The ninth day of this month marks the fifteenth anniversary of this Web site, which began as a collection of seven pages which would fit in its entirety on a floppy disk, and not necessarily a high-density floppy disk either. I had a whole sheaf of reasons for putting up a site, among which were "My ISP will give me free space" and "I want to get this done before the company tries to put up a site." The desire to bloviate was always there, I suppose, but perhaps that goes without saying.

When I sat down to write this, I was intending to look fifteen years into the future, speculating idly about the kind of life, and the kind of Internet presence, I might have in 2026. It then occurred to me that I might actually have neither: while I have consistently underestimated my potential lifespan over the years — when I was seventeen, I was pretty well convinced that I'd never see twenty-five, let alone seventy-three — there's an upper limit somewhere, as yet undisclosed, and for the vast majority of us, it remains so until close to the end. (And if this site is to outlive me, I'll have to make arrangements to cover the expense somehow. It's not a considerable expense — about $130 a year pays for both the host account and the domain registration — but I have to assume that my own income will dwindle to zero while I moulder in the grave. Then again, in 1999, when I first registered this domain, yearly expenses were in the vicinity of $275.) So I decided to scale back a bit, and try to figure out what I'll be up against in 2016, a mere five years from now, presumably still alive and almost certainly short of retirement age.

And actually, I don't expect a whole lot in the way of changes for myself. I've settled into, if not a groove, not quite a rut either, and while my life has its exasperating aspects, whose doesn't? Assuming the economy doesn't go completely to hell, which admittedly is a lot to assume, I should be decidedly better off financially: my low-six-figure debt will be cut back to the middle fives by then, and pretty much all of that will be on the house note, approximately halfway through its 30-year term. (In the future, people will read that and think "Thirty-year mortgages? Are you kidding me?")

I am not quite so sanguine about health matters, having discovered that I can't predict them worth a hoot. The worst-case scenario I can envision, though, is that while I waste away, a miraculous rejuvenation substance, or regime, or whatever, is developed, and either (1) it's too late to do me any good or (2) somebody's Death Panel — does it really matter who's in charge of it at that point? — deems me unworthy. Would I empty out the money-market fund to get my hands on it? I suppose that depends on whether there's enough in there.

I won't even try to guess what this Web site will be like, or even if there will still be a Web as we know it. I anticipate switching over to IPv6 long before 2016 — my host is already set up for it — and storage per unit can only get cheaper. Which is good, because the archives around here have grown to more than a gigabyte, a thousand times more than I was allowed fifteen years ago. I'm guessing that by then, optimizing for mobile use will be the default rather than an afterthought, which means that I'll have to do at least one more redesign. Oh, well, it won't kill me. At least, I don't think it will.

The Vent

  1 April 2011

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 Copyright © 2011 by Charles G. Hill