Construction History

The Origin
The Lighthouse originated with Insaniac. As a researcher in the field of theoretical physics, he made extensive use of the Internet in his daily work. Having compiled a list of WorldWide Web sites that contained information relevant to his research, it seemed a logical step to set these links up as a Web page on his server so that he could access them more efficiently.

In discussions about the Web with his father (He Who Walks Barefoot), they realized that by creating a formal Web site they could compile useful information they had acquired and make it available to others. Even though their areas of interest were very different (science for Insaniac and the esoteric for He Who Walks Barefoot) they started work to bring these topics together in a functional and pleasant format.

Thus was born the idea of The Lighthouse. As traditional lighthouses act as guides to vessels faring upon the sea, so would this lighthouse act as a guide to individuals exploring cyberspace in search of knowledge. Having chosen a lighthouse as the format for their presentation, they laid out the main sections, each designating an area that would focus on a specific subject and for which that person would be 'Curator'.

The Design
Insaniac's area would be simply The Second Floor, and would deal with his field of expertise: particle/nuclear physics. He Who Walks Barefoot would preside over The Cave and explore Shamanism, Celtic Studies and other intuitive fields.

Journey and Insaniac then spent several months wrestling with the question of what constitutes an effective web document. Their main goal was to establish a comfortable feel to The Lighthouse. They developed a basic philosophy of simplicity, humor and usability. For example, they avoided the use of excessively large graphics, broke the documents into small, manageable pieces and only included documents that had reached an acceptable level of completion, thus avoiding the annoying/frustrating and ubiquitous 'under construction' sign. The objective was to allow visitors to quickly locate items of interest. Their decision to focus on subjects of personal interest to them made the upkeep and development of the site a natural outgrowth of their day-to-day work.

The Site Goes Online
The Lighthouse first became available to the public on March 29, 1995. The feedback that the Curators have received since then has affirmed that they have had success in reaching their goals. Many visitors have commented on the 'good feel' of the site and the subtle (or sometimes less than subtle) humor throughout.

Once the site was up, other section were added as the two Curators came across sites and/or information of interest. Useful information of a general nature was gathered in The Library while items of a humorous bent were collected in The Lounge.

Raptor Becomes Involved
As time passed, Insaniac and He Who Walks Barefoot enthusiastically related their progress to Raptor (Insaniac's older brother). Raptor had visited The Lighthouse but did not have any involvement until near the end of 1995. Until that time, Raptor's only computer was a notebook system with a monochrome display. Then, he purchased a state-of-the-art desktop system and began helping out.

After familiarizing himself with the ins and outs of The Lighthouse, Raptor decided he would begin with small enhancements. He designated his personal area as The Aerie, deciding it would deal with creativity. Then, putting his personal area on hold, he turned his attention to learning the newest HTML standard and seeing how it could be utilized in The Lighthouse. His first major effort was the About The Lighthouse and its Curators section which you are currently visiting. He then began work on The Aerie which would initially explore creativity through writings by the Curators.

The Lighthouse Gets Its Own Domain and Insaniac Gets His PhD
In September of 1996, the Curators decided that The Lighthouse needed its own identity independent of the physical computer on which it happened to reside, so they set about registering a domain. On October 12th, the domain was announced to the public. The Lighthouse now had it's very own address in cyberspace.

Another significant event in October was Insaniac (the Curator of The Second Floor) achieving his PhD with the successful defense of his thesis, "Non-Perturbative Quark Dynamics in Diffractive Processes". Don't feel bad if you don't understand it; the other two Curators haven't a clue either.

In January of 1997 The Lighthouse followed Insaniac to Florida, moving to a faster and more reliable server in the Sunshine State.

One of the Curators Visits 'THE' Lighthouse, Then Hits the Road
The lighthouse depicted on this web site is 'Split Rock Light' and is located on Lake Superior in Minnesota. In August of 1997, Insaniac had the opportunity to visit the area and, while he was there, took some pictures of 'our' lighthouse.

In September 1998, Insaniac moves again; this time to the Hoosier state, Indiana. Yes, he has moved quite a few times. It's a post-doctoral thing; you wouldn't understand it. As usual, The Lighthouse moves to his new location.

After a few years on that computer, The Lighthouse made its way to the servers at Comcast. They are the ISP Journey uses for his broadband access.

Insaniac Departs Academia
In the summer of 2004, Insaniac decided to leave Academia. Since his field is a very specialized area of Physics, it had become apparent that there would not be any openings for a professor in the near future. Having also studied Financial Engineering, he jumped to the private sector and took a position with the title of (surprise) Financial Engineer.

At about the same time, we decided to do a major overhaul of the site (early in the tenth year of its existence) and move it to yet another different server (Yahoo, this time).

So! That brings us up to the present. Raptor, Insaniac and Journey continue exploring new ideas that catch their fancy and try to present them in an interesting, and sometimes humorous, way. Compliments should be sent to Journey. Flames, criticism and/or derogatory comments may be sent to either Raptor or Insaniac.

Seriously though, any comments about a part of The Lighthouse should be sent to the Curator in charge of that area. Technical/HTML comments should be sent to Raptor. Email of a general nature can be sent to any of the Curators who will then forward the message to one or both of the others as appropriate.

The Curators' email addresses can be found on the previous page.

Return to About The Lighthouse and its Curators
Comments or questions about this page should be directed to Raptor.
Last Update: June 20, 2004