"Art is anything that you can get away with", and other .sig files

A long think about the evolution about wed building, what did you do in 2003?

"Art is anything that you can get away with", and other .sig files
"my other life has meaning"

"Everything is back to normal. Damn!"

"If it looks like a duck, acts like a duck, and quacks like a duck it is probably just a tool of the conspiracy."

"Life's not fair, but the root password helps"

These were but a few of the random .sig files that I moved away from being attached to every email that I sent, to decorating my Ascii log, a little web journal written entirely in Perl (as in Perla) my baby girl.

It wasn't all that hard to use my little Perl script that used to randomize my directory full of sigfiles, from attaching a file to the end of each one of my emails randomly to attaching just the witty quip to the top of my ascii log-in an equally random matter.

The ascii log was honestly just an exercise in keeping my Perl skills and making something look neat, in a way that did not include Photoshop, flash, or illustrations in any way. I was trying to be a purist ASCII art dabbler, and had fun with that. Monospace only. Strict frame of 80 chars wide.

What I learned from John Gillard in the SCA (The School of Communication Arts), is that you always do better when you actually have restrictions set. A box, that you need to fight yourself out of. Gillard used to regularly give us briefs that had seemingly impossible restrictions, like a "two-inch spot color newspaper ad for an airline."

I killed this ascii log experiment in 2006, and stuffed it somewhere at the bottom of my portfolio as I didn't really think it was something to show people at ad agencies at the time.

Most of what I have been doing on this and other TLDs that I own (on the servers that I run) are ideas and practice runs for designing anything on the web. Long before people had titles like "UX copywriter" or "UI designer". I'm not knocking those titles at all - but for a moment in web development, some titles did not exist back then. Experimenting with things was how to find your spot - and eventual future spot in this industry of designing and shaping the web that keeps evolving. It is thanks to the people who did exactly such specific tasks that such titles exist today.

Anway, I have no big point here.

I was just taking a trip down memory lane and remembering when people couldn't even figure out what a person with these skills should be called. "Full stack developer" wasn't a thing then, and "web art director" still sounds stupid.

What did your web experiments look like in 2003? I bet you had great ideas going on. I think we should share what we did, if only to "show the kids" that there was some very creative stuff going on.

For each reload of the ASCII log, you would get a new -sig file. With a pithy saying like, "Cats know what we feel. They don't care, but they know. "

cat ASCII art

To keep the ASCII art log (not blog) somewhat on concept I also linked as many ASCII art sites as I could find at the time.

Remember: "Art is anything you can get away with."

"Experience is what you get when you were expecting something else."

Meanwhile, in the directory of my .sig-files, I also added ascii art and a collection of quotes to each email that I sent out. I would use figlets to make "dabitch" stand out in a fake ASCII version of a font, and I would carefully select and make sure that my favored monofont would be how this was presented to the recipient. No matter if they used Outlook or Gmail or whatever. Eventually, all of this fell apart, as recipients could change everything in their email readers, and ignore the HTML around my sigfile. So, I stopped.

I was just reminded about all of this and went to have a look at my old ascii log to see what it said. These are the ones that I can find in the Wayback machine. The first copy of the ASCII log that I can find saved is in April 2003, but it gives a great overview of what it looked like.

I hope you found some of my silly .sig files amusing, I might put those up here as well at some point. But remember, I used to have around 6000 .sig files. Now, between moving computers and servers, and the .sig files being the least important things to keep going, I may only have 600. The .sig files are not important. What I was doing is.

Keep experimenting, y'all. That's the fun part!

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