Harry the vulture stuck his head inside the loose-fitting skull and danced mockingly.
April 18, 2001 5:20 AM   Subscribe

Okay, a crappy-looking website with an annoying pop-up window. I don't get it.
Perhaps I'm not clued in as too what carcass they're feeing off of?
posted by hazyjane at 5:51 AM on April 18, 2001

Don't even bother my friends, just another fookin AD. Chump suckas takin up my hard earned bandwidth...
posted by roboto at 5:52 AM on April 18, 2001

Actually, I am assuming that the link is and how it is described is talking about TeethMag being dead.

If this is the same TeethMag that I used to check out occasionally, then it is a shame it is dead.
posted by da5id at 5:58 AM on April 18, 2001

This is an ad.

Plus it's MeFi Blue (tm), which is a crime against humanity, of course.

You are the weakest post, goodbye!
posted by hijinx at 6:01 AM on April 18, 2001

Hijinx is fast on the jump, I hadn't noticed the domain name either.

Anyway, teeth magazine -

Can Teeth Magazine Save the Web?
Two college students are using new technology to take the Web back to its roots

Ben Brown thinks the Web sucks.
Not that the World Wide Web is inherently a worthless medium, mind you. Brown just thinks that in the nine or so years since it was invented in a European physics laboratory, since entrepreneurs started building billion-dollar companies around unprofitable portals, since Robin Leach started hosting web awards ceremonies, the original purpose of the Web has been lost. And what was that purpose again? Right. The power to share information.

Hence Teeth, the brainchild of Brown, a 21-year-old student at the University of Maryland, and his partner, Bryan Boyer; together, they’re the proverbial two guys with a good idea.

They met through a network of D.C.-area programmers, web designers and other people working on the Internet. "Bryan and I spent many late nights talking about the Web," says Brown. "What it should be, where it’s going, where it’s been... In the beginning, anytime sites would mention something they didn’t personally want to provide information about, they’d provide a link, so visitors could get all the info they wanted. Now the Web’s in a sad state -- these portals just want to keep you on their site, and as a result you get a very slanted view of things. You don’t get all the information. We both think the Internet should be about getting all the information."

So how will Teeth get us the information we deserve? Like the Web itself, Teeth is a marriage of savvy content and some sweet behind-the-scenes technology. So far, the articles are nothing earth-shattering -- mostly the kind of snide, snappy cultural criticism that print magazines like The Baffler have done better. It’s the technology that really makes the site work. In addition to being an English major, Brown’s been a professional programmer since he was 16. He’s created a powerful, complex database for Teeth's content that keeps the articles woven together and extensively cross-referenced using a system of keywords. Whenever an article mentions, say, Linda Tripp, it’s automatically linked to any articles on the same subject. And true to its philosophy, Teeth also seeds its articles with links to outside sites as well.

But Teeth’s technological coup de grace is something Boyer calls Bubatech, an application of Javascript so nifty it has to be seen to be believed. When you click on certain links, Bubatech draws a bubble (hence the name) in a layer above your browser window that offers you a concise menu of relevant documents to jump to, instantly generated by Teeth’s database. As a result, every link in Teeth can potentially take you to multiple destinations, instead of just one. And that’s not all. Select text in an article, and Bubatech offers to instantly print or e-mail it. Even Brown is a little in awe of the technology powering his site. "Bryan’s up every night till 3 a.m. coding new features."

Teeth is one of a small but intense group of DIY sites that are quietly, uncommercially taking advantage of what the Web has always been best at: cross-referencing and self-publishing. Similar experiments include Everything, Kvetch and The Fray. It’s a labor of love -- Brown pays for everything himself, and he won’t accept advertising on the site ("It’s very difficult to keep your editorial integrity if you’re taking money"), although he and his partner are looking into patenting the technology they’ve created. "We’re looking into a way to Buba-tize the entire Internet."

What does the future hold for projects like Teeth? More articles, for one -- structurally, Teeth thrives on content. "The thing about the database," says Brown, "is that the more we put into it, the better it’ll get." Boyer isn’t through evolving Bubatech, either, and in the next few weeks he and Brown will be launching new departments to which a wider audience can contribute articles and reviews. "We’re planning on rolling out everything single thing we can think of and letting people say, we don’t like this, this and this. If we can do it, why not?"

So far, Brown admits that traffic to the site hasn’t been overwhelming. But even if Teeth were to go under one day, he’s satisfied that it makes a valid point. "I think it’s an important change that needs to be made. The success of Teeth is not the important thing. We really want the ideology behind it to succeed." It’s enough to make you nostalgic for 1994.

posted by tiaka at 6:08 AM on April 18, 2001

Whenever an article mentions, say, Linda Tripp, it’s automatically linked to any articles on the same subject.

Any word. Click it. Get information. [ref]

In seriousness (and thanks, tiaka, for the info), Teeth sounds perfectly in line with what the web should be.
posted by hijinx at 6:41 AM on April 18, 2001

It's no ad.

Teethmag was one of my favourite sites (partnered with some school/uni site that Glassdog linked to years ago). Short essays like the one above were lovely. I linked them months ago. Teethmag.com was still for about two years and when I went there today I found some goofy company had scavenged the domain and replaced it with an ugly (as old icq.com) company site and annoying popups... they couldn't piss on the grave but they got close to it.
posted by holloway at 7:37 AM on April 18, 2001

I just remembered that the school/uni site was Flabjab.com! Do you remember Flabjab.com? It's back, in pog form!
posted by holloway at 7:40 AM on April 18, 2001

It's no ad.

Uh, yeah, the link is. That's my bugaboo, and considering I'd never heard of Teeth before, I had no idea what this was. We've been there before.
posted by hijinx at 7:57 AM on April 18, 2001

www.smug.com anyone? *sigh*
posted by sawks at 8:14 AM on April 18, 2001

We sold the domain to a scavenger company. A few years back we had some offers for much more, but with the current economy I consider the terms we got pretty favorable.
posted by bryanboyer at 11:05 AM on April 18, 2001

Yeah, they were pretty good, weren't they? I was able to purchase that CD I've been wanting for so long..

In all seriousness, yow! What an odd thing to do. It's not like Teeth was pulling down DA HITZ or anything. It was probably purchased automatically when it expired.

(sidenote: add the teethmag backend to the list of code I should release)
posted by benbrown at 2:14 PM on April 18, 2001

Also, another side note: I am the king of starting zines with cool backends and then letting them die. DIE ZINE! DIE! Good thing I didn't code anything fancy for Uber.
posted by benbrown at 2:22 PM on April 18, 2001

oi oi oi! andy still does his strips, they're at teethworld.com now!
posted by titboy at 7:10 PM on April 19, 2001

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