The Sandoval Signpost (Web edition) is pleased
as punch (diet punch that is) to bring you the humor
and insightful human observations of Daniel Will Harris,
author of My
Wife and Times. —Ed].
The only constants
By Daniel Will Harris
I don't know about you, but I don't always
deal very well with change. You'd think I'd be used to it
by now. But sometimes it seems like there's more change on
the web in a month than there used to be in the world in a
We seem to think that more things are changing, faster than
ever. But 200 years ago Charles Dickens wrote "Change
begets change. Nothing propagates so fast." Around the
same time, Herbert Spencer wrote, "A living thing is
distinguished from a dead thing by the multiplicity of the
changes at any moment taking place in it."And over 2,500
years ago, Heraclitus wrote that "Change alone is unchanging."
And yet all this just reminds me that while the world changes
around us constantly, the way people think and feel really
doesn't change. I remember reading a letter sent 3,000 years
ago by an Egyptian teenager to his parents. It basically said,
"Having a wonderful time. Please send money and a new
pair of sandals."
So times change, but people don't.
So what does this have to do with the internet? You have
to remember that all this technology is for people. You're
a person (if not, then e-mail and tell me what you are). And
the people who visit your site are, of course, people (though
my pet chinchilla loves to browse the web, too; or at least
dance around on my keyboard). The people who are visiting
your web site want what people have always wanted.
They want their lives to be better. That's pretty simple,
even if there are now officially six billion different ways
to do that.
So this week we try to help you do better at making people
happy. Chuck Green (Mr. www.ideabook.com) starts his new column
"The Mix," which helps even the most graphically-challenged
understand how design works so you can make other people happy
with your site.
To make yourself (and the people you work with happier),
we offer part II of our popular "Getting what you want"
series, written by myself and my lovely wife, Toni. We've
worked freelance for years, so we've both had to learn how
to negotiate and write contracts. Now that your life may be
changing to the point where you have to do the same, you can
learn from our experience (and mistakes!).
One more quote and then we're done. "The lapse of ages
changes all things—time, language, the earth, the bounds
of the sea, the stars of the sky, and every thing 'about,
around, and underneath' man, except man himself." Lord
Byron, 1788–1824. (See, I'm not the only one who thinks
so; and although Sherwood Forest has mightily changed since
Byron's death, I highly recommend you pay a visit to his estate
there—it has a delightfully ancient grotto :)