viv

viv ⭐️

@viv

computer goblin

i love to make things (especially if they're weird). software engineer at msft and author of https://twitter.com/dkpunchbot. check out @hell-labs for some other cool stuff


is there a word for websites that are like, extremely deep, chiefly-noncommercial-but-with-dono-links rabbit holes of a specific niche (but also can carry plenty of unrelated personal interests). usually run by a single person with a very charming about page and theyve been up since like 2002 but ARENT personal sites.

sites that feel like the polar opposite of this recent trend the past few years of finding dozens of trashy, cluttered, one-use SEO filler sites that dont even feel like they were made by a human

https://omniglot.com

i bring this up because yesterday i found myself on omniglot.com again as i am perpetually interested in writing systems (i love you maya script & weird ass conlangs) and i was struck by how deep this website goes and how 'authentic' it feels


other examples:
https://www.fantasynamegenerators.com/

search for any generators online and you always get some one-off shitty webpage covered in garbage. but fantaysnamegenerators? chefs kiss. perfection. top tier utility


https://springhole.net/

springhole my beloved. a boon for writers everywhere. more generators, and endless writing about writing can be found here and i adore it. no listicle bullshit to be found


https://bogleech.com/

and of course my favorite bogged leech who i find myself coming back to so, so often. @blep can vouch i never shut the fuck up about bogleech. i love creatures


https://radiojayallen.com/

just radio reviews. radio reviews of everything every radio for like two decades. i love you so much


if you have more examples like this send them to me !! or if you know what the hell these are called !


after some discussion with friends, i've narrowed what i mean down to:

  • not a personal site, but clearly made by one person, with little personal quirks and flair;
  • not a wiki, but filled with at least an hours worth of resources/content;
  • not super flashy and modern looking css, usually very easy to get to all of the content from a header or sidebar;
  • and generally focused on one idea, like springholes is writing or bogleech is halloweeny stuff, but with the generalized vibe that older websites had, where everyone inexplicably had a 'links to cool things' page. see also the 'about me' stuff on omniglot where he's got like, info about his attempts to learn juggling and songwriting, lol

with that in mind, here's some more lovely, somehow-still-active artifacts from before we only had 3 websites:


https://www.seventhsanctum.com/

thanks to @inbtwn for this one; more random generator type stuff, but of course with some interesting miscellany; love to see the classic Links To Cool Shit type page; various other odds and ends, even has links to fantasynamegenerators and springhole!


http://amasci.com/

bizarre, quirky mix of science-y articles, very 90s vibe; some really interesting pages here! just take everything with a grain of salt.


i spent a while looking for more one-person-hobby-hole sites (please someone give me a better name than this), and came upon this thread, which has some great stuff. (and rpg.net itself is pretty neat! seems to have an extant, active forum, shockingly.)


http://www.lileks.com/

lovely collection of various cool images. vintage ads, magazine cutouts, missing persons notes from the 40s... its like tons of little mini-sites for all sorts of things. really nicely presented and up to date for something thats apparently 25 years old !


https://www.darkroastedblend.com/

similar to lileks and bogleech, just a collection of mini-collections of neat things in a static, non-algorithmic way, like god intended. everything laid out and easy to find! (this one kind of breaks the personal site rule, but i can't seem to find much evidence its run by more than one person...)


http://merzo.net/

very bogleechish site full of fictional monstrosities; check out the archive too for some cool scifi size comparisons. every creature can be clicked on and has a whole page explaining them, so don't miss it!


https://www.pagat.com/

very cute little site compiling different card & dice games. isn't that lovely ! you can contribute with the mystical process of "e-mail." anyway, lots of cool little links hidden around the margins too, as usual. you know shits real when its got a sitemap. i was going to make fun of it for still having usenet links despite being updated frequently. but apparently usenet is still around???? what the hell


https://www.davidrumsey.com/home

you like maps? you want a few maps? heres far too many maps. i don't really know if this actually fulfills the 'one person' requirements but its got the guys name all over it, i dunno. apparently his collection was donated to stanford and you can actually visit it in person!


https://www.theoi.com/

this is just a fantastic reference for greek mythology and art. you want to read the iliad? they got it. want to just browse neat pictures for a few hours? they got that too. very well-sourced, admittedly also stretches the one person/personal requirements, but hey, its sick.


honorable mentions: these didn't quite fit, either because they're blogs, they're too personal, they're not personal enough, or they just aren't a deep enough rabbit hole.


https://www.railroaddata.com/

do you like railroads web sites. well boy are you in fucking luck buddy. im not sure this is very useful or has been updated recently and its not very personal so im putting it down here


http://www.virology.net/

cool little thing, but very obviously not updated in a decade. once again the linked usenet stuff was apparently RECENTLY USED- some of these threads are from only a few years ago!


http://blog.nuclearsecrecy.com/

this is pretty much what it sounds like, buddy. blog of nuclear-related things. really long archive! (and yes, this is the guy who made nukemap!)


https://spitalfieldslife.com/

over a decade of image/blog posts about one district in london. i respect it


https://echinoblog.blogspot.com/

echinoblog my beloved. i love you echinoderms


absolutely hilarious how few of these sites have proper embedding stuff set up, how many have sitemaps and 'anything i like' type link pages, and how so many sites set up in the 90s are still active today. please comment or rechost with your own additions or thoughts on what these dang things are called !!!!

and no personal/portfolio sites whose only purpose is clearly like, 'here's me, this is my stuff'. these sites i'm looking for are 'here's stuff, and secretly: here's me as understood through the stuff. and maybe an about page tucked away.'

also, i kind of left out the plethora of fansites/shrines of the sought nature in favor of sites with a more original focus, but feel free to mention any you like that fit!


video game music archive

http://vgmusic.com/ miiight fit this description. run by two people, just hosts boatloads of MIDI transcriptions and arrangements of music from games, and has continued to be updated to the point of having music from Switch titles. this was your go-to site for background music when making fangames in Klik & Play / The Games Factory / Click 'N Create / Multimedia Fusion two decades ago



There is a type of online service that one could call a "utility", or maybe a "staple" - I'm thinking of things like Paypal, Patreon, or image hosting, where the core service, what people are actually going there for, is something a patent office would reject on the grounds of obviousness.

nobody alive on the planet thinks Paypal offers "products." they have an entire department, probably 100-strong, of people who spend 40-100 hours a week trying to make you and me believe that they do. They do not. Paypal is a replacement for a functional banking system, it serves no other purpose and nobody wants it to. If we could do wire transfers without paying $15 and exposing ourselves to inexplicable levels of risk, Paypal would go out of business overnight.

Nobody cares about Paypal's "products," and nobody cares about Patreon's "service" or "features", and maybe .01% of Photobucket's users actually thought it was a social network. The rest needed a place to dump a jpeg in order to shove it onto a forum, in an era when webhost disk space cost noticeable money.

Nobody wants these things to exist. Nobody wants them to have brand names. Nobody wants to go to "Patreon" - we just want to give people money regularly. That is not a product. That is a link in your bank's website that says "scheduled transfer", which for some reason no American is allowed to have.

All these companies absolutely hate that this is what they are to us. Patreon was not created in order to send people money regularly. It was created to become another Fucking social network, because there is no other perceived method of making Infinitely More Money Every Year with a website.

I think that's why all these services have a big internal piss fit, about once every three years, which prompts them to search for the only features people are using, and try to get rid of them - essentially out of spite.

Patreon recently did a Great Big Redesign. They probably spent the last nine months paying fifty programmers to do this, but:

A) It looks exactly like the old one. I can't tell what they changed other than element borders.

B) There is no force on the planet that could make me actually look at the Patreon website for more than the length of time it takes me to copy out a list of patrons to put in a video, click the "pay out" button, or find out what my current income is.

Those are the only reasons I ever went there, and while they can't remove the list of patrons or the payout button, they can and did remove the gigantic banner that has always been on the home screen that says how many patrons I have.

I never gave One Shit about their dumbass analytics, the only number I ever looked at was how much I'm making, and I think they know that, and I think they removed it on purpose because they have no other method of making me stay on their awful website for more than eight seconds.