Letters from Somnolescent

 

Tag: web design

Development of sites and strong opinions about such.


December 1, 2023

Happy Five Years: The 2024 Infrastructure Upgrade Plans

mariteaux

Normally at this time, I’d be bringing you the next installment of First Draft, but I just had no desire to work on it this past month despite having a wallop of an album to do it on–chalk that up to working 35 hours a week at retail, I suppose. Instead, given that it’s December and that means the Somnolescent retrospectives and prospectives start rolling off the line soon (five years of the group being officially reborn on the 20th!), I figured I’d ramble a bit about the group instead, and more specifically, updating things around here.

We fell off the site stuff a little over lockdowns, and when things opened back up, obviously, we were more concerned with going outside and getting on with life than updating our silly animal people pages. This has left some of them out-of-date, sometimes woefully so. I think we’re all feeling the desire for it again–dcb_v5 just launched in October, fwd_v2 has just launched–so let me tell you about my own plans to update Somnolescent’s web presence. There’s a lot.


August 9, 2023

Update Rollup for dcb services

dotcomboom

I’m going to keep this post a bit short- I have drafts (and a lab report,,,) in the works, and the nature of this post is partly catch up. I’m gonna cover sites, sites again, and site generator generatoring. So here’s a few updates from my neck of the woods.


May 6, 2023

Five Neat Things From the Somnolescent Archives

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If you were to ask me my favorite part of the Somnolescent site network, archives would be it. archives started back in 2020 as cold storage for file hoards, but more and more, it’s become my obsession to use it as a living museum of all the websites that the Somnolians have built over the past six years or so. We’ve had so many cool ideas for pages, so many memories around our sites, so many neat looks and layouts for them, that I feel personally responsible to keep it all intact. I want it all as browsable, speedy and functional as the day we unveiled them.

archives has been eating tremendously well this year. All of Caby and dcb’s sites from the Neocities days are finally present on there, patched, restored, and usually fully functional. I just finished restoring dcb_v2, a BeOS-styled site that used an embedded Gopher proxy to display Gopher menus in lieu of pages, last month. Now that’s fully functional again, using locally-stored copies of the proxy’s output back when our Gopher looked like that. I’m supremely proud of it–and just happy to have it to click around again!

Only counting full sites (not components of sites or subsites), we’re up to 54 of them. That’s a lot of sites! And I built half of them, probably! There’s so much on archives, you might not know where to start, and that’s what I wanna spotlight. Here’s five cool, nostalgic (if you’re of a certain age and web background) sights from Somnolescent’s past you can go visit on archives right now, just as if it were still live on our sites today.


April 1, 2023

mariversary 4.0: Revisiting Nostalgiamining

mariteaux

To be honest, I didn’t think I’d have enough to talk about for a fourth Neocities retrospective post. I was only on that site for about ten months, for God’s sake. I covered the year afterwards, I covered all my old Supporter’s sites, and I talked about my very first site design in years past. What else could I possibly revisit?

Passion. There’s two essays I wrote back then that somehow, somewhere, continue to get found, circulate, and stir people up. They’ve taken on a life of their own separate from me. People I’ve never met somehow find these buried deep in the Somnolescent Archives and pass them around, sometimes agreeing, sometimes arguing. I’ve yet to retell the story, so let’s return to nostalgiamining, forging the future, passion, Neocities, and why all this shit still matters to folks.


July 15, 2022

Exploring somnol.net’s Old Banners

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We like to redesign our sites from time to time, and earlier this year, the top-level domain got its turn. The previous design came in the spring of 2020 and featured a rotating crop of big, toony banners at the top of each page that would show up either year-round or seasonally.

While we gave up on that site design, we’re still very fond of the banners. Obviously, they’re no longer featured on the top-level site. That’s a lot of art and a lot of work going to waste! While we’d like to reuse them in another design, for now, this post will have to do.

Being a longtime reader of the Video Game Critic, I decided to take a page out of his book (or off his site, maybe?) and not just write up a bit on my thoughts on each banner, but get the people who made them to tell their stories about each one.


April 20, 2022

The Great Somnolescent Time Machine

mariteaux

As I mentioned in the final recap, one thing occupying me over the past few months has been the pursuit of classic website restoration. We already have car restoration and computer restoration, but despite websites being similarly satisfying and full of moving parts, I don’t see anyone trying to rebuild old websites and return them to their original browsable condition. With the Somnolescent Archives, I have the perfect reason to do just that.

I wanna ramble about that for a bit, tell you my working methods for getting assets (from the Wayback Machine or otherwise), reassembling them, cleaning things up, and why I find it so enjoyable. Hopefully, you do as well!


April 4, 2022

Winter 2022 – The Final Recap

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What’s this? What’s going on? Why the sudden change? Is Somnolescent falling apart? I bet it is–look, people’s sites are disappearing! Something big is happening. We said it wouldn’t last four months, and hey, three years isn’t too far off–

Grab some wood there, bub. The blog is not going anywhere, nor is the group. This is the final recap in its current form. There’s a very good reason for it, and I think the new arrangement will make my friends in the group, as well as myself (having to write all this…), happier as a result. It’s a good recap though! Lots good happening. Let’s revisit the last three months one last time.


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