UKJester - About UKJester
It's All About ME!
Who Is This UKJester Anyway?
Hi, my name is Gary, but I prefer Gazza or Zag. I was born in 1970 in Hertfordshire, but currently live in Sussex on the south coast of England.
I adopted the nickname 'Jester' around 1990 when I started making music on my computer. When I got a PC I started using software called Dance eJay and began adding my music to MP3.com. I have since moved through various websites and ended up here, with you, right now :)
It's kind of hard to describe myself really, as I don't actually do much. I try to keep myself to myself, and succeed.
I'm just over 6 feet tall and very skinny. I have dark brown eyes, long brown hair, a scruffy overgrown beard and wear glasses. A proper Geek.
Some info about UKJester's various websites
I started making websites back around 1998 or so when I thought I would combine my music making, and my newly found interest in HTML.
I started using the eJay range of software to make my tunes, and did a Yahoo! search to see if there was any fan sites (originally looking for good samples). I found a great site called 'Planet eJay', and also (quite by chance, through my job at the time) another called 'eJay Clubber UK'. I liked the look and feel of the sites, so decided to make my own, just to showcase my tunes and practice my site building skills. I made a one page, black background site, with huge clunky graphics that took ages to load as it was in the days of dial-up connections. After a few weeks I had sliced the site into several pages and created a crude menu system. Once the site had eventually loaded, it looked fairly swish.
I was quite fond of the site and was having fun slowly adding guest books, and playing with email forms, and optimising graphics when I got an unexpected email. A guy called DJ Ampz in Canada had found my site and asked if I could advertise his music on my site. I thought this was a little weird, but I had been getting quite a few hits, so I agreed. I decided that instead of just mentioning his music, I would make a 'DJ Ampz' page, and asked him to email his tunes to me. A week later and I started getting more emails asking for info, and if more people could have a page. By the time I had added about 5 artists, my little website was ready to burst at the seams.
Time to get rid of the old, patched together pages and make a proper website. 'The UK Jester's eJay Platform' was born. This was a nice, smooth looking site that had separate pages for each artist, but each had the same features (guest book, email links, profile and entire music collection). The site also had some community type features appearing like chat rooms, message boards and review services. I enlisted the help of 3 other people that I had met through my site. EJ Lazy, Mr Producer and The Founder. These guys were crucial to the success of the site. Bear in mind that I was paying 1p per minute for my internet connection. I was hosting around 20 artists, with all their tunes having to be emailed to me, then uploaded to my host. It was starting to cost money and take up a lot of time. The Jester crew eased my workload by doing the reviews, hip-hop help, and news round-up sections.
Over the next few years, the site went through a few incarnations, changing colour (but always keeping the black background), adding and updating services, and generally becoming one of the best loved eJay sites around at the time. I made a decision that with hindsight, was probably the start of my sites downfall, but was needed at the time. Because it was costing so much to download, then upload all the tunes, I decided to just link to tunes instead of hosting them. I encouraged people to sign up to sites like MP3.com who were offering similar services to mine, with the added bonus that it was all automated, and they were a big company that didn't have to worry so much about expenses.
Soon enough, these other sites (and more like them) were offering better and better services, still all free and I was no longer able to compete. I decided to close my site for other artists and just show case my own music. Over the last few years I have had problems finding a reliable host for my site but I have hopefully sorted that out now. It is also difficult to find webspace. I have made so many tunes that I need quite a large space to hold them and enable people to listen to or download them. The days of unlimited, free webspace are long gone, but with the advent of broadband connections, there are other options.
So here we are now, with the latest version of the site slowly being pieced together and added to. I may start serving my music from my home PC, which avoids the webspace problem completely but could possibly create a bandwidth problem. Ho hum. As always, The UK Jester's website is never finished, it's just in an advanced stage of completion.
A (rough) history of UKJester's Hole
30 November 2015
Oh dear! It's been a while since I noted the updates again. Sorry!
This isn't about a specific site update, more an update on the current state of play.
The website design business hasn't really taken off. I'm great at designing websites, but crap at advertising the fact that I'm great at designing websites. I'll keep it going but only as a part time, as-and-when type of thing. You never know, I may find the magic Google Search formula and be swamped with requests. I have enough repeat business from existing customers to keep my personal hosting free for the next few years at least.
I'm about to merge my £50 Website business with my main web design business to make things simple.
I'm still using NetBeans as my coding tool. It's great but I can't seem to get the debugging utility (Xdebug) to work.
I'm getting a little bored with the current website and have learnt quite a lot while making my new business website so I'll probably run a site style update soon (must remember to archive the current/old version of the site).
12 April 2014
New PHP Editor
I have changed my PHP IDE again. PhpED was good but I had some issues with upgrading my version of the program so looked for something else. A few people I knew used NetBeans and praised it quite highly. It's a free open source project, so nobody (everybody) owns it and it is updated regularly by people that care (they do it for free).
It's great by the way!
01 April 2014
No it's not a joke
Quite a big update this time. I've had my personal site for years and the web development side was started as a side line a couple of years ago but now I'm starting a new web design business so I needed to reorganise things a bit. This basically involved a complete rewrite of all pages and the main CSS file was started from scratch. I am now coding in standards compliant HTML5.
All my personal stuff, rants, tunes and the like will stay at ukjester.com.
All the main web design stuff is now at ukjester.co.uk.
All the new £50 Website stuff is now at 50poundwebsite.co.uk.
25 February 2014
Oh yea! Updates! I'm supposed to note the updates!
Some stuff happened, a while ago. I can't remember the details (it's been 2 years) but the main point is that I'm not with Heart Internet anymore. They were good but a bit expensive for what I needed.
I now have a reseller hosting account with 247-host.com. I only need to host 2 sites now to break even and get my own site hosted for nothing.
26 March 2012
The yellow and fuchsia on black has gone. I have stuck with a black background for my entire online existence, because I liked it and nobody else ever used my site (after the brief ejay popularity that is). Now that I'm selling hosting packages I need a slightly more professional look. It took me ages to decide, but I think the blue based colours are really good. What do you think?
I have also had another shuffle around but mainly behind the scenes.
10 January 2012
I'm a Reseller
I'm now paying a higher monthly fee but I can create and sell my own hosting accounts for whatever I like and I can up-sell extras like domain names.
I'm only managing 1 other site at the moment so I'm making a slight loss but when I get up to 8 sites (on my basic package) I'll be breaking even. I must be mad!
This means that my site is now hosted by (and domain name registered with) Heart Internet. Take care JustHost, it was fun.
28 August 2011
As I have been developing several websites at the same time, I have been adding new CSS techniques to each one and no single site has all the latest code. I decided to create a standard style sheet for structure only that can be used on any website. An additional colouring style sheet is added for each individual site that only alters the colouring of the base style sheet.
01 May 2011
The site had gotten a bit messy, with odd pages in odd places so I decided to have a tidy up. There are now 3 main sections and there is a site map to help if you get lost. Everything about UKJester is in a separate folder, as is everything about Jester's Hole. Everything else (TRM, Logit, MicroBlog etc) is in it's own folder. There are just 3 php files in the root directory now. index.php is the old search page (just Google now), network.php lists all the separate projects (TRM etc) and sitemap.php.
19 October 2010
XHTML 1.1 valid
The site is now XHTML 1.1. valid. All I actually did was change the DOCTYPE as the changes in specifications between XHTML 1.0 and XHTML 1.1 didn't affect my site (I don't think). I have only tested a few pages and they validated with no changes needed, so I am assuming the rest of the site is the same as no pages use any 'unusual' tags.
25 August 2010
Rewrote Contact Form Script
Ok, I didn't actually rewrite this script for the main site. For the last 8 months or so I have been working on my new site. That Reminds Me!
I rewrote the script (UKJSCF) for the TRM site but it is really easy to port anywhere. It's so good in fact, that I only need to use 2 of the 5 pages in the script.
14 January 2010
Changed HTML editor
Not really a website update but my website is written on it so I think it counts.
Changed from my longtime HTML editor, Arachnophilia 4 to the all singing, all dancing PhpED.
05 January 2010
Changed to relative links for the first time in years
I started using absolute links years ago. They just seemed more sturdy and the right thing to do. You can always find the file if you use absolute links.
The problem now, is I am writing my pages in PHP not plain XHTML. There are 2 ways I can preview any changes I make.
1 - Upload the page to my server, browse to the page and see.
2 - Install PHP on my home PC and view it locally (don't even need an internet connection).
Option 2 is obviously the better idea, BUT, if my page uses absolute links, whenever I hit a link, it will load up the server version of a page, not my new, changed, local version.
Anyway, site completely changed to relative links except any "Home" links and the top menu swf.
31 December 2009
New PHP scripts completed
I have just finished writing and testing 2 new PHP scripts.
The first one is a simple contact form. The second one is an event reminder script. They are both detailed in the Rants section.
27 December 2009
New Host found
Here is where I had the problem. Streamline have been really good to me in the last three years but they don't support cronjobs. I had already been casually looking at other hosts and had found Just Host. They had been recommended by quite a few comparison sites and their prices seemed good (especially as I got 50% discount). They have all the features of Streamline plus loads more. Unlimited space, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited databases etc etc.
Thank you Streamline, you were great (and I still have my domain registered with you as I did that recently).
Hello Just Host!
08 December 2008
Flash Music Player added
After some searching, I found a suitable Flash music player to stream my tunes directly from my site.
06 December 2008
Tunes now hosted on-site
As I recently upgraded my hosting account, I now have enough extra storage space to store my tunes on-site. This is the final step I needed to make the site completely self contained. All I need now is to find a way to stream my tunes on any browser while keeping valid HTML code.
10 July 2007
Cleaned up a bit
The site is very nearly self-contained. No external services are used but my tunes are still hosted on a different (free) website.
I got a bit carried away with all the PHP scripts and broke my server (caused an infinite loop that was generating hundreds of hits every second) so have removed some of the new site features. I have also been researching new "site search" spidering scripts.
02 April 2007
Some more PHP additions
The guestbook is now PHP driven and hosted on this site. I have also PHP empowered a new members area so that is not externally hosted either.
03 March 2007
More PHP changes
I changed to a new PHP hit counter that shows both total and unique hits (based on a cookie). The hit counter is separate to some new code I have added to a few random pages that tracks visitor stats (not just hits) but only stores the info in a logfile. I also added some PHP code so I can shrink or expand content with "[+]" and "[-]" buttons. The expanded state is remembered with a session cookie.
27 February 2007
Cooking with gas
All my pages are now made up from 3 parts, the main content with an included header and an included footer. I have added a very basic PHP hit counter to the site entry page. I have added a mySQL database to my hosting account (and it was very easy) and uploaded phpBB2 which is a fully integrated message board system, bye-bye ProBoards.
26 February 2007
Change to PHP complete
I have finished the site change (to PHP) everything is running smoothly. I can now implement my 2 PHP ideas.
25 February 2007
Change to PHP
18 February 2007
Forms now self-contained
I have purchased the licence for a PHP script. It cost about ?9 and allows me to send the results of forms via email. The script seems very secure and it has given me an idea of how PHP works (and what it can do for me). I will hack at the script and customise it as I need. I also found out today that my new host will only allow forms on my site to be sent either to or from a streamline email account (all my site email accounts are now with them). This is added security to stop spammers using my forms for their evil means. This is actually already covered in the PHP script (amongst other security measures) but it's nice to know my webhosts are on the ball with things like this.
16 February 2007
Strive to be self-contained
I am going to dive into the world or server side scripting in an effort to make my site completely self-contained and independent from any external services. At the moment my hit counter, stats logging, search functions, form processing, guest book, message board and members management are all hosted remotely. It looks like I am going to have to learn at least a little bit about PHP, CGI etc.
03 February 2007
Streamlinenet.co.uk are slightly more expensive than my previous host but have some handy features and most important of all, great customer service (reply guaranteed within 24 hours, and they actually help when you ask). I can not use htaccess files anymore (at least not like I used to) but they have set up my own custom error pages and I can easily password protect areas (with htaccess) via an online control panel. I am very pleased with my new host!
02 February 2007
I received an email from Portland Comminications (the people I pay to host this site) telling me that I need to migrate to their new system, but that I can't do that until I pay them more money. I decided to stay with MyDomain.com (who I bought the UKJester domain name from) but ditch Portland. I have now moved to Streamlinenet.co.uk.
04 December 2006
Completed rewrite of the site to make it XHTML 1.0 Strict compliant, using Cascading Style Sheets.
26 June 2006
Website back online again
Everything has been moved back to Portland while I find a new host. I am using FreeWebTown to host my tunes and the contents of The Vault while keeping an eye on the bandwidth to see if this is a viable option. Mind you, as I don't have any visitors, there should be minimal bandwidth usage.
19 June 2006
My website is down!
After all the hassle I had trying to find a reliable host, it seems I am back where I started, less 2 years hosting fees. Portland has been nothing but a headache since I started so I have temporarily moved everything to Freewebtown.com which is add free, stable, streams mp3's, and is free. The only slight downside is that there is a bandwidth limit, and I can't use .htaccess files.
I am checking out other hosts again.
02 June 2006
Added automated member sign-up process
Using AuthPro.com I have managed to automate the sign-up/validation process for a members area. I still have to create and upload each members personal page, but they can access a general member page until it is ready.
01 April 2006
Completed rewrite of the site to make it XHTML 1.0 Transitional compliant, using Cascading Style Sheets.
31 March 2006
No Previous Update Notes
Sadly, updates that were made before this point were either not noted, or more likely, lost during numerous PC and web host changes that have been made since then.