May 6th, 2021

charioteer

Sic transit....

At the end of last week, one of my favourite websites went off line.

GRSites.com was a graphics site that I used a lot. In fact, it's credited on pretty well every page of my website. I'm not sure when I first saw it: either 2004 or 2005. I do remember that it was in beta at the time. Sometimes bits of the site disappeared for a while, and then came back in a new form. Eventually, it went commercial with a lot of features offered only to people who paid to join. However, most of the material I was personally interested in remained free for anyone to use.

When I first got on the 'Net back in 2004, sites with collections of free graphics were a dime a dozen. I don't mean "royalty free" graphics: that just means you pay a fee up front, and don't get charged an annual royalty on top of that. I mean genuinely free graphics that anyone can use, at least on personal sites. (At most, the site owner requests that you credit them with a link somewhere.) As I quickly realized that the best way to make my virtual FK season available to other fans was to create my own site, and I didn't want to use some WYSIWYG software but instead wrote it myself, I needed to compile a collection of graphics to pretty it up. So I did a lot of searching out useful sites with background tiles, bullets and dividers, and clipart.

The great advantage of GRSites was the fact that, besides a large collection of these sorts of things, it also had software that you could use to create your own logos and buttons and software that could tweak textures (as the owner called background tiles) in various ways. Not just graphics from GRSites itself, either: one could upload things from one's own computer and apply the software. As a result, I could take tiles from sites like 321Clipart.com or Syruss.com and play with those.

It's fair to say that it was GRSites that enabled me to create my site the way I wanted it to look. Each of my stories appears on its own separately designed webpage; and it was by using GRSites' software that I was able to coordinate or contrast the colours in precisely the way I chose. I found this section of the site so useful, in fact, that I had the "Textures" page on GRSites bookmarked rather than the main page. Nevertheless, I always used a link to the main page of the site in the credits in the footnotes.

Back in January, when I was making pages for my Yuletide stories, I was checking the colour of the links, and happened to do this by hitting the GRSites link. It was thus that I discovered a message on the main page that said that the site would be going down as of May 1st.

So I have spent a lot of time over the past few months ensuring that I collected as many variants as I could of all the backgrounds I thought I was likely to want in the future. Many of them are colour variants of the fairly simple textures that I use in making fancy borders; but there are a handful of multi-coloured backgrounds that I spent a lot of time working with.

The site actually went down sometime on the 30th of April. I'm not sure when, exactly.

I'm going to miss it.

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