60-Seconds #319 : Twenty-Five February editions, 300 months, 5,000 articles

by Fred Showker

60-Seconds #318 I'm finishing up on the February 2015 edition and it really hit home when I changed the volume number from 24 to 25. This is volume 25 -- Twenty-five years online. It's funny how I can actually remember at least two readers who subscribed in the first couple of months -- STILL reading and now friends on Facebook. You know who you are -- can you believe it's been a quarter of a century?

Once upon a time I tried to borrow money to buy stock in a new online company. I pleaded that some day, the online world was going to be really big. Nobody had email yet, and people were all too afraid of tech companies. Guess what : $1.90 per-share IPO stock in America Online turned out to be the buy of the century. The information age was off and running! Those were exciting times. DTG and 60-Seconds had been published on Don Rittner's "MNS" disk for three years... and then we went online. Now it's 300 months later and here we are!

The original DTG online header
If you subscribed to the very first DT&G, this was the actual header you saw -- created for DTG on MNS disk and AOL. It was also used on GEnie, Compuserve, Apple's eWorld, and in the DocMaker version distributed on disk in 1988.

In twenty-five years we saw a whole new world of visual communications and graphic design opportunities. We witnessed the global community unfold before our very eyes. DT&G went from 1,200 subscribers on the original diskettes to more than a half-million online. More importantly, look what happened to the art. We went from 256 to millions of colors. Screens went from 800 to 2,000 pixels and more. Everyone got fat and stayed fat. The first desktop publishing software could create wonderful pieces and win international printing awards from a 400k disk. Now, 400k is not even enough to hold the welcome screen. A new upstart called Adobe, and their wonderful Illustrator went from 400k to 300 megabytes. Later, Photoshop was born in a half-meg, and had only one layer -- today over 600megs and unlimited layers. Graphic Design sites went from ours and a handfull of others to 300,000. Our first disk of "shareware" called the "Poor Man's Publisher" included 40 digital fonts! Today we have 40,000 fonts and another 400,000 fonts online. Within the first couple of years everyone became a graphic designer -- and everyone was hungry to surf the web, discover and learn from an ever-expanding pool of talent and creativity.

The first 60-Second window header
this is actually the FIRST header that was created for 60-Seconds on disk in 1988. Note it's only 246 colors at 546 screen width ... jpg files were not in use online yet ... this is a "GIF" file, properly pronounced "Jif" (grin)

Everyone got real fat online. We went from 240 to 300 baud -- we really thought that was fast! Today 5 gigabits of bandwidth is slow. Web pages sucked if they were over 10K or loaded in less than 5 seconds ... now most are well over 300K and many tip the scales at a megabyte and could take a minute to load. Some never stop loading. It was agreed by all that you knew a web site sucked if anything moved or blinked. There were no rude advertisements. If you advertised something online you were a spammer and blocked.

NoSpam - You know your web site sucks if it blinks, moves or has ads Several thousand readers prooved that advertising was one of the top ten things people hated about the internet. Advertisers were low-lifes as evidenced in the results of our 1995 reader survey. Today, you cannot avoid moving, gyrating everything on web pages. Advertisers are everywhere, even hidden in the content and stalking you in your every move. Domains were free, but you couldn't get one without an authentic human identification. We were thrilled in the new online communities where everyone was friendly and could chat openly. Nobody wanted to kill you. Anonymous was alive, but nobody's identity was stolen; nobody was stalked by predators, and nobody ever heard of worms, trojans or virus. But that changed very quickly as corruption and crime spread online like fire. The dregs of the world discovered they could get rich for nothing and easily get away with it.
At right above, you see a label that was on the footer of every page in the site for the first decade. Then people started getting mad at us for saying "You know your web page sucks when something moves or blinks"

Amazon was a place in South America and google was something dirty old men did, mispelled. Search engines were created by people who cared, not robots lusting for money. The cornerstone of the web was equal playing field -- anyone could publish and become a star. Then things began to change as the money-mongers took over. The big became bigger and gobbled up the little guy, the weak and the poor. Everyone began to cheat with an unquenchable hunger to become found and rich. My 60-Second Window #65 was called "One is the loneliest number"* and addressed being abandoned along the e-zone I-way. (In those days we called the web the I-way ... long before iPhones and iPads.)

So much has changed but so much has remained the same. Readers still read, viewers still watch, and they do it the same way they've done it for two millenniums. Designers design and the trends of design move in and out and all around the world in an amazingly complex cycle. There's no way to keep up but there's an unbelievable well of talent and creativity just waiting to be discovered. Yet those who are true to the masters' sense of excellent visual communications remains true and steadfast. Yes, we may have ten-terabytes in the cloud with six quad processers driving a billion pixels and 40,000 fonts . . . but we always remember that good design only needs one font to be successful. At the end of the day, one lesson I learned over 40 years ago is still true: A good idea delivered with clear simplicity is still far better than mediocrity delivered with technical skill.

fred_c_125 Thanks for reading . . . and, thanks for twenty-five years online!

Fred Showker

      Editor/Publisher : DTG Magazine
      +FredShowker on Google+ or most social medias @Showker
      Published online since 1988


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