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Why does this site exist and how did it come about?
In September of 1997 I was exchanging emails with another Australian MV enthusiast who was amongst other things looking to change career and move into computers/website authoring. His name is Ross Carswell and he lives in the Hunter Valley of NSW.
He suggested the idea of an AFV website and that I should do one as at that time there was precious little collector info on the web. There was plenty for the modellers and wargamers; very little for veterans and almost no "current" vehicle info, but little to no restoration or collector sites. Although I was computer literate, I didn't know a thing about website creation. So he volunteered to get me set up and operational if I would provide the content. I found this a bit daunting but threw some stories together and scanned in some photos and sent them off to him. Shortly thereafter I received an email from him telling me that the site was live and providing the URL.
He had established the site with a free provider in the US called "Xoom.com" as at that time (and really, it still is the case now) webspace in Australia costs a lot per Mb. At that time Xoom provided 11Mb per user. Andreas Mehlhorn in Germany offered to register the site with the search engines, as that part of things was all a mystery to me. There being plenty of "agents" who would do that service for a significant fee per search engine, so I took Andreas up on his offer. The downside to Xoom being that they inserted an extra menu bar inside the browser. This reduced the viewable area.
Ross tutored me via email in HTML and I was soon able to take over running the site for myself (probably the reason why I so quickly over ran the initial 11Mb). I soon ran out of material of my own and appealed for input from those accessing the site. Fortunately there has been a steady trickle of articles ever since and this has kept the site alive.
The site rapidly outgrew the 11Mb limit and I had to piggy back off a friend's allocation at Xoom, which soon started to fill too. Andreas offered me some space and I used that too. Before things became too critical (but only after reducing a lot of the photo files to lower quality to save space) Xoom upped their allocation per member to 100Mb and then not long after to "unlimited".
Very luckily for me I decided in 2000 that I should have a mirror site so that there was an alternative to my Xoom (which was not all that reliable) site. Andrew Jeffery in the UK, whom I had been corresponding with for some time (and accidentally met in person at Beltring 1999) offered me surplus space on his site. Which as it turned out was a saving grace.
In early-2001 I was suddenly unable to access my Xoom account, I could not do anything to the site so I enquired with Xoom and was told that they had emailed all members (news to me) that they were opting out of the webspace business and that all accounts were frozen and would be deleted after 1 month. So I couldn't even upload a message to the site advising everyone to use the UK site. This left me in the position that the UK site was up to date, but the Xoom site was hopeless. About 2 months later the Xoom site disappeared. As Andreas says "you get what you pay for", in the case of Xoom, I didn't pay a thing, so really I can't complain.
With the demise of the Xoom site I really wanted to have another mirror, preferably in the US again. Jason Edwards came to the rescue with his "Trackpads" website and this is where the US mirror now resides. Jason is hoping to establish an all encompassing armour site.
I spend far more time on the website than I do on my vehicles and if you are thinking of a website of your own, be warned, they are a LOT of work. I do think it is very much a case of having a tiger by the tail.
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