Aardvark DailyNew Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.
Content copyright © 1995 - 2019 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at aardvark.co.uk
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Back in March of 1995, I started Aardvark.
Back then it was Aardvark Weekly and consisted of something I hastily cobbled together on a Sunday evening for Monday-morning publication.
Those were incredibly fun days on the internet and almost everyone involved in the local industry knew everyone else on a first-name basis. Yes, the Net was *that* small.
People didn't have "Facebook" pages or "YouTube" channels, they had "homepages", carefully crafted with hand-written HTML and hosted on their ISP's servers. Some of this stuff was bad, really bad -- but some of it was really rather good, especially given the extremely limited capabilities of the browser(s) of the day.
But we didn't spend all our time surfing the web, oh no... we also spent a lot of time browsing and reading usenet newsgroups. In fact, that's where much of the really good stuff was to be found. No matter what subjects interested you, there was almost certainly a newsgroup that was specifically set up to appeal.
Given that a great many Net users had come from the world of online BBS systems, newsgroups were comfortable and familiar areas in which to discuss anything and everything.
But the web was where all the growth was happening and I turned my "homepage" into Aardvark.
Originally, Aardvark was hosted (from memory) at Actrix in Wellington, on some free server space that was made available to me. I didn't actually register the aardvark.co.nz domain name until some time later.
I really enjoyed writing the weekly edition because it enabled me to keep quite a large percentage of the Net community in touch with what others were doing and with changes that were taking place -- both in the local industry and in the technology world-wide.
Pretty soon, the Net became such an active and dynamic place that I began writing Aardvark on a daily basis. There was never a shortage of things to write about and also never a shortage of people wanting to read my ramblings.
At one stage I was earning a pretty reasonable living (not getting rich but paying the bills) from these columns and although I didn't realise it at the time, I was probably one of the world's very first "bloggers".
Of course I was also earning a paltry amount by writing for print publications such as Computerworld and I did spit out a book or two but Aardvark was a good, solid regular source of income for many years.
In late 1997 (or thereabouts) I decided to expand into general news by starting the 7am.com news site and I focused an inordinate amount of my time on that -- with great results. However, despite working about 18 hours a day continuously on 7am.com, I still made time each and every week-day morning, to get an edition of Aardvark Daily out.
And thus it has been for such a long time that we now enter the 25th year of continuous publication.
OMG! Has it really been that long already?
Of course these days, Aardvark isn't the influential force or "must read" daily commentary that it once was -- but that's okay by me. My key focus these days is my YouTube channels because they pay the bills (albeit barely). Never the less, I still enjoy sitting at my keyboard every week-day morning and trying to come up with something new and (hopefully) interesting for the small but dedicated band of readers, some who have been with the site every since those very early days.
Although the site runs a few tiny Google-ads, it doesn't really generate much in the way of revenue so it truly is a work of love but on the positive side, that means I'll probably still be spitting this stuff out until the day I die.
I guess that around this time next year I'll bake a cake and have a big party to celebrate the full quarter-century of thinking and typing. Could it be that Aardvark is already the word's longest-running online blog?
In the meantime... I'll just continue, one daily column at a time.
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