Monday, July 28, 2003

Big Ten Season Could Be...Nuts

If you trust the homespun analysis of the Lafayette Journal+Courier, Big Ten fans should have a lot to savor this fall. Most of the teams are returning a dozen or more starters, which is unheard of. It's almost like back-to-back NFL seasons with no free agents. Hoo boy.


Sunday, July 27, 2003

Hello, I'll be your spacer gif this evening.

In the happier, simpler, go-go 90s, a prescient but ill-fated company called DKA created what amounted to the groupware version of the now-ubiquitous weblog. The Burning Door team was central to that product's creation, defining both the technical architecture and user interaction design. "SceneServer," as the packaged product was entitled, allowed users to:

  • post whatever was on their mind, and share links (there were a few billion fewer of them in 1997, but still)
  • rate and comment on others' postings
  • get notified when stuff they cared about got changed, either by an original author or another member of the community

Sounds awfully familiar to users of Movable Type and Blogger, no? It's fascinating to me (and the others here at BD) how web technical architectures, no matter how novel or forward-looking, always require a certain size-of-community tipping point to break out into the open. SceneServer never made a dent in the larger web consciousness for a variety of reasons (which might be worth exploring as a user experience post-mortem some day), but its spirit is definitely powering every individual publisher who shares their world via text and cameraphone.

-- section below added 1/25/04 --

Oh yeah. Why you're here -- why this blog's called It Came from Black Background. I created a set of templates for "edgy" SceneServer authors to demonstrate the unfadeable hipness of our technology with the espresso crowd. They were entitled Black Background because, well, they had such a background and in the days of HTML 2.0, <body bgcolor="#000000"> was about as out-there as you could get on a budget. Plus, they also featured orange text. Orange! Like, retro yet browser safe. So iconoclastic!

Sorry -- got all Dean-conceding-Iowa there for a paragraph. So I suppose, with this blog I can't help but make a callback to my own insignificant web publishing past and get a little smug about it.

-- end edits from the future --

I'm looking forward to working on the design challenges that arise from this new world -- especially its walking-around wireless implications -- and taking another shot at shaping how individuals and common-interest groups make community happen online.

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