This Site

I originally purchased a personal domain back in 2001. At the time, all of the "VanAlstyne" domains were taken (I just missed vanalstyne.com by a few weeks), so I chose "theVanAlstynes.com" as the domain for our new family. For about a year, this was mainly used as the source for email addresses for JoAnn and I as well as my dad (kenjr). Over the course of the year, I used the free version of FrontPage that was part of my work Office license to develop a simple site that had a few pages that detailed our interests as well as some slideshows that showed pictures from our honeymoon and our trip to Paris.

Things took off when JoAnn became pregnant with Grace. There were changes to the site with pictures and status updates every couple of months. This continued (if less often) through the first few months of Alex's life. Then a couple of things happened: First, I started a new job with a significant commute and Second, the rise of Facebook just made it simpler to quickly post info and pictures there directly from my phone. The site went mostly dormant.

In 2009, as I was reviewing domains, I saw that vanalstyne.org was available from the family that had owned it. I immediately registered it and transferred the main bulk of our domain over to it. Unfortunately, the move broke a large number of the links to the various pictures and I had no time or energy to correct it. Again, the site lay dormant. Over the course of the next 3 years, I started to transition the site to other back end tools (Joomla, Drupal) but the overhead in moving all of the pages and posts was just too much. Then, in January 2013, I noticed a new option in the free tools available from my hosting company, A Small Orange: WordPress. I'd heard lots of good things about WordPress and one of my friends runs a blog using it (jimcofer.com), so I decided to install it and see how easy it would be to transition all of the old slideshows over to it. Over the course of the next few weeks (as time allowed), I slowly created post after post from the old slideshows. Finally, success!

In late 2016 I decided that due to the overwhelming use of Facebook and other sites, the website was not being updated and the only real use for the domain was as a source of custom email addresses. So, I made a few changes. First, I switched my domain registrar to the new (and Beta) Google Domains. Second, I created a Blogger account and moved over the non-slideshow posts to it. Blogger isn't as flexible and powerful as Wordpress, but with the ability to use IFTT to cross-post from Facebook to it, I can ensure that everything that is posted to Facebook is also posted to our site. That way those people who don't have Facebook (my Dad) can still see the pictures we post of the kids. I then pointed my vanalstyne.org address to my Blogger blog and voila! A new site that will be updated regularly. I'll go back and try to get the slideshows into Blogger as time allows, but for now, the pictures are safe on my hard drive.

You may also see an experimental site I set up kva.fyi. Since I post a lot of things on Twitter and may be posting a lot of links on here (as well as Facebook), I wanted to try out having my own "short domain." With the help of Google and a site called Rebrandly, I registered the fyi domain and now have a series of short and easy to remember URLs for this site and my social media usage. You can access any of my profiles by simply appending the service name to "kva.fyi/" For example kva.fyi/linkedin. My resume can be found at kva.fyi/resume and so on.

In 2018, for Lent I decided to give up Facebook. JoAnn had recently removed it from her phone and only occasionally checked it on her laptop and I quit cold turkey in February, 2018. Over the course of the six weeks of Lent, I enjoyed the free time and decrease in stress that abandoning Facebook delivered and determined to quit it for good. This lives me in a bit of a quandary for this site, however. Since the IFTT service does not allow the posting of Twitter pictures directly to Blogger (or anywhere else), I would need to post all content myself by hand. Since there are no simple Blogger apps for my phone and adding another social media source such as Instagram would defeat the purpose of abandoning Facebook, I predict a significant downturn in new posts on the blog. Time will tell, but I expect to keep the domain and the Blogger account for the long term, so we will see what happens.

Well, the Facebook purge was relatively short lived. But the Blogger site sat in limbo until mid-2022 when I finally decided to build a simple Google Sites set of pages that would simply list each family member and provide a jumping off point for their relevant, public, info. So that's where we stand today.