@NINHOTLINE

Friday August 16, 2019

1999-2019. What's old is new again

Welcome back. Missed you, friend.

For various boring reasons, this website has been stagnating, and we've been picking up the slack via social media. During that time, the organizations that dominate social media embraced the worst of the internet. Free syndication between sites was shut down in favor of walled gardens, Facebook tracks you wherever you go, Twitter is cluttered with bots and idiots, and a lot of what I enjoyed about using "the internet" has been coöpted as a medium for selling you things you don't want or need.

It has been nearly a decade since I last overhauled this site, and it's been over two decades since I first shared an FTP password with strangers who were comfortable enough to edit a file named index.html, and although I'm pleased the news archive never catastrophically failed, some of the decoration around the edges was falling apart, and my early attempts at being mobile-friendly had definitely aged out.

So today, a more trim and updated experience launches. Some of the crust is cut, but there are some new features:

1) For the first time in a very long time, the home page has returned, serving as a gateway to other excellent fan-run sites, and as a kind of virtual "cover" for this site, balancing the more minimal look of the interior pages. Periodically, new artwork or photography will be featured on the cover of the Hotline - and it's more than just cycling out a background image. #staytuned

2) The NIN Hotline as Mobile App: If you're reading this on your phone, you may have noticed a button next to the address bar for adding this to your home screen. This site has been set up as a Progressive Web App, basically meaning the site can be run without a browser. Right now, that's basically it, but the plan is to enable notifications, so that you have the option to get pinged when an update gets posted. No promises though.

3) The archives are back. During a server migration at the previous web host, the hosting company accidentally deleted all our databases and all their backups, and that's why so much of the archives stopped working. I have my own backups (did I mention I've been doing this for 20 years?) so I've reactivated those, and you can reach them through the homepage now. Direct links to the previous NIN Hotline news archives are forthcoming - I'm still wrangling some UX challenges there, but didn't want to hold up the relaunch for that.

4) No more tracking pixels. That stuff used to be fun, but I can't justify impacting site speed just so Google or Facebook know that you like Nine Inch Nails. In a similar effort towards keeping things fast and not relying on third parties where possible, I've also completely done away with Javascript frameworks, and made an effort to build entirely on browser-native functionality. And if you want a VERY lightweight experience, our RSS feed has never gone away.

5) I did a shirt to celebrate, annnnnd to offset the cost of pre-ordering three years of hosting at Dreamhost). It's a throwback to one of my favorite aesthetic periods. Unlike previous shirts we've done through Teespring, this time we're using Cotton Bureau because CB uses ink and silkscreens, as opposed to direct-to-garment printing. DTG has come a long way, but it's still not as good as busting out the silkscreen. Just in time for jacket weather (in the northern hemisphere anyway), there are a few options: 100% cotton, or super comfy tri-blend, in both standard and junior cuts (men's and women's, if you are fluent in boomer speak), and, actually, a pullover hoodie too. This is a limited run, you have until the end of the month to place an order, and then that's it. They hooked us up with some pretty great pricing, too.


Hotline Image2019 NIN Hotline Shirt


To everyone who's been here throughout the years, thanks for sticking with us. To folks who only know us through social media - welcome to our corner of the independent web.