Today my daughter Ava and I had brunch with my old friend Jen Robbins at P.S. Kitchen, a vegan restaurant in the Theater District/Hell’s Kitchen. Jen was present for, and actively participated in, the very beginnings of the creative and blogging web, and her famous book, now in its umpteenth edition, is still the best introduction to web design I know—probably the best that will ever be written.
One of Jen’s early sites, “Cooking With Rock Stars,” consisted of short video interviews she made with the likes of Jack Black, Rufus Wainwright, and others. Her show predated YouTube by five to ten years and podcasts by fifteen. It was way ahead of its time while also being a great reminder of what the web, in its infancy, was like. The rock star interviews are also fun and fascinating and deserve to be seen again.
Inspired by Dori Smith’s recent Facebook post about old-school blogging and the possibility of a “20th Anniversary of Blogging” unconference/relaxacon, I thought it might be fun to poke through the old blog a bit with you, gentle reader. My blog began in 1995, but, for now, you can only page through the entries as far back as August, 1997, as I seem to have neglected to build “previous” page links before that, and may also have overwritten my earliest entries (not realizing, at the time, that you and I might ever want to look back at any of this).
Below, I begin the retrospective in 2004 and work backwards to 1997. (After 2004, I stopped hand-coding each entry and began using WordPress, resulting in this sort of thing. Also after 2004, I stopped redesigning the site every few months, partly, but not exclusively, because I got busier designing other people’s sites. I also stopped redesigning the site every few months because I had become more strategic about design—more interested in design as problem solving, less as making pretty pages. Say, remember when we designed “pages”? But I digress.)
Here, for your pleasure, are some pages from the past:
Silence and Noise?—?“Now that some of us have helped bring standards into the mainstream, wouldn’t it be best to keep them there?”?—?12 August 2004 (the iconic green design) http://www.zeldman.com/daily/0804b.shtml
Typical blog entries?—?on web performance and “the new Samaritans” (designers who recode other people’s sites to be standards-compliant)?—?28 July 2004 (the iconic green design) http://www.zeldman.com/daily/0704e.shtml
Happy Cog president Greg Storey describes the thinking behind our latest little experiment in online publishing and community:
Last week we launched Cognition, a studio blog, that replaced the traditional open-mic text area commenting system with two options: Either post a response via your own Twitter account or link to a post on your own blog.
As the primary instigator, Mr. Storey explains his and the agency’s rationale for doing away with traditional comments:
The problem with most comment threads is that they can reach that useless tipping point very quickly. Without having an active moderator to keep up with all of the various threads it’s practically impossible to provide any sort of conversational value.
Meanwhile we have also informally noticed a decline in blog usage since the wider adoption of Twitter within our community. … Happy Cog loves blogs. … What if we could help bring some life back into the old network by encouraging people to write blog posts when they have more to say than what can fit into one-hundred-and-forty characters?
Read more and comment if you wish: Airbag: Babylon.
Q. i have been using your son of moto [blogger template] to build my blogspots. why do i have to have two empty, wide, side fields? pls take a look at the above reference blog. i have to put all the content in the middle, rather narrow field.
A. We regret that we cannot provide technical support for templates we designed in 2004. Please check Blogger’s Help pages and see if they answer your concerns.
Bastardized, corrupted versions of these templates—versions we did not design, based on our work but not done by us—show up all over the web. We don’t know if these bastardized, corrupted versions are authorized (i.e. we don’t know if the republishers paid a licensing fee to Google, who commissioned the templates in the first place). Millions of people use these templates, or unauthorized hacks of these templates. If you need help changing the templates to suit your needs, kindly contact your service provider.
The original templates are part of the 2004 standards-based redesign of Blogger on which we and others toiled. Google paid the least money any of us had ever received on a web design job. But we would have done the work for free. It was all about creating web-standards-based templates—about getting standards out there in a big way: a way only a product with as many users as Blogger, and an owner as powerfully influential as Google, could assure. Finances were beside the point. The reward was making standards-based stuff for millions of people to use and enjoy.
Four years on, we still get a warm feeling out of having worked on the project. But that’s not all we get. Several times a week, we get e-mails from people who want to alter our templates but lack technical know-how. We regret that we cannot debug the style sheets of the universe.
[tags]moto, son of moto, blogger, templates[/tags]