EAE Award Winners 2007
Randy Hoffman launched his first Star Trek website as soon as 1998. After an earlier name change to St-Misc.com his site is known as Strekonline.com since 2001. It is a concise guide to the five Star Trek series and the ten movies, with episode synopses and an impressive screen capture archive as the main features. Everything is still a work in progress, but new content has been frequently added over the past five years, and I hope it will keep coming. The professional looking design and navigation of Strekonline.com is a considerable improvement over what I remember from St-Misc.com. All in all, Strekonline.com is an example how a decent fan site may grow to a terrific resource through steady work on the design and content. Congratulations to webmaster Randy Hoffman, and keep up your great work!
Trekkieguy has been a fan of The Original Series since his childhood, attending numerous conventions and meeting all of the main cast. I hope he takes no offense when I call him an old-style fan in the best sense. This may explain why his tribute to TOS sports a personal touch of the kind that is missing on most of today's Trek-related websites. In addition to the episode data, the many sound files and the picture gallery, the site excels with unusual features. Like the reviews of apparently all TOS novels. Or the memory wall of people working on Star Trek who have passed away. As sad as it is each time a new name is added, it is a bit comforting to know that someone cares about them. The site is made of clean HTML code and carefully enhanced with illustrations. As he is neither trying to rival the big databases nor dumbing it down to a blog with random incoherent posts, Trekkieguy has accomplished the best that is possible with a personal website.
to Animated Star Trek (March
Curt Danhauser's Guide to Animated Star Trek has been around for almost eleven years, and it has become a classic just like its subject. The site provides an overview of the episodes, dates, races, personnel and ships of TAS, all with various side notes and cross-references. The database is structured much like an extension of the official Star Trek reference books in which the series is missing. In addition, the Guide to Animated Star Trek offers information about how TAS came to life, supplemented by an exhaustive FAQ bearing some interesting statistics and other trivia. I like the straightforward concept of the site that every link opens a page packed with information, boldly defying recent web trends of serving bloated source code with little content. But most of all the site deserves an award because it successfully prevented The Animated Series from falling into oblivion (as one of only two notable efforts in the internet). When you go there, be sure to visit Curt's other Trek-related sites too, like Star Trek: Excelsior, another long-time favorite in my bookmarks.
Trek Databas (April
This sounds Swedish, and it is Swedish. Star Trek Databas is a website that I am absolutely impressed with. The site has been around for a couple of years now, and it is my fault that I rediscovered it only lately (actually while I was checking out some older bookmarks). The content is divided into well thought-out sub-menus on characters (Karaktärer), episodes (Avsnitt), ships, races, weapons, etc. (Databas), pics, sounds and desktops (Multimedia), toys (Leksaker), books (Litteratur) and conventions (Kongress). Each of these sections contains a wealth of information, well-researched and convincingly presented. In addition, the site features almost daily Trek news, as well as a very busy message board (if we consider the number of Swedish speakers). If there is anything that is not perfect at Star Trek Databas, it has to be the spelling, because this is the only thing I didn't know how to verify.
Sure, I have chosen an odd time to present the EAE Award to a Trek review site whose current focus, owing to Trek's hibernation, has shifted to BSG. But the award goes to Jamahl Epsicokhan, who has been among the foremost Star Trek reviewers for years, and for a good reason. Looking around in the web, the typical episode review, of any series, is either an incoherent rant or an insipid recap without much elucidation. I freely admit that my own reviews very often fall into one of these two categories. Jammer, like few others, finds a middle ground and makes his like or dislike of a particular installment almost palpable. Whenever I disagree with his ratings, which happens quite frequently, I can understand why. The same carefulness as in the main content can be found in the site's add-ons, such as the overview, the update log, the RSS feed or the new blog. Overall, Jammer leaves no question as to how the site is structured and why. No need to mention that the layout is pleasant and the navigation is easy and flawless. I hope that one day there will be regular new Trek episode reviews by Jammer!
Tomalak's Trek Animations (June
Cmdr Tomalak's Trek Animations is another site that has been around for years and has been frequently updated. Sure, animated GIFs seem to be out of fashion by now, and they have been overused as decoration for otherwise badly designed websites. But this shouldn't be a reason for me not to compliment Cmdr Tomalak on the art of reducing motion to a minimum of disk space and download time. On his site, which is by no means badly designed, Tomalak's creations are neatly categorized as animations for bright and for dark backgrounds - because choosing the wrong border color is still the most common error with GIFs. We can also see some movie animations and, on a funny note, the creator in several alien disguises. In addition, visitors can request animations. Overall Cmdr Tomalak's Animations may not be a mega-site that keeps fans busy for hours, but it is a very nice showcase of an affectionate Trekker.
"El espacio, la última frontera." -- This month's EAE Award goes to a noteworthy site based in Spain. The database of ZonaTrek may not be the most complete that is available in Spanish, but it excels with its easy navigation and beautiful presentation. Browsing the site is a pleasure, as the sections and sub-sections are accessible through a well-designed menu bar. All entries about characters, planets, races, empires, technologies, locations and non-humanoid species are heavily illustrated, often with videos, and never importunately. The same goes for the episode pages (including La Serie Animada), which also give registered users the opportunity to comment on them. Viewing the site requires fast internet access, but it is by no means a waste of bandwidth. Finally, whoever said that a design based on the color yellow has to be ugly? All in all, ZonaTrek is a site that continues the tradition of online Star Trek databases taking advantage of new techniques and fast connections.
Press (August 2007)
This is probably the first time that I give the EAE Award to a site whose idea predates the Internet by many years. Orion Press was founded as a fan fiction zine as soon as in 1979, before 90% of what we know of Star Trek today even existed. So it is no surprise that Randall Landers, who compiles the zine and runs the site as well, focuses his work exclusively on TOS. As a huge fan fiction portal Orion Press offers a bibliography, an index, a timeline and a lexicon in addition to the actual stories. As a TOS site it also hosts a large number of "historical" articles from the fan zines, commentaries, interviews, deleted scenes and much more pertaining to The Original Series. Visiting this site, in the best sense, is like a time travel to the pre-Internet era of fandom. It is remarkable how unswervingly Orion Press defies recent web trends of highly flexible databases and dynamic pages, and probably no one can understand that better than I do, because it would be an insane amount of work to convert everything. I sincerely hope the site will live long and prosper, even if it is not in the spirit of the next generation that we are faced with - the one of Web 2.0.
In the face of YouTube and the likes, 11001001.info is one of the very few media sites dedicated to Star Trek that have survived. There used to be several sites with a random selection of commonly known episode clips, trailers and parodies. 11001001.info, in accordance with the site's motto, "The Other Side of Trek", offers a great deal of often hard-to-find and sometimes exclusive content, which it neatly categorizes. The number of Trek-related interviews, fan series, music videos, parodies, game videos, game downloads and icons that can be found here is amazing. In addition, there are some interactive features to discover. 11001001.info is also a site that stands out due to its cutting-edge design. The only slight criticism is that the Flash menu, while it tags items that are not currently available with a red light, is somewhat cryptic at times and restricts the site to just one browser tab. Anyway, after I began to see it as a waste of time in recent years, I have rediscovered my interest in video clips lately, and this is at least partly because of 11001001.info.
For the first time the EAE Award goes to an Ukrainian website. Trek Wallpapers is written in English though. The site presents a variety of original wallpapers and other fan art in excellent quality, nothing more and nothing less. The stylish but clean site design mirrors the high standard of the content. Also, Trek Wallpapers is easy to navigate and allows users to comment on the pictures. In this fashion it combines features of good old websites with new interactive web trends, thus securing the site's future. Trek Wallpapers spotlights the romantic side of Star Trek. I don't like quite everything of the presented art, and I don't think I have to. But one thing is clear -- it does not always have to be starships. Congratulations to Natasha and Orest!
The German site TrekNation is more proof that the classic concept of fan websites is not yet dead. TrekNation presents episode guides with extensive screen capture collections, basic data on the single Trek series and a large number of fan stories. All these sections are supplemented with interactive functions like commenting. I know the site for some time, and I think that it looks better than ever after a recent redesign of the user interface, which is now adorned by an ENT-style Starfleet Command emblem. It is a continuous effort to keep a website so well-structured and nice-looking, unless it is a blog and hence based on predefined templates anyway. In addition to the guestbook and the forum, there is also the possibility for registered users to leave live comments to be displayed on the main page. Well, the spam-polluted guestbook needs a radical clean-up. Anyway, congratulations to the TrekNation team!
Moon Design (December 2007)
Waxing Moon Design is a multi-faceted artist's portfolio made up of artwork, photography, literature, movie reviews and a game mod work in progress. The one section that particularly captures my attention, essentially a website in its own right, is The Enterprise Project. One main feature of the site is the collection of superb deck plans of Enterprise NX-01 at a size of as much as 3000x2000 pixels. The Enterprise Project also offers The Enterprise Companion, a concise episode guide to the series with various competent side notes (and hence very useful as a reference). All this is embedded into a graphical user interface emulating the look of 22nd century computer consoles. Besides the typical buttons the "sliding potentiometers" to select the episodes are particularly nifty. I almost couldn't believe that the pages were obviously made with Yahoo Site Builder, a tool which I wouldn't have expected to produce such a professional look and clean code. Well, the loading times of the single pages are rather long, but I gladly put up with it for a great site design.