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This page chronicles the recent history of egrabow.com: since January 1, 2007. It is the second of two history pages.
< 2007 2007-09 2010-15 2015-now
After successfully reintroducing PHP into my life, by putting it into the AVCA and Random Pages, the server-side PHP/MySQL combo took center stage in EG2007. The content from dozens of HTML pages was poured into a database, to be accessed by a handful of PHP files... which made the website dynamic and easier for me to update. Front Page became the blog page, featuring archive as well as current posts. The Traffic Information System was enhanced, always giving up-to-date information on site stats or a new page, without me having to update anything by hand. Ditto for the TIS Scorecard ("how many days until..."). In August, alternating header graphics were used for the first time.
The color scheme went back to blue for '07, but held onto the mosaic look. Anyone who didn't like the bright text/ dark BG could now click on the new CONFIG button and view most pages in GrabowPedia Mode instead.
In 2007, I turned 25 years old, and I held a year-long "25 Years of Ryan G" celebration, posting monthly articles about the events in my life so far. The articles were inspired by something Video magazine used to do, posting covers and summaries from their magazine 10/15/20 years earlier (Popular Mechanics also has a section for this, and they have more than a century to draw on!). I modified this so that the January article, for example, covered all the events that happened in that month: "January 1990," "January 2004," etc. This coincided with a lot of self-discovery and a deepening of my Christian faith. When 2007 ended, I posted a wrap-up article, saying how much fun the project was.
2008 was an active year for me, though all the activity drew energy away from the website. That summer, I TV DXed, at least officially, for the last time. Analogs would be ordered off air the next February. Outside of this, the year’s big project was writing my first novel. From March until December, the writing project consumed nearly all of my free time. A page was started in July to monitor its progress, omitting almost every detail but explaining why I wasn’t working on the site or posting very much. It was a sacrifice, and it was worth it.
With the four-year mandate invoked again in 2009, the SuperHighway Shield was retired and a new concept was dreamed up for 2009-2012. I recognized that EG was turning away from the more-resource-oriented decision I’d set in 2007, and reversed the decision early in 2009. After the self-discovery of ’07 and the fulfilling writing of ’08, I decided to borrow the "High Definition" term being thrown around for television, and use it to highlight EG as a personal site that better reflects the man I am. I also abandoned the original version numbers (2001 = 1, 2008 = 8) and aligned them with my age (2009 = 27). Not only did this highlight the renewed personal-site goal, but version numbers were about to be in the double-digits soon anyway.
The NTC branding I set up for MySpace and other sites began to merge with egrabow.com again. In July, an RSS feed was started on LiveJournal as an extention of this website's blog.
On October 8, 2009, my first novel Caffeine was released on egrabow.com. Printer-friendly and text-only formats were created in addition to the "novel format." A few months later, I began posting the book on other sites and set up a low-budget Google AdWords campaign for egrabow.com/caffeine .
For the third year in a row, I found myself satisfied with the existing (EG2007-based) site layout. Not only did I look back on version 7 and still approve of how I'd designed and planned everything, but I decided that 2008 and 2009's upgrades were inferior to what they replaced. I love innovation, but hate change-for-the-sake-of-change... yet I now saw it on my own website. Yuck.
I realized that some of my policies were badly out of date, set up when I was still learning HTML and figuring out what to do with my website. Annual (January 1st) upgrades had outlived their usefulness, as had the four-year mandate. I decided to rip up the foundations and rebuild the policies that govern EG. I wanted to examine what worked well in the past and what didn't... then use the best of it to reimagine EG2007 as a long-term upgrade, one that was as useful as I could make it. January 1, 2010 would be the ninth and last "New Year's upgrade." Version 28 would be that grand project the others had merely led up to.
2007's NAVbar returned, the SlideBar was enhanced, URLs were made more efficient, and pages/sections were thoroughly reorganized. My egrabow_NTC identity on other websites was merged with this one, resulting in my blog page becoming the NTC Page. The PHP and MySQL back-end was rewritten, implimenting long-desired features I'd had to use workarounds for, and tossing out ones I never used. Rounding these out was my transition to transparent PNG graphics, which looked fantastic provided the visitor wasn't using an old version of Internet Explorer (in which case they'd see a warning at the top of the screen).
After closing it two years prior, I decided to bring back the Audio/Video Component Archive in January 2011. I'd never been able to replace it in terms of traffic, and since EG was the home of my new novel I wanted to keep a good spot on Google and other search engines. I essentially gave the AVCA a reboot and added a MKII to its logo. Site traffic was back up almost immediately (thanks, old catalogs!), but after two years of building and tracking I concluded it was doing precisely bupkis for my novel. The AVCA was an expansive project I had wavering interest in and that would never be "finished." After an unsuccessful attempt to move it to a wiki - thus contributing to someone else's project rather than shouldering it myself - I simply began to phase it out again in June 2013.
Meanwhile version 28.5 saw EG expand into the mobile realm. The beta for "EG Mobile" opened to traffic on March 31st, 2012. Some pages forced visitors to use the main site, but it was a start. 2012 also introduced the current "highspeed marker" website logo, a modification of 2009's. Version 28.8 the following year saw the titles of certain pages change: the blog became Ramblings , the Exit 9 Page became Offramps , and the DX/Radio Page became Bandscans . I was becoming more active in the DXing hobby and began posting compilation videos of my catches on YouTube . The payoff of my student loans allowed me to get a new computer and editing software, resulting in many new videos being made in 2014. New videos in High Definition, of course.
I'd had mixed feelings about CSS up to this point, but while I liked EG's layout my techniques for bringing it to life seemed a decade or more out-of-date. I decided to update my knowledge of web design and launch a new version in July 2015, the ten year anniversary of my move to Florida and the time HTML5 was expected to become the official standard of the internet. Ever the open-source hippie I chose to stick with PHP for scripting and switched the site to a new server with updated software. Version M33 launched on July 28, 2015 with Cascading Stylesheets (CSS) and fully integrated desktop and mobile viewing. The new design of EG Prime promoted my novel and YouTube channel. Also, this was the first version since 2001 to feature dark-text-light-background.
By the end of 2015 my YouTube channel had become exclusively a DXing channel, and a very active year of road trips had resulted in a series of "AM/FM/TV Bandscan" videos (why wait to DX distant TV stations when I can drive over and record them now?). In February 2016, back home and focusing on DX again, I created an Interactive Logbook for my TV and FM catches, which linked to segments of my YouTube videos. This also allowed new loggings to appear on EG Prime.
As a Back To The Future fan I was fascinated to see Biff Tannen become president of the United States in 2017, since this meant I was living in the movie's alternate reality. In recognition of this, mentions of the year 2017 on egrabow.com appeared as "2017A". Clicking on the "A" brought you to a YouTube clip of the 1985A scene.
Doc: "Our only chance to repair the present is in the past, at the point where the timeline skewed into this tangent. In order to put the universe back as we remember it and get back to our reality, we have to find out the exact date and specific circumstances of how, when, and where young [Trump] got his hands on that [real estate] almanac."
After another two year hiatus the Audio/Video Component Archive returned again in May 2017. I just kept feeling nostalgic for the danged thing, and got the idea to run eBay ads and make money off it. Even if it didn't make a cent, I promised myself, I wouldn't take the AVCA down a third time. It was back online for good. Fortunately it's making enough cents to hold my interest and justify spending time to create new listings. Unlike previous versions, "MKIII" of the AVCA was not integrated into the rest of egrabow.com. From this point it kept its own navigation and visual style.
My second novel (...ahem... trilogy), This Falling Eden , was slow to get off the ground but was getting a lot of my attention by 2019. That summer I also moved to Orlando . Among other things I hoped the move would prove beneficial to my writing career. Since the COVID-19 pandemic slowed my social life down to a crawl... it'll be a while before I have a verdict on that.