Tag Archives: The Realm

Ten years of blogging

The first day of posts at The Realm.  (World, I am so, so sorry.)

The first day of posts at The Realm, the predecessor to jaredwsmith.com. (World, I am so, so sorry.)

March 31, 2010 marks ten years more or less “blogging” (the term had not yet taken off in 2000). On March 31, 2000, I decided to restructure the front page of my high school personal site, The Realm (of Jared Smith), and start posting more or less daily updates on the things that really mattered. You know, such as the strange people I talked to in class, how NSync was a major threat to America and that my generation should be listening to Van Halen and Extreme instead, and little snippets about the doomed dot-com I wrote tech articles for (yes, at age 15). It was juvenile and definitely written from the perspective of an extremely socially maladjusted teenager. It was a series of good times that I maintained for about three years until I entered a hiatus from blogging as my college years really kicked in.

How’d I do it? Every day after school, I’d pop open Microsoft FrontPage 2000, open main/index.htm (the main homepage inside the frameset — yes, a frameset!), tack on the day’s updates to the top of the page, and FTP upload to Freeservers. Bam, update done! At the end of each month, I would manually create the month’s archive page, cut from the homepage, and paste into the archive page, leaving a blank slate for the next month’s worth of updates on the homepage. There were no permalinks, there were no trackbacks — just static pages with completely unnecessary, IE-only animations on load. I don’t know how I kept it up, but I did.

It’s amazing how things have changed in ten years — I’d like to think I write less cringe-worthy material, and I have vanquished lime green from my designs. That’s improvement, right?

What’s been the most fun, though, is that I still talk to a lot of the people who were there from the beginning — especially Patrick O’Keefe, Brad Kelly, and Ray Angel. It’s been fun trading laughs with them today and every day over the last 10 years. Here’s to ten more!

Web design thoughts

I completed a dump of my old jwswebenterprises.com domain to my drive today in preparation for some serious archival (and dumping a hosting account that’s burning a $100 hole in my pocket every year that I don’t really use anymore). jwswebenterprises.com was where I did a lot of my work in my senior year of high school. While I certainly have come a long way in terms of design, I still think that some of the graphical pieces I did for my sites (mainly The Realm, my former personal site) were some of the most artistically aggressive work that I have ever done, especially as it relates to the typography I employed.

Putting aside the fact that it fully embraced the Internet Explorer monopoly and incorporated so many IE extensions that it made Mozilla 1.0 vomit when it was released in mid-2002, the fourth incarnation of my old Realm site is still my favorite — yes, of all time — in terms of sheer expression. It utilized a rich palette of deep blues, striking greens, and vivid oranges. The typography ran the gamut from futuristic lettering in OCR A Extended, to a grungy typewriter font in Batik (Harting) Regular, to dabbling in the classy with Vladimir Script. All three come into play in this rare graphic displayed in the early going of February 2002, when the news script was operating but the rest of the site was still being put together:

Realm 4 Transition Phase

The juxtaposition of the fonts was just out there and worked really, really well — it wasn’t something I would have expected myself to do. These themes were weaved in throughout the entire design and just lent a class to it — a pity I never finished the content of that site before moving onto another design.

As I’ve gotten older and allegedly grown up, I definitely have become more conservative with my design. My work is definitely more calculated; much more matters now on the Internet than it did then, when there was only one viable browser and platform, and search engine optimization was sticking “content” and “description” META tags in the top of all the pages. CSS for layout was an ideal that was seemingly impossible, and Netscape 4.7 would probably crash if you used CSS in your page anyway.

My, how times have changed.