A long time ago, in 1996, I started this site to document some interesting math tricks I found in a book my grandfather gave me called The Carpenter's and Joiner's Pocket Companion by Thomas Maloney. Published in 1888, it contained "the most useful rules and memoranda, collected from some of the best architectural works of the day, and practically tested by many years' experience in the shop, factory and building." I love that description. In fact you'll notice I stole it and used it on the home page.
I built the first version of this site using HomeSite freeware and hosted it on my 5 MB of personal web space provided by my local ISP. As soon as it was up and running, I submitted the long URL to Yahoo to be included in their web directory. I received a personal response within 48 hours that I had been listed. Traffic poured in. I had a odometer-like hit counter on my home page. It went over 1000 within 3 weeks! And then it reset for some reason. Those were the days.
In 2002 I decided I needed my own domain and bought curiousmath.com. I moved my site to Dreamhost and installed a free CMS called PostNuke. This allowed people to create an account on my site and post stories. That seemed to work well. For a while something resembling a community started to form. I had a message board with a fair amount of activity and so many new story submissions that I actually had to turn some away. I even ran advertising and made enough money to cover hosting expenses.
By 2005, though, I lost interest in the site and let it go stale. Kids, work, school and life took over. I would go months without even looking at it. The internet moved on too. Bigger, better sites popped up and made my site irrelevant. On top of that PostNuke ceased development and my site grew old and completely insecure. Eventually it was thoroughly hacked and used to host a site selling prescription drugs. I decided to burn it down and start again. No way was I going to "migrate" my site to another CMS.
So in 2013 I did again what I had done in 1996: I opened up a text editor and built a site from scratch to show off some of those old math tricks in the Carpenter's handbook. I kept a couple of articles that users had posted on the old CMS site, but for the most part it's the same collection of goofy tricks and trivia I proudly published back in the Clinton administration.
Thanks for reading,
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