Sunday, February 19, 2006

Blogs, Blogging, XML, ATOM, RSS explained in simple Words.

I spent the last days several hours on a very comprehensive post about Blogs, XML, ATOM, RSS, Readers and Syndication / Aggregation, basically about the whole thing that is related to every day Web Feeds (more or less).

It's the serious attempt to explain the whole thing to normal people who use the internet, but don't know and don't care how the things work on a technical level in the background.

The trigger for me to write the Article was the request of a Business Partner to explain to him what all this is. He did not understand what posting in a "Blog" makes it different than posting a News via a proprietary CMS tool on one of our Websites.

I think he gets it now. I hope you too.

Here is the Link to the Article: Blog: Blog, Atom, RSS, XML and Syndication/Aggregation ! ?

Don't be shy to comment it. Positve or Negative.

Carsten Cumbrowski a.k.a. Roy/SAC

Saturday, February 11, 2006

How things happen such as this Blog

It is sometimes funny how things happen in life and take unexpected turns, trigger a chain reaction you did not expect to happen when you started something for a complete different reason. Exactly this happened when I did the redesign of my families Homepage between Christmas and New Year.

It was only a single page with a family photo, Family Members Names and contact Information plus some text talking a bit about me, my move to the United States and my private business Venture I decided to create a separate page for every member of the family including a page just about me. I put on my page the content I already had and started extending it a bit to include more about my past and the time when I was still living in Germany.

My time as ASCII & ANSI Artist with the pseudonym "Roy/SAC", my BBS Closed Society suddenly came back into my mind. It was back then "my life" and not just a "hobby". I was very serious about it and dedicated not only the biggest piece of my spare time for it but also a big chunk of my income as student and later salary. I realized that this was a topic I should create at least one page just for itself. So I started one at which was moved to its own website in 07/2006 to (edited 12/2006)

When I started writing the content, talking about people, groups and locations a began to do searching for them on the Net to see if I can find useful related stuff, Screenshots, Dates etc. and also to see what people I knew from back then are doing today. It was all very interesting and exiting. A trip back in time bringing back more and more memories. The dedicated Page became oviously a bit bigger than intended.

Since the Internet and how to make other people that are interested find your stuff was nothing new to me did I start looking for appropriate places to get a link added to my new Page that I did not have to wait that mighty Google will be so kind to add it to its index in 3-6 months, maybe.

I started at Wikipedia because somebody already created an entry there about "my" Group Superior Art Creations.

Heck, I was the founder of it so I had no problem to add a Link to the me, the Founders Homepage there. I also updated the content of the Wikipedia entry with some information that were missing. I also updated Topics like "ASCII Art", "ANSI Art", "Bulletin Board System" and "Computer Art Scene". I was amazed about the Amount of Inforation already collected and provided by Wikipedia. New sites like Wikipedia which are based on "folksonomy*" are a great thing because its a living thing created by millions of people and not a "Algorythm" based or "Business" driven collection of information.

* Folksonomy - "a portmanteau word combining "folk" and "taxonomy," refers to the collaborative but unsophisticated way in which information is being categorized on the web" (from Wikipedia).

I then turned to DMOZ (OPT or Open Directory Project). I made only bad experiences with them in the past when it came to register my commercial website projects because of the general hate of most DMOZ Editors towards anything that smells like commerce and marketing. I felt more confident this time, because my page was as NOT commercial as one can be.

I registered the page at the "ASCII Art" category at DMOZ and got surprisingly fast a response back from the editor responsible for this category with the name "shedragon" and real name Laura. "Where is the ASCII art?" was the question. I only had some thumbs with links to the bigger image of ASCII & ANSI "Screenshots" on my page until then and responded that to Laura (who probably had images turned off when browing my page). I also added some real ASCII's of mine to the email to prove that I know what I am talking about and do know my stuff when it comes to ASCII, something I took great pride in and nothing to fool around with.

We began an email conversation about ASCII in general. She was doing some ASCII herself but was involved in a different area of the Text Art Scene than I was. I was active in the what's called "Underground Art Scene" and she in the more "public" Scene with known Spokespersons like Joan G. Stark and others. Those email conversation made me extending the content of my page to talk also about the "Underground Art Scene" in gerneral and their distinct styles which differ significantly from the styles of the public Text Art Scene due to the different applications of each type of Art. She added my Page eventually to the Artist Category, which is a subcategory at /Arts/Visual Arts/ASCII Art/Artists/

I went of to spread the knowldge about Underground Text Art and created a Lense dedicated to it at Squidoo which allows people to create "Lenses". Lenses are "one person's (lensmaster's) view on a topic he cares about. More specifically, a lens is a single web page filled with information and links that point to other web pages, to continually updated RSS feeds, or to relevant advertising. It's a place to start, not finish. (from"

I also put Art Examples up at Flickr, a great place where you can store pictures for free and make them available to be searched for and looked at by anybody if you want to.

All this activities drove of course some highly targeted traffic from people intersted in ASCII Art and people that where active in that Scene as I was. This was great, because this was the original intention and purpose of the whole thing. I got an email one day from Christian Wirth with subject "so..." and one sentence without introduction or signature "you do realize, that you live like 60 min from me now.".

I was thinking "who is this?" and checked the email header in Outlook. Sender Email: Radman, the Founder of the fellow and biggest underground Art Group ever called ACID - Ansi Creators In Demand ( I did not realize that he was living in San Jose (2 hours from where I am living now btw. hehe). We only had brief communication before once, years back on the IRC (Internet Relay Chat). We planned to get personally in touch when I get to go to San Jose or if he passes by Fresno one day. I am already looking forward to this. It's always a good thing to be able to share memories with people who experienced the same thing and treasure those memories as much as you do.

All this eventually made me start this blog and I hope that this blog and my Site will allow me to connect to more and more people from the past who I mostly only got to know by their nick name and never met in person and outside the activities of the "Scene". I also hope this will help me to re-connect with friends in Germany and Europe I actually did meet and got to know personally more or less well.

cu around
Carsten a.k.a. Roy/SAC

Note: Updated 12/22/2006 - Moved Site mentioned and links fixed

Friday, February 10, 2006

And I got to write something anyway

At least I was able after the downtime of bugger to write a rather long post for Blog today.

I wrote about the facinating effects and aftermaths of a typical american holiday and the consum rush that goes right along with it.

I spelled out my theory about the whole thing.
Anybody who has or thinks he has some inside knowledge and wants to share it is herby invited.


Blogger, Bugger?!

Blogger was down again today. That's now the second major disrution within one week.

Bummer ...

It made me even start posing stuff in other Services. Like the two posts here which I posted at Rapid Feeds to check their service and also did have the urge to write someting, ...

... because that is the whole purpose of having a blog right? Blog Disrupted is down and causes some disruptions and design flaws on our Blog. It's still usable though because we host the content itself on our server...

Good that we officially launched our Blob today and submitted it everywhere. Not to mention all the changes made to the look and feel and settings.

I would be furious if this would be gone for good. Well, nothing I can do about it right now so I will use the time to introduce (CM) - Blog - CM is a Comparision Shopping Search Engine and Directory. We list Hundreds of Merchants, Millions of Products and Tons of Coupons, Deals and Specials. Resources, News, RSS Coupon Feeds and Deal Alerts via Email, Promotional Newsletter and more.

Private Blog also Affected
My private Roy/SAC Text Art Blog is affected the same way by the fact that is down. They had problems this morning already and showed errors. I made changes to the blog which were fine first and then suddenly reverted as if somebody restored content from a backup or archive. I hope they will be up soon.

The Blog was also Launched today (Lucky timeing I guess) and I am glad that I enabled the FTP Feature to get the HTML and XML Atom Feed send to our Webserver. Some Stuff used in the Blog Pages are still supposed to be provided by and is the Reason for the weired look and behaviour of some area of my Blogs.

..... ... or ...!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Sample ANSI and ASCII Screen Shots

Here are two sample screenshots of my work to give you an idea what you are dealing with here. One is an ASCII (in "Block" or "High" ASCII Style) and the other a classic BBS ANSI. Between the 2 passed almost 8 years, most of it dedicated to SAC. I produced all in all over 700 pieces of ASCII, ANSI and VGA Art between 1992 and now.

Deviance NFO File Ascii Logo (2002)
I created this ASCII in 2002 after I retired from SAC. I used to play HOMM3 (Heroes of Might and Magic 3) a lot and Deviance released HOMM4, the sequel which I appreciated very much and decided to do an Ascii for them, because I did not like the one they used for the HOMM4 release. Since I did not have any active contacts with the "scene" delivery of the Ascii became somewhat of a problem. I am not sure until this day, if they ever got it or not.
My pre-ordered copy of HOMM4 arrived a few days later via mail which I sadly never played as much as the previous Version. HOMM5 is coming out soon and I might get to play that one a bit.

Skylight BBS Ansi Logo (1994)
I created this ANSI for my friend and fellow Sysop Gee who operated the BBS called Skylight in Berlin/Germany. I did not founded SAC yet (happened a few months later), which is the reason why the ANSI is not signed Roy/SAC, but Roy/TRSI-Faith of which I was a member of at the time. Although it's one of my older ANSI's, it's still one of my all time favorites.

I did spend a lot time on it and also revised it multiple times. It was also a bit of an experiment for me, because it was not a "classic Roy Style" ANSI. The burning dot of the lower-case "i" became a motive I would re-use in various other ASCII's and ANSI's, but it was this ANSI where I used it first.

You might wonder why the 2 examples posted first in this blog are each from a time outside of SAC. I have to tell you, that I realized that after I posted it. The Text to the samples did I add at a later time, when I realized who this post with just the images was looking like in the RSS Feed of the Blog. Well, It got me thinking. I will let you know, if I find the answer .... :)

Friday, February 03, 2006

1st Blog entry. An Introduction is in order

"Who the heck is Roy? What does SAC stand for? and last but not least, What has ASCII to do with Art?" ... Well, you are still here so I guess you will find out :)

SAC was part of the Underground Computer Art Scene during the time of DOS and BBS's.
SAC is short for Superior Art Creations and yes, I came up with this ingenious Name in 1994.

It's about TEXT Art, also known as ASCII and ANSI Art, a very rare form of ART which had it's prime in the early 90's before the realm of the Internet. People that knew how to operate computers well and even loved it were still considered "Geeks" and the stuff on the mind of those geeks were things like Hacking, Phreaking, Anarchy and Warez ;) (then Girls).

I officially retired from the Founder/Leader position in 1999 and as Member on 7/6/2001.
The offical SAC Website moved from to (still under construction though).

My official Homepage is located at

All SAC Art Packs can be downloaded there, also all PPE's (PCBoard Bulletin Board Scripts) developed by SAC and PNS, graphical tools and more.

Tons of related links and merchandising you can not find everywhere as easily and condensed in one place which is also highly related to computer art and design is showcased and last but not least an article about The 3 ASCII Art Styles of the Underground ...with screenshots to illustrate it.

Well, I guess plenty of reasons to stop by one time when you have a minute.

Cheers, Carsten Cumbrowski a.k.a. Roy/SAC