Come in, so glad you could make it, let me take your coat, have a canape! We’ve worked so hard on the remodel and it would have been a shame if nobody came to see it. Is anyone with you? Maybe more people were walking behind you and they’re waiting outside. No? Ah, just you, I see. Hrmmph. Well, no reason to be disappointed, it will be easier to observe social distancing if it’s just us, haha!
Ready? Let’s start the tour. Remember, no flash photography.
In the display case you’ll see the new home page for www.bruceb.com. Doesn’t it look fresh and inviting? Big pictures, oversized text, and very little content – it’s the latest aesthetic for web design in 2020!
The picture of the newsboys on the Bruceb News page is quite, umm, unique, yes? Shea Barlow of Smart Monkey Web Works suggested tasteful and well-chosen photos for the site, but we didn’t use those – that approach didn’t really work for me. Fortunately, she kept working on the site out of pity and did the best she could with my odd suggestions. The newsboys were one of many inspired choices that Shea brought to the remodel.
I’ve been writing about technology for Bruceb News continuously since 1997. I’m going to continue writing articles once or twice a week, mostly the same mix of snarky Microsoft attacks and technology tips and tricks, with occasional detours to my personal obsessions as time goes on. Subscribe to receive articles by email (no spam, no ads), or visit Bruceb News regularly to stay up to date. Remember, you’re only hurting yourself if you don’t keep up because you won’t be ready for the exam at the end of the semester.
Now walk down to the pedestal with the light shining on it from above – tres elegant, ne c’est pas?
We’re at the highlight of the exhibit, the Bruceb Favorites page. If you’re not familiar with it, lean in and take a closer look. No, no, don’t tap the glass, it’s not a touchscreen – it’s only a model.
Bruceb Favorites is a simple directory of obvious places. It has links to five hundred web sites and online services, organized in twenty-four categories. It’s designed to load fast, with a minimum of clutter and no advertisements. Put it on your bookmark bar or put a shortcut on your desktop!
Forty “top sites” are displayed when the Bruceb Favorites page is first opened. Now, I know you are unique. You’re a special little snowflake and no one is like you. I don’t mean to take away from your individuality when I tell you that about 96% of the time when you open a web browser, your plan is to start on one of those pages.
The other sites that come up in the different categories – Photos, Business, Travel, Movies, and the rest – are intended to be the most obvious choices, nothing more. I study lists that rank websites by popularity to choose what’s displayed. The only regional section is Law, which has links to the Sonoma and Marin courts.
The page changes as web sites gain or lose popularity. There’s a changelog where I track the updates and changes.
The nostalgic tagline for the Favorites page is “Everyone’s Favorite Home Page.” Remember home pages? You do? I wouldn’t have guessed, you must be older than you look. In the early days of the Internet, your home page was the first thing you saw when you opened your web browser – Yahoo or AOL or Bruceb Favorites. Today we all use Chrome and no one bothers with a home page. (Technically, you can still choose a home page in Chrome – click on the three dots in the upper right / Settings / scroll down to “On Startup.”)
Oh, you noticed the new URL. Aren’t you the clever one! Your old shortcuts will still work, but the Favorites page has moved to www.bruceb.com/favorites, and the News page has moved to www.bruceb.com/news. If you’re not sure what that means, well, that’s just fine, dear, put it out of your head, don’t give it a second thought.
Bruceb Favorites has been lovingly maintained for more than 20 years. In the history wing, you can see its earliest incarnation in 1998, or the way it looked through most of the 2000s, as you see in the above screenshot. Just seeing the names is like using an Internet time machine – Alta Vista! Ask Jeeves! Gateway 2000! So many fond memories.
My lovely wife wanted me to clarify to all the guests on the tour that the picture on the Services page is not a picture of me. I think it catches the excitement that I feel when you call for help, and the deep commitment I feel to staying up to date so I can continue to be a trusted resource.
The rest of the gallery is a self-guided tour. Feel free to stay as long as you like, visit every page on the site. Oh dear, you have to go so soon? You have to run to a dinner reservation, a Zoom meeting, and an online yoga class, all in the next ten minutes? What a shame, I understand why you’re in such a hurry to get away. Thank you for coming, and make sure you return several times a day! We’re always here . . . oh dear, yes, for better or for worse, we’re always here.
Stephen Barlow of Smart Monkey Web Works did the heavy lifting with WordPress and some fancy tricks under the hood to make everything work. Smart Monkey designs websites for small businesses and nonprofits, with particularly attractive pricing for new businesses looking for a starter site. Stephen and Shea brought skill, creativity, and especially patience, to the project of updating my eccentric corner of the Intertubes. I’m grateful for their hard work and happy to recommend them to anyone looking to create or remodel a website. Give them a call at 707-595-0708.
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