004 · Low Tech
the newest solution isn't always the best
I ~ WHERE I AM
Hello! Glad you’re here again… and so soon! I’ve been living my life and leaning into the seasons getting warmer. I’m taking pleasure in little joys, like making homemade granola, chocolate covered bananas, and matcha taiyaki. Things are fun if you want them to be, and the best way to find out what’s fun is to do as much as you can!
Life really comes together through enrichment, finding small engagements that bring immeasurable delight. We see a lot of extremes in our world and are often led to believe that if what we're doing isn't extraordinary, it's not worth doing at all. The truth is the extraordinary requires the mundane. Learning or trying something for yourself is essential for growth, or even stasis. I encourage you to either try something new, or do something for yourself that you know you enjoy, but have been putting off because it doesn't seem valuable or worthwhile.
For myself, I’ve been dedicating a healthy portion of my time to strengthening my HTML & CSS skills. This has been a ~2 decade on-and-off love affair for me, but it feels right to return to something so aligned and enriching. While I'm certainly not the best and I'm not planning on using it for any kind of capitalistic gain, it provides me happiness and that is enough.
II ~ THINKING... ONLINE
In learning more about how the web is put together, I'm coming across a lot of websites that are constructed with care. While I grew up in the nascence of HTML navigating hand-built Web 1.0 sites and early forums, the magic is completely lost in the modern era of templated website builders and monolithic social platforms.
While these tools make website creation an accessible utility, they take with them a margin of expression and diversity. I miss the old internet. I miss discovering websites built with purpose and being genuinely surprised at how someone styled & linked together their files. Nowadays my most exciting moments on the web are being mildly amused at how someone hacked their Squarespace template to look a little less like a Squarespace template.
I don't want to sound like a luddite, waxing poetic about long-forgotten "simpler days" while ignoring the convenience and progress brought about by modern technologies. Rather I see a place for both, and an importance in one perpetuating and evolving the other. Experience & design standards on the web can only be innovated by people getting their hands dirty and thinking intimately about their relationship to and positioning of websites.
I don't think the age of plain HTML & CSS websites is dead, rather I think we are living through somewhat of a resurgence of bespoke websites. Possibly in retaliation to the over-saturation of the ready-made web, people like Laurel Schwulst & Elliot Cost with their project HTML Energy are forging a space for independent website makers to recreate some of what was lost on the web.
This exploration has given me a real appreciation for what a miracle the internet truly is. The web design zeitgeist has been swept up in fancy templates and automations to the point where anyone can masquerade as someone with something important to say. Democratization of web tools is good for some reasons, but it's my hope that people will realize what a creative playground websites can be (not just used to be).
Here's an Are.na board I've started to put together of some of my favorite websites. Many of these were put together using only basic HTML files.
If you're interested in learning more about rudimentary web development, check out Codecademy's free courses!
III ~ CORE CONCEPTS
Plan less! Only so much can go to plan, and time often needs to coalesce outside of lists & schedules.
You can do whatever you want! As long as you're not hurting anybody, you can learn/eat/make/drink/read/write/do whatever you feel like.
Self-indulgence rocks! Selfishness has a dirty connotation, but taking interest and care in yourself is crucial to living your life and growing as a person.
IV ~ THINGS THAT MADE ME THINK OF YOU
✳️ LOW-TECH MAGAZINE ~ A really thoughtful publication dedicated to the idea that the best technology or solution is not always the newest or most “advanced”.
✳️ Glitch / Neocities ~ Two amazing platforms for building, hosting, and discovering websites. Pioneers in the space of making HTML fun & accessible for everyone, they’re a great starting place if you’re looking to host a website or even if you just want to browse others’ creations.
✳️ E-ink devices ~ I think e-ink devices are a crucial part of our future as ever-more-online beings. We’re starting to become aware of the harmful effects of blue light radiation, but luckily there is an e-ink equivalent to almost any screened device. I see e-ink as a boon to LED & LCD screens rather than a replacement of, and I’m currently daydreaming of my ideal e-ink device lineup.
V ~ CLOSING THOUGHTS
I hope you're doing well, and I hope you were able to get something out of my correspondence.
I hope you're able to do something for yourself that you've been putting off. I hope you're able to do it without feeling bad about yourself for even one second!
Let me know if you have any thoughts about what I said today, or if there's anything you'd like to see more of or less of. I think for now I'm trying to get these out every other Friday. Have a good two weeks!
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