We got a bunch of questions for Illiad (of User Friendly fame) Monday, let the Moderators (you know who you are) decide which of them were worthy, and sent the chosen ones off to the wilds of British Columbia. Here are Illiad's answers...
Q: (from rde) What is the capital of Burkina Faso, and why does it have so many vowels?
A: Ouagadougou, pronounced "ouagadougou." As for the number of vowels, evidently the government of Burkina Faso offered Pat Sajak bags of money.
Q: (from Simon Hibbs) When the Dust Puppy plays Quake, how _does_ it do that *wiggle* thing?......
A: I'm not entirely certain, although I've seen a substantially higher consumption of caffeine in the office just before the little guy gets into a gibfest.
Q: (from Manatee) Is Miranda as hot as I think she is?
A: Much hotter. She knows she attracts men, but her choice of wearing thongs "because panties make my thighs look big" was purely done for her own sense of aesthetics.
Q : (from Squeamish Ossifrage) Is the User Friendly Project For Humanity getting anywhere?
A: Yes and no. The infrastructure and enthusiasm is there, but now we need funding. I'm working on filling a trust account for UFPFH so that when we reach a decent dollar figure, we can cut the money loose and let UFPFH do what its meant to. Rest assured that it hasn't been forgotten, especially after Iambe, Shadowdragon and all of the participating UFies have put so much heart into it.
Q: (from Evangelion) How good are you at q3test? Can Dust Puppy kick your ass?
A: I'm a fairly good player. I don't play enough to get really superb at it, although I do have my moments. On other days I can really suck. Dust Puppy could hand me my ass in a game of Quake.
Q: (also from Evangelion) When you were lost in the deserts of Turkey, dying of thirst, did you, even once, wish you were back in Seattle in a bubblebath with Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates?
A: I am happy to say that my primal desires were satisfied by the few vultures that were convenient at the time.
Q: (from cemerson) Occasionally there's a stack of boxes labelled "BeOS 4.5" or something similar, often with the Dust Puppy sitting on top. What makes you decide what names to put on the boxes? Is it your favourite stuff, advertising/product placement, or what?
A: It's *never* been advertising or product placement -- companies can buy banner ads or a sponsorship if they want to get at the UFie eyeballs. The brands and labels I include are usually done on a whim, or if I really like a company or product. BeOS, for example, has my attention in a big way. So does VA Linux Systems and SGI.
Q: (from Mudhiker) As an amature artist/cartoonist, i'd like to know what tools you use...do you sketch it out on a huge piece of paper (like some cartoonists do) and then scan it and shrink it down or just maybe have great mouse hands and do it with Gimp...?
A: I used to use Microfibre inking pens on high-opacity paper for many of the early strips, followed by some time on the scanner and some work in Photoshop. Now I use a Wacom Artz II digital tablet, and life is so much easier. I could never draw with a mouse. That would be kind of like trying to write serious code with copy con.
I use Photoshop and Illustrator, but I've been seriously consideing The GiMP under Linux and a variety of other apps under BeOS.
Q: (from i244) I extremely enjoy looking at your funny comic strip. In fact, it's what i have setup as my 'homepage' on my browser. I've gone through all the archives and have laughed my head off at some of the jokes. The only thing that strikes me as odd is that how come I havent seen 1 black, hispanic, asian, native american, etc. in the whole strip ever? What's up with that?
A: It's never really come up, although recently I've been working on a new character for the cartoon, a fairly bright and sarcastic oriental support technician. I live in Vancouver, B.C., which is heavily multicultural, and in fact I had the benefit of growing up in two distinctly different cultures. I suppose when it comes down to it, I never really see people as different races; they're all just "people" to me.
Q: (from Phule77) Does Geek Culture, especially with regards to the internet, represent progress in our civilization, creating a meaningful pocket for the brains and outcasts of our culture, or does it merely represent a burp in the cultural mainstream, likely to collapse once the govt. seize control of the net and we all...well, anyway, sorry, mustn't trail off. Thoughts?
A: "Geek Culture" isn't going to vanish any time soon. In fact, it's abdundantly clear to me that geeks are about to move into a role that transcends a great many of the models that traditional business people have been clinging to for the past decade. There are already many examples of geeks changing the way that the business and finance communities perceive the world market, and this is really just the beginning. As far as the government seizing control of anything, I'd like to point out that above all else, Geeks love to communicate and share, and if we feel repressed we will find a way to get around that repression. So, to answer your primary question, no, our culture won't collapse. In fact, it will become "mainstream hip and trendy" to be a geek, and the fact of the matter is that if you're not a true geek, no amount of money is going to make you into one.
Q: (from dewyn) What constitutes "success beyond your wildest dreams" concerning User Friendly?
A: I'm not really materialistic but I sure would like to not worry about money ever again, and also be able to take care of the people I love and contribute to causes I consider important to me. So in that sense, making bags of money would help, especially if it's done without selling my ass to a traditional-thinking syndicate, the type that wants to own your butt for ten years and who take half of everything you make from the newspapers and then some.
On the flip side, I'd really like to see UF rise to the level of popularity which demands mainstream media attention. I see the strip as giving a voice to geeks, one of the most underappreciated and consistently persecuted sectors of society. Seeing the Dust Puppy on the cover of TIME magazine would make me grin, especially because then you know that Calvin Klein or some other outrageously pretentious fashion designer would take note and start up a "geek clothing line." You know, t-shirts and shorts. Wooo. That's new.
In a lot of ways UF has alreadly delivered the "big win" for me. I've met some really great people, made some wonderful friends, and helped bring together a community through the strength of humor. I never dreamed this would happen, so I guess you can say that I've already achieved something I didn't even think was possible.