Even as early as the late 1990s the WWW was extremely annoying. Especially then. Dreamwoven sludge sites trickled in over dial-up connections only to trip over the fact that I wasn’t using Internet Explorer. Or even Windows, oh my! In those challenging days I was making a hobby of building my own web site which I hoped would not be a bloated horror. One of the things I realized was that I could clip out most of the useful bits from web pages I used and put them into a web page that I controlled. This was how "The Page" was born.
It was basically a large collection of links hearkening back to a pre-search engine era when people traversed the web by posting cool links they knew about on "links" pages. The improvement I made was that I added some form boxes that were directly hooked up to various useful things. This allowed me to set this web page as my "home page", i.e. my browser’s default, and from there I could initiate a fair portion of my web business.
This used to be merely convenient but now, because of the
it is essential. With a handcrafted web page of links valuable to me I
can avoid inviting problems caused by looking up URLs/links with a
search engine. My new rule of thumb is that every link on Google or
Yahoo or Bing is malicious. Even if the link’s hover
text says something plausible like
aws.amazon.com you must assume
that is fake. For example, check the
hover text then click on the following link and see if it does what
you expect. (Don’t worry, your back button will still actually work to
return you here.)
As far as I’m concerned, my website is the only source of safe navigational links on the world wide web.
The big advantage of this approach over bookmarks is that this page is available to me everywhere. You may believe your modern cloud-based bookmarks are available to you everywhere too. However, consider how great you’d feel about logging in to your Google account, possibly with your primary email credentials, while trying to troubleshoot some hapless person’s obviously compromised Windows computer. I am working with such hapless people at least several times a week.
If you’d like to use The Page, I’ve made it pretty easy. Memorize one of the following.
This renovation of The Page included a Makefile to automatically build the whole thing from a clean text document. Now that it is easier for me to make changes to The Page than to fuss with bookmarks, I’m optimistic that it can be kept quite up-to-date. In fact, the text file which is used as the source for The Page is the same one I’ve been collecting links in for over a year; I use it daily. Now it will always be published out to the web. If you know of any links you think I should include, I’d love to hear about them.