2004 is the year that I first decided to build a website. I decided that vBulletin would be the backend for my site, so I acquired a copy online, perhaps less than legimiately. Seeing as I was fourteen years old at the time, I didn’t have an extra few hundred dollars lying around for a license. At the time, the primary way to add features to your site was to apply a “mod”, which was usually composed of adding a few php files, and LOTS of find & replace. Quite frankly, this may be the reason why I put down web development during my later tools. Script kiddie life sucks.
It was ahead of its time. This was during a a pre-Facebook era. I think that “Nico Ritschel Dot Com” perhaps even predated general Myspace use among my peers. At it’s peak, my 14 year old classmates had made well over 10,000 posts. I added flash games with competitive features (Thanks, vBulletin mod author!), and my 8th grade friends did their shit-talking on my site. In fact, there became too much shit-talking for me to moderate any longer, and I took down my prized website, at the request of the my middle school principal. Now, I wasn’t much of a trouble maker, so this really caught me off guard.
At one point, I even figured, why not add some Adsense ads? Now, I won’t speculate on the legitimacy of the clicks on those ads, but I eventually did receieve a $150 check from Google. I was excited that I actually made money online. I think I spent my winnings on a 120GB Western Digital Black drive (seems like nothing now, huh?). At the time, I was very interested in building computers, and things like fast hard drives tickled my fancy.
Now, things like Ruby and clean code tickle my fancy, thanks to a rich open source/hacker community that I call my own. I overcame that teenage fear, and now I rediscovered my passion. It took 9 years, but things have now come full circle, and I am glad that NicoRitschel.com is back.
(However, I am running Twitter Bootstrap on top of Jekyll this time around)