This is the archive for February 2007. Recent posts can be found at the main blog page.
The weird, but wonderful story composed of dreams and absurdistic reality sometimes makes you think it’s real, sometimes lets you know it’s fake (jump out the window and fly…), but often leaves you really puzzled.
Google does a pretty good job with their targeted ads these days:
(In English: ‘Erection problems?’ and ‘Why Jesus?’)
I recently found out someone has shamelessly ripped my complete visual identity used for my website uwstopia, both web design and basic site structure. Jon ObXXYYZZZ, who seems to be a student from the University of Michigan, Michigan, USA, felt okay with a verbatim copy of my personal website, uwstopia, without crediting or even noticing me at all.
Note: In order to protect the guilty, I’ve mangled (but not complete hidden) his last name, so that search engines do not immediately catch up when searching for his last name.
Note to the reader: Please note that I don’t know this guy at all and was only pointed to his website by a friend of mine, who was surfing the web for Rhythmbox-related projects, in which he seems involved. I know I’m pretty harsh in this article, but please understand these kind of things really piss me off.
First of all, please look at my site design. Visit my website uwstopia or look at this picture:
Now look at this website by Jon ObXXYYZZZ:
No, these are not webshots from the same website. Fascinating, isn’t it?
The Michigan Daily, a student run newspaper serving the University of Michigan featured an article about undergraduate students leaving research positions for lucrative commercial opportunities in June 2006. It seems attending university classes is not enough of a challenge for our talented internet entrepreneur Jon ObXXYYZZZ:
It sounds bad, but I really haven’t learned that much here from classes. I’ve learned most of the stuff outside of class on my own time, and through work and research experience. (...) There are not many undergraduate classes that go into enough depth on a topic to really capture the bleeding edge of research.
Hmmm, I doubt his autodidactic skills are really as good as he pretends them to be. Certainly his web design abilities lack a certain amount of, well, originality… From the same interview:
Internet-based businesses usually require no more space than a website, (...), as well as a website design. The cost of website design varies depending on both the design skills of the student as well as the cost of freelance designers.
Don’t bother Jon, you got your design ‘for free’ by shamelessly ripping mine. The newspaper article also mentions Jon ObXXYYZZZ’s company, Focalhost. (Nice name, did you invent it yourself?). This snippet of text is from the about page on the Focalhost website:
Focalhost has roots in (...) web and multimedia design, (...), and other technical solutions for companies of all sizes.
Good to know, Jon, thanks for the insightful comments. You think stealing total visual identities is not much of a problem. I’ll recommend your services to anyone who’s interested in me, because you seem to like mimicking what I do. Hey, why don’t you hire me? I’m especially good, and I mean really good in exactly the things you seem to like as well!
A quick line-by-line comparison of his CSS stylesheet with the one handcrafted by me (quite some time ago already) tells me there are 23 insertions and 111 deletions done (thanks to diffstat). Many of these deletions are simply comment removals. The other changes are only some very minor tweaks to the stylesheets.
Having the same stylesheet means he should also adhere to the markup I use on my site to have those stylesheets apply correctly. No problem for Job ObXXYYZZZ, he just reused my XHTML markup, with exactly the same class names and nesting structure. Of course having the same markup is no problem in itself, but the combination with my visual design is.
Not only the main site design (site structure and basic visual appearance), also the logo I use for uwstopia was shamelessly ripped. Jon was even keen enough to copy the red star I use in my uwstopia logo (eg. at the top of this page). However, using the correct font, Gill Sans Condensed (which is quite easy to recognize for typography geeks), seemed a bit harder for our friend Jon ObXXYYZZZ, so he just used the ugly Arial font (not even a true Helvetica) as a fallback. Great work, Jon!
So, Jon, you stole my visual identity: my stylesheets, my markup and even my logo image. This really pisses me off. Unless stated otherwise, all material on my site is available under a Creative Commons Share-Alike license. You should know that shamelessly ripping my stuff, without attribution of any kind, and without me knowing, is not acceptable. Loser.
Update: If you visit Jon’s site coming from my site (http referrer contains uwstopia) then you get a nice message: “Greetings, you are visiting my website via uwstopia.nl, a site containing libelous statements written by a Wouter Bolsterlee.” followed by some more comments. Jon claims to adhere to the Creative Commons license I use by referring to my site for the original design. However, at the time I originally wrote this article, there was no such reference at all; Jon added it only later in attempt to protect himself. See for yourself at the Web Archive page for Jon’s site. Before and after.
Today a new version of the verkiezingskijker website was launched. Verkiezingskijker.nl (which means something like ‘elections viewer’ in English) is a topic-guided search engine to search verkiezingsprogramma’s (English: electoral manifestos written by participating political parties) targeted at the upcoming elections for the Provinciale Staten, next month (March 7) in the Netherlands.
Why this post? Well, I wrote parts of the backend code as part of a student project at the University of Amsterdam.
Hmm, I’m the #3 bug filer according to the annual bugzilla stats for 2006: I filed 259 bugs during that year for many, many modules.
I’m not sure this ‘top complainer’ status is something to be proud of…
Wouter Bolsterlee, also known as uws, a postmodern geek living in the Netherlands. Read more about me…
Unless stated otherwise, all material on this site is available under a Creative Commons Share-Alike license.