MSEnet :: Frequently Asked Questions

What the heck is MSEnet anyway?
MSEnet is an archive of the personal websites I created while a student at the University of Southern California, dating between 1995 and 2000.
And you are?
My name is Michael Ellars. You can read more about me on my “official” website:
So are you like a web designer or something?
No, websites are more like an involved hobby for me. I went to architecture school and I am now a licensed architect (among other things).
Why did you call your websites “MSEnet”?
“MSE” are my initials, and MSEnet seemed to roll off my tongue easier than MSEweb.
Why don't you fix/update these pages?
This site is intended as an archive site, so the sub-sites are presented with as little changes as possible. All new content is displayed either at,,, or one of my other websites. (Though occasionally I am forced to make some revisions to this site to reflect changes made to the directory structures and pages of my other sites, and due to the uncontrollable nature of external websites.)
Did you really work on ARPAnet?
No, that part of the timeline is intended as a joke (like Al Gore claiming to invent the Internet). ARPAnet came into being before I was even born!
How did you learn to make websites?
After a brief (30 minute!) introduction on the basics of making a web page — things like <HEAD> and <BODY> tags — I started copying what other websites were doing. Then I would try to figure out what snippets of code caused different things to happen in the browser.
So you're cool with people copying your websites?
Not for anything you intend to profit from, including both financial and scholastic profit. There is a difference between copying for learning purposes — to figure out how something works — and trying to pass off other people's work as your own. Try to do "the right thing" now and it will pay off in the future.
What program(s) did you use to create these sites?
Every web site presented here was authored using a plain, old-fashioned text-editor. Most were created with pico, the pine composer. Most of the images were either created or edited in Adobe Photoshop.
Any advice to someone just starting out?
View source! Seriously, it's the best way to learn.

Last updated 2013-0406-1342.