end of an era

After much frustration with Outlook and the university's mail server, I bit the bullet and moved to manage my work email via Gmail. It wasn't until I made the switch that I realized an era has come to an end: no more will I hear Strong Bad announce the arrival of new mail with "Oooooooh, electronic mail." I can't recall exactly when I set that as the notification but I'd guess it was 2004 - seven or so years of hearing it ring through the house and having to explain it to colleagues and students who happen into my office.

In the event you were napping through most of the early-aughts, here's a quick rundown: Homestar Runner is a site composed of Flash-based cartoons set around the wacky antics of a handful of main characters, the core of which are Homestar Runner, Strong Bad, and the Cheat.

The core content was regular (weekly for a good while) updates of "Strong Bad Email" where Strong Bad would respond to a viewer email. The cartoons typically contained hidden content which you could find by hovering your mouse over the page and waiting for the pointer to turn to a hand. Over time you could begin to guess where they might be with some accuracy but not all were easy to find.

Longer cartoons were posted here and there with the regular Halloween and Decemberween (Christmas). The site also contained a collection of games. They were typically homages to older arcade style games, text-based adventure games, and the screen-based adventure games. For the retro-gamer, these are worth checking out.

Overtime live action elements started appear. There is a series of puppet shorts, live-action shorts, and guest appearances.

There is plenty to be said about Homestar Runner but it's a lot more fun to just visit site and see the hilarity it has to offer. The site is still there and updates still seem to be occurring but with less frequency.

For a little bit of what's behind the curtain here's a short interview with the creators:

Back to the point: I feel the need to replace the notification with something equally as classic. The constraint now is that it needs to make sense on my phone. The Strong Bad bite is just too long for that platform.

-- Hal

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