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Joe Burns: A Short Biography

By Joe Burns

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You actually want to know who I am? Well, OK. Here are the incriminating details...

Full Name: Joe Burns

Age: 36 (9/15)

Height: 6' 4" (no, really)

Weight: 225

Eyes: Two. Both brown.

Spouse: Just one. Her name is Tammy. She's a Pharmaceutical Rep. and runs StreetArtist.com Job: Assistant Professor of Communications at Southeastern Louisiana University .

Kids: Not a chance.

Pets: Two Cats; Mardi and Chloe. (Stimpy & Fido died)

Interests: I write books. Not just HTML, but also fiction. Nothing's been published yet. I have a couple of good ones too. I also like to watch Win Ben Stein's Money.

Turn Ons: Taco Bell, Mexico, Snorkling, my Wife.

Turn Offs: People who don't use coasters.

Sign: Virgo

Favorite Color: Green

Favorite Food: Southern pork BBQ and vinegar slaw. (The best is in Huntsville, AL just off the main drag past the mall. Get off and turn left. There's a big, pink, plastic pig on the roof.)

Favorite Music: Van Halen, The Brian Setzer Orchestra, Any Classical Guitar.

Favorite Member of the Royal Family: Edward


An Unpublished Interview With Joe Burns

Q. Why are you doing this interview?
A. Because you asked.

Q. Can I ask you any question?
A. Sure. Just don't bring up my tenure in the Nixon administration.

Q. Why did you put HTML Goodies site together?
A. I was bored over one Christmas break.

Q. No really.
A. Not really. Remember that this idea didn't start as a domain unto itself. It was at first a small series of icons and short tutorials I wrote to help me teach an HTML class at Bowling Green State University. I thought it would be fun to register the pages with Yahoo and Webcrawler and see what happens.

Q. What Happened?
A. Trouble. After a month or so, I got a panic email message from the webmaster. He was yelling as much as you can yell in an email note that I was shutting down the server. I got around a half million hits the first month and over 2 million a month every month after.

Q. Wow.
A. Yeah, Wow. I'm blown away.

Q. Did you write every HTML Goodies page?
A. Every word.

Q. What's with the "So You Want A something, Huh?"
A. What do you mean?

Q. Why is every page named with that same format?
A. You don't like it?

Q. I do. But why did you do it?
A. It's consistent. It's different. I like the flow of the titles. Plus they really stand out when you see them on like Yahoo. I think its funny that people have nicknamed these the HUH? tutorials. I always thought "HUH?" was a noise people made when they weren't sure about something.

Q. Me too. Do you know of any other schools, other than your own, that are using your pages?
A. I have a few letters, paper letters, from some schools. Professors at Brigham Young, Florida State, Calvin College, North Carolina at Charlotte, and a slew of high schools. Some in Canada. Oh, and a university in Australia.

Q. If someone writes you a letter, do you answer it?
A. If I can. I do hold a full time job outside of this and I can get up to 250 email messages a day just asking HTML questions.

Q. So if someone gets a letter with your name on it, it is from you.
A. Yup. The only thing that people ask that I have trouble doing is looking at their pages. I love to look at them and see what they've done but that is tough to do all the time. I look at as many as I can.

Q. So why did you create the domain "www.htmlgoodies.com"?
A. I had an extra $1000 lying around the house each month.

Q. No really.
A. Well, I did it originally because of two reasons. The first was that I needed it for a class. The second is because when I was attempting to learn HTML I had a hard time finding anything or anyone who was overly eager to help. It was frustrating. After I put these pages up, I got some of the most emotion filled letters. "Oh, thank you for helping me! And thanks for not talking to me like I'm an idiot." So I guess I wasn't alone in my quest for HTML knowledge.

Q. You do have a conversational writing style.
A. That's because I speak the tutorial out loud as I write it. Technical talk makes HTML too distant. This is too much fun to me to be dull and boring.

Q. I notice some misspellings.
A. Complain, complain. I hand you free information and you roll me around the "I" before "E" rule.

Q. Any new tutorials to come?
A. As many as I can write. I'm to the point now where I'm getting above my own head. To keep writing tutorials I might have to hire a few people to help me with actual computer programming.

Q. Will you do that?
A. Yup. I do it for me first. Then I write the tutorial for everyone else.

Q. Must be fun.
A. And time consuming.

Q. Thanks for your time.
A. It was your time too.

Q. It was just a statement.
A. So was that.

Q. Knock it off.
A. OK.



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