I've owned my last name as a domain for a long time now.
It was the summer of 1994, I believe. Maybe 1995. Either way, I was a Lab Assistant at Florida State University responsible for collecting student IDs for admission to the Windows Lab in the Rovetta Business Building (not to be confused with the serious labs of Unix machines over in the Computer Science building).
Everything in that lab, from the software to the network access, was locked down by our IT department. Even with all these controls in place, some joker pulled up images from an issue of Playboy on one of the monitors. A small crowd of nerdy college guys gathered. Was this kid some super hacker? How did he get that image into our secured network?
His answer was simple and mind blowing.
"I just typed in the address into this new Mosaic program. It shows inline images."
Whoa. Someone figured out how to make Lynx, the text Internet browser we'd all used, display images like a book or, in this case, magazine. That, I thought, was going to be big.
We spent the next hour trying every major brand we could think of, from Ford to GE to Coca-Cola to other colleges. This was groundbreaking stuff. Like CompuServe or Prodigy, but with photos. Cool.
Some conversations that day and in the days to come I'll never forget. It was a new age that had its defining technology. What became very simple and commonplace was knowledge of only a few technical elites then.
How do you make an image in a format this new page browser can display? Who on campus has a web-connected server students can access? Where can we find this markup code? Does anyone think Windows can host a webpage or are we going to have to mess with the command-line systems across campus?
Then, of course, was the conversation about domain names.
"We should buy some of these names. People will probably want them."
"Dude, its $35 per year, per name. You can take an entire class this term for like four names. Where are we going to get that kind of money?"
"Yeah, that's true, but I at least want my last name."
Loans.com sold a few months later for $2 million. Other words went for similar money. Pets.com and the Super Bowl sock puppet happened. But then again, the family of Ponce de Leon didn't buy land in Florida either. So it is.
But I still have DeSetto.com. The site has been a hodgepodge of ideas over the years. Its been home to a college resume, animated cartoons, a few graphic design and Flash portfolios, my consulting firm (DeSetto Interactive Group LLC ran from 2001 to 2011 and used this domain for a few of those), project files for my first book in 2002, a sample chapter of my second book, and now this.
Whatever this is. I'm not sure what it is yet.
The past 14 months have been the first since 1999 I've not been in business for myself, or at least freelancing. Creating a new site with no clients in mind, and therefore no intended audience, is challenging.
So far, you can read some of my work for Paybefore, an industry magazine that hired me to write a column on mobile payments. Or you can check out Deep Left Center, my cartoons. Soon I'll be adding Espressoism, my digital art series made from coffee grounds.
Or just say hello.
Hi. I'm Joseph DeSetto, an author and artist that's been in technology from the early days of the web to the heyday of Flash to the mobile app revolution.
Read some of my recent work for Paybefore, an industry magazine that hired me to write a column on mobile payments.
In the mood for a laugh? Check out Deep Left Center, my cartoon series.
Or explore my last book,
The Business of Design.