2007 – 2020
Remember MySpace? It was an early social media site back in 2006 and for most users, it was a way to connect and share. It was where I discovered my interest in web and graphic design. The site allowed for highly customizable profile layouts and I loved seeing other people's coding styles — think Tumblr's HTML layouts now. My origin story for learning to code with HTML and Java is simply making ugly profile layouts.
In 2007, I found myself in the free website hosting world of the early 2000s internet space. I quickly moved beyond the limitations of a MySpace profile and began designing my own gaudy website layouts elsewhere. I had become a part of an online blogging community back when it was more normal to have embedded chat boxes on our sites than embedded YouTube videos. It was through this community that I met my internet friend, Fay, over in the United Kingdom. She so kindly hosted my first domain for free and guided me through those early years of using cPanel, FTP clients, and WordPress.
Back then, I made graphic design tutorials for programs like PhotoFiltre, Corel Paint Shop Pro, and Adobe Photoshop. There were countless free graphics for download in this old internet space without upload restrictions and free photo hosting. And when that design interest waned, I pivoted my website to be more writing focused.
Around 2011–2012, I started reaching out to New York City publicists and music labels to shoot concerts and interview artists for free coverage on my domain. And it worked! I spent a good chunk my young adulthood photographing musicians in Manhattan and Long Island, New York. I wrote about music I loved and shared photographs I'd shoot at 10pm, stay up until 3am to edit, and go to Friday morning class at 9am. It was wild.
2021 – Beyond
Somewhere in April 2020, I let my website's hosting expire during the rise of the pandemic. I lost the site's files without a proper backup since the blog had become something of an afterthought as life went on and interests changed.
When I think about all the work I lost and I lament it for a moment, I always arrive at the same conclusion and it eases my mind. While Hopeless Thunder took on various iterations in its concept throughout its 13 years, I provided a lot of visitors with free graphic design tutorials and downloads. In my adult life, I've come to realize how much I value learning and education, as well as taking the time to better oneself (in whatever way you choose).
Now here we are in 2021 and this new Thunder Tutorials is a work in progress. I hope to provide updated design tutorials and downloads for whoever stops by. And I hope to continue providing free learning resources as I learn new skills myself. Thanks for visiting! — Nancy Hoàng