In anticipation of Ev giving

In anticipation of Ev giving up the Pyra office, I fetched the last of my things from the space. Part of what I grabbed was a box of various things that I’ve saved over the past few years, and I never got around to opening it even when I was at Pyra. So today, while going through it, I found a CD backup of my 1996 desktop computer, complete with early (terrible) web design works. Back then, I was a busy grad student, playing around with the web at night.

I had to do a bit of tweaking to get them to work, and I couldn’t find all the images but here is the earliest copy of my 1996 home page that was hosted on a college server in my lab. A few months later I discovered 3-D apps, and since two dimensions are pretty good, one more dimension must be better, right? right? It was still 1996, and I even discovered java (though i couldn’t find the original ticker tape applet class). The only page that works off that second one is the links page (called The Lounge, because, y’know I wanted to be different and all).

I hope everyone that looks at these pages gets a good laugh, because they are pretty funny. Some people might be embarrassed of their earlier work, but I was ecstatic to find these pages this morning. Not only is it a snapshot of my early development, back when I was playing with new technologies and testing new techniques, but it’s a good example of learning in action. These are rife with mistakes, bad choices, and bad judgements, but I’m glad I made them five years ago (as opposed to still making them today). It also helps ground me as a designer to see that once, not so long ago, I was creating garbage much like you see in classic geocities-style homepages of new designers today.

(My 1995 stuff was last saved on floppies, which are probably in a landfill now after having moved in and out of several apartments between now and then. Believe me when I say the 1995 stuff was even worse. I can’t believe I used to get so many emails about the 3-D graphics, people seemed to absolutely love them. Oh, the “@ web design” was what I called my own fictitious consulting company. Most of the links on the old pages are dead because the server they were hosted on was an old IBM AS400 workstation that completely died several years back. The older homepage links to the Soil Science Department at UCR, which is still using the site I designed for them in early 1999.)

I was saddened last week

I was saddened last week to hear one of my favorite musicians had passed on. Today when my favorite track (2.9 Mb mp3) came on my random playlist, I remembered why this is such a tragic loss.

With the current glut of pop stars, few have any pretense of making music for the sake of music. John Lee Hooker never wrote a song so he could score a movie deal, get a date with a supermodel, or sell more fast food.

The best threads on MetaFilter

The best threads on MetaFilter are the ones that demonstrate why a lot of people trying to solve a problem are better than one. If you walked up to me and asked “Where can I find good streaming music on the web?” I wouldn’t have answer for you. But if you asked a few hundred people, you might get responses as good as these.

I can’t stop listening to Rare Music from Grand Royal. I’ve never heard any of the bands or songs being played, and it’s jumping genres like crazy, but it’s all great stuff. It’s close to perfection.

I went to the SF

I went to the SF Zoo yesterday for the first time, and after Bryan‘s head got in the first couple shots, I ran with it. Then I came home and made the intro graphic. When it came time to write captions, I took a word or phrase that described something in the picture, put that into google, and copy and pasted the text that matched on the search.

With that in mind, I present Bryan’s Head at The Zoo.

Trillian rocks the IM house.

Trillian rocks the IM house. The most complete 3rd party IM client I’ve ever used, it allows simultaneous connections to AIM, ICQ, Yahoo, and MSN IM accounts, and also includes an IRC client. It auto imports your buddies from your local machine and AOL and Yahoo’s servers, so you can install it and go.

While it lacks a few features I seldom use (file transfer and chats with more than 2 people), it adds features I’ve always wanted in AIM. There is logging and you can rename users in your buddy list. Those two features alone make it more useful than AOL’s own client. Also, having a consistent interface among all services makes the UI predictable and easier to use.

I hope AOL, Yahoo, or MSN don’t try and block connections from Trillian clients, because after using it for just a couple hours, I’m hooked.