Hello and welcome to Blogography's Forgotten Domains Week!! Each day I plan on picking one of the dozens of domain names I own and explaining why I bought it, what I had planned for it, and what eventually happened to cause it being forgotten. So I'm sorry if you find this kind of self-indulgence boring but, what can I say, with the exception of MacWorld (which I am unable to attend) this is a pretty slow week for activities.
DAY ONE: DAVETOPIA.COM
Ah yes, to understand the story behind Davetopia, we must travel back in time to 1984... the year I graduated, and the year a film titled The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the Eighth Dimension was released. The film itself has many impressionable moments (including my favorite quote line from a movie ever: "No matter where you go, there you are"), but one thing about this bizarre alien invasion flick really stuck with me...
All of the aliens were named John.
John Little John, John Bigboote, John Parker, John Whorfin, John Ya Ya, etc. For some reason I just found it hysterically funny. So much so that I decided to name everybody, everything, and every place "Dave." Eventually I got over it, but I annoyed all my friends, co-workers, and family for weeks. I was so obsessed that I wrote a computer program called "DaveWorld" on my Atari 800 computer. This "killer app" was a random fake news generator for an imaginary place I called "DaveWorld."
The DaveWorld Times would generate stories like this: 15 Davember, 1984. Today in Daveburg, Dave Davidson won the Davenia Cup as his prized Daverian Husky took top honors in all categories. "I'm thrilled!" said Davidson as he headed off to spend his winnings on a vacation in Davapulco." or some such nonsense like that. Then, for no good reason at all, when the internet started exploding ten years later, I was bored and moved DaveWorld to the web.
The web-based "DaveWorld" was constantly evolving, and dozens of people ended up working on improving it at one time or another. Eventually, it was a fairly complex "living world" that had everything from weather patterns and politics to geographical data and road maps...
At one point, DaveWorld was a popular geeky place to hang out... but it ended up eating up so much of my free time that I eventually decided to close it down. But, over the years, I'd occasionally get an email from somebody asking me "whatever happened to DaveWorld" and "are you that DaveWorld guy?" Fast forward to the year 2000, and I had the idea to resurrect DaveWorld again with the latest web technologies and have some fun with it. Problem was, "DaveWorld.com" had already been taken. So I decided to use "Davetopia.com" instead.
Problem was, I never had time to work on Davetopia, so the idea kind of died off. I still keep paying on the domain in case I change my mind or have some extra time on my hands, but it's been pretty much forgotten for a few years now. That's more than a little bit sad to me, because back when the internet was young, it sure was a lot of fun.
And here we are at Day 2 of Forgotten Domains Week, where I review domains I own but have forgotten over the years. Today we're going to get a bit philosophical...
DAY TWO: DAVEISM.ORG
Once upon a time, there was a remarkable forum where people could go to discuss philosophy and religion in a safe and sane environment that was free from prosecution and hatred. The name of this magical place was "Infinity Dialoguers" and it was good. I had many an enlightening conversation debating the nature of the universe with some amazing people, and such dialogue helped to form the principles on which I live my life even today. But all good things come to an end, and the forum was shut down in May of 2004.
After a few months, I decided that I wanted to collect all the writings and philosophizing I had put up over at Infinity, and form a cult around a new religion which I dubbed "Daveism" (just joking, there was no plans for a cult, but I'm sure that's how some people would have looked at it). One weekend I put the site together and began to post my writings...
Unfortuantely, while Infinity had folded, the founder had not. I eventually received a notice telling me that all materials uploaded to the Infinity Dialoguers forum became property of the collective, and I was forbidden to re-publish my writings without permission (though, fortunately, it works both ways). I guess we should have read the fine print on that membership agreement. Anyway, I could no longer post my previous stuff verbatim, and would have to rewrite everything. Naturally, I didn't have that kind of time, and the domain was taken down.
For the curious among you, Daveism is a simple philosophy for living that was based on the fallacy of fear, hate, and worry. I strongly believe all problems boil down to those three things, and finding a way to minimize them leads to happiness. One day, I really do hope to work on the site again, because I honestly think that I've got something to say there.
Onward to Day 3 of Forgotten Domains Week, where I review domains I own but have forgotten over the years. For today, shall we play a game?...
DAY THREE: SIMDAVE.COM/DAVESIM.COM
One of the things I loved about the early days of the internet was the challenge in doing something new, different, and cool. There was no CSS, no Flash, not a lot of anything really. About the only funky tool that designers had was animated GIF graphics (my how things have changed). And, since I loved being on the cutting edge of technology, I wanted to exploit animated GIFs in a way that I hadn't seen before. But what would that be?
Turns out is was a mini-game based on the "Sim" series of simulation games (SimCity, SimEarth, SimFarm, SimIsle, etc.). Only this time I decided to simulate myself!
"SimDave" (as I called it) was a very crude "game" that allowed you to change the environment around a simulated "me" to see how I would react. For instance... you could choose to turn on the radio and watch me dance. You could change the channel on the radio to a country-western station and watch attempt to hang myself. You could make me change clothes or run around naked. You could feed me pizza, ice cream, or give me a present. You could put me to bed or have me exercise by doing jumping-jacks. All in all, there were about 40 separate things you could do to poor little SimDave, including electrocuting me with the toaster, flushing me down the toilet, or having me mauled by a bear. It was a tough life (albeit simulated) for me.
Anyway, for a while SimDave was a big draw for "Dave's Web" and I got a lot of nice compliments on it, which encouraged me to keep improving the graphics and giving people more things to do with me. The biggest compliments I got was when people would send me new scenarios for SimDave (including one pornographic simulation which involved whip cream and a hooker). But, alas, it was not to last. When I redesigned my site in 1997, I renamed it "DaveWeb" and purchased a domain and hosting package to go with it. Tragedy struck when I lost the entirety of SimDave... all 80-or-so animated GIFs and hundreds upon hundreds of hours work was gone. I am not a very emotional person, but I was pretty choked up about it. I dare say that, retro as it would be, it would still be a cool thing that people would like.
Zip forward to the year 2000 when Flash animations started really taking over the web. Suddenly the possibilities for user-interaction were greatly expanded. One day while working on an animation project for a client, it suddenly occurred to me that I could resurrect SimDave, this time as a cool Flash-based game! With the intention of doing exactly that, I immediately went out and registered SimDave.com and DaveSim.com (just in case Maxis, makers of SimCity and The Sims, would sue). Unfortunately, all I managed to complete was the "Sim Dave" animation sprites (which are the basis for all the DaveToons I draw for Blogography). Just as with dozens of other ambitious projects I've started over the years, I never had the time to finish it.
This is one of those times that I really, really wish I had more free time. The nostalgia involved in getting a new SimDave game on the internet is something I dream about often.
We're cresting over the half-way point of Forgotten Domains Week, where I review domains I own but have forgotten over the years. Today? Before Blogography, there was Dave Spot...
DAY FOUR: DAVESPOT.COM
Back in the day (that would be the mid 90's), having a web site was expensive. Having your own domain name was expensive. Bandwidth was expensive. Server space was really expensive. Of course, everybody was using really slow modems, so it wasn't like you could have a lot of stuff on your site anyway. But eventually, as prices fell and bandwidth increased, I began putting a lot of stuff online. Personal stuff. Work stuff. Nonsense stuff I collected. Just about anything really. After a while "Dave's World" was a mishmash of junk, and I decided that I really should have separate sites for my work and personal stuff.
Problem was, "dave.com" was taken and I couldn't think of another domain name for my personal spot on the web. Wait a second... "personal spot?" There we go, DaveSpot.com!!
It started out as you see above... just a simple FAQ, a set of my favorite links, some photos, and a list of sites I maintained. Eventually, a fifth button was added. A magical fifth button titled "journal" where I wrote about the stuff that was going on in my life. Yep, it was a blog before there were blogs! Of course, back then, any "blog" you had was hand-coded, so it didn't get updated very often.
Then Movable Type happened and DaveSpot was radically changed into an actual blog. Problem was, I didn't have the discipline to keep it going, and I killed it off after just three months (and reinstated the old site in its place, sans journal).
Come April 2003, I decided to try blogging again, but the "curse" of two failed blogs at DaveSpot made me want to start fresh (besides, "DaveSpot" can easily be translated as "Dave's Pot" which isn't exactly what I had in mind). Thus Blogography was born and DaveSpot was no more. Of all my "forgotten domains" this is one that I probably won't renew. Surely somebody else out there can put it to better use.
We're sliding toward home on Forgotten Domains Week, where I review domains I own but have forgotten over the years. This time we're going to work...
DAY FIVE: CRITICALDUCK.COM
I was an early fan of digital video back in the days when "digital video" meant you needed a $3000 digitizing card, a high-end Mac, and a "massive" hard disk array with a pricey high-speed SCSI interface. Even then, the results were unpredictable and problematic. Skipped video frames and audio-sync issues were the norm, not the exception. Of course, now even a $500 Mac Mini can easily edit video with no additional hardware, and then burn a DVD of the project once you're done (assuming you have a SuperDrive).
Anyway, sometime between then and now, when the DV format was just starting to make things half-way affordable, a friend and I decided to invest in an expensive DV camera and start a video production company. He would shoot the footage, and I would edit it and design the visuals. In order to get some practice, I shot some tape of a rubber duck to edit with. That footage set the tone for the company, and gave us a name...
Off-and-on for two years, we made instructional videos, promotional videos, educational videos, and even a music video! But it never ended up being enough income to quit our day-jobs, and eventually we wanted out. So we sold the camera, he took the software, I took the name, and it was over.
I still love digital video, and every once in a while I find myself wanting to get back into the game. Maybe one day Critical Duck will ride again?
We've just arrived at the penultimate episode of Forgotten Domains Week, where I review domains I own but have forgotten over the years. This time we're going to work...
DAY SIX: ARTIFICIALDUCK.COM
Yesterday I told the riveting tale of my venture into the digital video business but, before there was Critical Duck Films, there was Artificial Duck Company. And before there was Artificial Duck, there was Wind-Up Duck Screen Printing. And before there was Wind-Up Duck, there was Big Duck Studio... as you might have guessed, I've got kind of a "duck" thing going on here. I honestly don't know why, but it probably has to do with the fact that I find ducks to be funny. Make of it what you will.
Anyway, if you've read my FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) you might know that I am a graphic designer by trade. But my career path to becoming a graphic designer was not without complexity. So here, for your reading pleasure, are the duck-related bits from my wild work history.
THE EARLY YEARS: I've always loved to draw and paint, but I never thought it could be an actual job. So when "Personal Computers" were introduced to my school, I knew where my future lay. By the time I was a high-school senior I had already started accepting programming work for local businesses, orchardists, farmers, and even computerized the attendance records for my own high school. Programming a computer was something I was good at, seemed to pay okay, and was in demand, so I naturally thought I had found my vocation. Big Duck Studio was born...
For better part of my senior year I was a student by day and Big Duck programmer-for-hire at night (though most of my friends called it "Big Dick Studio" - ha ha). I was learning a lot, having fun, and making a little spending money. It was all good. At least it was good until one Saturday night I suddenly realized that I was hunched over a computer debugging code while all my friends were out partying. At that moment I decided I did not want to spend the rest of my life glued to a computer monitor, and Big Duck was dead.
GETTING ARTISTIC: After graduation I had no idea what I wanted to do (though getting work so I could afford to go to college the next year was a high priority). I found a part-time job as a janitor but always in the back of my head was the desire to have my own business again (though something not involving computers). Then one day a friend asked me to design a T-Shirt for his family reunion, and everything just clicked. I would partner with a screen printer and do T-Shirt designs in my spare time! For reasons I can't recall, the name I chose for my new endeavor was Wind-Up Duck Screen Printing...
I think the name came from an old toy frog I found that would hop around if you wind him up (by turning a key that stuck out his butt). Since I found ducks to be hysterical, the wind-up frog became a wind-up duck. It was a good idea, but the guy I was working with kept raising his prices until pretty soon I couldn't make any money at it. I had thought about shopping around for another printer, but I was getting ready for college and decided I'd just quit the business altogether.
SEMI-RECENT HISTORY: After wasting a few years of my life in a drunken stupor while attending college, I still had no idea what I wanted to do for a career. Eventually I accidentally stumbled into graphic design work (which neatly combined my love of computers and art), but it was still part-time and I needed a way to make some extra money. Screen printing, which used to involve spending hours hand-cutting stencils, had become high-tech and much faster, so I thought perhaps I'd resurrect "Wind-Up Duck" and get into the biz again. Only problem was that the name sometimes confused people (they thought "wind" was like "gusting wind"), so it was time for an entirely new duck. Artificial Duck Company had a nice ring to it...
But eventually my job went from part-time to full-time, and there was never any space in my schedule to do any work for Artificial Duck. I bought the domain name with the intention of hiring partners and putting up a web site to get business, but it never happened. So, while I do some work under the "Artificial Duck" banner from time to time, the domain itself has been all but forgotten (why advertise something you never have time to do?).
Even so, I love my "Artificial Duck" logo, and it makes for a popular T-Shirt design that I can hand out to people.
And here we've come to the final episode of Forgotten Domains Week, where I review domains I own but have forgotten over the years. Last up? A domain that may actually get used one day...
DAY SEVEN: HARDROCKRUN.COM
I've long had a site devoted to my obsession with the Hard Rock Cafe called DaveCafe. But that site is pretty much just another blog, and I've always wanted to do something more interactive with my fellow Hard Rock fanatics. One thing we all have in common is our desire to maximize the number of properties we visit in a given trip. But it's a bit trickier than you might think to calculate driving times, hotels, and what-not... and it would be nice if there was a resource to assist with such planning.
At least that's what fellow Hard Rocker Perry and I thought as we were planning a run through England, Wales, Germany, and The Netherlands...
So we set to work creating such a site. A place where people could plan Hard Rock visits and share their experiences, with the hope of having it ready before the Europe trip took place.
Unfortunately, in order to take two weeks away from work for the run, I pretty much had to work non-stop for two months in order to get caught up enough to leave. There just wasn't time to put the required hours in to get the graphics completed, and Hard Rock Run never quite came together.
Still, of all the forgotten domains I've blathered on about this week, this is the one that I would most like to have happen one day. If only I could find the time to work on it.
Not two minutes after I've sat down at my desk, I am told I have a phone call from "Rosetta." I don't know anyone named Rosetta, but heaven only knows that's something that's been missing in my life, so I accept the call. It went something like this...
Rosetta: I am calling because I visited your web site and really enjoyed it, but I am seeing that you don't have very good placement on search engines like AOL, MSN, and Google... am I right about that?
Me: WHAT?!? What are you talking about? What web site?
Rosetta: Oh let me see here... I've got the name right here...
Me: So you like my web site but you don't know the name of it?!?
Rosetta: It's DaveWeb.com... yes, DaveWeb.com!
Me: Well, there's nothing going on at DaveWeb.com... I'm not putting anything there right now. What did you like so much about a site that has nothing on it?
Rosetta: Oh, if there's nothing there, then that's probably why it's not showing up on search engines then.
Me: Tell me, don't you find it embarrassing that you've told me you like my site when you've never even seen it? Don't you feel incredibly stupid about being such a bad liar?
Rosetta: You have a nice day. =click=
When it comes to telemarketing calls, this is about as moronic as it gets. First of all, even though DaveWeb is not being updated right now, it's the #1 hit on Google, MSN and AOL when you actually type in "DaveWeb" so I can only guess that in addition to not bothering to even look at my site, they didn't bother to see how it's actually ranked in search engines either. Does this type of scam ever work for anybody?
Oh, and this just in... VERIZON DSL SUCKS ASS!!
After Verizon canceled and then reinstating my DSL order twice, I finally got everything straightened out after having spent nearly two hours on the phone. Third time's a charm, right? Uhhh... no. I am now getting emails telling my that my DSL install is scheduled for March 8th... but the name, address, and phone number referenced in the email are not mine.
So, if your name is "Angela" and you live in "Stafford, Virginia" - then, congratulations, your DSL installation is underway!
Naturally, the email says that it "was sent from a notification-only e-mail address that cannot accept incoming e-mail messages" so my only choice is to call the idiots.
After yet another hour on the phone this morning trying to get everything straightened out AGAIN, I am still not sure if or when I am ever going to get a DSL line installed. Which begs the question: does Verizon ever use their own customer service line to see how absurd it is? Nobody has the capability to do anything. All they do is take your name, then pass you on to another department. This morning I've been through Tech Support, Billing, Sales, Equipment, and was then transferred back to Tech Support where I started in the first place. Nobody knows anything.
How does Verizon make any money when they keep their departments tied up on the phones all day not doing anything but passing people around? Why don't they have a SINGLE department you can call with people there who can actually DO SOMETHING when there is a problem? The ridiculous system they have now does nothing but waste everybody's time and money. If I were a Verizon stockholder, I'd be absolutely furious to know that my investment was being pissed away on paying employees for stupid shit like this.
Verizon's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer is Ivan G. Seidenberg. And Ivan, may I call you Ivan? You desperately need to reorganize your support system for DSL customers. You might want to start out by FIRING the INCOMPETENT DUMBASSES of everybody responsible for the "pass-the-buck" policy that's currently in place. Then tell whoever you hire to replace them that the very meaning of "Customer Service" is to SERVE THE CUSTOMER!! You are not SERVING THE CUSTOMER when you waste hours of their time and provide them no answers and no way to solve their problems. The only thing I was served today was my own ass.
I'm beginning to wonder if saving $20 a month was worth my time in Verizon purgatory?
Usually, it takes liters of alcohol and a really good party for me to strip down and do the funky chicken.
Well, either that or Wang Chung is playing on the radio.
But now, thanks to The Gap, you can watch me "gettin' jiggy with it" whilst fully sober...
Kind of freaky how it actually kind of looks like me, albeit with better hair. If you want to see the whole sordid display, just click here.
Greatest Fark headline ever: "Secrets of Delphi found in ancient text. Science no closer to discovering terrible secret of Turbo Pascal." (of course, not very many people will "get" that, but for those of us who were computer programers in the 80's, it's pretty darn funny).