Friday, September 26, 2008

My Life: A trail of abandonded websites.

I'll start with a quick follow-up to two issues I've been blogging about this semester: the demise of my iMac and my annoyance at the liberties retailers take with my email address. I mentioned earlier that I was so angry at Apple's refusal to service its older-model computers that I was tempted to fire off an email blasting their lack of regard for long-time customers. Apple headed me off by sending an email to inquire whether or not my visit to the Genius Bar was satisfactory. Here was my chance. I politely made my opinions known, and checked off that I did not want a follow-up phone call to discuss my experience. I generally expected a half-hearted and ultimately meaningless email to follow, something along the lines of "we're sorry you were not entirely satisfied, yada yada yada." What I received this week was an email from Apple advertising "iMac: the perfect desktop computer for your home." Right. Because a) I gave the Apple store my email address for the purpose of confirming an appointment, and b) they now know I need a new computer...With that, I'll lay this subject to rest.

This week's assignment is the World Wide Web itself! I'm currently working on my personal website--the first one I've created in years. I remember how excited I was when I first went online way back in 1993. There were thousands of websites, or, as most individuals called their personal website back then, homepages, to browse through. I was desperate to join in and build a homepage of my own. But first, I needed to decide on a subject. I needed to find my "thing." I joined Geocities early on, delighted with their little virtual "neighborhoods" that would host a user's web address. After much consideration I decided to go with a Riot Grrl theme. Thus, Grrlzine was born. Armed with an HTML guide in one hand and a web graphics book in the other, I put together what I considered to be a pretty snazzy--and snarky--website. And I broke all the rules regarding good web design in the process. Animated GIFs? Check. Busy and confusing backgrounds? Check. Haphazard image placement? Check. If that obnoxious dancing baby animation had been around in 1993 I probably would have included it. In the meantime, a tiled photograph of Diana Rigg as her Avengers character Emma Peel--rendered in hot pink and black contrast in Photoshop--would have to do. I updated Grrlzine slavishly for a few months until it was brought to my attention that another woman was publishing an actual paper zine called Grrlzine--and had been for quite some time. She got there first, and she was way cooler than me. Undaunted, I switched tactics and launched Avenue A soon afterward. My new "thing" would be a NYC-centric art and pop-culture guide. I was way out of my element. Apart from a virtual art gallery featuring my artwork and photos, and a lame list of my favorite shops and restaurants in NYC, there wasn't much content. Eventually I lost interest, and gave up on contributing to the internet. Sure, millions of other people with nothing interesting or important to contribute continued to contribute, and that's one of the pros as well as one of the cons of the internet, but for me, well, I simply gave up.

These days I prefer the quick-edit instant satisfaction of the blog's format. I'll discuss my blogging habits later on in the semester. For now, I've dragged out the HTML guide (thank you Visual Quickstart Guides!) as I immerse myself in yet another crash course in coding.

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