Mix together a can of Mountain Dew, exploding strawberry Pop Tarts, lyrics to the "School House Rock" songs, and Felix the Cat pictures and you'll either get a sticky mess of fur, music, and breakfast food, or you'll receive an interesting glimpse of student home pages at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Both graduate and undergraduate students with majors ranging from mechanical engineering to English, express themselves on the fastest-growing form of self-expression on the World-Wide Web. Most student home pages, found under the "Individuals" section on the University of Colorado home page, are for fun, not research.
English literature undergraduate student Thomas Apodaca dedicates the majority of his home page, located at http://ucsub.Colorado.EDU/~apodaca/Home.html, to various pictures of the cartoon character Felix the Cat and to weekly movie reviews he writes for fun.
"I think a home page is a cool outlet for creativity," Apodaca says. "It's a lot of fun to make a home page and is interesting to see what people choose to tell about themselves, especially people you know." Aerospace engineering graduate student, Todd Arbetter agrees. "I decided to construct a home page because it is a simple way to get complete strangers to know selected quirks about me," Arbetter says. Arbetter's home page, at http://spot.Colorado.EDU/~arbetter/Home.html, has a selection of quirks that would interest any Internet junkie. Not only is there a link to all the lyrics of the "School House Rock" songs, but Arbetter also takes time to pay tribute to Spam, the Blues Brothers, and a picture essay of his "White Trash" roadtrip across America.
While some students make home pages to express their creative sides, others express their envious side.
"I decided to make my home page out of sheer jealousy of the other people who had pages that they were wasting by making links to other pages rather than adding new information on the Net," says physics graduate student Eric Leuliette. Leuliette's page, at http://spot.Colorado.EDU /~leuliett/Home.html, probably adds something to the Net that no other student would have attempted. Home page gazers witness a picture of Leuliette slowly morph into a picture of TV son of the 1970's Greg Brady. "I also have an HTML3 table of every book I've read since 1978, 1,033 and counting," Leuliette says. "My ambition is to win a spot on the Useless Web Pages list (http://www.primus.com/staff/paulp/useless.html)."
Another student who wants to add something new to home pages instead of a network of links is MCD Biology undergraduate student Christiaan van Woudenberg. Van Woudenberg's home page, at http://stripe.Colorado.EDU/~vanwoude/Home.html, not only has a section solely dedicated to Mountain Dew, but also has a body art page with very extensive viewpoints on piercing and pain. He also supplies a link for students wishing to know the current temperature outside the Engineering building.
Van Woudenberg, who has had 1259 visitors to his home page since March 20, 1995, says constructing a home page is "a good waste of spare time."
Aside from the unique subject matter students use on their pages, they also are experimenting with new techniques in hypertext markup language (HTML) formatting.
Chris Rice, a student in the SAVE program, uses software that creates a transparency effect to selected graphics and text to give his home page the look of a magazine. Rice's home page, at http://ucsub.Colorado.EDU/~ricecb/Home.html, also displays clickable graphics to reach information about his dogs and Boulder's mountain bike magazine, Velo News.
MCD Biology undergraduate student Eric Schaffner advises students who are just starting their own home pages to make them as user-friendly as possible. "Keep in-line graphics small so that your Web pages will be quick to load," Schaffner says. "It's also important to consider formatting your home page for text-browsers like Lynx, so that everyone can access pages easily."
Some of the interesting links on Schaffner's home page, at http://ucsub.Colorado. EDU/~schaffet/Home.html, include the Strawberry Pop Tart Blowtorches page and the National Center for Infectious Disease page. "One of my friends at Carnegie Mellon said writing a home page was amusing, so I decided to give it a shot," Schaffner says. "I'm glad I did."
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