Arman's stuff
The end of an era

(Mon Mar 14 12:02:33 2011)

My list of webcomics is one shorter, today.

When I came to college in '99, one of the (many, many) new things I was exposed to was the Internet. It wasn't new to me - I frequently went to the library for no other reason than accessing the Internet - but it was suddenly "always on". No, don't worry, this isn't a story about how I got addicted to the Internet (no, really, I can quit anytime I want). No, this is about the end of an age.

With that always-on Internet available to me, I quickly jumped into some of the most useful aspects of it - I got a yahoo email address, downloaded some neat computer backgrounds, and started reading Userfriendly. Back then, Yahoo! email was about the best out there; Google was only a baby company, and gmail was years away. ICQ was still the most popular instant messenger. Pages were optimized for dial-up. Geocities was in its prime. Opera was still a for-pay browser.

Over time, though, everything changes; Yahoo! search dropped from #1 to barely scraping by. ICQ is still around, though I've not heard of it in ages. Geocities is gone; even dial-up is almost non-existent. Those old backgrounds I spent so much time on are lost, mostly. Opera is free. And Userfriendly? Well, a couple years ago, Userfriendly went from "a comic every day" to "a comic every once in a while" to, well, nothing but repeats. It's like Peanuts these days. And that is why this post exists; after almost 12 years of reading Userfriendly every day, I've dropped it off my reading list. It's... sad. Userfriendly was a part of my life all through college, almost from day one, and now...

Back in the day, UF was a bustling hive of geeks and nerds, both professionals and amateurs. I could ask for weird tech support (like how to turn two sound cards into a single 5.1 sound card, or how to install Linux on a DVD), I could make technical jokes that everyone understood... I was understood, at least in part. UF played a big part in my fascination with Linux, both in finding it and in using it. There were free games, and funny comics; I found the majority of the webcomics I read today from links on UF. There was the link-of-the-day, too; an always-changing burst of information. Userfriendly is how I got into Steampunk, and how I got a gmail account. Honestly, Userfriendly has impacted me fairly significantly over the years.

Now, though, there are no more new comics. The comics currently are messed up, and the site's creators are almost ignoring it now. The bustling social group of the early 2000s has become a tiny handful of people, there only for the social piece of UF - the only piece left. When the board went belly-up 10 years ago, there was a mad scramble to get it right; if that happened now, I have the feeling it would just be left that way. I don't have the time to hang out on a message board all day, and thus, Userfriendly has dropped off my list of links. It's not like I don't have other webcomics to read, or social circles to hang out in; I can't even say I've even kept up with the culture of Userfriendly much for the past 5 or 6 years. I doubt anyone will notice I'm gone, to be honest. But at the same time... there are a lot of things about UF that I'll miss.

I think the saddest part is that the bits of UF that I'll miss have been gone for quite a while already.

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This blag is tagged: College, Geek, Internet, Links, Userfriendly, Webcomics, All