The Story Of The Fusshuhn

People keep asking me, how that "Foot Chicken" (Fusshuhn, 足鶏) came into existence and fame and why my website is named after it, and I would like to offer here some of the highlights of its journey.

When I was member of a team for developing software for the Siemens Series 300, software developers’ duties did at that time not include administrative tasks such as backing up their data. This backup on magnetic tape was a nightly task performed by our dedicated admin. Since doing the backup was a cumbersome and time-consuming process, not everything was backed up every day. Individual programmers had to put a written note onto the admin's desk in the afternoon, if they wanted to have a backup to be made of certain data at night.

I soon found it boring to write more or less the same note every time I needed a backup, and decided to make it a bit more interesting and lively by illustrating my requirements somehow. My illustrations consisted of pictorial descriptions, together with written stories below them, to express what backups I wanted to get done. This was of course completely silly, but so well-received by our admin, that he complained to me when I reverted (due to lack of time, or lack of ideas) to the old way of just dropping a written note. One could regard this activity as a waste of time, but since computers were slow then - just assembling and linking my application for instance took well over 20 minutes - we had plenty of idle time in our development cycle anyway.

One day I made a drawing of a flock of different weird creatures hopping towards some hidden place, where (as the accompanying note said) the backup of my data was supposed to happen. One of these creatures resembled a chicken with one human leg, because I could express more clearly the hopping around, if it has only one leg. And why a chicken? you may ask.... Well, I grew up in a small poultry farm, where I had time to observe with curiosity the living habits of these birds. I named this single human legged chicken “Fusshuhn”.

Surprisingly, Fusshuhn became most popular in our hole team, and my duties from now on included the generation of some artistic work, whenever I requested a backup. The piece of art would include not only a drawing of our poultry-hero, but also a poem or a short story to support the respective backup requirements.

After having delivered several dozens of such masterpieces over the months, I was able to draw my Fusshuhn in the sleep. By the end of that software project, the Fusshuhn was not only famous in our team, but also had gained popularity among my friends, because I used it now in personal handwritten messages and letters as well.

During the following years, I started to play around with the then new Internet, at first only surfing sites of interest. A friend of mine persuaded me to also have my own home page. I was not really fond of this idea, but one day, he gave me as a birthday present the registration of the domain, including the hosting fees for the first year.

By the end of that year, I felt comfortable with my domain and decided to keep it, not the least as a cozy home for my foot chicken.