The new colinwren.is/awesome

I’ve had the domain colinwren.is since 2012 after spotting the chance to create a fun URL — colinwren.is/awesome — and finding a domain registrar that offered .is (Iceland’s TLD) domains without being a resident.

Back in 2012 the number of web hosts that were compatible with .is domains was relatively small as the DNS requirements for .is domains were a little odd for the time, requiring three name servers instead of the two that most hosts provided.

I eventually found an Icelandic host called x.is that allowed me to sign up even though I wasn’t a resident of Iceland (a requirement of some hosts I had looked at) and was able to create the first iteration of my website and set up my personal email.

I eventually had to stop using the personal email because of the security rules on the host blocking my home IP, due to the Mail app on my iPhone being too eager with it’s fetching and causing the host’s DDOS detection to kick in.

Back then I was a big fan of Python and found a static site generator called Pelican that allowed me to write my blogs in Markdown and generate a site from them, but I had to manually build the site and then FTP the files over, which was a little too much effort for a lazy person like me.

This effort led me to rarely update the site and 5 years later I moved the blogs I had on there over to Medium and didn’t really touch it.

In 2018 I finally decided to do something about the site and turned it into a CV using FRESH and HackMyResume which I had been using to generate a PDF of my CV from already but I used Travis CI to handle the FTP upload which removed the manual step of the process.

Moving to Netlify

While working on Reciprocal.dev I found Netlify’s offering to be really useful and the fact that you get a certain amount of traffic for free meant that the 197 ISK (about £2) a month I was paying for my personal website, while small, was essentially something I didn’t need to pay.

That 197 ISK was not a flat rate, the amount I paid for the hosting was based on the amount of traffic I’d receive so I always lived with the fear that someone would DDOS the website and I’d be stuck with a large bill. With Netlify the worse that will happen is that I exceed the free tier and lose my website until the next month.

As Netlify hooks into Git I don’t need to setup CI to build my website and deploy it as it will do this for me, provided I use one of the tools it supports, so I decided to build my new site using Gatsby as I had fun using it in the past, building the JiffyCV website.

I found a good looking theme called Cara by LekoArts that was easily customisable using MDX and created a simple one pager to explain my story, list my projects and give a bit of contact information.

I then had to update the DNS records, which, as mentioned in the past was an issue with Icelandic domains. Fortunately Netlify offers four name servers so this step was pretty painless.

A new beginning

I decided against doing another CV-based website as I had found that previously recruiters had used it to spam me, which I didn’t really appreciate.

This website rebuild was the first time I referred to myself as an “Entrepreneur” although with two businesses under my belt I think I can finally admit to myself that I fall into that camp.

I had originally associated the term with the type of person who clogs up my LinkedIn feed with made up stories about people being rude to them, only for that person to then turn up for an interview and advice that just so happens to link to some product or service they’re trying to sell.

However as my new hobby looks to be executing ideas I have for software products and learning what it takes to bootstrap a business I think I’m comfortable calling myself that now.

Currently building reciprocal.dev. Interested in building shared understanding, Automated Testing, Dev practises, Metal, Chiptune. All views my own.