VaultWiki was created by Ted Phillips on March 28, 2008. Much of his history beyond that date is tied directly to the history of VaultWiki, so many users have since wondered what his deal is. This is his story.
Since VaultWiki was an entrepreneural endeavor, Ted Phillips is the Project Manager of VaultWiki Team, as well as its lead developer. He is an independent filmmaker, a novelist, and cooks a mean chili.
The 90sTed grew up in a poor family in a poor neighborhood, even though no one ever admitted it. But he could tell when he talked to other kids at school, visited their houses, and had to search the sidewalk for a quarter or two so he could go to the arcade for 5 minutes after school.
Ted used old garbage printouts that his father brought home from work as paper to draw on. He drew a lot of things, and got pretty darn good at it. His father came into some money and bought a video camera. Ted liked the movie King Kong and didn't realize Carl Denham was actually the villain, so he wanted to make movies too.
In his course of surviving an ongoing childhood illness, Ted used "making movies" as a cathartic and bonding experience with his father.
When he imagined a movie that he knew he couldn't make without special effects, he would write a story instead.
In school, his illness seemed to make him popular. He would get his classmates together at recess to pretend to make movies or to put on plays for each other. That made him popular too. It turned out he had one of the highest GPAs in the class, and I guess most of the kids had good parents, because having a high GPA also made him popular. So Ted was a pretty popular kid for a while.
The golden age of video game consoles had begun. Ted eventually got one as a gift from a family friend. After a while, he got bored with the game that came with it, and the one he got for his birthday later that year, and decided to make his own. With pencil and paper because they had no computer. He drew all the levels and marked all the secrets and even wrote strategy guides for them.
In 1996, his father decided to go to technical school or something, so a brand new IBM Aptiva computer magically appeared at home, with a whopping 200MHz processor and 16MB of RAM and dialup internet. Ted realized he could make games on a computer, so he read his father's books for a bunch of programming languages.
Visual Basic seemed promising, until he tried a few things and realized it was basically only good for making dialog windows and forms. C++ seemed promising, but he didn't have a compiler, and apparently you had to pay $400 for one in those days. VRML seemed promising, but I don't know, I think VRML just died or something.
So he was left with the books on HTML and CSS, and his internet connection. First he made web sites in Microsoft Works. Then his father actually signed him up for web hosting. I don't think there were COPPA laws yet, but a lot of services were requiring parental consent for users under 13 anyway.
Ted made some hobby web sites, a web site for his home movies, and a web site for a candy stand he operated in the summer so that he could make enough money to go to Rye Playland after 2 years (msrp: $30).
He also tried being a secret agent and a private investigator, but never got any gigs.
After influence by the Human Race Club cartoon, Ted, his brother Nick, and a group of other neighborhood kids wanted a club-house where they could hang out and play. This started a whole drama of its own, but the important bit is that around 2000, Ted made them a web site, and installed a forum and other cool stuff.
The Early 2000sTed made a web site for this club he was a part of. He uploaded all of their print newsletters there, wrote some articles about the club's history, bios for its members, and other great content that no one cared about except him and his brother Nick. All as static HTML pages.
Ted went to high school and wasn't the smartest person anymore, so he wasn't the most popular, and somewhere between going to high school and building a better looking web site for his movies, he moved on from the club web site, and Nick eventually took it over.
On the web site for his movies, Ted made a bunch of pages about each movie, its history, the friends he got to act in it, lore, and other stuff. He named the section of his web site that had all of this great content that no one cared about. He called it "The Vault," named after a page he made years earlier in Microsoft Works that had all of his GIFs on it.
On his web site, he installed phpBB forum as a place for visitors to talk about his movies and other creations and for him to meet with people online to discuss what they would be working on next.
A WikiThe first time Ted ever heard the word "wiki" was in 2004 at a class in Ithaca College, where the instructor assigned the students to write a creative analysis of a film and to submit it as a wiki page.
Wikipedia suddenly got popular. Nick decided it would be easier to write all these articles on the club web site if it had a wiki. He asked Ted to look into and install MediaWiki for him.
It was great software for writing articles, but it was a nightmare to integrate into the existing web site.
But the experiment was so successful that Ted now wanted a wiki for "The Vault" on his web site. Ted had started film school at New York University, and he became more and more aware of the importance of a good-looking, rich portfolio. He felt that a wiki would be a step in the right direction.
So he installed MediaWiki and copied all of his articles into it. As part of the same site update, Ted changed the forum software on his web site to vBulletin.
Over the next few months, Ted installed various vBulletin modifications and learned how easy things could be when one user account was used for both the forum and say, a downloads section. If only this concept could be applied to vBulletin and MediaWiki.
Well, Ted didn't really know PHP coding at the time. He had only guessed at enough to modify the themes in MediaWiki to look similar to his forum style. So he searched around until he found a startup called NuHit, whose owner ElfMage had accomplished a merged login between vBulletin and MediaWiki with a bridge called vBWiki.
Ted started learning enough PHP to make add-ons for this bridge. He was a vocal member of the community regarding features and bug reports and even provided customer support even though he had no official involvement with NuHit. He ended up with one of the highest post counts on the site before it closed down.
Ted was gaining a lot of experience with vBulletin too. He started writing small add-ons for vBulletin, many that he released. Soon, no part of vBulletin's source code was unexplored.
In the following year, NuHit came out with a vBulletin modification called NuWiki. It was a wiki, but it installed as a forum add-on and didn't need a bridge. Ted got a free copy for his contributions in the past and converted his "The Vault" straight away. He was never disappointed with the switch, but he soon learned that there was a lot of functionality missing in NuWiki that he had been used to in MediaWiki.
Ted wrote a small handful of NuWiki add-ons, but most notably, one called CES NuWiki Special Pages. Soon after the release of this add-on, the developer of NuWiki, ElfMage, mysteriously disappeared.
Ted continued modifying his own copy of NuWiki until it was almost unrecognizable, save for the copyright in the footer.
VaultWikiAlmost a full year after ElfMage's disappearance, a small handful of members from NuHit's web site joined Ted's web site and contacted him. They wanted an updated NuWiki. Quoting from one such email, they had seen "the vault wiki," they were hoping Ted would release it to the public, and they were willing to pay.
In 3 months, Ted completely reverse engineered and rewritten NuWiki as a functionally equivalent product. But he needed a name for it. He looked back at his emails and the name just stood out at him.
And VaultWiki was born.
LaterAfter releasing VaultWiki, Ted completed his coursework at NYU and graduated a Bachelor of Fine Arts. He returned to his family home in the Bronx, New York, where he lived and which he used as a base of operations for VaultWiki for the next 4 years.
He remained an active member of the vBulletin community throughout the life-cycle of vBulletin 4, reporting a number of bugs, and usually also posting the solutions so that developers didn't need to spend time doing all that work to fix the bugs.
In 2010, Ted was offered a position on the vBulletin development team by Internet Brands, but he declined.
In October 2012, his home was damaged by Hurricane Sandy, limiting his involvement with VaultWiki over the next year, permanently displacing and dispersing him and his family, and leaving him with a giant ball of debt over attempted repairs.
Ted returned to his old position as VaultWiki's lead developer in early 2014.
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