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Flashback

It's hard to imagine I started this blog 10 years ago.
It was the weekend of Martin Luther King holiday, and all the dormitories were empty then — everyone had gone home for the long weekend. The weather was cold, and I was suffering from the worst fever of my life. I had back spasms; it hurt to stand up or to lie down and my whole body was trembling non-stop.
There, thousands of miles away from home, I seriously thought I was going to die.
I wanted to tell the folks back home of my plight, and instead of calling home, I decided to haul my very sick body on to my chair, learn HTML, and wrote my first blog entry. The first design had notepad lines and was adorned with animated Calvin and Hobbes gifs.
Blogger hadn't existed yet, so we all coded our online journals by hand.
The seemingly stupid decision to craft HTML instead of seeing a doctor that day changed my life. More than the fact it led to my current profession, the small blog community was close-knit. Folks like <a href="http://nickpan.com/">Nick Pan</a> and <a href="http://jimmyliew.com/">Jimmy Liew</a> were my first comrades into the field of web standards. Nick's wife Pearl drew the most stunning illustrations at Pearlpan.com. <a href="http://dawnm.com/">Dawn Mikulich</a> had the most subtle and beautiful minimalist blog "A Life Uncommon". There used to be a young teenager named Sarah who always left comments of encouragement in my guestbook (we didn't have comments then).
It's really been a while, and we've lost a lot of great bloggers along the way.
The blogosphere feels different these days. You could say that the loud blaring voices of PR agencies killed what we had going. When blogs hit the mainstream, followed by social media, it heralded the end of the living room and ushered in the marketplace.
At the risk of sounding too geeky: I miss how real and authentic online connections used to feel.

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