Our first family Web page, entitled Ummamum’s Family Page, appeared on AOL on May 12, 2000. It included a family portrait and a few paragraphs of text. An additional picture and accompanying text were added on May 20.
Ummamum’s Hideout, our first serious family site, appeared at webpages.charter.net/ummamum on May 28, 2000. It included six short pages; two of them, Joe’s Page and Petitt’s Creations, had no content yet.
The site grew and evolved. Of course, there were a number of “firsts”:
Joe’s Page, a children’s site, began as part of Ummamum’s Hideout, but on June 21, 2000, it was split from the rest of the site and was presented as a separate site within the main site.
Ummamum’s Hideout Gold Version 2 was released on July 18, 2000. The gold page background was a bit lighter than what we use on this site today. A multi-colored navigation bar appeared at the left (the example on this page appears at the right). A number of new features were added:
A Millennium Countdown (to 2001) script was installed on the Home page. More new pages were added. Tired of fighting with Microsoft FrontPage Express, I began writing my own HTML on July 23, 2000. It would take months of trial and error before I learned to do it right.
Version 3 of the site appeared on August 3, 2000, with more changes and new pages.
Now here’s a little known fact: on August 22, 2000, I changed my user name from Ummamum to Oo (pronounced OO-oo). I felt that Ummamum was confusing, and people would mispronounce it or have trouble spelling it.
The name change wiped out our site; I began redesigning it as The Oo Kingdom, but this was never published. Two days later, I changed my user name back to Ummamum.
Version 4 (September 7, 2000) involved a great deal of work. I restructured all of the files and directories and also re-did the entire navigation menu. The “May God Bless Our Digital Home” plaque first appeared on the Home page at this time. More changes led to Version 5 on September 15, followed by several minor revisions and finally Version 6 on October 21.
Between October 1 and 4, 2000, I tinkered with a new, separate site called The Oo Kingdom, but again, it was never published (this was the forerunner of The House of Oo). But the chess board and chess men design, originally intended for The Oo Kingdom, were used in Version 7 of Ummamum’s Kingdom on October 29, 2000 (below).
On October 17, 2000, the photo gallery was moved to GeoCities and named Ummamum’s Gallery.
On October 29, 2000, Version 7 of the main site opened under a new name, Ummamum’s Kingdom.
New images graced the top of the Home page: a chess board, chessmen, and several text images. There was a new Umm! Crown logo too.
I made the first animated GIF image for the site on November 3 and 4: an 88 by 31 pixel button which could be used to link to our site. It was immediately used on Joe’s Page.
Ummamum’s Gallery on GeoCities was closed on December 12, 2000.
On December 6, 2000, I learned from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) site that the HTML on our Web pages was not compliant with official standards. Then again, I checked Yahoo! and BBC, and neither of them was compliant either. But standards are set up for a purpose, and that appears in this case to be to ensure that everything works on a wide variety of browsers and operating systems. Anyway, I got to work immediately, learning how to write valid HTML and style sheets. The result, 18 days later, was Ummamum 8.
The old chess board, chess men and text images were dropped on December 8, 2000 in favor of a smaller, cuter logo. The new logo, shown here, includes a darker, chocolate colored chess board (the text and chess board colors were changed on December 21) bearing the site name and the head of our site mascot, UmmaMummamon, who is wearing the Umm! Crown.
A new Photo Gallery was set up on this site on December 22, 2000.
On March 8, 2001, I labeled the site with the ICRA, an Internet content rating organization. This labeling worked with Internet filtering devices such as AOL Parental Controls and Internet Explorer’s Content Advisor, to ensure that only suitable content is available to the user (especially for children).
In October 2010, the ICRA rating system, and the organization, were discontinued.
Version 9 (March 16, 2001) saw the addition of several small scenic images which later became our Home page link images.
Version 10 (April 8, 2001) saw the following additions:
On April 21, 2001, Joe’s Pages was re-designed and renamed Celebii’s Pokémon Universe.
Version 11 (April 28, 2001) was mainly a design makeover. A couple of minor revisions soon followed.
The House of Oo (now called Oo’s Writings) opened at www.geocities.com/thehouseofoo on May 17, 2001.
With Version 12 (May 25, 2001), the page source codes were upgraded from HTML 4.01 Transitional to XHTML 1.0 Transitional. This was mainly a technical upgrade to ensure compatibility with newer browsers as well as older ones*. In the process, I made a few layout and design changes as well.
(*1/10/2022: Most web designers have since given up XHTML in favor of HTML5, which affords better functionality for more devices.)
Version 13 (June 29, 2001) was the first version to use the large scenic image logos, similar to the ones used on this site today. A drop-down navigation box appeared along with the normal navigation links. This was the version that my dad, Victor Petitt, saw before his passing.
In July, 2001, two sections of Ummamum’s Kingdom (Petitt’s Creations and Ummamum’s Picture Place) were broken off to form new sites on GeoCities. Joe opened another new site, Magnadramon’s Planet (devoted to Digimon), on GeoCities. Now we had four sites on GeoCities, including The House of Oo.
After a month of redesigning the site again, Version 14 was ready for publication the day Dad passed away (August 31, 2001). Its release was postponed until September 3; a special page introduced the new site. That page took on a black background following the September 11 terrorist attacks. It was finally removed on September 17, and the normal Home page appeared in its place.
The Charter webpage server was often slow or not working at all. The free sites on GeoCities were paid for by ads which often didn’t work properly and caused errors. Tired of the problems and desiring to re-consolidate the half dozen sites* into one, we registered the domain, ookingdom.com, on October 4, 2001, then began constructing The Oo Kingdom. This meant restructuring things yet again and even renaming some sites and sections. The new site, still under major construction, was online within three days.
(*Joe already had a Pokémon site in addition to the Digimon one.)
After a month at our new location, no search engines had picked up our new site despite having registered it with several of them. So we had paid for what we used to get for free, only to lose some of our visitors! When we realized this, we decided to move the whole thing back to webpages.charter.net/ummamum and keep it there. Version 15 opened on November 5, 2001, under the name Ummamum’s World. (this name was first used on the Ummamum section of The Oo Kingdom).
Upon reconsidering that move, we decided to close the site again on Charter and reopen The Oo Kingdom at www.ookingdom.com. Further details about the move can be found at Three Um’s or Two O’s, Which Is It?.