Brief History of this Web Site

by Lambert Dolphin

I was on the staff of SRI International back in the olden days of the ARPA Net. Office work, such as text editing and running programs, was done by our staff from primitive terminals connected at first to a very friendly, beloved, but antiquated DEC KL-10 mainframe. Logging onto the ARPA Net was a bit of trouble back then, and unless we knew where to go and what to request it was no-man's land for most of us. The Net was a novelty, but the potential caused us to discuss setting up a Satellite-based (Library) Bank of Information with the government of Egypt in 1976. It proved to be an idea 20 years ahead of its time.

In 1983 outside gifts from personal friends made it possible for me to get my first Macintosh 128k. (I had met Steve Jobs and become friends some years earlier and was sold from the start on Macintosh). That old Mac 128 eventually became a 512 and then a MacPlus. In 1987 I graduated to a Mac II (running at a speedy 15 MHz) and an expensive Laserwriter Plus weighing a ton. For a long time I thought the state-of-the art could hardly get much better.

An email account at Stanford University and a guest account on a local corporate computer served my modest email needs for a time until I graduated to CompuServe along about 1992.

In April 1995 Carl Gallivan, a close friend for 30 years, suggested I should get an Internet account and put up a web page. He suggested connecting by means of an account with Best Communications, Inc., in nearby Mountain View (only $30 a month with unlimited connect time). Modems were zipping along at 14.4kbps by then!

All this was (for me) far-out leading-edge stuff, but I was eager to try it out. I started from scratch and soon found that writing html files was not difficult -- just tedious. My first modest home page went on line around Easter in April 1995. Soon I discovered that if I put files and essays which had been scattered in heaps around my office on my web pages I could find them more easily. A handy filing system whether anyone else read them or not!

The following month Carl Gallivan and Mark Verber then of Xerox PARC organized a small group of volunteers to put the 800+ sermons of our late pastor and dear friend, Ray C. Stedman, online. I set out to do the HTML file conversions, by hand, during the next few months. Using hot keys on my Mac I found that html tags could be inserted relatively easily. (I tried several early html editors, but found them all deficient and cumbersome).

Fortunately the sermons at PBC, Peninsula Bible Church, (where Ray Stedman was pastor for 40 years), existed in electronic form or could be scanned in from printed versions. After so much practice writing simply html files I was writing 3 or 4 an hour!

February 1996 found me invited to put another 300+ sermons on the PBC on the church's home pages. Out of the blue my friend of many years, Erik Lammerding then called my attention to new Mac software products Adobe Pagemill and Sitemill. Little did I realize the power and usefulness of this new software! Converting library text files to html now was made more efficient for me by a factor of 4! I heartily recommend these packages, though it may mean some of you PC users who are still tied to DOS, the Devil's Operating System, will have to recant and come into the wonderful world of Apple. By the way Pagemill is WYSIWYG and has links, anchors and graphics features that are really dazzling and easy to use. (This was obviously the time good HTML text editors began to become available).

As a matter of web-page philosophy, Mark Verber has provided many helpful comments and tips to this novice. I agree with Mark that library resources such as my home page or the Ray Stedman Library should have minimal graphics and be neat and simple. Many Internet users connect by impossibly slow modems or through antiquated servers. Many web browsers in use are primitive. If the purpose of a web site is to make information available, then what is the need for flashing neon signs, slow-loading gussied-up graphics? Note: The Ray Stedman Library became an independent stand-alone web site in 2005, and all of Ray's books were added online at that time. Everything has remained free of charge since.

My web pages are sort of my working library. My style of writing is to put an idea or Bible class notes into a draft form and revise and update them subsequently. Seldom do I have the time to finish an essay all in one sitting. I hope the unfinished state of many of my online papers won't be too disconcerting. Whenever I find a willing friend who is willing to edit files, I am eager to recruit editorial and writing skills to improve my web page materials. (Guest articles are also welcome, as you have probably noticed already).

As a place for Christian ministry I am enthused about the Internet. I am delighted at the email I receive daily from all over the world. I respond by email to everyone who writes, often with the help of special friends in the Paraclete Forum. In the past few years I have made dozens of great new friendships on Internet. I like working in a medium where there are no denominational walls and boundaries. And, it's as easy to talk to Hungary or Finland or Singapore as it is to talk to a friend down the block here in Silicon Valley. It is easy to enter into deep conversations with a new friend and to drop the discussions when the main points have been covered. Yes, I try to answer my email as promptly as I can.

Gifts and Contributions: I am mostly retired and living on a small retirement income and Social Security. I am grateful to God for the privilege for being productively busy in my later years, and I very much appreciate gifts which help defray the costs of my web pages and ministry expenses.

Your ongoing gifts may be sent to me through PayPal Donate Button below. However, I am not able to provide a tax deductible receipt, if using PayPal.

For a tax deductible receipt, donations must be made via check.
Mail a check, payable to Blue Letter Bible, to:

Blue Letter Bible
Attn: Lambert Dolphin Ministries
29 Rancho Circle
Lake Forest, CA 92630-8324

Please put Lambert Dolphin Ministries or "LDM" in the Memo field of the check.

Checks towards my support should no longer be sent through Peninsula Bible Church or Ray Stedman Ministries.

Thank you again for your loyal-love and terrific support.

February 17, 1996. Revised May 22, 1996, August 30, 1999, November 21, 2006. May 24, 2008. October 2, 2011.