Writing by Peter Hilton

About - preface to the first edition (circa 1998)

What Hilton Harbour is

[Hilton Airlines] Hilton Harbour is an eclectic collection of writing by myself and people I know. It’s not really a blog, because blog’s hadn’t been invented when I started, so there’s no timeline other than the old-school What’s New page.

My aim was always to publish more content than either graphics which say almost nothing, let alone a thousand words, or just a list of links, which would be nothing more than meta-content. This way, I felt better about expressing strong opinions about other poeple's web sites. This hasn’t changed since the rise of blogs and sites based on third-party user-generated content, but there hasn’t been much new content here since 2007.

Hilton Harbour, to some degree, is a personal experiment in designing and implementing a web site that I started in the late 90’s. This is captured in the early technical design documents: my Web Site Architecture guidelines and the Web Page Design Principles.

Why Hilton Harbour exists

Obviously, I'm hoping that each of these pages will one-day provide someone with some work-avoidance or something better to do than watch television. Perhaps less obviously, I hope that for each page in Hilton Harbour at least one person in the world will learn something new or think about a question that they have never asked themselves. Or just waste some time in a cafe somewhere.

Years ago, I was interested in content syndication and the idea of big sites mining content from independent content providers, but that has played out a different way. Instead of finding content on third-party web sites, it turns out to be easier to create a web site to capture third-party content directly.

In any case, I still enjoy writing, playing with photos and trying to do the odd illustration.

How Hilton Harbour is produced

All of the HTML on these pages was coded by hand because I have yet to use a WYSIWYG Web page editor which I like. I once tried quite a few of the popular ones, and even liked a couple, but they still were not what I want. In the end I always ended up using a relatively basic text editor on OS X - TextWrangler for the last few years.

As well as a text editor to code the pages, I have used a variety of validators, but none recently. Validation tools are essential but have gone out of fashion, and now we are trying to Judo the problem by using simpler mark-up such as Markdown.

The pages are assembled from a standard page template and a bare HTML file for the content using Jekyll running on GitHub Pages.

I usually use an Apple Macintosh to create these pages and the images, because I much prefer using Mac OS to any of the variants of Microsoft Windows and none of the other alternatives are practicable for me. For a few years I used Debian Linux at work, but now we have Macs there too. Anyway, it is not worth trying to explain why I use a Mac, although I suspect that anyone who had also used both Mac OS and Windows professionally for hundreds of hours or more each might be able to hazard a guess. Fortunately, perhaps, more people understand the difference since the iPhone.

Also, in a later change of heart on using graphics, I started sprinkling FamFamFam Silk and Flag icons on a few pages, now replaced by emoji.