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Jeff Clark

Jeff is one of those folks who I will probably never meet in the flesh. This is not a problem.

About you

What did you do before the Web?

By day, I was a caped crusader, making a different online virtuality a smoother place for research scientists and engineers to produce better living through chemistry. A career in information technologies since the early 70s helped keep me abreast of the remarkable enhancements to telecommuncations. These evolving breakthroughs paved the way for the Internet of today, and allowed corporations and companies to build worldwide networks of their own.

By night, I spent the first 20 years of my adult life trying to single-handedly keep Anheuser-Busch in business. When I finally realized they would probably do just fine without me, I succumbed to a few years of completely mindless television. Thank God the Internet saved me from becoming just another statistic in the scrap heap of push mass media.

How did you find the web?

I found it very tasty, thank you. Seriously, a growing interest in personal computing technology, and the budding graphical hyperlinked hypertext environment offered by the World Wide Web sucked me in like Jell-O through a straw. It was late 1993 and an early build of Mosaic found on a CD in the back of the "What Is the Internet?" book I purchased had me staying in the office long after the lights went out. I was simply mesmerized.

Why are you here?

Major changes in my real life away from the Net have made that question tougher to answer this year, but the short and sweet of it is ... because I can. Whether it be as a user or as a producer, the Web and the Net in general have become my media of choice. As a user, it is the first place I go for breaking news, information, and commentary I'm unlikely to find in the old "mainstream." As a web site producer, I'm here to share. I may not know much, but what I do know I freely offer to others. From my perspective, it's all about education, communication, and shared experience. It is exciting to participate in the first decade of this emerging tapestry.

Methods of production

What do you use to create your sites?

My modus operandi is rudimentary and very straightforward. I use a very basic text editor to manually type the HTML and content myself. When the notion strikes me, I will use Paint Shop Pro to create the occasional graphic, but I was absent the day they handed out artistic talent. A very dear friend (www.sweetaspirations.com) has offered her design expertise so I don't have to embarrass myself any more than I already have.

About the Web

What do you see as the greatest strengths of the web?

It is now, and it is then. If I need immediate information or entertainment, there are many options at my fingertips. Conversely, if I need research or historical information, the Internet and Web are the largest library yet known. As database storage and search capability continue to improve, the informational and educational possibilities, on demand, are boundless.

What do you see as the greatest dangers?

The simple virtuality of it all. We develop online relationships and expectations, but unlike real life, when we turn off the computer those interactions disappear. I worry we may raise an entire generation whose only communication skills are through the wires. Nothing beats a handshake, a smile, or a hug.

What would you say to folks who want to work the web?

Plunge right in. The only barriers to entry are those you set for yourself. The children of today are taking to this new technology, and using it, like my generation (I am 49) grew up with television. To those of my age group, or older, don't let the technology intimidate you. You really can't hurt or break anything. For the youngsters ... hey, you're already doing it better than me, so I should be listening to you. Run with your ideas. The Internet is the fastest, most convenient method yet for sharing what is in your brain with anyone who wants it.

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Jeff Clark
Jeff Clark

I'm not sure how I met Jeff, but I'm glad I did.

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