About this site

Getting the best from this site

Why PigPen?

This Site owes its origins to a Fidonet BBS I set up back in the mid 1980's. Back then, Fidonet and Dial-up Bulletin Boards were essentially all there was for getting online. The Bulletin Boards in Net 250 (North-West England) tended to have alliterative names such as Time Tunnel, Road Runner, Seven Seas etc. I collected piggy stuff at the time and had been serving in Greater Manchester Police for several years and so Pigpen seemed entirely appropriate.

I ran Pigpen for a number of years and even ended up running Net 250 for a while, but technology marched on and I eventually closed the BBS down in the 1990's (after Tim Berners-Lee had had his brainwave and invented the WWW) and set up the original version of this website instead.

Connection Speed!

Back in the mid 1980's Tim Berners-Lee had not yet come up with the idea of the WorldWide Web. The concept of Megabits per Second connection speeds was undreamed of and I started Pigpen using a 1200 baud modem. I soon got fed up with waiting for 3 minutes for a single page to gradually display and upgraded to a 2400 baud full duplex modem, but things still went at a snails pace.

At one stage, before my 2400 baud modem arrived, I got into a huge Fidonet echo called Interuser (about 1500 messages a week). At the time there was no UK import node for Interuser and I started importing the echo into the UK from Tomas Bremin in Sweden. 1500+ messages a week at 1200 baud - my telephone bill was a thing of joy and beauty, I can tell you!


I originally got into writing code back in the early 1980's when I taught myself to write SQL databases using rBase 5000. I didn't even own a computer at the time, but borrowed a friend's Compaq portable. I soon bought a Tandon AT and got into DOS as well as SQL.

C entered my world a short time later and I started writing DOS utilities for myself and others. That was the point of no return for me and I was completely hooked. When I set up the original Pigpen website I got into HTML and soon started delving into Javascript, but the original Pigpen was a wholly static site.

php and CSS came onto the scene in the mid 1990's and I eventually re-wrote this site using php & MySQL and utilising a relatively complex CSS stylesheet. By that time I was also writing databases and Intranet sites for colleagues in the Police who were unable to persuade the Computer Branch to spend time on their needs, and also started creating websites for other people (because I enjoyed it!).

Latest Incarnation

This latest incarnation of the Pigpen owes its creation, once again, to the march of technology. Lots of people access websites these days using tablets, iPads or mobile phones. The old Pigpen site was lots of things, but mobile-friendly it certainly wasn't.

CSS3 and HTML5 have made it much easier to create sites that render more sensibly for smaller screens. This site might not be wholly there yet, but it's a big step forwards.

The site is now wholly-database-driven and is using the excellent w3.css stylesheet that makes it much easier to create pages that display properly on any size of screen.



Sign in


Password Change



Remember me?