I’ve Always Wanted my Name in ASCII

Laura in ASCII textOnce upon a time a signature wasn’t much more than a show of good penmanship. Now a signature can be plain, just links, maybe a quote. Signatures in HTML are colourful and fancy but too clunky for downloading with email. I like ASCII art signatures best of all. ASCII stands for American Standard Code for Information Interchange, your basic everyday keyboard characters. Its become a tradition for ASCII art to only use the characters you can actually see on your keyboard. If you get into the alt key the art becomes ANSI art.

ASCII art has been used for more than just signatures. MUDs, IRC chat, ezines and of course newsgroup and email postings have used ASCII art and emoticons (smileys). Some people have printed out the bigger pictures for kids to colour. One thing all ASCII art has in common is a monospace font. This keeps it looking the same for all computers. If you are seeing ASCII art all warped, jumbled looking, try changing your font to FixedSys or Courier New. When ASCII art is included in a webpage it needs the HTML tag pre and /pre to keep the characters arranged with all the spaces in place.

Signatures should be short but not too cluttered. If you can keep it under 5 lines you’re doing great. I’ve made some which are four lines, the acceptable standard. I think the netiquette police aren’t so concerned with the length of ASCII signatures now that HTML is getting more popular. Still, you don’t want to annoy people with your signature, usually. Keep signatures less than 75 characters wide. Longer signatures can wrap and then they just look like a mess of text. Don’t forget to include your URL and if you use ASCII art, the artist’s initials.

In July 1996 while still a Net newbie, I thought the pictures made with keyboard characters were amazing. Making the pictures myself seemed so out of reach. I didn’t even know what they were called. I searched for keyboard art, typewriter art, anything and everything I could think of. I didn’t find what I was looking for. Finally, I found a site answering newbie questions and they emailed back and told me: ASCII Art! The mystery was solved!

I made my first keepable picture January 1998 (with the help of Albert and Joan on the Sig-List). ASCII Art became my special outlet for the drawing I have always wished I could do. Its been a few years and a lot of ASCII later. I have some signatures I especially like, some art I enjoy sharing on my personal site and a few really great ways of promoting my projects online. People notice ASCII art. Not everyone has my appreciation of it, but it does get noticed. Some people, like my husband, say it’s outdated, a throwback to the 70’s. Little does he know, ASCII Art is still evolving and it started on typewriters, not computers.

ASCII art isn’t using a program to turn a graphic into ASCII text. Anyone can open a program, that’s not art. ASCII art is created when someone uses a minimal amount of data to represent an object. Of course, its not always easy to see, the whole eye of the beholder thing… But its really impressive what some people can do with just a few keyboard characters and a lot of imagination and creativity.

This was originally posted to the BackWash site, October 12, 2001. I wrote there several years before the site closed.

Group ASCII Art from DevilBunnies


From: shadow@hurricane.seas.ucla.edu (Shadow Childe)

       /
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    =======                                   'UooU'

                               ___
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                             ,_(_ )

                               ___--.
           (snoop snoop)       _- /
                             ._)_L

                   (
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     /, |                        (   /)
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''' /
`o' (hop BITE SLASH GOUGE)
"

[[code]]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[[/code]]

From: abhu000@titan.ucs.umass.edu (Douglas MacDougall)

[[code]]czoxOTM6XCIgICAgICAgICAgICAgICAgICAgICAgICAgICAgICAgICAgICAgICAgICAgIF8gXwogICAgICAgICAgICAgIF8gXyAgICB7WyYqJl19ICAgICAgIF8gXyAgICAgICAgICAgLyAvIC8KICAgICAgICAgICAgLyAvIC8gICAgICAgICAgLyAvIC8gICAgICAgICAgQCBAIF9fCntbJiomXX1fIF8gICAgICAgICBAIEAgICAgICAgICAgICBAIEAgICAgICAgICAgPSggLiApPQpcIjt7WyYqJl19[[/code]]

/ / /_ =( . )= =( . )= c c D
@ @ | c c (__( /
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cc_c_c_/ cc|cc_/ c___c_/

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curled up staring hind legs. straight up, about to
in a little longinly Maybe he peirce the jugular, only
ball. Isn't into your wants to bounce off and attack
that cute? eyes... something? another unsuspecting target

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<=/ =======///////D
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/
/ /_
X X
=( . )= D
cc_c_c_/

Bunny with a
fireaxe in his
widdle head.

Artist's Conception: [of urine pumped through waterworks]
.; _ _
/~^~ ,:;:/ / /
| | .;:;:;@ @
{ WTW }~;:;:=( o )= [wiggle, fizzle, dribble]
~| |~
;:;:c c
| | `:;( ( D
__| |_________c___c_/_

[A picture of Doug, General LonGears, and Ragster]

[[code]]czo1OTpcIiAgICAgIEkgd2FudCBhIGJpZ2dlciBzdG9vbCEgJmd0OzooCiAgICAgICAgIF9fICAgICAvLyAgX18KXCI7e1smKiZdfQ==[[/code]]

Why am I /.. // /.. Why won't any of the pretty
here?!? / /.. w/ girls let me bite them?
.------------------.
( / Geeks )
`--__________________--'

From: snowhare@xmission.com (Benjamin Franz)

[[code]]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[[/code]]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
(with thanks to Row (s1171180@giaeb.cc.monash.edu))

From: an88152@anon.penet.fi (An Anonymous Bunny)

DevilBunny: /~ /~ <-- Pet-able Upper Surface
Sylvilagus Demoniacus ~//~/ <-- Acute Ears
/ <-- Highly Developed Brain
"Small mammals of / o o <-- Keen Eyes
the order Lagomorpha, =( v )= <-- Emotive Nose
these characteristically / `-- Sensitive Whiskers
cute animals make " { } <-- Fluffy-Wuffy Body
excellent pets" ( Y / ) <-- Cute Knees
/_____|
/____ <-- Powerful Stomping Feet

@========@ @========@
@@WWWWWW@@ @@WWWWWW@@
|iiiiii|----------------------------------------------------|iiiiii|
|||||||| WELCOME! SOCIETY TO SAVE THE EARTH ||||||||
|||||||| (For the bunnies) ||||||||
||||||||----------------------------------------------------||||||||
|||||||| /~ /~ .-=@@~~=-. /~ /~ ||||||||
|||||||| ~//~/ / /@@V ~//~/ ||||||||
|||||||| / / |@@@@@ / ||||||||
|||||||| / o o |@@| /@@@@@@@| / o o ||||||||
|||||||| =( v )=|@@@|@@@@@@/ |=( v )= ||||||||
|||||||| / |@@@@@@@@@@@| | ||||||||
|jjjjjj| { T~~ @@,~ ~@@@@@/ ~~T } |jjjjjj|
(________) ( | ) @ 7@@@/ ( | / ) (________)
|__________|
/_____|_________`*|/@**'___/______|_/_____|__________|__

/~ /~ ______
~//~/ | Yay! |
/ /~~~~~~
|~/ o o /~|
( v ) /
' ' /
/
_( . )

/_______/____

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| FluffyTeacher |
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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.-/)_
/ o ~_ `~~-. }
u_. ~~-_ }
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{ j_/ / _-'
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`` ~~~'

---____
~~~~~-----
.

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/ /
/ .-' / /`-.
| _ } | { /_ | -ab
/(,,(,,/~,,),,)

The Lady Devil Bunny
(In a silken black robe
with red lining)

[[code]]czo3NDpcIiAgICAgICAgLi0tCiAgICAgICAvIC8KICAgICAgIHwgX18KICAgICAgIGAtXy1cXFwnCiAgIHwvLwogICggfCApCl8oICp8b3tbJiomXX0gKV8KXCI7e1smKiZdfQ==[[/code]]

.-~888888~~~-_
_/ 88888 `--__
888

The Anonymous Bunny to the Rescue!
__
/, ) .__
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{ ( {
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FT and AB: The New Adventures of SuperBunny

/| |
| /,|
{ --'/ j Silver
/ /
@ @ `-

< X >< ~-. /
/ v - ||
{ ( |
-' j
/~ /~~ /~ ___-'
''''''~~~'''~~~~ -ab

From: minxkely@bbs.xnet.com (Minx Kelly)

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/) _ /(
(/ , , )
(=T=)
(^("/)^)
/^[:]/^
/ /)v(
<_/ _>

From: odonnll9@ac.wfunet.wfu.edu (Lisa O'Donnell)

[[code]]czoyMjc6XCIgfF8vfCAgIExpc2EgT1xcXCdEb25uZWxsCiAvQCBAICAgV2FrZSBGb3Jlc3QgVW5pdmVyc2l0eQogLyAgICAgIG9kb25ubHtbJiomXX1sOUBhYy53ZnVuZXQud2Z1LmVkdQogfCBvIHwKICBNLyAgICBcXFwiSSBzYXkgd2hhdCBpdCBvY2N1cnMgdG8gbWUgdG8gc2F5IHdoZW57WyYqJl19IEkgdGhpbmsgSSBoZWFyCiAgIFcgICAgICBwZW9wbGUgc2F5IHRoaW5ncy4gIE1vcmUgSSBjYW5ub3Qgc2F5LlxcXCIgLURvdWdsYXMge1smKiZdfUFkYW1zClwiO3tbJiomXX0=[[/code]]

From: bkeyes@lamar.colostate.edu (Bill Keyes)

  • Bill Keyes / * bkeyes@lamar.colostate.edu *
  • c////////=================|__|=> * "There is special providence *
  • NoCoAnDeBHQ Commander & / * in the fall of a Bunny." *
  • Bunny hunter Extreme <______> * -Shakespeare, Hamlet, V.ii. *

From: abhu000@titan.ucs.umass.edu (Douglas MacDougall)

Doug
Human/Bunny Liason, and wondering how he got that way _ _
"It's always the nice little bunny rabbit on the side / / /_
of the road that gives you the magic that makes you @ @
go and rescue the princess from the evil witch." =( . )= D
--George Lucas cc_c_c_/

From: at241@freenet.carleton.ca (Tammy Sue Heming)

@}---`---,---
fteacher@denverwarren.edu /
Bring the next generation to Cuteness ( )
Brought to you by: at241@freenet.carleton.ca ( * )

From: an88152@anon.penet.fi (An Anonymous Bunny)

._. An
/ /~~/~~/~~~/~/~/~/~~/~T~/~~ // /~~/~T~/~~/~~~/~/
{ ' | | ' | } { | ' | | L ~} ('') | :< | | | } {
L////||///// ( ) ////||

Bill. ,-~~-.
* Bill Keyes /______ * bkeyes@lamar.colostate.edu *
* c////////============| |=> * "There is special providence *
* Fuddie Duddie & ------/ * in the fall of a Billy." *
* Sucker Extreme `-__-' * -Shakespeare, Hamlet, V.ii. *

From: eclipse@uiuc.edu (wilkins john albin)

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__ //
' //
^. .^ __________________________________________________________________
( v ) Eclipse Send e-mail to: Eclipse@uiuc.edu
_____"_______________________________________________________________________

From: clben1@giaeb.CC.monash.edu.au (Ceredwyn Bensley)

$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$
! DEVIOUS: "NewZealand waves are not like Australian waves... !
$ {}{} they're so much better..." $
! (@.@) E-mail: clben1@giaeb.CC.monash.edu.au !
$ --0---0-- Disclaimer: Would YOU believe anything I said? $
! A word from the bard: "Uh oh." !
$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$

Effective Email Greetings and Signatures

Start from the Introduction and read the entire Beginner’s Guide to Effective Email by Kaitlin Duck Sherwood.

A Beginner’s Guide to Effective Email
Greetings and Signatures
Kaitlin Duck Sherwood

Every new medium develops its own protocols for opening and closing. Telephone conversations start with "Hello" and end with "Goodbye". Letters open with "Dear" and end with "Sincerely". Because email is so new, there aren't firm customs on how to open and close.

Many people do not give either a salutation or a signature. After all, while a letter can get separated from its envelope easily, it is difficult to separate an email message's body from its addressing information. The email message itself says who it is to and from.

However, that information might not be adequate for your needs. It might be difficult to find with some email reading software. It might be unclear or ambiguous. It might be inadequate for telling the receivers just why they are getting that message. Or, it might not convey the proper formality or status cues for your purposes.

I will give you my thoughts on openers and closers, but you need to think carefully about what you are trying to convey both explicitly and implicitly. You also need to take the culture and customs of all parties into consideration.

Greetings
Salutations
Salutations are tricky, especially if you are crossing cultures. Frequently, titles are different for men and women, and you may not be able to tell which you are addressing. The family name is first in some cultures and last in others. Honorifics may vary based on status or age. So don't feel bad if you have trouble figuring out which salutation to use: it is a difficult problem.

In the United States, it is a bad idea to use "Sir" or "Mr." unless you are absolutely certain that your correspondent is male. Similarly, it is probably safer to use "Ms." instead of "Miss" or "Mrs." unless you know the preference of the woman in question.

In the United States, using someone's first name is usually ok. Thus, you can usually get away with a "Dear" and the first name.

Dear Chris:

Here you are covered regardless of whether Chris is male or female. (Beware of using a diminutive if you aren't certain your correspondent uses it. It might rankle Judith to be called Judy; Robert might hate being called Bob.)

If you are addressing a group of people, you can say "Dear" plus the unifying attribute. For example:

Dear Project Managers:

Or:

Dear San Jose Lasers Fans:

Do You Even Need A Salutation?
Given that email is relatively informal, frequently (in the United States) there isn't a problem with dispensing with names and titles altogether, especially if you are in a higher status position than your correspondent:

Hello - I saw your web site and wanted to mention that
I invented the thromblemeister on Feb 29, 2403, *not*
on Feb 28, 2402.

I usually use a simple "Hi" for people that I already know:

Hi - Are you interested in getting together for
sushi next week? I can bring all my wedding pictures
and bore you to death. ;-)

"Good Morning" and "Good Afternoon" don't make a lot of sense with email, as the sun may have moved significantly by the time your correspondent gets around to it. "Good Day" sounds stilted to American ears (although it is common in other parts of the former British Empire). You may want to avoid "Greetings" in the United States: it reminds many people of the draft notices young men got during the Vietnam War.

Again, you must be careful about cultural differences. The East Coast of the United States is more formal than the West Coast (where I live). Germans are even more formal; they can work side-by-side for years and never get around to a first-name basis. Starting a message to Germany with Dear Hans might be a bad idea.
Identification
When I get email from strangers, I care more about what connection they have with me than how they address me. When you send email, particularly someone who doesn't know you, it would be good if you would immediately answer these questions:

How did you learn of your correspondent?
What do you want from your correspondent?
Who are you?
Why should your correspondent pay attention to you? (If you can't answer this question, you should wonder if you should even send the email.)

Putting some of that information in a signature is better than nowhere at all, but putting it at the top is better for several reasons:

If there is a problem with the transmission of the email, the end is much more likely to get lost than the beginning.
A lot of people get more than twenty messages per day, and so read them quickly. If you don't establish quickly who you are, your correspondent may delete your message before they get to the bottom.
Your identity is an important clue to the context of the message.

Good answers to the questions can take several forms:

Dear Ms. Sherwood: I am an editor at Very Large Publishing
Company, Inc. I sat next to your husband on United last week,
and he mentioned that you are interested in publishing a book
based on your email guide. I have read your guide, and would be
very interested in receiving a proposal from you.

Or:

My name is Dave Wilcox and I'm the legal counsel for
Thromblemeisters Direct, Inc. We are deeply disturbed at
the aspersions you cast upon us and on thromblemeisters in
your email guide. Therefore, we order you to immediately
cease and desist using any reference to thromblemeisters
in your email guide. If you do not, we will be forced to
file suit against you or your descendants if and when we and/or
thromblemeisters come into existence.

Or even:

Hi - I am a novice email user and just read your email guide.
I don't know if you are the right person to ask or not, but do
you know what the French word for "Mister" is? If you can tell
me the answer, I'll send you a funny postcard.

Some good friends of mine recently got email from my cousin for the first time. Unfortunately, not all of the email made it through. The message they got said only:

Dear Rich and Chris: I met you at Jim and Ducky's wedding.

But, because he identified where he knew Rich and Chris from immediately, it was enough information that they knew he was someone to pay attention to. They replied to him and communication is now going smoothly between them.

Signatures
Many email programs allow you to set up a default signature to be included at the end of every message. Many people use these signatures as an easy way to give their name and alternate ways of reaching them. For example:

Hi - when did you want to go to lunch?

Rebecca P. Snodwhistle
Thromblemeisters Direct, Inc.
666 Beast Street
Styx, HI 77340
+1 (959) 123-4567 voice
+1 (959) 123-4568 FAX
snodwhistle@throbledirect.com W
becca@thromboqueen.net (personal)

Such an extensive amount of signature information in contrast to such a short question looks silly to me. I think much of the above signature is extraneous. If they got the email from you, they can reply by email, so don't need your FAX number or street address. (If they have to send a FAX or package, they can ask for addressing information.) They already have one email address in the message you sent, and don't need your other email address.

The name is perfectly reasonable to include, especially if

Your email messages don't include your full name in the From: line. (Send yourself email to see if your name is there or not.)
The name in the From: line doesn't match the name you actually use. (Christina might actually go by Chris, but her company might insist on using her full name as her email name.)
The email account is shared by multiple people. (My husband and I have a joint email account, for example.)

The telephone number is also a reasonable thing to include - if you are willing to be interrupted by a phone call. Emotions are easier to convey over the phone, and some people prefer phone to email for all circumstances.

If the message is business related, including the company name is a reasonable thing to do - even if the message is going to someone else in the same company.

One thing that is missing from Rebecca P. Snodwhistle's signature, above, that I would like to see is her job title. Is she the vice-president of sales or the shipping clerk? That may have more of an influence on the correspondent than anything else.

So I would rewrite the above signature to be:

Rebecca P. Snodwhistle
Chief Executive Officer, Thromblemeisters Direct, Inc.
+1 (959) 123-4567 voice

That signature is still overkill for arranging lunch, but it isn't always convenient to switch between having your signature included or not.

Some people put things purely for entertainment in their signature: artwork, philosophical sayings, jokes, and/or quotations in their signature. This can be ok, but don't overdo it. A good heuristic is to keep your signature at or under five lines long.

After setting up a signature that is included automatically, it is easy to forget about it. (After all, your email software might not show it to you, or it might be so routine that you never look at it again.) So whenever a piece of contact information changes, make sure to revisit your signature to make sure that it is still up-to-date. And, if you have an entertainment piece in your signature, change it every once in a while. It wasn't as funny the fiftieth time your coworker saw it as it was the first time.

One final note on signatures: they are a good way to let your correspondent know that all of the message got transmitted properly. There is no body language to signal that you are "done talking" and, unfortunately, email transmissions sometimes get interrupted.

Separators
Many people put pretty separators - lines, horizontal bars, and so on - around their signatures. For example:

-----------------------------------------------------------------
Rebecca P. Snodwhistle | CEO, Thromblemeisters Direct, Inc.
+1 (959) 123-4567 voice | +1 (959) 123-4567 fax
-----------------------------------------------------------------

These are very pretty to sighted people, but imagine what it would be like for people who are so visually challenged that they have their computer read their email to them: "hyphen hyphen hyphen hyphen hyphen hyphen..."

That said, some email programs recognize "-- " as a signature separator, and so can process the signature differently. (For example, some programs don't include the signature in quotes.)

Technically, the signature is supposed to be two hyphens plus a space, but it's very common to see just two hyphens without the space.

Summary
If you are well-known to your correspondent, you can probably get away without including extra identification. In other cases, you should provide your correspondent with enough clues to figure out who you are, why you are writing, and why he or she should pay attention to you. Preferably, this information will be at the top of the message.

Greetings are difficult to do well, especially if you are crossing cultures and/or languages. In the United States, you can be pretty informal, but even in the U.S., you need to be careful that you aren't either making assumptions or using sensitive words.

Go on to Summary

Go back to the beginning
Go back to Formality

Created 30 Oct 1998
Slight modification 28 Dec 1998
Added caution about using lots of dashes 1 Mar 1999
Fixed typo 24 Feb 2000
Beautified page 23 May 2001
Added info about "-- " separator 13 June 2002

Juggling ASCII Art from Scott Seltzer


Juggling ASCII Art from Scott Seltzer

Below are a bunch of signatures that I have come across in and around rec.juggling. Send any new ones to add to the list to Scott Seltzer, juggler@ligatureltd.com.

Here is a link to my Juggling Club's high-tech collection of juggling ASCII Art.

    o
 o     o

o O o
---||---/
/

o o -----------------------------------------
O o | Brian | bri@dcs.umd.edu |
o_/|_, | Silverman | |
| -----------------------------------------

Duane Starcher * a a
Memorial University S n n
St. John's, Newfoundland T d d
Canada E a a
R _ a _ a
E 0 / 0 /
(duane@morgan.ucs.mun.ca) O C
/@ C
/ @
* | |
_/ _ _/ _
O O

[[code]]czoyMjA6XCIgX18KLyAgIF9fX18gICAgICBKaW1teSBCcm9rYXcgLSZndDsgamltbXlAanVnZ2xlci5kZW1vbi5jby51awpfX19fX197WyYqJl19X18gICAgIEFsc28gYXQgIC0mZ3Q7ICB1bmljeWNsZUBqdWdnbGVyLmRlbW9uLmNvLnVrCiAgICB8fAogICAgfHwgICAgJmx0Oy0gTXtbJiomXX15IEFic29sdXRlIEJhbGxzIFJlZCBVbmljeWNsZQogICAgfHwgICAgJmx0Oy0gQWxzbyBrbm93biBhcyByZWFsbHkgYmFkIGFydApcIntbJiomXX07e1smKiZdfQ==[[/code]]

From: jgerak@delphi.com:
:-) ___
| /
| / _ o
Hacking is Fun!
|
|
_|

Duane Starcher : A word to the wise 0
Memorial University : is superfluous. 0
St. John's, Newfoundland : 0
Canada : (Does this look familiar?)
duane@kean.ucs.mun.ca 0 0

[[code]]czoyMzpcIiAgIC8gICAgICAgIE5laWwgU21pdGgKXCI7e1smKiZdfQ==[[/code]]

o o
Audio Visual Section
0 o Royal Holloway
/# / University of London
+ # +
/ n.smith@rhbnc.ac.uk
= =

by Shanaka Dias:

[[code]]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[[/code]]

______/___ '. .--------------------'~-'--.),( , )
'--.___ _ / | Shanaka Dias ,' )||
/_.-' _:,
Curtin University " || (
.'
.' '-/,-~ Western Australia |/
___.> /=,| |
/ _.-'/
) |email: edias@alpha1.curtin.edu.au|
snd /` ( /(/ |_________________________________|
"
'==' http://www.ece.curtin.edu.au/~shanaka

by Joris Bellenger (b'ger):

[[code]]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[[/code]]

Joris' info:

----- `,----------------------------------------------
,, # joris bellenger (b'ger)
|/ ? e-mail: svzanten@xs4all.nl
----| ~ )---------------------------------------------
/__/ ____
/ / ascii-art gallery at:
/ <
____,_ http://www.afn.org/~afn39695/bger.htm
--/___/_____ ----------------------------------------
/| Big Browser Is Watching You

---- __ __ () _ _ __ __ _ _ __ __ ___ ___ o
| | | / |--| '(| =| | | |/o " /|/ O | O ) () o
|
|| | |/||||| |||/|||/| o_/||/
|
| Michael Naylor, mnaylor@math.fsu.edu, (904) 644-8433 /

[[code]]czoyMDg6XCIgICBcXFwnICAgXFxcJyAgICBcXFwnCiAgICAgIFxcXCcgICBcXFwnICAgIFxcXCcgICAgICAgIEdyZWdvcnkgQm9yYWg6CiBvLyAgICAgICB7WyYqJl19ICAgXFxcJyAgbyAgICAgIEp1Z2dsZXIsIFByb2dyYW1tZXIsIE5pY2UgR3V5CiAvLVxcXCcgICAgICAgICAgICAtICAgICAgbWFpbHRvOmd7WyYqJl19cmVnQGJvcmFoLmNvbQovICAgICAgICAgICAgICAgLyAgICAgaHR0cDovL3d3dy5ib3JhaC5jb20vZ3JlZy8KXCI7e1smKiZdfQ==[[/code]]

A few by Jugglers Against Gravity:

13 ball flash:

[[code]]czoxMDM6XCIgICAgICAgLi4KICAgICAgIC4gLgogICAgICAgLi4KICAgICAgLiAgLgogICAgICAgLiAuCiAgICAgIC4gICAuCiAgICB7WyYqJl19IC4gTyBfCiAgICAgXy89LwogICAgICAgfAogICAgICAvClwiO3tbJiomXX0=[[/code]]

9 ball juggle:

[[code]]czo5OlwiICAgICAgb28KXCI7e1smKiZdfQ==[[/code]]

J o o
o o
A o
O o
G o
/=/
|
/

mini 9 ball juggler:

[[code]]czoxMzpcIi46Lgo6LjoKLcOFLQpcIjt7WyYqJl19[[/code]]

J _ O Jugglers Against Gravity
A /o = http://users.deltanet.com/~juggler/
G _o|/
/ 2 diabolos, Ladies & Gentlemen!

Dan Kane http://www.lax.net/~dbkane/main.html


"Whoever it was that invented the warranty, they're pretty dumb.
Everything
I buy breaks the day after the warranty expires."
|o o o o o

-----O <-- Dan Kane doing his ever so famous 10 ball

|o o o o o juggle.

JJS Sig Files

| __ _M___, C>C>
| c>(O O)7
c>(O O)___ c>(O O)___ jjs_ascii@yahoo.com
| c>////Z3 c>////Z3 c>////Z3 Once again the day
|jjs_________________________________________ is saved by ASCII! _________

 ________
/ /
|/ / /|
|__()_/_|

| /| jjs_ascii@yahoo.com
| () () |
J __ c
(--) / Mr Popo says ASCII
jjs ____/ is our good friend

[[code]]czoxMDE6XCIgICBfX19fX18KICAvICAuLgogfCAgIDo6ICAgfAogfCAgICAvICB8CnwgIChPICBPKSAgfCAgICAgICBqanNfYXNjaWl7WyYqJl19QHlhaG9vLmNvbQogICAgX18gICAvCiAgIHtfX30gLwpcIjt7WyYqJl19[[/code]]

jjs ____/ The Power of ASCII is Incredible!

[[code]]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[[/code]]

Don't you think you've seen enough? / jjs

[[code]]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[[/code]]

/^/___ ___^
(>>>>) humorous tagline under construction (<<<<)jjs