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About the Chipdir

The history of the Chip Directory

Can you give me a short history of your website (e.g., date started, etc.)?

I started this site december 1994, because the WWW got very popular then. I used existing material that I (and also some friends) had typed in earlier for personal use and added newly scanned and OCR'ed chip listings from data books and put it online at the start of 1995.
I worked another three months on it and stopped to promote the site. (Via mailing lists, newsgroups, search engines and by getting links on other sites.) By then also the first mirror sites volunteered (Udine in Italy first, Rio de Janeiro in Brazil second), which also took up some time. In the summer holiday of 1995 I worked again on it and in september the first Hitex CDROM came out which contained the Chipdir among other stuff.

I promoted the Chipdir again and a lot of magazines started mentioning the Chipdir in articles. (See realworld.htm) Because a new version of the Hitex CDROM would come out in the spring of 1996 I started working on it again in November/December. The programs that compile the Chipdir had to be changed by then because the size of the Chipdir had grown so much.

This was finished (including beta testing the site on the internet) a bit too late for the CDROM, so that contains some small errors, but by March 1996 the site and the programs were very stable.

A site like this will however always be under construction and the users will have to accept small imperfections (like missing links) from time to time. My motto used to be: Quantity first, quality later...

Response and usage

World wide user response has been from the beginning and still is very big. A lot of enthusiastic emails and registrations from people that have just found the Chipdir come in weekly and email and registrations come in daily, often with requests to identify particular chips, that are not in the Chipdir (yet). Also requests to buy chips and questions for help with repairing or upgrading computers come in so now and then. From the statistics it can be seen, that the pages are visited by all kinds of high tech companies (DEC, HP, IBM, Intel, Motorola, Philips, Siemens etc.) all over the world and sometimes technicians write that they use the Chipdir regurarly and it already often has 'saved their day'. A lot of additions and correction are also send in...

Financing

The first paid advertisement came of AMD in the last quarter of 1995. DMI had an ad in the second quarter of 1996 and ICE also some weeks later. But the effort to get and handle these advertisements isn't really justified by the money they bring in at the current rates.
Selling CDROM's also doesn't bring in much, so if people want this kind of databases to be on the WWW, there will have to be some other kind of payment. Buying the necessary (world wide) bandwidth, would normally already cost $500..$4000 per month, I think. Currently this is paid for by Xs4all (my internet access provider, thanks!), Hitex in the USA (in exchange for a few free advertisements), Video-on-line (An Italian internet service provider who sees it as a service to its clients and who has also added some advertisements for it's own site.) and all the universities on which the site is currently mirrored.

Vosko Award

In June 1996 I won Vosko's annual Hfl 10000,- (=$5000) 'Young Network Warrior' award which was instituted by Prof. Dr. Baron Jaap van Till, a new professor at the Technical University of Delft.
See: huizen.dds.nl/~vantill/award.html - English
See: huizen.dds.nl/~vantill/prijs.html - Dutch

Future

The Chipdir experiment has been and still is a great learning experience and I will continue for the time being because it would be a shame to stop now, but I don't see how it can be turned into an economical enterprise, but we'll wait and see what happens on the WWW...


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