Makoa Jacobsen

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The Beginning: CyberWarriors and zztype

(the last post for tonight)

There are two sides that must be explained: my technical knowledge and my "work" knowledge.  The technical knowledge comes first.

I was a freshman at Kamehameha, circa 2001, when I joined CyberWarriors.  CyberWarriors was the computer club on campus (warrior is our school mascot).  The details are foggy because I was a puny freshman.  Here were the members in a QuickTime VR that Blaine took of the members in Midkiff.  I remember an upperclassman named Peter Thourson '04 (now webmaster of for you New Hope churchgoers) told me to learn two things: PHP & MySQL.  So I bought two books, both O'Reilly books, one titled PHP and the other titled MySQL.

===  ASIDE: What's PHP?  and what the heck is MySQL?

PHP is a server-side scripting language.  MySQL is a database server.  The two go hand-in-hand when developing sites.  To deliver a dynamic Web site or Web application, you need a data source to hold all of your data (MySQL) and something to process what users do to the data in MySQL (PHP).  Example: Wordpress is written in PHP.  The blog posts you write go into a database.


So I learned how to program in PHP and SQL (the language to communicate with the database).

Why did Peter tell me to learn those languages?

Well, there was something else going on.  Web sites have to be hosted on a server.  Blaine Fergerstrom, aka zztype, was hired as the Education Webmaster (I'm not even sure how the position got created at Kamehameha).  Blaine came to us from the Honolulu Star-Bulletin; his job was to publish the online edition of the Star-Bulletin every night.  Blaine is a Mac.  The server Blaine deployed was a Mac that ran, guess what?!?!?  PHP (on the Apache Web Server) & MySQL.  CyberWarriors now had a new platform to deploy on.  But the most amazing part: Blaine was going to trust us, a freshman and sophomore, to publish on a public Web server, without his approval!  I remember him telling us don't do anything stupid and don't publish hate sites against Dr. Chun, for example.


The sites,,,,, etc. were started by Blaine running on one PowerMac G4 tower.  This was known as the Education Web Server.  All "education" content of Kamehameha was published on it, including teacher Web sites, and eventually the CyberWarriors site.


Now, some readers might be hyperventilating to learn that we had access to a public server and could publish without approval.  You have to remember: 1) The kind of students Peter and I were - the type not about to do anything stupid, and 2) it is this trust that is so important to both Peter's story, my story, and the story of KS Connect (more on that later). Without the trust, the rest doesn't exist.

Written on August 16, 2009