS reach out and I've enjoyed tons of contacts that inquired about my former "Jazz in Paris", "Mosaic Discographies" and even my "Oscar Peterson" appreciation pages that were canned when I killed livingwithmusic.com.

The net is not dead.

There are still plenty of people interested in connecting outside of those destructive mosh pits that call themselves Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and whatnot.

So, I'll probably be around here until I drop dead.

P.S.: In all that time, AJ has invested a sh-tload of time improving this backend more than anyone I have ever kept an eye on since the 1990s. And I have kept my eye on many, incl. all the bigwigs ... including all those people I despise: Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey and all those other idiots who have made it their life's goal to kick an open and affordable Internet to the curb.

Note: This is probably not the end. :-)