is run by Mark Thompson. For a couple of years he's produced shareware
to rival commercial product. Proxy is a simple, internet sharing utility
that is stable, easy to use and free. That led me to find the AnalogX
site and weekly mailing list.
For a longth stretch (12 months
and more) it was a weekly newsletter that was filled with info on new
and forthcoming software, developments with AnalogX: The Band and other
In August of 2000, it all seemed
to stop. It took time to realise that the weekly mailout hadn't happened
in a while. AnalogX kind of went missing for awhile.
In the meantime, a few system
rebuilds later and numerous trips to the site to grab utilities, it occurred
to me that something.... odd may have happened. AnalogX may be gone forever.
Maybe I should archive the software,
just in case?
I sent off an email instead.
Mark had already spoken to me in July of last year, so I thought he might
want a chat about what he's been up to of late.
Sure enough, AnalogX is alive
I'd like to start by asking about
your work on display at www.analogx.com.
You had been keeping a strong release schedule well up to about August
of last year. Then suddenly, nothing. What happened to your AnalogX plans?
In some ways, they're still on track - in others, the train has pretty
much derailed... :) I didn't intend for there to be as big a gap as there
has been, but I didn't set out to make a huge free software/music site
either - of course, in the time I've been 'gone', I have continued to
work on releases for AnalogX,
I just haven't made any yet.
I've also been working on other sites which will be
part of the 'AnalogX Network' of sites; an example of one would be www.PrePal.com,
a very cool site where you can find out the average price for used musical
equipment, which is updated daily... I also have been in the process of
revamping my music studio, which has also taken a big chunk of my time,
but will definitely be worth it. Thanks to quite a bit of help from the
guys at Emu-Ensoniq, things are pretty jamming in there now, and I look
forward writing music again as well.
Sounds involved. Will the AnalogX
network see you collaborating or remaining to work solo?
I don't currently have plans to include anything into the 'AnalogX Network'
that isn't actually done by me - it's more to confuse people more than
they already are... Some people think AnalogX
is a program, some think it's a band, some think it's a software development
company, and still others think it's a person; now they can add a network
to the list!
Your mailing list used to be
weekly with only the occasional quiet week. The same applied to your software
releases. I know that by running your own website, programming and creating
music, the time consumed by AnalogX would have been a hefty chunk of your
as we knew it gone?
hehe, not in the slightest! I've almost relaunched the site a few times
since August, but I wanted to make sure that I would be able to keep it
going with the same momentum it's had in the past. I also am going to
be focusing more on releasing larger (more feature full) apps, such as
the FTP client I'll be relaunching the site with. I really miss the pace
and excitement of AnalogX, so I won't be able to hold out for much longer...
Where exactly have the last five
moths or so taken you?
Mostly to San Diego, Ca. :) I'm actually now an employee of a company
you can see me on the executive staff), which is a big step for me since
I've been doing contract work for the last 10 years.
Now before you think this might have something to do
with the slowdown at AnalogX,
let me belay those concerns by saying that I was working for the same
company as a contractor for more than a year before that infamous day
in August. Of course, it does take a large portion of my time, but we're
working on some very cool technology, with some of the best people I've
had the opportunity to work with, so I wasn't willing to pass the opportunity
Last time I'd spoken to you,
you mentioned that an aim was to make the AnalogX
site one of the top 1,000 sites on the internet. I remember from a posting
of yours around a year ago that you had made the Alexa
top 10,000. A two part question arises then. One, do you still have an
interest in being in the top 1,000 and two, has your traffic altered much
during your quiet period?
Very good questions! I'm still gunning for the top 1000, and surprisingly
things haven't altered too much from when I stopped actively working on
the site. In August, I was right around 9,000 while now I've slipped to
around 13,000 - but at the same time, I'm actually getting more traffic
now to the site than ever! How can this be? Simple, while my site is still
growing, I'm no longer growing at a pace faster than the Internet itself
(which is what is necessary to move up in the ranking)...
Another interesting aspect is that another site I use
as a kind of bellwether (because it is someone similar to mine, and has
similar traffic patterns) has slipped more than I have, even though he
has been active during the same time period.
Another nice aspect is that the ListServer Legion (my
weekly email list) has grown substantially since we last spoke - it broke
300,000 a week ago, so I'm really looking forward to seeing what kind
of response I get when I send out the "I'm back" email.
Your music was also an essential
ingredient in making AnalogX
what it is. How has it been going?
As I mentioned earlier, my studio has been in the rebuilding phase
for the last 5 months or so, which has limited my ability to write music.
The worst part is that I upgraded all my computers, and now I can't get
the music program I used to use to work - it's actually the DOS-based
version of Cakewalk from 1991, so I guess it was inevitable that it would
happen. So what am I going to do? Easy, I'll just write a sequencer! It's
actually not going to be as difficult as it might sound, I'm not planning
on writing a sequencer that is like any of the current ones out there,
it's going to be totally new and different...
Since I last spoke to you, the
Internet as Industry has faced a major period of downsizing. Any thoughts
So much for my get rich quick plans - wait a minute, I've been running
AnalogX for 3 years
now, so I guess it wasn't much of a get rich quick plan anyway! :) I think
that the downturn was really a long time in coming, and I think ultimately
it will be good for the industry, while a bit painful for the moment.
I think it will cause people to be a bit more creative in finding ways
to make money, while at the same time the thinning of the ranks makes
it much easier to be seen. My only real concern is that this change doesn't
stifle the creativity and energy that the Internet has had - but I don't
think that it will. I actually considered making a joke press release
stating that AnalogX has laid off 70% of it's workforce, for a strategic
refocus. Anyone who knew about the site (and knew that it was only me)
would probably haven't gotten a kick out of it.
Still getting as much email?
Too much - more than 1,300 or so a day - it's probably been the most difficult
part of operating the site. I used to answer every email I received, but
those days have long since gone (unfortunately, because I really did enjoy
it). Another program I wrote during my absence is a free message board
program, very similar to UBB, except I geared it towards generating static
content (for lower server load). I'll be putting it up on the site and
forwarding people to it instead of email for questions, so that hopefully
I can get some sort of user community going to help eachother (and me)
out. You can check out a site that's been testing it for a while at www.gameslah.com.
Making any good music-industry connections?
Definitely! Because of the site I've gotten much more visibility than
I've ever had before, in music, in software, etc. The music industry is
much more fun than the other though, since people tend to come up with
more ideas and then they take something I wrote and use it in some totally
new and unexpected way - I love that.
How much of your software/music/internet
activities has been covered in traditional print and visual media?
Actually quite a bit; AnalogX
has been covered to a greater or lesser degree in more than 20 magazines
to far; from Business Week to Keyboard to Computer Shopper. This month
it's the 'Righteous Link' in MaximumPC, for those interested... :)
Would you ever wish to make
a living through your AnalogX
persona and activities?
Of course, but I don't want to change the idea behind it. I could easily
make a living by simply changing all the software to shareware, but I
don't think it would be as exciting and fun for me if that happened.
The software community is most
grateful but why have you resisted the temptation to user-pay software?
I'm not really sure, but I'd like to think that in the long run I'll have
more of a positive impact as well as having more fun if I continue to
keep things free. When things are free, it doesn't really matter if I
make a program that only 10 people like, or one that 10 million people
like; I make the same amount either way. While I don't have anything against
commercial or shareware software, I personally like free software better,
so I might as well make something I would want to use to...
Is the "mostly for free" internet
The first wave of the free internet is definitely dead, but I don't think
that it will ever be completely dead - the Internet is just too big. The
problem is that way back in the day when modems first started showing
up and people called around to BBS's, there was a ton of free software
you could grab; then, as BBS'ing become more and more popular, the free
software slowly represented a smaller and smaller portion of everything
The same is true with the Internet, but not just with
software, but also with business models. The last couple years were crazy,
and some of the lamest business ideas based around the free model actually
got funding, which made everything very lopsided on the net. Ultimately
I think it is going to level out at more freely available 'things' than
were available than before the Internet, but less that we have come to
expect from the early days.
Finally... what was the last
thing that made you laugh?
Some talented people who own Photoshop and a variety of music programs
have far too much free time... :)
Related Link: indevelopment v analogx
Images used in this article are (c) AnalogX and are used