What is the price of fame?
Many late nights sitting at a keyboard, attempting to get things just right…
The end result?
Many questions, comments, and feedback attached with a flood of opinions. Most of the time, constructive and kind, but not all of the time.
How did it all start?
After a six year stretch in the US Navy, I had the clothes on my back and the desire to get my butt in a house within six months. I did it in five. Regardless, my apartment was very empty and I was sleeping on an air mattress. I just plain refused to get furniture until I got into my new house. Why? Mainly because I did not want to move all of the stuff! Believe me when I say that it is rather difficult to ask a “prospective mate” if they would like to stop on by some time and curl up on an air mattress…
So, what was the original purpose of www.blackviper.com?
A singles ad. Plain and simple. Being as that I quit drinking a few years back, the bar scene really does not thrill me. Since I am also not a very big social creature (surprised?) I felt that an ad in the news paper with a whole lot of SWM seeking SWF, etc (no pun intended) was really not my style. I figured that it would be good to learn HTML, have some quality content that someone would like to see, and have people “get to know me” before meeting in person.
February 14, 1999, BlkViper.com was born. I had “News” of which just really consisted of me rambling, kind of like a diary of sorts. I had my “About Me” page to allow a lady to see an overview of who I was without asking the lame “small talk” questions that makes everyone uneasy. I also added many photo’s. Not just of me, but of the house that I was in the process of building. Build it and they will come. 🙂 Kitty came shortly after and he received more hits on his photo’s page than I did. As of this writing, he has twice as many hits as I do.
Did it work?
Sort of. I met a few women and usually after the first date (and sometimes before) they would casually ask if they could “see the house” that I was going to move into. Funny…they did not believe me? Needless to say, none of them ever worked out.
I moved all I had from the two bedroom apartment to my three bedroom house after it was finished. I thought the apartment looked empty, now the house looked pathetic. What was I going to do? I had big plans but even though the house looked nice, it still was rather empty.
Then, by total accident, I met my current About BV” page, she did not even glance at any of the “material” items that I had posted. She liked me for me. Even though I had plenty of pictures to lure even the most materialistic of woman my way, she did not even care. There goes the “single’s ad” concept. 🙂. Even though she cruised through my “
I also had knowledge that I have gained over the years of trying to squeeze the last bit of performance out of my system. Believe me when I say that, at one time, I was formatting my hard drive once or twice a week just because I felt like it. I hated it when a game would run slowly or look awful, so I would spend a mint just trying to get the best out of my system. I had a few E-Mails asking me about what my hardware consisted of, so, along with all of the other “My Stuff,” I posted my Computer Status. It saved me the time of typing the same thing over and over. Not only that, but it gave me a quick reference as to what I had! Yes, sometimes I even surf my own site. 🙂
I love gaming. So, the idea of posting up my CRPG character stats from different games was, I thought, a pretty good idea. I promptly posted my Rage of Mages and Diablo One characters. Almost immediately, I had requests for me to E-Mail them the character files. I refused. I spent many hours on developing my characters and I sure was not going to “give away my time.”
Funny thing is, I was spending upwards of three hours a night updating the site and trying to tweak it to my liking. The problem was, no one was coming here! I wanted to come up with content that someone would actually read.
I hated not knowing what was actually making my OS tick, and since Win95/98 was soooo non-power user, Windows 2000 was the key. The problem that I encountered is that very few people actually made the plunge and went to Windows 2000! Microsoft advertised it as a “business/enterprise” OS. In my experience, it was much more stable than Win95/98, played plenty of games (even though some just refused to work) and was power user friendly. You could actually see what was running! Since I had already spent many late nights fiddling with Windows 2000 (and many a later nights repairing my fiddling), I decided to post some Services Information. Unfortunately, I rarely ever received any E-Mails from users that utilized my information! I about gave up.
There came a time when I was just plain fed up with computers. Tired of patches, tired of “new” drivers, sick of people asking for “free” tech support, and I wanted out. I canned the site, tried to isolate myself from my computers, plopped down and watched cable TV. That lasted about 48 hours.
One day, I discovered that the HTML pages that I deleted locally were not actually being deleted on the server. I started poking around and found out that the page about “Windows 2000 Services” that I actually deleted and did not update was still accessible on the site. It had thousands of hits! I did not get it. I have not updated that “page” for months. I actually changed the name of the file and adjusted the content to help people understand better and they were reading the other page! I started searching on the net as to “why?” I found out that people have been posting my URL directly to the page. Here, I thought that they would post it to the index page, of which was actually getting little if any visitors. I had to figure something out.
Did you have a plan?
You bet. I set up the “original page” as a redirector to my “new” content and it worked like a charm. People were posting links to the information more and more since it was being “updated.” Go figure. Now that I had viewers, I wanted my information to be presented nicely. For about 2.5 seconds, I kicked around the idea of posting banners and such around the site… after all, I was actually having readers! I quickly dismissed it due to the fact that I do not like them! I instead decided to go for Flash. It was rather difficult, but I found Swish and used their product. That is how the Navigation bars came about.
Yes indeed. I started receiving E-Mails saying that my site was very well designed and people liked what they saw! I was in heaven. This also had a side effect.
I signed up for Windows XP Beta program and received a CD in the mail around July 2001. I immediately started sifting through the services just to find out that many were about the same as Windows 2000! I knew that this would be my chance for people to actually use the information that I “already” have! I set up the “ ” page, added the URL to a few search engines and the traffic, slow at first, started rolling in. People were arriving at the site, but for some reason, assume that I would freely give up cracker information! Not only was I getting positive feedback, but I was also getting requests for Hacks, Cracks and CD Keys. I was getting more and more upset. I then added the “Hacks, Cracks and Cheats Rant” to inform people that I do not divulge that kind of information. It worked…kind of. I think that someone got angry and to get back at me, posted that I did give out that kind of information. Needless to say, I was getting more E-Mails than I really wanted about the subject.
I added more Flash to the site and removed all of “normal” links to my E-Mail address with the only link available to pop up the default E-Mail client with a short message. That has worked wonders…but I still receive, every once in awhile requests for Warez content and complaining that I don’t have any! It sure slowed it down, though.
Any other “hate” mail?
Oh yes. After Windows XP was released to the public, people started E-Mailing me much more often. 90% of the time, it was to congratulate me on a site well done and spending the time with XP to allow my information to be known. The others? Hate mail from people saying I was stuck on myself, bragging about my equipment, accusing me of everything from being a self centered jerk to an egotistical pig. Wow. I started to think that “fame” was really not on my list of “good” things.
Kind of odd that the same person that will slander someone via E-Mail would never think of walking up to someone in the local mall and telling them the same thing…face to face. Why? Probably because, usually, these people are weak minded and scared that they would get the crap kicked out of them… Regardless, I get some winners E-Mailing me…
More to add to the list?
On February 2, 2002, I had a kind reader inform me that a site may have copied my Services information, almost word for word. I went there and sure enough! It may be a total coincidence, but it sure looked to me that it was my information. I lashed out and posted . Needless to say, I have never encountered this kind of situation before. The webmaster did not seem too receptive, so I thought that it would be just rather pointless to spend any more time on doing something that someone else may just take credit for! Just no point.
Is there light at the end of the tunnel?
A bright light. On February 10th, 2002, Chris P. wrote to me and said that my site will be featured in the Lockergnome newsletter. I was thrilled. My E-Mails and hits per day on my went from four E-Mails and 100 hits to eight E-Mails and about 1000 hits per day. Wow… Big difference. People are actually noticing my work! I am super thrilled.
On February 12, 2002, I was notified by Chris P. that he would try to get my link up on “TSS.” TSS? What was that? I had no clue, but I was hoping it was a good thing.
On February 20, 2002, I woke up to 25 E-Mails in my inbox. I was surprised! When I returned from work, I had another 25.
What the hell? One person wrote that he “saw” my link on The Screen Savers and checked me out. Then another…then another… I had to figure this out. I had since forgot about Chris P’s reference to “TSS” in a prior E-Mail and started searching. I then found TechTV. I about fainted. I could not believe that my site could have been on TV! I confirmed this fact with another E-Mail (and also many more people telling me about it). Now I am getting about 15000 hits in one day. Wow. People did notice.
Update: On June 20, 2002, I will appear live on TechTV’s “The Screen Savers” to talk about Windows XP and configuration. If you are lucky enough to get TechTV with your local cable provider or satellite company, tune in!
Oh yes. I am happy that someone finally has recognized my work and I am also happy that my three years of plugging away at the keyboard paid off on BlackViper.com. I have had my 15 seconds of fame and glad that it happened. This will definitely outweigh any peoples comments about “My stuff” which also has been on the rise. Even though the site originally started out as a “pat on my back,” I am happy where it has ended up, a little part of me.
March 26, 2002
March 26, 2002: Initial release.
June 20, 2002: Included information about appearance on TechTV.