In my first day online, only hours after connection, I stumbled on Talk City - more specifically chat.talkcity.com, port 6667, room CityDownUnder, which was a new chatroom at the time. I got along famously with the folks there, and had a ball, totally forgetting all about surfing the internet on that day. Then, within just a couple of days, I noticed some talk about IRC chat tools. They were kind of a new thing at the time, so my new online friends and I would share the ones we found. With my wanting to know how all these "things" came to appearance on the 'net, it wasn't long before my WebTV Favorites Folders were full. A friend of mine, who was also new to WebTV's "Newsgroups", encouraged me to become familiar with one of the very first (computer blocked) HyperText Markup Lauguage Newsgroups,and with Draac's HTML School to build a page about chat tools for the use of all our other friends.
Just what did you first create online with your newfound website building skills? It wasn't long before I basically understood what I was doing and released a website list of IRC Chat Tools. I didn't know at the time that there was only a couple of other webpages out there similar to mine, and my page of tools seemed to spread around like wildfire, even with me doing no advertisement whatsoever for them. In a short time, I became very bored with that first webpage. At that time, we didn't have cut and paste, and it was very tedious getting those URLs right all the time.
So, your very first webpage was for helping others make their own Chatrooms. Let's tell our readers what brought about your interest in real-audio, and what now well traveled website resulted from your next foray into sharing with others? About that time (mind you, I had only been using WebTV for about a month), I noticed one of the Chat tools I discovered had some links to songs on them that weren't midis, but I didn't know what they were. I fiddled around with the URL's a little and found my first real-audio source at Veronica's - which is still one of my favorite sources.
Within a few days, and with my Chat Tools List being at Geocities, I had opened an account with Angelfire to begin a totally different project. Plus, I was just learning the transloader, which was also new, and wanted to understand its functions from more than just one homepage provider. It was at Angelfire that I began creating the first home for Interludes. It was very basic, with few images and only about 40 songs, but again, the page spread like wildfire, getting about 60,000 hits by the end of February 1998 - which amazed me, because I didn't have any idea how many WebTV subscribers even existed at that time.
And your computer? What are your plans for internet use there? Will you continue to be a supporter of WebTV use, as well as learning and working with your computer? I have only had my computer since early February, and it is a very new and exciting world to me. Luckily, much of what I needed to know I learned while on WebTV, but some things seem so completely foreign and there are many imaging programs I wish to learn yet.
I do know that whatever it is that I decide to create in the future, whether it be via PC or WebTV, I will always be sure to make it geared toward the WebTV users. It seems that too often, the best things pass us by and we have to make do with what we can. If I am at all able to, I am determined to be sure that whatever I learn via PC will somehow be adapted to sites and tools that can make WebTV website building easier and more fun.
Back to a bit of the begin for your interest in real-audio, where had you first seen a real-audio website, and what, or who inspired you into the creation of Interludes, and where have you moved Interludes to since its beginning? I began posting in the Talk City alt.discuss groups quite a bit, and at that time I was learning more about newsgroups and newsgroup proposals. Eventually, news:alt.discuss.real-audio was created - no, it wasn't proposed by me, and I can't remember exactly who had originally proposed it, but it evolved from the collaborative efforts of a handful of interested people - most of whom have since moved on to computers. (Lately the real-audio newsgroup has been flooded by a troll, and not wanting to be a part of it, I have avoided the place. Though I will poke my head in once in a while just to answer questions when I am able, and to offer new soucres when I find them.)
Soon what was then the "new" real-audio newsgroup attracted even more new people, and we all began posting our sources. Eventually, I met up with some talented folks like Chino2, who is the only other Real-Audio site owner I know of that has been around as long as I have, although neither one of us knew about the other's endeavors until the newsgroup began - it is still undetermined to this day who of us two has been around longer, not that it matters, and it seems we both began around New Years 1998.
In the summer of '98 the newsgroups were all buzzing about a new "Maxcafe" homepage provider, who was offering a then unheard of site space of 10 megs, and Star Blvd. transloading support. I jumped at the chance to move there, and eventually rebuilt Interludes there. Then the unthinkable happened at Maxcafe just a few months later. In late October they closed up shop without letting anyone know, and without answering anyone's emails. I was livid! I had no backup! I mean, it was hard enough getting everything to Maxcafe in the first place, and who ever thought it would go down while still known as "new"?
I pouted and complained for about a week and then decided I wasn't about to go down without a good fight - us Irish are ornery that way. A skeleton of the site went up in November of '98 on Xoom, and it took another good month to have all of the content back up, but it wasn't long 'til that one went down, too. But I wasn't at much of a loss, as I had been smart enough to back it up on WBS (Go.com) this time. I opened Interludes on WBS, but I noticed people were getting a little annoyed with keeping up with my changes, so in May 99 I bought the domain name "maidmarian25.com" so that no matter where I was hosting the site, Interludes could always be found. It was a good move too, because not long after my WBS site went down, I had to open my backup site on Tripod...eventually settling in Geocities - for the time being.
In the year 2000, what will happen with Interludes now that you are on a computer, and what will be, or what are now some different "Maidy endeavors" online? Well, since I have finally gotten a PC - yes, I enjoyed the internet enough to buy one - I have been able to backup my site thoroughly, via hard drive and floppy disk, and I plan to soon move the site from Geocities to its proper domain, where remote linking will be possible once more. I am also hoping WebTV will keep their word and offer its subscribers G2 support, at which time I plan a total overhaul on the site.
My most recent endeavor has been the CityDownUnder Newsletter, which I was announced as Editor for in February. Along with a small, but creative staff, we have just released our March Newsletter - it is by no means of professional quality, nor was it meant to be, it is more a reflection of the diverse crowd that makes CityDownUnder what it is. I have great plans for the newsletter in the future, now that I have obtained my computer.
When we "email-talked", one of the questions you had asked was "where do my WebTV and computer interest lie"? I think that's an interesting question. I never meant to create such a well known site as Interludes, I simply found something and wanted to share it, it's just a plus that I thoroughly enjoy all genres of music and that's probably what keeps me going.
Explaining the concepts of how to obtain sources and then navigate the sources for real-audio files is a rather elaborate one. Most people understand that using real-audio is a form of bandwidth theft, however, with the main sources that my site uses and that we "pioneers" of real-audio use have discovered, this really isn't so.
Through a first generation WTV Classic since the last WNI upgrade, it now seems that most real-audio is still choppy and poor sounding. But the unit no longer freezes up entirely, there is just an annoying bit of "time-trouble" getting out of an email that carries real-audio, and when stumbling on a real-audio laden newsgroup post, there is little navigation trouble at all experienced, can you explain why? Real-audio is brought to your unit in "packets" of sound. If there is internet interference, server trouble, or if your unit is also trying to load a large file like an animated image at the same time, then the music will sound choppy and distorted. In my opinion, real-audio files do not belong in email or posts in the auto-started format. Out of courtesy for the people reading your post or email, you should make the file clickable to avoid any trouble with the recipient's unit. It seems that the lower the recipient's connection speed, the more trouble their unit has accepting the file. My WebTV unit is a Phillips Magnavox Classic that seems to run at, or above 31200bps most days, and I have little trouble accepting real-audio.
Can you explain to readers real-audio actually is, how it differs from midi sounds, and what G2 means and how the WebTV browser being (one day) equipped with it will cause changes to need to be made to Interludes? Real-audio 3.0 is the ability to play files delivered via Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). What this means is that streaming audio can be delivered in the same manner as a gif or text file. Once you have created your .ra file, you would create a text file with the extension .ram. In this text file, you would make a reference to your .ra file, refered to as a pnm strip, so that the server can serve it. On your web page, you would reference the .ram file, NOT the .ra file, i.e., http://yourdomain.com/path-to-file/file.ram. If you reference the .ra file, it will download completely to the client system before playing. The .ram file is the one that facilitates streaming audio. If WebTV units supported RA 5.0 or higher, we would not need the extra step of the .ram file, we would be able to access the file straight from its .ra location. When WebTV finally supports G2, then real-audio sites like mine will be able to access and use many more sources, while still making available the files we use now. Midis are a totally unrelated format.
Maidy, Webmistress at Interludes, let's tell readers just a bit of your own, of Diane Doran's personal "real life" history, how 'bout it? Quite by accident, I was born in Vermont, and it really is the only time in my life I have ever been early for anything! I was raised in Galway, Ireland for most of my pre-adolescent life. When I was 13 my family moved to Florida and I have been here ever since.
I am a 27 year old Mum of three daughters (ages seven, four and two). I have had several different and exciting, yet short lived, career choices in the past, including having been the Assistant Performing Arts Director for a local community college, a modern tap and jazz teacher for 10-12 year olds, and I have also given time to professional cheerleading and modeling - which really isn't all its cracked up to be. These days, due to some health issues, I do not work as vigorously as I once did, but I was lucky enough to have had medical transcriptionist training - a course I took while getting my AA degree at the community college where I also worked.
For part of 1997 I worked for a local hospital transcribing patient files, where I happened upon the fiction writing of one of the doctors, quite by accident one day, and took editing his work upon myself as a project. He suggested that I put my talents toward better use, and soon thereafter I was editing medical journals. By midspring of 98 I was doing some freelance work for many different organizations and doctors wishing to publish medical research documents. My work allows me to work when I want to, and spend ample time home with my children.