Eightball and Thundercloud's RANT

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Our Little Rant by Eightball & Thundercloud
From InfoAve Premium Issue #104 (Second Anniversary Issue)
October 14, 2005
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As we enter the third year for InfoAve Premium, I thought it might be fun to look back a few years and give you some insight as to how InfoAve Premium came into being and even more than that tell you all a little bit about Cloudeight and how it all started for us. We'll cover a little history, philosophy, and some wishful thinking as we look back over the years on the second anniversary of InfoAve Premium.

It was about this time of year in 1998. Eightball and I were toying with the idea of starting a Web site. A dream of sorts I guess. We just wanted to have something to do as a hobby, more or less. We both loved computers and we were doing a lot of computer repair work at the time. We spent most of our free time on the Internet learning new things and browsing through all the new software that came out almost every single day.

In those days, freeware was really free and spyware/adware were unknown. The Web was full of altruistic idealists who freely shared what they knew and what they had. 1998 was one of the golden years of the Internet. Big money was slow to catch on to the potential of the Web and looked down upon us "netizens" as curiosities rather than as prey. 1999 "the boom" year would be the beginning of the end of the non-commercialized World Wide Web and we were reveling in our own innocence.

We began a project in October 1998 called "Thundercloud & Eightball's Christmas Graphics" (which you can still view I think). We spent every free hour on it. We used to come home and email each other and say "Oh wow! We had 25 people at our site today". I think the day we broke 100 hits was the one I remember most. We weren't interested in money. We just wanted to know that someone actually came to look at what we'd done.  It was a time of learning, of excitement, and of innocence. And, I really believe we both long to get back there again, although the Web environment these days makes that difficult to do. Just to survive on the Web is a struggle, to excel is a terribly difficult challenge. Big money means big competition. It's hard to compete against billion dollar companies with Ivy League-educated, raised-on-the-Internet executives who are trained in how to extract money from the masses better than anyone. Most recently these people have learned to pander "freeware" that isn't free, and deceive the masses with elegant, even "cute" lies. "Truth In Advertising" laws don't apply to the Internet for the most part, and these well-educated, well-heeled, young executives are well acquainted with walking the fine line between truth and lie. Their only concern is their career and their companies' only concern is the bottom line. The masses remain mere prey for the predators. And this has ruined things a little bit for us because we do offer over 5000 really free downloads. But the wizards of Wall Street and their slick cronies in the Internet business have virtually ruined the word and the meaning of the word "free". Now when you say something is "free" people raise their eyebrows. Well, it's good in a way. It's sometimes hard to tell the sheep from the wolves especially when the wolves are wearing sheep costumes.

Let me digress, you know how I am by now. I am easily off on tangents.

Around Christmastime, 1998, Eightball sent me an email using scrolling stationery. I had never seen anything like it before. I wanted to learn to make it. So we spent hours and hours and hours learning how to make scrolling stationery for email. The tiling technique was the most difficult aspect of it to learn but we learned the art of tiling and set off to create "Cloudeight Stationery" in January 1999. We opened the site on January 29, 1999. And the rest, as they say, is history. Or is it? (If you're really interested you can see what Cloudeight Stationery looked like in November 1999..that's the oldest archived copy left on the Internet.

Fast forward: In September 2003 we came up with the idea for InfoAve Premium. We wanted to bring our down-to-earth style and casual approach to computer to a new "E-Zine" disguised as a newsletter. We knew it would take hours of time each week to prepare such a diverse publication. And we didn't want it despoiled with advertising. We wanted it to be our premiere newsletter, as good as we could make it. However, again, money got in the way. It costs a lot of money to send newsletters these days. You have to have a newsletter hosting service, basically to assist with domains who simply refuse email newsletters from many sources. The question was how could we afford to create and send a newsletter like Premium - not only the time it would take to prepare it but the money it would cost to send it, since advertising was not an option, we only had one choice. We thought maybe subscribers would actually pay a little to receive it and so we took a gamble.

All of you who subscribe to Premium showed us that there were people out there who cared enough to pay a little to get a lot. And I hope after two years of InfoAve Premium that you know that you get the very best we have, week after week and month after month. We put more hours into InfoAve Premium each week than we do into anything else on our site; we don't want you ever to think you're not getting your money's worth. And more than anything else, we want you all to know that we appreciate your faith in us. We're not going to let you down.

As we begin our third year, I'm sure you'll all see InfoAve Premium continue to evolve. We'll add features and change others, always keeping in mind that you paid to get the best we have and we'll continue you to give you the best that we have.

All of the content from InfoAve Premium's second year is now available in our new e-book. We've made this e-book better than any before because we've taken your comments and your suggestions and incorporated them into the new e-book's design. The result is an e-book that is truly easy-to-use and packed with useful, easy-to-find information. It's a handy reference tool for you and one you'll keep handy all the time.

I think I just wanted you all to know how much we appreciate the help you give us and to remind you too, that we are doing our very best to make InfoAve Premium the very best it can be. We look forward to a great third year and hopefully, Good Lord willing, we'll be sitting here this time next year, looking back over another year of InfoAve Premium and thanking you once again for all you do for us. Thanks to all of you for your encouragement and support.

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Opinions expressed herein are the opinions of the authors as individuals and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of Cloudeight Internet LLC, its hosts, or sponsors. These Rants are editorials and are,  therefore, opinions. All content is copyright 2005 by Cloudeight Internet LLC (all rights reserved)

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