History of the Wind Tunnel Web Site
Many years ago, when a big batch of people retired simultaneously from Wind Tunnel in a Ďmass breakoutí, I had an idea to keep in touch with them and all future retirees by a simple newsletter. I didnít really think it through, but I did go to Alan Dewar (HoD at the time) and suggest it to him. I thought that if we could agree that WTD would Xerox copies of it and then put it in the works post for franking it wouldnít cost us anything, but Alan wasnít at all keen. He said that he thought it would take off in a rush of enthusiasm and would then peter out, and he didnít want to be associated with something that ended that way. He was probably right, looking back, but some years later, when we started getting internet access at home, the idea blossomed again.
At that time several people were maintaining lists of email addresses for as many retired Wind Tunnel members as they could find. A dial-up Freeserve account included 5Mb of web space, to I took out a second account as www.windtunnel.freeserve.co.uk, consolidated all the email lists into one and and put it up on this site for general access.
As time passed, the site became a repository for quite a few other things, in particular photos of Windtunnelonians meetings and retirements and I had to remove older material to make space for new stuff. Later, I created three more dial-up sites to get more space and distributed the web site across them all, which meant that I could re-instate the deleted content. When I upgraded to broadband a couple of years ago that came with a further 30Mb of space, so I thought Iíd be OK for expansion for quite a bit.
The main trouble was that the site was now distributed over five different domains and, since this extra space had been allocated when required, the growth was very messy and inconsistent and maintenance was a nightmare! Worse, Orange (who now run what started as Freeserve and later became Wanadoo) wouldn't provide proper tools to transfer files to and from the broadband site and their struggling customers had to make do with the crude built-in tools they provided.
I therefore decided the time had come to move to more space so I applied for the domain name www.w823.co.uk. I now have 250Mb of space to go at, all on one server, so have copied the whole web site across, bit by bit, tidying it up and updating it on the way to make sure that itís easy to maintain.
The site is currently just over 50Mb, so thereís plenty of room for expansion now. And a further reason for changing was the Freeserve siteís unreliability. A couple of times it went down for days at a time and when I finally managed to get through to Orange they said it was beyond their control as they contract it out! The new provider guarantees an uptime of 99.99%, which means it should be down for less than an hour per year.
Yet another reason for changing is that to keep those small sites live one has to log on to each by dialup once every three months. If I forgot (which I usually did) the content is still kept for up to a year but I had to go through a resetting process before I could access it to edit it. Iíll let the rest go, but Iíll keep the main site front page live for a year or so, with a reminder redirection message on it for anyone who forgets! Why not bookmark the new site now?
I get a small but steady stream of emails with changes of email address mostly, but often with photos, stories and news which can be shared with everyone. Please do keep these coming Ė itís what keeps the site alive and worth visiting! And please encourage Windtunnelonians who have not registered their email addresses on the site to do so. We need to keep in touch with as many as possible!
30 August 2007