About Dean

I’m a husband, and father, and a technology person. I’ve been a technology person since about 1981.

About this site

This site redirects from paxtonland.com as well. paxtonland is an old and often neglected weblog and catch-all sandbox for whatever web application development stuff that I was working on at the time.

paxtonland started in 1994 as a links page.  I moved it from a gopher site to a website as soon as we setup the web server at the University of Michigan Computing Club (Arbor Information Society).  I started it just to learn HTML but, I was enthralled with the web.  It stayed there until 1998 when it got its own domain name (paxtonland.com).  I hosted several very early internet projects there such as; Perl experiments, an extensive list of bookmarks, a DIY computer system builders guide, a voting guide for local and national elections, a couple of “zines,” software reviews, and more.

In 1998, it still functioned as a landing page for my browser and had several visitors as well.  Since 1996, I was writing monthly “posts” in chronological order.  The systems guide had really taken off at this point, but I’d stopped all the other projects  I’d taken a lot of inspiration from Jakob Nielsen’s useit.com and still do.  However, the more that I learned about the web, the more  I was struggling with the transition from a systems engineering driven web to a design and content driven web.

in 1998-99, I was an avid project cool reader, which was a site-of-the-day list.  I hung on the words of Glenn Davis, I couldn’t wait to see what was posted for that day.  There, I’d learned about a concept called a weblog and I realized that I was already doing that in my own way.  Though, really it was more of a once monthly (zine style) link list, than a blog and I certainly didn’t call it a blog, nor did I know what one was.  Project Cool closed and metafilter became my window into the daily “cool sites.”

So, after look around at other people’s work, I decided why not?  I read Jeffrey Zeldman, The Misanthropic Bitch, Metafilter, Tnkgrl The Scripting News, and so many more…. I was inspired.  Pyra Labs had started up in San Francisco to develop web-based project management software.  Out of that, blogger was born and I used it from the beginning, I was among the first blogger users.  At that time, blogger provided an editing interface and published individual posts via FTP to a remote server.  It really was the first form of push-button web publishing that was functional and cool.  I was a proud blogger user.  From that platform, I was able to exponentially expand monthly posts into multiple posts per day.  By December 1999, I had 300+ entries.

In 2001, there was well over 3500 entries and but, very few comments, blogger did not support comments until 2004 under Google.  I moved from blogger to movable type and paxtonland continued but, it was more functional and standards and database driven, I had the files and database back on my servers again.  Movable Type achieved the goal of separating content from design.  They brought commenting, trackbacks, and much more… until…  they started charging.  Which I was okay with paying them and helping out Six Apart but, I was waiting patiently for MySQL support. Back then, they only supported BerkeleyDB and there were so many posts and comments it made the site was terribly slow.  WordPress supported MySQL so, off I went.  WordPress was also very smart in offering a migration tool, but the migration script failed (too much data!).  I had to do it manually.   Anyway, WordPress still powers this site, though I’m thinking about going back to hand coding it.


Once established as a weblog, paxtonland’s content was really all over the map.  I focused on technology and politics, for the most part.  I referenced memes, followed the dotcom fall very closely, and reported about local items of interest to Flint.  In 2003-4, I stopped posting as often as I used to.  The site took a lot of time to run at that point.  My professional life had changed significantly and I had little time to post as often as I used to.  I think that this also happened to a lot of the “early adopter” bloggers… we all kind of burned out as our lives changed, just as the rest of the world was blogging.  Now the guy who ran the hardware store down the street had a blog…  As it should be. Besides that, paxtonland was really a place for individuals to banter back and forth politically.  Which may have amused me and a very few others but, not very interesting to the rest of the world.