What could make a bunch of computer whiz kids spend their evenings doing the very thing they toil away at during the day? www.burningman.com!
Below you will gain a bit of insight into the personas of the geniuses who master-minded this site (and some instrumental hall of famers). They have patiently volunteered their time and talents, juggling personality conflicts, philosophical differences and insane deadlines to bring you this web site redesign. Big thank yous to the following persons (and web servers):
Web Team Management
Britton is a Triple Cancer born on Friday the 13th at Midnight. He is a Monkey but in the desert he dresses up like a fox. Some people call him Blikum. Some people call him a spaz. He met Burning Man in 1999 and has never looked back. He joined the Burning Man Tech Team that Fall and soon-after stepped in as Webmaster for BurningMan.com to help launch the site re-design in 2000. After a 2 year hiatus, he returned in the Web Team in the spring of 2003 to help lead a collaborative re-design of BurningMan.com. He is now acting as Design Lead for this site. He has helped bring a blue room, a kaleidoscope, a plastic chapel, a catapult, and a giant snail to Black Rock City.
Beth was a geek without a cause... well, she didn’t have a geeky day-job anymore, so the Burning Man Web Team seemed like a good way to feed those geeky hunger pangs. It was after her 1st year on the playa (2002) that she made her way to the tech team table at the Town Hall Meeting. Many meetings later, she has taken on the role of QA skill lead and subdomain manager. While not geeking out on computers, there are far too many other things to fill up her time; she sews, reads esoteric and not-so-esoteric books, learns stuff (Arabic, photography, knitting, motorcycle riding, aikido, etc.) and just generally wants to do far more than her day allows time for. And yet, there’s so much more to learn/do/know! If anyone has some extra time to donate, let her know.
Dan (a.k.a. Monkeyboy) is a web geek and recovering molecular biologist. Part techy, part artist, he wants to do everything and would, if he could only find the time. He first found himself in Black Rock City in 1998; and while he has been back every year since, he still has trouble explaining what Burning Man is all about. On the playa, he can usually be found in Gigsville.
Hovering came to the playa in 1999 and the webteam soon thereafter. He can usually be found with his faithful sidekick rocketDog on some type of mission, or involved in some kind of mania. Hovering is a freelance photographer, graphic designer and a Scorpio he plays with pixels for Burning Man and is available for New Media Development, Dancing and Party Games.
emily(at)burningman(dot)com happily helps out from the east coast administering the E-playa. Her first burn was 1999 and she's been addicted ever since. She is part of the web team at The MathWorks in charge of internationalization and search engine optimization. She also does freelance web and graphic design for family and friends (who occasionally pay). Like the story of the shoemaker whose children have no shoes, Emily's web site is not yet online.
Haunani (a.k.a. Nani) Pao was baptized by wind, rain, mud and fire on her first visit to the playa in 1995. Senior interaction designer and certified usability analyst by day, hula-dancing ferret-mama by night, she joined the web team in 2001 to gift freely of her UX-fu. As the User Experience Skill Lead, she collaborated with other volunteer members on the website's visual, informational and questionnaires redesign. Haunani seeks to constantly improve participants' touch points with the Burning Man experience.
Heather Gallagher (aka CameraGirl) is the Photo Editor, Image Lead, and primary Pixel Pusher for burningman.com. She's also been your Documentrix for the Cafe, Burning Man year-round events, the DPW, behind-the-scenes shots for the Afterburn Report, and any other eye candy which passes through her lens. CameraGirl produces Burning Man's printed annual calendar each year and usually crosses over to a new dimension, where she is known as CalendarGirl, for weeks or months at a time to finish that project. Her day job is managing the Burning Man Technical Department as part of the Senior Staff, and by night, if she's not working on yet another project, she is a costumed super vixen out enjoying the sparkly sidewalks of San Francisco.
Henry Lyne is a late-adopting, devil-advocating, kung-fu-fighting web developer. He started volunteering with the web team in 2004 as a way to give something back, while trying to learn more about how Black Rock City works. He's a nascent artist with a binary palette, a computer scientist easily disoriented by objects and a curmudgeonly couch-potato who likes to get stuff done. He knows how to build, deploy and maintain websites, and strives to balance form with function.
Inferno is a server running Debian Linux 2.4 and the Apache web server, working tirelessly 24/7 to bring you the Burning Man website, the image galleries, videos, and other goodies. Inferno doesn't get to go to Burning Man, and gets much less attention during the event. He's been suspected of hanging out with Brazilian hackers to make his favorite sysadmin jealous.
Turn-ons: Open source software, rsync, Plone
Turn-offs: php, eplaya dust
John Mosbaugh is a San Francisco writer and geek who spends his time producing pornographic puppet shows, writing novels and dark fairy tales, working on the web and building large scale art installations to haul out to the desert.
The Nebulous Entity first beakoned him into the community and since then he's poured his energies with manic abandon into things like the Headless Maiden, the Yahoo Education Project, the Carousel Numinous and the Billion Bunnies. He has been known to assume the persona of one Katy Kitty at times when he's "Out on the town" at BRC and to write up articles on that year's scene for certain alternative on the playa newspapers. Mosbaugh is the search guru for the website and he's lucky to also be the section lead for Art Installations and the Afterburn.
Ron Meiners landed on the playa in 1998, realized community could mean a whole lot more than he'd been led to believe, and dove in. He now works in online community where the frontier is not yet fenced studies online community, wonders about community, and even believes the connections we make online can be as real as the ones we make at Burning Man. He's the volunteer coordinator for the team, head cheerleader for an insanely gifted group of folks, and a major tinkerer with the notion that we can bring our positive experiences to others. Having met his wife (Lee Gilmore) on the Burning Man Media Team in 1999, he has reason to believe that volunteering really can be a great experience.
Tom 'Spanky' Kapanka
Spanky overcame great spinning gravitational forces of TinyTown and was ejected as stray highly charged particle with quasi-Moose-like properties in 1998, when he was reabsorbed into the spectrum on the West Coast. After binding with several other molecules, found himself (somehow) heavily embroiled in all that is Burning Man. Spanky is now the technical lead for the website, taking care of the various features and functions of the site, implementing new technologies and maintaining the old. He is also Chief Templateer, after completing the template migration project last fall. Spanky also works for various other Burning Man technical teams as well as with the Center Camp Cafe team. During the event you can find him fine tuning one of his domes, or fine tuning the sound on stage in the Cafe, or fine tuning his Jeep, or fine tuning the art of fine tuning, or tuning a fine instrument or just feeling fine to tunes. Trust me, everything will be just fine.
Playaquest (or "PQ") rediscovered joy at his first Burning Man in 2001, and never turned back. He decided to use technical project management-fu for good rather than evil, and joined the Burning Man Project in 2004 as Web Team Project Manager. He splits his time between that, and sitting on the Burning Man Art Council as Operations Manager. He's a writer, a spiritual chameleon, a closeted raver, an adventure sports nut, and a self-proclaimed experience junkie. Tales of his assorted sordid adventures can be found on his website.
Web Team Members
Alex Bernardin aka Uhura
Bob Salpas aka Tahoe Bob
David Brenneman aka DB
Zachary Cole aka Tresspass
Web Team Hall of Fame
Caitlin von Graf aka Safetybitch
Jennifer Sloan (JenX)
Laura La Gassa
Molly Wright Steenson