Presenting Daneomatic

Phew, it’s been awhile, eh? I figured I’d let ya’ll know that is now up and running. Yessiree, this is the fabled resurrection of the Brainside Out weblog.

Go forth and enjoy yourselves.

Introducing Rosco D. Disco

Brainside Out: Rosco D. Disco Edition

Howdy, Dane here. I’d like to introduce ya’ll to Brainside Out, Rosco D. Disco Edition. If you are under the impression that nothing looks different ‘round these parts, I would encourage you to take a quick jaunt over to the home page and jab at some things over there. Okay, feeling better after that? Cool.

Rosco D. Disco is my entry for the May 1st CSS Reboot. Not too long ago I mentioned to my friend Jake Ingman that I was considering a redesign of Brainside Out and he suggested that I sign up for the Reboot, in the interest of committing myself to a deadline and forcing me to “light a fire under it,” so to speak. Well, I suppose it worked. Rosco went from idea to launch in about a month, my preferred turnaround time for projects of this scope.

With Rosco, my idea was to relign the website to be less weblog and more portfolio, while still retaining the voice and attitude that Brainside Out has gained over the years. I really wanted to scale back the apparent size of the site, and before I pushed any pixels I spent a lot of time deciding what content was valuable enough to bring forward, and what I would allow to seep into the background.

The more I weighed these different aspects, and the more I pared down my list of interests and values, the more I realized that the weblog was no longer making the cut.

I’ve been keeping a weblog for more than five years. I’ve had a weblog since before we even called them weblogs, instead referring to them as online journals. In that time I went to college, worked at a summer camp, graduated from college, moved across the country to work at a windsurf shop, learned to kiteboard, worked as a snowboard instructor, worked at an internet start-up, went to Baja, guided wilderness trips, gained a nephew, and started my own web design business.

As I remark every February when the notable anniversary comes around, two/three/four/five years is a super-duper long time for someone with my short attention span to stick with anything. Brainside Out has certainly changed and evolved in that time. It began as Cromlech on the servers at the University of Minnesota Duluth, went through at least five different redesigns, enjoyed a brief stint with Greymatter when I went to work at summer camp, eventually found itself written in Movable Type on Pair under the name Dane’s Bored, underwent at least three opposing redesigns until it relocated to, where it enjoyed three redesigns including Wounded Knee and Siskiwit.

And now Brainside Out, a lowly weblog since the spring of 2003, has coaelesced into a full-fledged web design company that is dedicated to helping its clients kick everyone else’s ass. While notably crass, I can’t think of a better way to summarize my passions. I started a website not because I wanted a weblog per se, but because more than anything, I wanted to kick ass at writing. I was attracted to the self-publishing capabilities of the web, which was still kinda in its infancy back in 2001. I didn’t care about an audience or a voice or anything of that sort at the time… all I wanted to do was write and pretend I was writing for an actual audience.

To that end, the weblog of Brainside Out has served its purpose. As likely evidenced by my updating schedule as of late, these days I’m burned out on the whole weblog thing. Brainside Out certainly didn’t start as a weblog, but it became a weblog as I realized that the manner in which I was updating the site could be facilitated by some nifty software written exactly for that purpose. I wasn’t a web designer in 2001, and I didn’t have a newsreader that was subscribed to the respective weblogs of at least thirty web designers.

I guess this is a long way of saying that I will no longer be updating this weblog. The archives will remain intact, however, so our entire history (geez, five years’ worth) will still be available to all ya’ll. Feel free to browse and search to your liking. Siskiwit, this here version of Brainside Out, will continue to exist beneath the veneer of Rosco.

Also, please note that my plans are to no longer update this weblog. While five years of history begins to weigh a man down, there’s a good chance that I’ll have nothing against starting new, fresh weblogs in the near future. I don’t know when, where, or even if this will happen, nor do I know under what guise. Perhaps six months down the road I’ll have splintered off into three weblogs; one for my love of the outdoors, one for my love of design, and one for my love of that random “dude, today i almost choked to death on parmasean cheese” stuff.

I don’t know how long this hiatus will last. Honestly, I’m excited about the prospect of existing more fully in meatspace, rather than doing everything I do in the interest of transferring it to electronic written form. I want to do more snowboarding and mountain biking and rock climbing and get into silkscreening and take more photographs, and I enjoy the idea of not feeling obligated to broadcast my every action to the world.

If I start writing online again, even somewhere else completely, ye shalt know. Watch this space. Watch Rosco. Just. Watch.

There has also been idle talk of transforming the last five years of Cromlech/Dane’s Bored/Brainside Out into a book. Like, a real book, with paper and ink and glue and everything. If something like this is to be done, however, it will take some time. If something like this is worth doing, it’s worth doing right.

Anywho, I would like to sincerely thank all of you for reading. Whether this is your first time here or if you’ve been following the site since day one, this whole deal has certainly been a great journey and a wonderful pleasure. I’m curious to see what the next five years have in store.

A Universal Lapse In Quality

The Dr Pepper at our local Wendy’s tastes like watered-down Band-Aids.

We be podcasting!

Dane’s Presentation for COMP 5230 (53 minutes, 24.5mb mp3)
- Presented at COMP 5230 Web Design and Digital Culture (section two), University of Minnesota Duluth, April 18 2006

On Tuesday I had the opportunity and privilege to speak at the University of Minnesota Duluth regarding web design. Back in 2003 when I was a student at UMD, I took an upper-division course called Web Design and Digital Culture, taught by Craig Stroupe. Over the past few years Craig and I have kept in contact, and a few months ago he invited me to come and give a presentation for his COMP 5230 class, the very same web design course I took three years ago. I heartily accepted!

At its core, Web Design and Digital Culture is more a composition and writing course than it is a design course. Students use the web as a jumping-off point for pursuing some pretty advanced writing topics, and discussing the use of digital technology to solve problems, both creative and cultural. Many of the students are pursuing degrees in engineering, and for most of them this is the first time they have ever fired up Dreamweaver or tinkered in Photoshop. As a class final they are required to find a client and build a website for them, a uniquely difficult project that turns out to be quite an educational and diplomatic undertaking.

I actually gave two presentations, as Craig has two sections of COMP 5230 this semester. I recorded both of them, but I plan to only release the audio for the second presentation. The mp3 is just over 53 minutes long, and it weighs in at 24.5 MB. Download the mp3, have a listen, and enjoy!

In case you want to skip around a bit, here’s what we got goin’ on in particular sections:

  • 0’0” - intro, history, “the long road home”
  • 9’30” - and an intro to web standards
  • 13’00 - and the importance of letting content choose the direction of your design
  • 17’25” - and the use of paypal to handle online commerce
  • 20’05” - more talk about paypal, getting a merchant account, and setting up a shopping cart
  • 22’00” - development site for happy tails boarding kennel
  • 25’35” - development site for lost mountain clayworks, the importance of taking great care of your clients, and the modular standards-based approach to web design
  • 30’10” - development site for the may 1st reboot of brainside out
  • 34’15” - “what’s the best way to start building a website?”
  • 36’20” - the importance of sketching, and starting with pen and paper
  • 38’15” - “how do you design a website for a client who doesn’t know what they want?”
  • 41’00” - the importance of having thick skin, and taking criticism in stride
  • 41’20” - the importance of tinkering with things to teach yourself new stuff
  • 43’40” - how to get started as a merchant with paypal, blood plasma donation
  • 46’15” - “where should I put my navigation?” introducing and the wounded knee edition of brainside out
  • 48’50” - introducing, the best damn webhost ever
  • 51’40” - registering and working with domain names… dreamhost does that, too!
  • 53’05” - it’s over!

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