About the Website
I've always has a website. I loved computers and everything about them. In 1986, at age three, I asked for my first very computer—"a typewriter with a screen," I called it. It was some kind of basic gaming system with a keyboard and a joystick that was hooked up to a small television screen. I upgraded to a Commodore in 1990. I played games on it until Carmen picked up an IT class at the now defunct ITT Technical Institute. I was nine years old, and I had just been introduced to DOS.
I immediately proceeded to crash my operating system. After my friend's father fixed it for me, I played around the system files with a bit more care. I discovered that, installed with the system software, was a word processor. It was a simple thing—yellow text on a black screen, bolding and italicizing capabilities, connectivity to printer—and it got me hooked on writing. I was going to a magnet school, though. They had the new Macs. Using those Macs, we could "telecommunicate" with other students across the globe, as if by magic, all by dialing up to Prodigy's servers.
I read about the Internet all over. During the 1990s my mother Carmen would take me to regular doctor's visits. While we waited for my name or hers to be called, I'd flip through the magazine articles on the ever-expanding information superhighway—"Cyberspace"—the "World Wide Web." By 1995 what I wanted most of all was to be able to get on the Internet from home. Carmen would buy it for me—all I had to do was get good grades. Done! In 1996 Carmen gave me my very first Macintosh computer. And it came with America Online.
A Breath of Fresh Air
It took me a few moments to find my first chat room. And not very much longer to find out that I could have a place on the Internet that was all mine. The software came bundled with America Online, and it allowed you to use a simple interface to build a small website. It was mostly text, although I can't remember what it was that I put online. Surely I had an "About Me" page. Maybe a rudimentary menu. I called it Burgos Online and played with my very first graphic design project—a logo for my new site. I used an old Macintosh word processor called ClarisWorks to make the image below.
Burgos Online was "published" to the World Wide Web on November 15, 1997. This is the day that everything changed for me. I found an outlet for my innermost thoughts—a place where I could be unabashedly me. During my high school years, having a website saved me. It was my most visible art. Renovating the entire site was always a fun challenge. Coding became a passion. My website became the purest expression of my artistic self. I still had to learn a lot about the world—such as that the initials B.O. are also a euphemism for body odor—and lot to learn about myself, all of which becomes evident as my website transitions to its next phase.
In 1998 I felt the first itch. Something needed to change. Radically. No longer bound by the safety constraints of America Online, a browser allowed me to explore the Internet in entirely new ways. Clients like IRC allowed me to join even more chat rooms. HTML wasn't all that difficult to learn, so I decided to give it a shot. I'd learned some tricks that I was ready to put to use. I found some free space on Xoom, an old webhosting platform coeval with Angelfire and Geocities, and planted my flag there.
Burgosian Innovations came online on September 15, 1998. Its full name was, in fact, Burgosian Innovations Online. "Online" because I think that America Online had inspired me with its imaginative name. "Innovations" because the words means "cool new thing" and it sounded cool. "Burgosian" because they're my cool new things. Mine.
I don't remember how I designed the Burgosian Innovations logo, but there it is above. I opted to repeat the logo over the left navigation menu because I was very proud of it. I thought it looked pretty slick. I also created menu buttons and started playing with more pictures. The initials B.I.—once again—failed to strike me as particularly problematic. I was only later informed that B.I. referred to a sexual orientation. I was only much later made aware that it referred to mine in particular.
The rest is history. Well, it's the history depicted below. I've been building on this document for a very long time, and I'm still debating with myself whether to edit it or to leave it as it is. I'll let you know what I decide.
At one time, JoNe was not just a website; she was a person. Not living nor breathing. She was a fictional personality, and she was hilarious in her sarcasm and disdain for me. I miss her sometimes, but times have changed, and that sort of humor no longer really strikes a cord with me. Still, she was the "host" of JoVo Nexus since its second incarnation, and that deserves some measure of respect. In honor of JoNe, let's take a moment of silence to ponder all that she did for us over the course of so many years.
Okay. Now that we've pondered and mourned the loss of a wonderful fictional character, let's continue with the history of JoNe.
In my early days on the Internet, before I learned the rules of coming up with a good online nickname, I turned my name backwards and called it a day. It wasn't long before I learned that AOL had this amazing series of tools to help you build your own website in your own little corner of the web. My own website? Awesome! I thought, and I got to work. I created Burgos Online on November 15, 1997. I made the logo for Burgos Online using an old word processing program for the Macintosh (back when it was still called that) called ClarisWorks. I thought it was amazing at the time. No one else had a logo all their own. I don't think I had the social awareness back then to recognize that Burgos Online shared its initials with the word “body odor.” Honestly, I don't think I'd thought of that before now.
I got tired of Burgos Online and proceeded to remake my website on September 15, 1998. This time, I placed my website on Xoom, an old website hosting service coeval with Angelfire and Geocities. I learned HTML and coded the website myself, for the most part. I was proud of it and, thus, named it Burgosian Innovations. In time, the site actually became the host for a Star Trek play-by-email role-playing game. I spent the majority of my teenage years growing and improving the website. I did many things with it, including place a little teddy bear in a box on the front page. It seemed appropriate at the time.
Check out that logo! The initials for Burgosian Innovations were, predictably, "BI," which led to many questions being asked about my sexual orientation. I heard the joke so many times that I considered changing the name of the website because, at the time, the jokes made me very uncomfortable. In retrospect, it's obvious why I was uncomfortable.
I spent a lot of time online in these days, because of which BI wound up having a lot of different features. Movie of the month, updates, academic help, advice columns, and so much more. The Star Trek RPG itself took up a very large part of my time. All the while, I was working on my International Baccalaureate diploma. I think at some point later in life I must have forgotten how to manage my time appropriately. Or I started needing sleep.
As a young geek who spent a lot of time online, I found myself a very nice girlfriend from Virginia named Emily. (If you're out there, <3.) I complained to her that I needed a new online nickname. Together, we came up with the name "JoVo," which fit me pretty well. Why the capital V? Well, this name was developed back in the days of the Internet when tYpInG eVeRyThInG oUt iN aLtErNaTiNg CaPiTaL aNd LoWeRcAsE lEtTeRs wAs CoOl. Ergo, JoVo. To this day "Jovo" just looks wrong to me. I see it spelled and the same bells go off in my head that tell me that "your" is not a contraction of "you" and "are."
On August 20, 1999, the newly christened JoVo created the website JoVo's Crib. You'll have to forgive this era of my life, when I was very susceptible to all of the latest Internet and paralinguistic fads. This website was notable for its use of an animated menu that changed when you moused over it, frames, and the first use of the symbol I named the "jovo." (I was only marginally narcissistic at the time; in fact, my self-esteem was no better than anyone else's.) The style was a little bit more streamlined, but I was still using Times New Roman, which I only ever use now when I'm writing academic papers. Otherwise, I avoid it like the plague.
JoVo's Crib would be the last website I ever made that did not have its own domain name. I still used Xoom, but I think that I must have been growing tired of the ugly ad bar at the top of every page. I started looking for a domain name and tried getting JoVo.net. At the time, that domain name was taken. But around the same time, the .cc domain name, officially the Internet country code top-level domain for for the Cocos Islands, was being heavily marketed. And it was cheap, which was an important factor for a teenager with a part-time job and a very small paycheck.
JoVo.cc was conceptualized on April 30, 2000, but it wasn't officially open for viewing until June of that year. Because I didn't have the money to buy my own webhost, the jovo.cc domain actually redirected to the website, which was presently being hosted by Yahoo! Geocities. This only lasted until October 2000, when an old friend of mine (and former online boyfriend) offered to host my website. He was the webmaster of Neo-Cam, which was a website devoted to him and his webcam. It sounds boring, but he was very attractive and therefore got a lot of views.
Notice how the logo now has a little star up at the top? I think that I was still using a word processing program for all my graphic design work. It was pretty awesome. This was also the first website I had that included a site map. Other websites I perused had sitemaps. They seemed important, so I wanted one. I even prominently displayed the link to the site map on the front page. That’s how excited I was about sitemaps.
I really wish that I still had access to the content of these websites. The links about Celebrities, favorite TV shows, and Miscellaneous "cool stuff" really piques my curiosity. And I have no idea whatsoever what I may have put in there. I’m just glad that at some point in the past I decided it would be useful to keep screenshots of my old websites. Otherwise, this whole page wouldn't even exist. I think that would’ve been a shame.
The Birth of JoNe
On September 30, 2001, I was in college, and my best friend Ariel had a website that had been designed for her by a friend of hers. I was naturally jealous of the design and decided that I could do better. So I started to conceptualize the website. One day later, after a long night of work (and avoiding homework), I completed JoVo Nexus version one. The website went online on the morning of September 30, 2001.
The first JoVo Nexus still used frames, which made it hard to link to specific pages without also including some complicated HTML code that forced a link to open on a particularly named frame. Frames were silly, cumbersome things, and I’m glad that for the most part they’ve been deprecated. Still, compared to the other websites I’d made, this one was awesome.
The "jovo" went away, replaced by something I called the "triforce." (I didn’t know at the time that The Legend of Zelda series had a similarly named object.) The triforce was formed out of the letters of my nickname: the right two sides of the triangle form the letter J, the outer circle forms the first O, the left two sides of the triangle form the letter V (albeit turned clockwise about 60 degrees), and the inner circle forms the final O.
The websites before JoVo Nexus attempted to have a professional feel, as if I was trying to mimic a company or organization of some sort. Consider the name "Burgosian Innovations." It sounds like an IT company working out of Silicon Valley. Instead, when I created JoVo Nexus I tried to effect a more personal style, including cursing and the use of "I" instead of, as I joke, the "Royal 'We.'" I followed that statement of purpose with the words, "It’s gotten old, as have I." Note that I was 18 years old when I wrote that. As I'm writing this I’m nearing 30, and I find that statement incredibly hilarious. I don’t even think of myself old now. Maybe that’s denial.
I usually call the first version of JoVo Nexus the beta version. It could also be considered the first version of JoVo Nexus, technically, but the concept of "versions" hadn’t yet been tacked onto the website.
Ariel and I decided in 2002 that we wanted to create a webcomic, and for that we needed a website that did a lot more than I could do with my knowledge of HTML. Consequently, JoVo Nexus was remade using the portal PHP-Nuke on the early morning of October 1, 2002. JoNe was now being envisioned as a community hub, with forums and a wide variety of features supported by a staff of inimitably creative volunteers such as Ryo, Bandit, and eventually EvilGodDude (obviously online nicknames). Ariel took care of a lot of the coding because at the time I knew almost nothing about PHP. Ryo made the logo, which is unfortunately the only part of that website that remains.
At the center of the JoVo Nexus community was JoNe, an imaginary artificial intelligence that served as both host and caustic comic to the community at large. The character of JoNe was based on Jennifer Mordecai, a major character and primary protagonist of Evanescent Spectra, the webcomic that Ariel and I were working on. She was an android housing the consciousness of a deceased human girl, and the story was largely based around her and her cohorts’ struggle between biologically or artificially programmed instinct and free will.
PHP-Nuke was more complicated than any one of us imagined. The code was clunky and buggy, and the impossible number of pages and database tables made the task of finding a missing apostrophe among thousands upon thousands of lines of code a grueling process. Then, PHP-Nuke and our webhost, Infinology, interacted to delete the entire website. Ariel was able to save the majority of the site by using forethought and the backup she had stored on her personal computer. We moved JoNe to a new webhost, Westhost, and started over. But the experience had soured our desire to continue working with PHP-Nuke. Ultimately, it was decided that we should do something entirely different.
The Many Faces of JoNe
I loved PHP. Losing a pre-made portal was sad, but it was more important to have a working website that didn’t require heavy fixes every few weeks. I picked up a few books at the Tulane University library and taught myself PHP, mySQL, XML, and CSS. With that knowledge in my back pocket, I began work on coding JoVo Nexus v2. On May 13, 2004, I uploaded the files I’d been working on and unveiled JoNe’s newest incarnation. With the magic of PHP include() paths, I was able to get rid of frames forever while saving myself the work of editing and re-editing headers, footers, and menus on each and every single page. With the addition of phpBB forums, the website retained its community feel without the bulkiness of PHP-Nuke. Finally, the triforce was mated with an ankh (representing my interest in Gnostic Christianity) to become the current JoVo Nexus logo: the crux ansata trismegistus, or triankh for short.
JoNe v3 was essentially the same as JoNe v2. Only a few structural changes were made, such as the layout of the News page, the addition of new Features, and the transfer of files from the Miscellany section to the Archives. I always enjoy Archives because I don’t like losing anything. This is when I started to keep full copies of old versions of JoNe as the website progressed from one version to the next. Some people are packrats in real life, storing large quantities of useless items they no longer need or have any use for. I suppose you could call me a digital packrat.
JoNe v4 appeared on May 11, 2005. It abandoned the simplistic design of JoNe versions 2 and 3 in favor of a more stylistic box design with outset borders. I really liked this version, and not just because my favorite number is four. Still, major issues cropped up. The boxes were made using <div> tags, which messed up the appearance of the website in Internet Explorer. At the time I highly preferred Mozilla Firebird, which was definitely the superior browser. It had no issues displaying the <div> tags as I’d coded them. Although I did my best to fix any compatibility issues, where uniformity among browsers was impossible, I chose to ensure that the design displayed properly on Firebird rather than IE.
In addition to the stylistic changes, some sections in JoNe v4 were condensed and others were expanded upon. At the time, I was working on various different projects and some, unfortunately, fell by the wayside. Evanescent Spectra, which Ariel and I had such high hopes for, was suspended. A friend, Jen, began hosting her comic Jeneral Stuff on JoNe. Suspended, cancelled, or abandoned projects were placed into the Archives section of the website. My own personal part of the site, which had until then been important to me, became less important and was moved down on the main menu. Some parts of JoNe v2 had been under construction for a very long time, and they were either moved to the Archives or were finally completed and made active parts of the website. JoNe v4 marked a revitalization of the website as a whole.
JoNe v4 eventually fell into disuse. Life changes led to many of the volunteer staff leaving, and the website ultimately fell into a deep slumber. The state that JoNe found itself in was partly due to the fact that I was busy working on a zombie movie project in Tulsa, Oklahoma, making it very difficult for me to continue updating the website. It was around this time that I stopped using the name JoVo and began using my real nickname online. Around this time also, Westhost upgraded their PHP code, which abandoned the use of global variables due to their being a high security risk. (Thanks go to Xian, Adrean's husband, for informing me of that.) In the process of updating the website’s code to match with the new version of PHP, largely thanks to Xian’s help, I found many other things worth fixing, and the entire design of the website started to change almost as a consequence of the code being updated.
All of this led to JoVo Nexus being almost entirely remade on June 15, 2006. JoNe V was born. The changes that came with the new version were immense. The code was highly streamlined and finally allowed the volunteer staff to post their own materials to the website without updating any files via FTP. This marked the beginning of my ability to actually develop web applications, allowing my friends to post their own news items, update their own comics, and making my personal use of an FTP client basically unnecessary. The website became incredibly simple to use and to keep up-to-date.
JoNe V was special because of the extent to which I began to focus on developing elegant code. I wanted to make my PHP as simple as possible, allowing the website to load quickly and seamlessly. I also went through all of my HTML code, forcing it to conform to the rigorous requirements of XHTML Strict. Because of the way the site became structured, I started using background images again. Using textures and Adobe Photoshop, I was able to make a very beautiful background that surrounded the main body of the website on both sides and that formed the background of forms throughout the website. It was beautiful, especially considering that I hadn’t used backgrounds on any version of JoVo Nexus since the end of Burgosian Innovations in 1999 (which had a textured background over black text that made it very hard to read). Finally, I used Dynamic HTML to code a drop-down menu along the top of each page that made navigation better than it had ever been before.
The Silent Years
In August 2006 I returned to New Orleans to finish my Bachelor’s degree. Then, in the summer of 2007, I got a job in New York City as a seventh grade math teacher. Traveling, busy schedules, and other factors made it impossible to keep up with website updates. Over time JoVo Nexus’s many features were no longer being updated, and the site fell once again into disuse. I moved back to Tulsa in 2008, and financial difficulties made it difficult to even maintain the domain name "jovonexus.net." In the end, nothing happened.
The desire to create a JoNe version 6 led me to work on a site that never came to be. It languished silently on a small folder hidden within JoNe and never materialized into anything.
In 2009, I became involved in another project called Gloomcorps. Gloomcorps was a gaming website where a volunteer staff composed of the members of my gaming group here in Tulsa (and a friend, Charles, who hailed all the way from Canada) worked to post movie, book, game, and music reviews; gaming tips and tricks; the curious findings of local paranormal investigations; and other creative works. It was an ambitious project that all of us were determined to turn into an unbridled success. We worked hard at it, to be sure, but ultimately creative differences, time management issues, and pressures to produce made it difficult for us to maintain our desire to keep the website going.
Still, the Gloomcorps project was a great experience. There were two versions of the Gloomcorps website. The first was based entirely on a modified version of the code used for JoNe V. There were few differences between the two sites aside from the color scheme and the logo. Our desire to allow for integrated forums and for users to be able to log in and post their own content led to my search for a portal interface that would allow me to rest my web development skills, since I no longer had the time to keep apprised of the rapidly changing trends in web programming languages. PHP-Nuke still exists, and it’s probably a lot better now than it was back in 2002, but my experiences with it made me unwilling to choose it again. At Xian’s recommendation, I tried to learn Drupal and Joomla but was disappointed with the fact that they were unable to do what I wanted them to do (or I had neither the time nor the interest to cajole them into doing what I wanted them to do). Then Adrean suggested WordPress. I was instantly hooked. It’s an excellent platform that starts simple and turns more complex with the installation of multipurpose plugins.
Most importantly, WordPress was easy to use and easy to teach, which was crucial since not all of my friends are initiated practitioners of the HTML arts. We published a great deal of excellent content and marketed our website on Facebook, Twitter, various gaming websites, and horror conventions throughout the state of Oklahoma. In the end, however, we learned that we had bitten off more than we could chew. We decided that we had had fun, but as the post shown in the picture above demonstrates, we ultimately decided to end the Gloomcorps experiment.
A Website Reborn
The end of Gloomcorps marked the beginning of new opportunities. The more Internet savvy among us started our own blogs. I had left JoNe alone for so long that I considered abandoning the domain altogether.
But I couldn’t. After 14 years, I couldn’t fathom not having a website. JoVo Nexus had been a fixture in my life for at least the past ten years. I suppose that I have trouble leaving things behind. Given my love of WordPress, I decided against coding a new JoNe from scratch. Instead, I uploaded WordPress and got to work modifying a theme to fit my style. With Adrean’s help, I was able to modify the logo so that it retained the triankh with which I’ve come to identify, but depicted a new, sleek style that fit the theme and celebrated the fact that this was the sixth version of JoVo Nexus.
There were some significant problems with JoNe and Gloomcorps’s webhost, Westhost, which had, despite their excellent customer service, become increasingly unreliable over the course of the past year. These problems led us (i.e., Gloomcorps) to decide that we should switch webhosts. We never got the chance to do so, but I decided, if I was going to restart JoNe, that I should start fresh. Therefore, JoNe started being hosted by Lunarpages, a webhost that Adrean swore by.
It’d been a long road from there to here. Since the PHP-Nuke version of JoNe, the website had been geared towards hosting a community of friends. Although JoNe still welcomed my friends, it had returned to its original intention: for me to have a place to call my own on the world wide web. When I made my first website, blogs were nowhere near as widespread as they are now. I had used my website before as a place where I could express my innermost thoughts (to disastrous social results), but I never called it a "blog," though I suppose that’s what it was.
JoVo Nexus VI was unveiled on March 5, 2012, as a combination written and video blog. It also included examples of my most recent prose, which I decided to share with the world the way I once used to. For the first time also, JoNe was networked with my Twitter and Facebook feeds, allowing me to share updates to my site with the wonderful people I’d met during the very few years I’d been on this earth. The only thing that was missing was JoNe herself, who still lives on in my heart (although she would probably berate me for saying something so maudlin).
Despite a few slow months, the videos and content continued continued coming. Moreover, Adrean pushed me to write again. Since JoNe VI arrived, I'd been writing more and more fiction, slowly developing a good portfolio of short stories, poems, and flash fiction on the website. As NaNoWriMo has returned for the year 2012, I posted my burgeoning new novel on the website–both as a means to archive it and as a means of sharing it with friends and others.
On November 7, 2012, in celebration of the re-election of President Barack Obama, I updated JoNe VI with a new theme and an appropriately remodeled logo. Despite the change, since the structure of the website’s back-end didn’t change, I decided to informally call it JoVo Nexus VI².
Eventually, however, the videos waned, and then the blogs also. JoVo Nexus VI² was very powerful and versatile, but my time dwindled, my writing took precedence, and I forgot about JoVo Nexus as I moved towards a new project.
Return to the Basics
In the beginning, I played around with a website using my real name. Then I became JoVo, and all my websites followed suit. But then I became a writer, and I started writing often enough with my friends that we got serious enough for some of us to publish our own works. We grew serious enough to create a writing group that eventually became a full-fledged publishing company. We created our first anthology together. That's when I realized I needed a new site: more personal, more geared towards my waxing and ever-improving craft.
Jack Burgos.com was born on March 6, 2014. It was exclusively meant to be an author website, leaving JoVo Nexus VI² to be my more personal site, where I could talk about anything I wanted: my life, my personal views, all manner of controversial topics, etc. But, on further retrospection, three things became clear.
First, a responsible adult on the Internet must be measured in what he says and the effect that it'll have on others. Second, I hadn't posted on JoVo Nexus VI² since January 2014. Every post thereafter was either a copy of a post on Jack Burgos.com or an apology-slash-status update on why I had been neglecting that site. Meanwhile, content on Jack Burgos.com flowed. Not quickly, but I had more announcements to make, more events to report, and more books to hawk. There was just more to do there. And, third, Lunarpages and Wordpress were causing my site to go offline, which affected my personal and professional emails as well.
So, at long last, we're here. JoVo Nexus, dying slowly. Jack Burgos.com and the Internet persona that was growing with it flowering. My publishing company and my writing swiftly becoming the only reasons why I stay online with my limited time. Therefore, on Halloween 2014, I began the process of switching over to Squarespace. The platform comes installed with mostly everything I need to make a website work, it's pretty, and it gives me a lot more time to focus on more important things.
As for JoVo Nexus? I'm keeping the URL. Probably forever. But, from now on, it'll redirect to Jack Burgos.com, which has been christened with the crux ansata trismegistus. One site instead of two makes the world a great deal simpler. One site that's easy to manage does more of that same.
In the Age of Words
On December 11, 2015, I changed the triankh for the first time in eleven years. Sure, there've been small re-stylizations over the years, but no changes to the basic structure since I first added the little sword thingie to the south end of the logo. The change involves making the triangle more sleek by removing some of the lines. I also changed the background to...update it, I suppose. I thought I needed a little logo revival.
I'd like to think that it represents a little more openness. Sometimes, my passion got away from me, and my emotions ran off with it. Personal growth is forever, and this logo has always changed with me. As I work towards improving myself, the triangle of the triankh opens to reveal an opening, leading into the waters of creativity.
In time, I made a few changes. I added a background image to the site that I really loved. When I obtained my candidacy for licensure as a professional counselor in Oklahoma, I considered whether or not my career informed my prose writing. I decided that it did, and I added my initials to the site title image and to the copyright information in the footer of every page.
May 24, 2016, saw a change to the font families I used on the site. Thanks to Squarespace, I was no longer bound by bland and boring Times New Roman and Verdana. Adobe Typekit took things one step further for me. Using it, I was able to play with an altogether interminable number of fonts. In order to keep it simple, I stuck with two: Warnock Pro and Warnock Pro Display. There are other varieties of Warnock, but I chose to stick with these two. Of course, if I change one thing, I have to change others. Changing the font I use throughout the site meant changing the images I use that have fonts in them. Not the best use of my time, but prettiness is invaluable in its own way.
At least, I find the new font very, very pretty. Even as I write this, I'm smiling as I watch the letters form on the screen. It's the little things in life that getcha grinnin'.