Favrd's down
January 18, 2018 8:10 PM   Subscribe

Dean Allen made Textism and Textile and Textpattern and Favrd and other things and posted daily photos of his dogs and they made the web better. RIP.
posted by holgate (44 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
 
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posted by sillygwailo at 8:23 PM on January 18, 2018


Just saw Gruber's post about this on Daring Fireball. Dean Allen, for me, was so emblematic of the early web, and as a very young adult at the time that textism was at its peak, it represented the promise of what the web, and life, could be. Living in rural France with a couple of dogs, writing for this new thing that was both medium and message...

I kept checking back on textism.com for years after he posted "retooling", assuming and hoping that there would be more.

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posted by good in a vacuum at 8:23 PM on January 18, 2018 [2 favorites]


Textism was among the first blogs I read somewhere way back in history there. His then-girlfriend’s blog, too. Their life in France and their beautiful dog. This is sad.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 8:24 PM on January 18, 2018 [6 favorites]


Gutted. Rest in peace, Dean. And thank you.

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posted by sidesh0w at 8:35 PM on January 18, 2018 [1 favorite]


Ouch. His online work was an important part of the early 2000s to me, both in coding and in writing. Made me want to move to rural France and have photogenic dogs run around.

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posted by myopicman at 8:42 PM on January 18, 2018 [1 favorite]


And this just made me think about and reminisce about that period, about Textism and kottke and Metafilter, the sites I frequented in 1999, 2000, 2001. Makes me thankful that Metafilter is still here, and kottke is still here, and makes me pine for the web that was.

I may have had a drink or two tonight. But anyway, thanks Dean, and god bless.
posted by good in a vacuum at 8:46 PM on January 18, 2018 [13 favorites]


There was an article written about how Dean and Gail got together. They corresponded for a while first before they met in person, writing ever more elaborately-styled letters showing off their use of language. In the end he packed up and moved over there. The article was really well done. It was a great story. Wish I knew where to find it.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 8:52 PM on January 18, 2018 [2 favorites]


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(And have one for me, Good.)
posted by Samizdata at 9:02 PM on January 18, 2018


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posted by limeonaire at 9:03 PM on January 18, 2018


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posted by slater at 9:05 PM on January 18, 2018


I built several sites using Textpattern, back in the day. And I was a regular reader of their blog, in particular the Daily Oliver. Textism, Zeldman, Meyerweb, and so many others of that time were integral in my budding career as a web dev.

Rest in peace, Dean.
posted by JohnFromGR at 9:06 PM on January 18, 2018


And I always think of his method for making oatmeal every time I make mine. He was a splendid writer. Sad to hear of this.
posted by amanda at 9:10 PM on January 18, 2018


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posted by zachlipton at 9:18 PM on January 18, 2018


Aww man, I really liked Textpattern. Reminded me of GreyMatter in its simplicity.

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posted by divabat at 9:19 PM on January 18, 2018 [2 favorites]


There was an article written about how Dean and Gail got together.

Here you go.
posted by e-man at 10:06 PM on January 18, 2018 [6 favorites]


The very late 90s and early 2000s were not good years for me, and so I don't have any real generalized nostalgia for them; I do, though, have some very specific nostalgia for bits and pieces of the Internet that existed at the time, and seemed to offer a vision of something better, built by people both rational and humane. I think it's possible that "Web culture" was at its best during that period, at least as something distinct from just "culture". Dean Allen certainly helped shape that, and Textile remains a high bar for other writers and would-be bloggers to look up to.


Separately, John Gruber's post... yeah.

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posted by Kadin2048 at 10:13 PM on January 18, 2018 [2 favorites]


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posted by brennen at 11:41 PM on January 18, 2018


Thank you, Dean.
posted by jragon at 12:23 AM on January 19, 2018


I'm very sad to learn this. I regret that I'd not thought of Dean for some years, but Textism was an exemplary presence on the web back in my early blogging days, and I always enjoyed reading it.
posted by misteraitch at 1:14 AM on January 19, 2018


Also: he was MeFi's own textist.
posted by misteraitch at 1:28 AM on January 19, 2018 [4 favorites]


This makes me sad. Dean was a huge influence on how I used the web and he was kind and hilarious.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 2:49 AM on January 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


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posted by Cash4Lead at 3:30 AM on January 19, 2018


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I _loved_ Textile.
posted by gauche at 3:53 AM on January 19, 2018 [2 favorites]


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posted by filtergik at 3:57 AM on January 19, 2018


It looks like we lost him twice, if not more times.
posted by filtergik at 4:22 AM on January 19, 2018 [3 favorites]


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posted by prolific at 4:54 AM on January 19, 2018


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posted by ftrain at 5:44 AM on January 19, 2018


I miss Dean. I would check in on him every few years, hoping that he had decided to share himself with the web again.
posted by ged at 7:56 AM on January 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


Shit. Dean did some of the first truly lovely stuff on the web that I used.
posted by jessamyn at 9:24 AM on January 19, 2018 [2 favorites]


I still think of textism.com when designing websites - simple perfection. I also miss the Daily Oliver very much.
posted by soplerfo at 11:41 AM on January 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


amanda: I always think of his method for making oatmeal every time I make mine.

Is there a link you can share?

And yes:
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posted by RedOrGreen at 2:12 PM on January 19, 2018


Damn. I use and advocate for Textile. Thank you, Dean, I owe you some part of my sanity.

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posted by bjrubble at 3:32 PM on January 19, 2018


Awful news. Dean was a shining light of the early web.

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posted by gwint at 5:50 PM on January 19, 2018


I always think of his method for making oatmeal every time I make mine.
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Is there a link you can share?


I wish I could. I'm not skilled enough at searching the waybackmachine to see if it is still out there somewhere. It was a method that had very few steps and involved using a coffee mug and I think about the dust of the oatmeal inside the mug and his easy and measured way while also not measured at all. A care taken but in that rustic sort of way that someone who is relaxed in the country would do. I don't make oatmeal that way but when I do make oatmeal I wish that I did and I think about what it would be like to take the mug and scoop the oats and just feel that it will turn out just fine.
posted by amanda at 6:29 PM on January 19, 2018 [3 favorites]


Dean was a tremendous person, writer, and force in the early, personal web.
posted by jgooden at 6:41 PM on January 19, 2018


Someone posted this in the twitter thread about him and I think it's what you are talking about? How to Eat Oatmeal.
posted by jessamyn at 7:44 PM on January 19, 2018 [5 favorites]


There was a Golden Age on the web, and Dean Allen was an important, central participant. I'm very moved by this sad news.
posted by mikel at 7:47 PM on January 19, 2018 [2 favorites]


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posted by condour75 at 8:03 PM on January 19, 2018


Textism was one of the great blogs I read when I was trying (and failing) at being a blogger myself. I used TextPattern, and was one of the VC200 at TextDrive.

He never got around to shipping those damn t-shirts.

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posted by snortasprocket at 9:23 PM on January 19, 2018 [2 favorites]


Pretty sure I was an early adopter of Textdrive because of the Daily Oliver.

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posted by deliriouscool at 5:36 AM on January 20, 2018


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I was one of the early customers of textdrive (what would now be called a Kickstarter or backer) and had a lovely time as part of that group of people doing fun internet shit. Rest in peace.
posted by odinsdream at 12:34 PM on January 20, 2018


Takes me back to an era that others have articulated so well... the more innocent web, where it wasn't all about shares and likes... where it seemed to be more about real communication.

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posted by greenhornet at 9:51 AM on January 21, 2018


I wrote one of the early plugins for Textpattern, and it also hosted my first blog. Those were good times. I'm really sorry to hear this news.

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posted by fremen at 8:58 PM on January 22, 2018


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This one hurts. It really hurts. I had hoped that Dean's long absence meant that he'd taken shelter from the online world and that I shouldn't disturb that.

Textism wasn't "early web", but it was "old web". It was part of the transition from personal websites to blogs, before blogs themselves changed post-9/11. It was a space where you did your daily rounds of other people's websites hoping for an update but not being impatient if there wasn't one, because people were writing for the now but also for the archives, creating a body of work out of a work-in-progress. There are not many places online like that today.

As Kadin2048 says, there was a distinct "web culture", and a feeling that you could make connections and expose yourself without being burned. Or as Erin Kissane put it: "The old web had plenty wrong with it, mostly having to do with lack of access for so many people, but there was a fertile space for uncommodifiable weirdos that I will probably miss for the rest of my life."

And I think about Textdrive, which began as an attempt to do shared hosting that didn't suck, was hugely important for a lot of Web 2.0 development (especially Ruby on Rails) by supporting its new frameworks, got bought out by Joyent, then Joyent went big on the cloud, then... I don't know. I don't presume to know. It just slipped away.
posted by holgate at 9:26 AM on January 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


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