Justin Hall's personal site growing & breaking down since 1994

watch overshare: the links.net story contact me

why does he do this? | how might I find my way around?


early daze
boat boy I was born Justin Allyn Hall in Chicago at 12:01pm on December 16, 1974.

Parker After I was two, and until I was seventeen, I lived in the same house on the city's North side, near the lake and the State/Division tourist/suburban bar scene. I attended Francis Parker, a private school in Lincoln Park, from kindergarden through high school: fourteen years. Out of my graduating class, 33 out of 70 had been there that long with me. Some heavy relationships!

My family are intense folk. I have one brother, Colin, family Four years older than I. We are good friends now, but we used to abuse each other something fierce. my mom, dad and step-father were/are lawyers, and very dedicated ones at that. Due to their work ethic, I was raised primarily by a series of nannies.

dad When I was eight, my father, an alcoholic, killed himself; much of my early writing wrestles with this.

grents I was raised pretty much without strict religious background, 'cept for two week summer trips to visit my Grandparents in Stuart, a town of 640 people in north central Nebraska - I attended church with them.

School and I didn't always get along so good. I enjoyed my peers and I did a lot of extra curriculars, I just didn't do homework. Tenth grade, 1991 some time, I started smoking a lot of pot, listening to Jane's Addiction, I failed sophomore history, biology and math, and I shaved my head.

george Around that time my Mom married George and that kinda tilted my flat adolescent world for a little while.

From the age of seven I have been caught up in computers; my mom, bless her heart, got us an Apple II+, in 1981. By the time I was fourteen, I was a software salesman at Software, etc.; many borrowed computer games, many pirate bulletin boards, many late nights. through that job, I got into computer consulting, $40 an hour as a fifteen year old to teach secretaries software. I graduated to full time summer work administering networks for businesses in Chicago. First was Kanbay (after which I went to Ireland), followed by work at the Boston Consulting Group (thanks to my friend Brian).

tiny chenny In the fall of '93, I moved near Philadelphia to attend Swarthmore College. It was there that I started dating Chandra and started on the web, in January 1994.

welcome to the web
tiny howard I really took to the web; I started writing or surfing every day. that lead me to San Francisco, work at Wired when they were building their online "community" HotWired (summer 1994). I met Howard Rheingold and Jonathan Steuer there and I moved in with Jonathan at Cyborganic - young freaks wired up and still idealistic about machines. I was excited to meet everyone, but things didn't go so well at Hotwired; Howard and Jonathan and I quit (in that order) due largely to philosphical and ego divergeance with Louis Rossetto, the Wired founder/boss.

I returned to swarthmore for the spring of 95, I started "Sinners" web seminars (Sinners = "Swarthmore InterNet Novices and Experts Rythmic Seminars"), I broke up with chandra.

summer 95: I returned to san francisco and worked on weekends with Howard tweaking his web pages. Jonathan and I tried to start to write a book about the web. I was arrested. I spoke at the Rand corporation. my appendix broke.

I spent fall and spring at Swarthmore. January break in San Francisco, the Suck guys goaded me to daily posting on my web site. January to May, I asked for donations on my web site and recieved around $400 a month. spring semester I taught a web ethics class back at Swarthmore.

summer tour: '96
rob bottorf - witchita, kansas I put up a notice asking folks to host me for the summer so I could travel and teach and share this web publishing power
wonderful people agreed to host me, and I spent half of may and all of june on the road. I learned more about offline stuff than I was able to be a teacher about the online; still I did have a breakthrough.

I arrived back in San Francisco in July, now with a repetative stress injury from too much typing in the back of buses, just in time to begin work in earnest for electric minds, a company in some ways born out of my time with Howard the last summer. he invited me to live with him, but that didn't work so well with his family, so I sold advertisements to pay for an apartment.

touch the monkey I returned to Swarthmore for spring semester, corresponding furiously with Amy, whom I met in November. we went through some tough times trying to stay together in the spring, and in the summer as well, when I went to Honduras for ten weeks and wrote a series of articles.

love | games
smiles We stayed together as I finished Swarthmore, fall of 97 and spring therafter; graduating with Wilson in the class of 1998. then i moved in with Amy in Oakland, near San Francisco, and started work with ZDTV.

Soon I was too weird for zdtv, so i became freelance fulltime mostly in the communications/art sector. helped design part of a conference, I emceed, I wrote an article. I made my best money from speaking - somehow I had a good run in Scandinavia. It was wonderful working from home, gardening, cooking, loving Amy. me geee x

After having my Macintosh taken at gunpoint, I switched to a PC and started playing a lot of computer games. I love the web and I'm stimulated by making this page but I wanted to learn more about a different type of computer storytelling, so eventually I got a job at gamers.com so I could study games all the time.

Fall 2000 Amy and I hit some rocks, she moved out of the Creekside home. I started dating online some and looking for love.

Gamers.com ended up being the first job I'd had for over a year in a decade. I went from PlayStation Editor to "Director of Innovation" - a great position for researching and studying the games industry. 100 23 year olds, mostly dudes, with 14.1 million dollars to spend making a web site - it was a lot of fun, and that situation bombed out like most of the rest of the internet. In January 2001, they set me free to write and speak and interview at large.

Thanks in large part to reader donations, I was able to travel to Japan for the first time in April 2001 for a video game conference. Japan was thoroughly stimulating to me and I didn't have anything better to do, so Summer of 2001 I began taking intensive Japanese classes at the University of California, Berkeley, and by October 2001 I relocated to live in Japan as a freelance journalist. There I lived in Tokyo, and when that hyperkinetic pace wore me down the countryside called.

jane street Shortly after climbing out of those deeps snows, I met Jane, a writer, artist and musician living in Northern California. We took up journalism together, travelling and writing about media and digital culture in Japan, California, Hawaii, New York, South Korea, Switzerland. Together we founded Game Girl Advance, a weblog and online journal that brings alternative perspectives to videogame culture. After about eighteen months of straight travelling and working together, we parted ways.

three ditty
shingular As I approached thirty, I was living alone in Northern California, continuing my personal studies - aikido, sacred sexuality, freelance writing. I caught shingles and had to figure out how I could be healthy.

Someone suggested I think about going to school: University of Southern California's School of Cinema Television's program in Video Game Design. I thought about it, and decided it would be a good way to practice craft. I moved to a new city and started studying professional multimedia mythmaking.

three sixty
At school I met a woman. We were drawn to each other, but she wasn't eager to see our private life chronicled on these pages. So, I stopped writing online. That hurt a lot; I made a sad video. I'd grown attached to this thing here! But I saw a profound long-term connection with this young lady.

The years with this woman were full. I finished graduate school, my MFA thesis was an attempt to make a massively-multiplayer online game out of surfing the web. PMOG - the Passively Multiplayer Online Game! A social web literacy game in a Firefox toolbar, funded by the Alice Taylor at the BBC.

The prototype attracted interest. My girlfriend and I moved to San Francisco, raised $2 million and founded GameLayers, Inc together. We hired up to 9 people. We were running hard to make a successful game experience across the web! PMOG became "The Nethernet".

During that time, we married. Quite a schedule:

Saturday 7 June we were married (3:45pm 06/07/08)
Monday 9 June we moved from East Oakland to San Francisco
Tuesday 10 June we secured a round of funding for our company
Running a company is challenging, our product was too unusual for broad consumption and the economy took a nosedive. We worked hard but we couldn't get money from our users or other investors. Two Facebook games "Dictator Wars" and "Super Cute Zoo" were not enough to save us. So we shut the company down in late 2009.

In March 2010 I took a job at ngmoco:), a mobile social gaming company. I knew I could learn how to make games that reach a broader audience there, and maybe see how to actually build a company of consequence. In November 2010, ngmoco:) was purchased by a titan of Japanese mobile phone games, DeNA.

In the summer of 2010, my wife and I separated, and decided on divorce in the Fall.

2011: Alive! I won a most eligible bachelor award! But George passed away. That was sad. In July 2011, I became Director of Culture and Communications at ngmoco:) / DeNA. In the fall of 2011 I met Ilyse and we started dating, whee!

2012: More alive than before! But I hurt my shoulder; Ilyse was there for me.

2013! As the year started, I went from working on Culture & Communications at ngmoco:) to being recruiter at DeNA. After six months of that, I became impatient and left to seek my fortune with a green screen:

2014: I doubled-down on video storytelling as a potential way to support my lifestyle. I started with Patreon to support regular episodes of The Justin Hall Show, interviews and essays.

In the spring, Howard suggested I make a 20 minute film version of my web story I told in his class. So in Spring 2014 I focused all my video-making attention on a documentary about 20 years of personal sharing here on this web web site. 2015 started and I was sick of staring at my face, and still feeling like I hadn't answered burning questions about 2015-era personal internet experience. So I went back to monthly episodes of the Justin Hall show, getting to ~ $200 in viewer support from ~80 people per episode.

By the summer of 2015, I was able to summon a deadline and a title "overshare: the links.net story". I published the film in August 2015, now perhaps still available freely across the web from this site overshare.links.net.

Since meeting in 2011, Ilyse and I had moved in together and fully merged our lives. We didn't work together, though we supported each other's projects. We enjoyed so much of the time we could share together, we decided to marry in the fall of 2015.

Publishing this film and hitching my wagon up with Ilyse's feels like a good evolutionary step at the age of 40. I've had a varied career, gone to graduate school, been indepedent, been corporate, and been making videos without a job for two years.

I've exercised my creative muscles and gotten more strong; now I want to see what I can do with them with other people.

So Ilyse and I had a child, and I worked for a few years with the fine folks at Digital Garage, as Community Manager at DG717, a Japanese flavored event / coworking / incubation space. A chance to be an emcee; you can see me opening a number of blockchain-themed videos with plugs for the space [insert some online video link corroboration here]

Then years of searching for something to build on bud.com culminated in my work on bud.com: recreational cannabis delivery - we made our first delivery in January 2018 in Oakland, the month recreational cannabis became legal in California.

By 2022 I find myself the father of a second child, and learning more about fatherhood than I knew awaited me. I visit the public library to fetch books fr my kids at least three times a week. I volunteer at their schools. So aside from my work building software to help adults find cannabis, I'm pretty focused on parenting at the moment. I feel grateful to have the opportunity to focus on it. I find it challenging and theraputic.

Other folks are putting their lives online as well.

You can do this too:
learn to publish pages

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