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The Internet

Vote in 5K Contest 72

antidigerati writes: "The annual 5k website contest is closed and in the voting stage! Some impressive entries this year. Take a look and vote for your favourites!" Slashdot will take first place in its little-known cousin, the 500K contest.
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Vote in 5K Contest

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  • Er...what about and the attendant explanation of what the site is about?
    You really ought to look a little harder.
  • But that wasn't the purpose of the 5K competition. If you want to see a competition where people code *useful* sites in 5K you're free to go found your own.
    And why not? You'll probably get some decent entries.
  • Sorry if you're not able to parse English or infer meaning but this was blatantly obvious to me from reading the text.
    Accessiblity of information does not mean explaining everything in words of one syllable.

  • ...on an IBM 1620 decimal machine (made in late 1950s), I had 120 digits of instructions on a single 80 column card (which could be run as a boot loader card directly from the card reader). Overlapping instructions, donchaknow. Printed out THIMK over and over on the system console, one sense switch changed the speed, another halted it. The M in THIMK was the halt instruction, which is why it wasn't THINK. Think was of course the IBM (pseudo?) motto of the times.

  • You may have optimized the size, but that doesn't really prove anything as the size of Your entry in such format that it would be maintainable is a lot more.

    Can You provide documentation to the entry in under 5k?
  • I'm not sure why using asp is a "Bad Thing"[tm].

    Yes, it relies upon (usually) IIS and a Windows server which has it's own issues. There are several other languages that are inferior to ASP as far as performance and development time goes.

    PHP would have been my choice, but ASP still runs at 43pps [] while PHP was only hitting 47pps. I'll ignore perl, as it's strong suit is definitely not in speed and efficiency. Even with CGI::Fast or mod_perl.

    $ ls -l 5k5.gif
    -rw-rw-r-- 1 xerithan xerithan 613 Apr 12 10:25 5k5.gif
    Mhm.. not sure what other images you are talking about.
    $ lynx -dump|wc
    101 552 4086
    And I get the page in a nice 16 seconds (granted, isn't best but typically faster than the load time for slashdot)

    I'm not sure where any irony is at really...

  • by grappler ( 14976 )
    Funny, the first thing that comes to mind when I see that is a mid-distance race. I had to stare at it a good 5s. And I'm a programmer.

    It's late.


  • As a participant [] of last year's 5K contest, I just want to say thanks to Stewart for making this more than just a one-shot wonder. By the entries I've seen so far, the first 5K served as the thrown-down gauntlet, and it's great to see so many people take up the challenge, and doing such an admirable job.

    It's also wonderful to see doing so well. The whole site was made quite a while after the 5k contest ended, and a lot of people would have been loath to put in the effort.

    Thanks Stewart!!!

    Kevin Fox
  • I guess it's the "modern" equivalent of the 4KB demo. If you don't know what a 4KB demo is then search for it.

    Sometimes I feel like booting to DOS and writing a 4KB demo again.

  • but instead I'm sure you'll waste your talent replying to this post :(
  • According to netcraft they're running IIS or Win2K with ASP. Betcha they're running SQL Server too.

    They have a nice lean design; it really ought to fly. How much to you want to bet everything including the front page is dynamically generated for each and every request?

    Maybe there ought to be a web design contest for minimizing server end loads with dynamic content.

  • Judging by votes and sheer coolness, the 5k Chess is the big winner. Hell, it beat me. If something under 5k can beat me at chess... well, my TI-85 has 32kb, maybe I should let it think for me on a more frequent basis.

    The big loser? Skadden Arps Recruiting site. Arriving at the entry itself is sort of like buying a car in the classified ads and then finding out that it's a tiny plastic model of a car. The joke is barely funny until you realize someone submitted that entry for real, and that the entry was posted on the list anyway.

    Timepiece is pretty funky, I have to say.

    By the way, I have made websites under 5k before, and I've found them highly entertaining. They consist mostly of ranting text about my high school from about 5 years ago. Oh well, maybe my tastes are unique to the world...
  • by pipeb0mb ( 60758 ) <{pipeb0mb} {at} {}> on Wednesday April 11, 2001 @11:03PM (#297202) Homepage
    a.> they use active server pages
    b.> their own images are 5k plus
    c.> their pages are bland and slow
  • Otherwise I would say that it would be hard to slashdot something that is 5k.

    Did they have a zip of all the entries and did anybody mirror it?

  • Yeah... Billyboy was right: No one will ever need more than 640K
  • WinAmp would win a half-meg contest without any trouble...


  • "War" is my second-favorite entry from last year's 5k. I showed it to a lot of my friends when I found out about the contest (shortly after the results came out last year). "Colors []" is my favorite -- I actully use it about once a week.


  • Currently as the site is slashdotted i'm getting an amazing 17 bytes/second from them. So these 5k sites will still take minutes to download :D

    now THAT's web karma for you.

  • []

    By far the niftiest entry of the bunch.
  • by eric.costello ( 104702 ) on Thursday April 12, 2001 @07:45AM (#297209)
    Nice smirky attitiude! My name is Eric and I built the site.

    >Betcha they're running SQL Server too.
    We are indeed running SQL2k. The server is doing fine, btw, though we seem to have maxed out the pipe with the recent /. traffic.

    >How much to you want to bet everything including
    >the front page is dynamically generated for each
    >and every request?
    I will take your bet! I am using an XML caching system I built so that calls to the DB are minimized, which means that the front page is not dynamically created every time (unless you count an XSL transformation). Each entry description page, and even the list of all entries are pulled from cached XML now (the list /was/ created dynamically so as to show up to the second stats for the entries, but it was a matter of changing few lines of code to have it used the cached XML.)

    Anyway, thanks for your interest in the contest.
  • I know you're just a lousy crapflooder, but I was with you right up until the Win2k Advanced Server part! (If you need more than NT5 Server, you need Solaris. 'Nuff said.) However, it is ironic that businesses using Oracle lose substantial amounts of money anyway -- it says so on the contract and the invoice. :-)


  • Er, did you read what I wrote? My point is that nowhere on that exact "about" page is there a direct explanation! There is a short quote about the "idea behind" the contest, and much history, but nowhere does it outright state what the awards are given for! Only because I have a technical background can I suspect that they are for the best website that's no larger than 5 kilobyte.

    You really ought to look a little harder.

  • by -brazil- ( 111867 ) on Wednesday April 11, 2001 @11:13PM (#297212) Homepage
    How ironic that this site, too, is victim to the "insiders only" pitfall: nowhere on the site can you easily find an explanation of what "5k" actually is: even on the about page, they explain what the purpose of the competition is, but not what the competition itself is! And people who don't have a technical background most likely couldn't deduce it either.

    I've seen this several time, and it's quite frustrating: people write their website with themselves in mind, assume that everyone who visits it will have a certain knowledge base to make sense of it, and never think of those who don't.

  • we all know the demoscene belonged to the amiga :) the 4k and 64k demos were so damn impressive. sometimes I wnna plug ym 1200 (I sold the 500) in again and play... but then I think.. naahh

    lovely mahcine that it was it's a little long in the tooth nowadays

  • I'm still bitter about last year's competition. I made a little Java applet which cranked out fullscreen IFS fractal images of a grassy patch of land covered in rosebushes (you'd never see the same rosebush twice - or blade of grass, for that matter). It was going to be animated, with each branch of each tree bending in the wind, but I had to cut it down as the deadline fast approached. Submitted it on time. And they never judged it, or even put it on the main list. Yeah, I was a little mad.
  • 5k references an entire website occupying 5k or less of diskspace. Points are awarded for originality, comicalness, whathaveyou.

    I guess, had the NT server ( you would've been able to view the submissions and vote.

    Does this define meta-reporting?


  • Did you see the 5k Chess [] entry?

    Truly fabuluous...

  • With modem compression technologies you only optimize the link between the client and the ISP. The problem is that the bandwith of the web server limits the number of users connected (aka slashdotted), and gzip'ping the page theoretically doubles or triples that number.
  • Been there, done that. Where's my award ;-)

    Our site had code that created dynamic Flash movies with perl. Now, for those of you that can imagine dynamic image creation meets slashdot effect - think bigger and you're about there. Ouch!

    My server got a load of about 50 and stopped responding to outside stuff (it timed out) but Linux didn't go down or crash.

  • Well then.. how about the BigPess contest?
    People can make the most pessimistic site, sent it in and you can judge them and decide which site is the least though out, lame, pessimistic, no sence of fun and ignorate?

    Sounds like a cool idea? Cause by the tone of your post, It seems right up your ally.

    Please.. it's just a bit of fun, don't spoil it for others just becasue you don't like it. If you don't like it, don't f'n go to there. Just don't moan on about how bad it is to others.

  • Last years' winner was a shopping cart system.
    Anyway... not everything has to be usefull.
    it also depends on your idea of usefull. I'm sure alot of the concepts could be taken and out and put to use.

  • True, but it just seems to be the thing to do on slashdot thes days. Post a negitive opintionish type post istread of thinking up something decent to say about it (positive or negitive)

  • Sounds really cool, actually. Still got the applet around? Post a link! It sounds a hell of a lot better than all of the crap Slashdot points us to.

    Some say Netware is just like a wheel/ When you abend it, you can't mend it
  • Funny you mention that, I had to do the opposite... I could never work the mouse with my left hand so I had to train the left to do the actual work.
  • There's also the 7 kB web competition [] in Germany, and the winners have been announced.

  • No I did not, And I do say that it is very cool.

    But that still leaves alot of crap, did you see the 5k run one?


  • Not to be picky but, next year new rule, it has to be useful in SOME way. none of this 5k race crap. just my $0.02


  • I only saw one entry that was pure html...the sad sad story of the armadillo. I didn't get the joke, but I do want to know what that guy is doing in bed with an armadillo.

  • Coding a website isn't programming. A htmldocument isn't a program.
  • by b0r1s ( 170449 )
    The juggling one (about 10 up from the bottom) was pretty sweet, good use of java. The 'ask your site' one, next to the last on the list, seemed pretty cool, until I thought about how it was done, and realized it was far simpler, and thus less impressive, than most of the others. That notwithstanding, some of those are really pretty impressive for their size. I'd like to see who wins. (pay attention editors: make sure you let us know when the winner's been announced).

  • and i'm supposed to know right off what the 5k contest is....hello editors?


  • seems pr0n invades ALL aspects of the Internet -- even the 5K contest.

    Check out the Pixxxel Chix []. Hilarious! Just think of what "video strip poker" whould look like on the Atari 2600 and you'll get the idea--it's a great spoof of the typical smut site and quite impressive for 5K!

    (btw, if it asks for a password type pixel)
  • I just love the "ask your site" entry....
    I put in with the title "news for nerds" and It came up with forrest gump

    I can only imagine slashdot playing forrest and kiro5shin playing bubba whenever slashdot posts a link...

    kiro5 - I can't feel my webpages...
    /. - Thats causes bubba.. they ain't there!

  • prove that good design and interactivity is possible without heavy downloads. Simple as that.

    Perhaps the geek community would understand this contest better if it's explained as an optimization contest. You're given a 5120-byte limit on your entire Web site. Produce the best thing you can, with the best functionality and the best design, under that constraint.

    My own entry ("Puzzle Cube") was a fantastic exercise in JavaScript optimization to this end. Make the code as functional as I can. Okay, now remove the whitespace and linebreaks. Retitle the variables and functions with single-letter names. Remove unnecessary braces. Replace array declarations with .split() methods to save a few more characters. Trim the fat. Make it lean. And oh, make it still work for 95% of the browsers.

    Of course it's a gimmick -- but more accurately, it's a challenge. Or a proof-of-concept. Whichever you prefer.

  • a.) they use active server pages

    So? The site couldn't work without server-side scripting. Most sites today can't, for that matter. But the first reason for restricting contestants from using ASP should be obvious: security.

    b.) their own images are 5k plus

    No, they aren't. The site is highly optimized as it is, if you check out the HTML source code, but they couldn't provide you all that information even in plain text for under 5k.

    c.) their pages are bland and slow

    Their pages are cleanly designed and they're being Slashdotted. Chill.

  • If anyone is wondering why the site is so slow, here's what they have to say:

    Wednesday, April 11
    ::Please accept our apologies for the site performance issues. The problem is that we had set the dial on the front of the web server to "slow" and now it appears to be jammed up. (Seriously: some complicated SQL issues which are being resolved as we speak. Some pieces of functionality may disappear and reappear as the work is done. Enjoy your nice non-SQL-optimizing and server-reinstalling day.)

    I'd have to say this is first - of course, now we're just going to kill it dead.

  • It is indeed quite good. It would be a whole lot better if its logic thought that Check-mating an opponent was the best available move when possible...

    I beat it 3-Nil, but it should really have been 2-1.

    My god, I can barely bean an amoeba at chess...

  • I beat it easily (it is a little weak at the end).

    But I have a question: Who is julie?
    (see source code at the end)
  • How about a 401k website contest?
  • 5K is just not enough for a quality, or even useful website. Having a competition demostrates nothing. It's not like the demo scene featured on /. before, where programmers pack as much eye candy into as little space as possible.

    The reason is that HTML is so clumsy and inefficient that a 5K site must be devoid of all formatting, structure, images, and content to slide under the cap. Look at the HTML only entries. They are crap, amateur-looking sites. The reason is that even a professional web-monger like myself simply cannot pack anything good into 5K.

    It's not a matter of finding the right optimizations, because there are none. There are right ways, and clumsy ways, but no elegant or clever ways. If the promoters of this contest want to see some real creativity perhaps they should raise the cap in the HTML only category to 30 or 40 K.

    This would allow designers to demonstrate their creativity and cleverness, while producing more than 4 mono-color icons which lead to slightly different versions of the first page (This is the Earthsite entry, the highest scoring in the HTML only category). Take a look at the poorness of the entries, make your own decision, then flame me.

  • I'm reading a lot of people saying that 5k is not enough or 5k is not realistic....! Sure understandably, hey it's a challenge, not a walk in the park. You actually have to work at creating a page that's either entertaining, useful, and under 5k.

    My next comment is, "Have you actully gone to the site and seen the 5k submissions?" Some are unbelievable! You've got to check out the flash dolphin submission near the bottom of the page. Or the chess game, or the useful yearly calander!

    With out people trying to make java and/or scripts as small as possible we would have nothing left but bloated / slow web pages.
    Give these guys a break, they worked their butts off and deserve tons of credit.

  • Helpful heuristic for the Slashdot staff: 'tis better to publicize contests pre their deadline for submission.

    And i still say it'd be smarter to make a backup copy of a website before slashdotting it. (The backup can be auto'ly disabled as soon as the website staggers back to its feet.)

  • A HTML document (along with style sheet) contains instructions on how a document is to be rendered by a browser (or other devices). In a way it is like writting one of those nifty perl script that will print out itself :-) But this is getting OT.


  • by Codeala ( 235477 ) on Thursday April 12, 2001 @02:49AM (#297243)

    As many posters already pointed out the itself is extremely bloated. You have to jump through so many hoops just to look at a couple pages... Wouldn't it be nice if the 5k principle is applied more often in real life.

    Size does matter, even if you have a fast connection (at the server AND the client side). Don't use FONT tags, don't specific "Arial, Verdana, sans-serif". Instead use Style Sheet and "sans-serif". Remember "Dynamic Font" from Netscape? "You want me to download some fonts just to look at your text page?" How silly is that?

    I like to consider web programming, with HTML, CSS, images and other sources, an art form. An elegant programmer can (and will) create a well layout page using minimum amount of code. Not some hacks that know how to convert a .doc file into a "web" page or make an image map with DreamWeaver.

    So yeah the 5k contest was interesting, but I would rather see more real examples of people writing good clean web page.


  • Isn't 512K a much rounder number? With winners being a member of the 'helf-meg club'?
  • $ ls -l index.html
    -rw------- 1 anne_m anne_m 8676 Apr 12 2001 index.html
    $ ls -l 2001_5k.gif
    -rw------- 1 anne_m anne_m 3316 Apr 12 2001 2001_5k.gif

    That's well more than 5Kb.
  • I agree with you on that one. I mean a 5kb contest of what? It doesnt make sense really. The only reason I knew what it was, was reading the slashdot posts. At least they could put a About link, or What the Hell is this site about? link.
    I love my iBook. I use it to run Linux!
  • For a bunch of pages that are only supposed to be 5K long they sure are taking a long time to load...
  • The "You have Been Slash Doted and Survived Without A Crash" award? That would really mean something to a web admin...

    Plug for my website:
    Wireless Networking Systems
    Network over a 15 mile radius!
    Create your own Wireless ISP! []
  • Makes me remember the days of "how much code can you get into one line". I remember running a shooting "video games" in one line of PET BASIC - that was 80 characters!

    Of course we could do amazing things in the long lines that Applesoft BASIC gave us - 127 char I think?

    I understand the APL programmers were the real stars at "one line of code" though.

    As they say - the Lord created the world in 6 days, but an APL programmer could do it in on line.


  • no.. the IBM motto of the times was "I've Been Moved". Think was just on the notepads because they had to constantly remind their engineers to do just that.
  • I did a fake instant-messenger. Check it out here [].

    Please give me a high score ;-)

  • by ooze ( 307871 )
    How about a 5k operating system contest?
  • Uhmm, what ever happened to the idea of sending compressed data over HTTP and letting the browser decompress it? .. Size of slashdot front page for me, as it is now: 36,793. Gziped: 9,248. Not that I care personally, since I have cable.. but most people aren't putting the cpu to use while "surfing the net". Wouldn't it make sense to cut bandwidth this way rather then try to do a clever "html hack"? yeah, I know, that's not the point of this contest, but I had to rant..
  • Are you sure it isn't a way to make you cringe, by waiting for 5 minutes to download a 5k website?
  • All this kind of contests are just another way of slapping ourselves on the backs. I know this kind of thing has a glorious tradition, starting with the "Oscars" circus. But other contests let you, at least, know new sites that can possibly be useful to you. This one shares not that virtue. What's the point of it, anyway?

    It's efficiency? I'm all in favour of efficiency, but when the useful information is near zero, you get a very bad ratio, no matter how little resources you used.

    It's a way of reflecting about the design, by adding constraints? That would be a wonderful idea. If they stated a goal, lets say design a web site with the periodic table of elements, and some strong size limitations, and let people use their minds on it, that would be something, IMHO. That perhaps would provide us with useful insights. But with no goals, it's only a collection of nonsense. I'm not particularly interested in how somebody solved a problem of his or her own invention, where the specifications could be changed at will.

    It has no point, it's simply a fun site? Well, I have seen funnier.

    So for me it's just another self-congratulation site. I have no time for it now, I must contemplate my navel, I think...Oh my! Isn't it interesting?...I think I'll forget everything about the outside world...ohmmmmm...


  • There are Forth systems that do triple duty as OS, shell, and programming language, in under 5K.

    Take a look at Chuck Moore's work []. His attitude is that the right amount of software for pretty much any task is about 1000 words (tokens).

    (geez, these spoiled youngsters, with their gigabyte ram and their terabyte hard-drives... no clue about the days when you were happy -- happy! -- to have 16 kb of RAM)
  • This just makes me wish for the "good ol' days" when websites above 50k were considered "horribly bloated" Now we've got a contest to see who can write a small webpage. Why? That's the same stuff we did years ago simply because we *had* to! ;)
  • I have found Postgres to be pitifully slow compared to MySQL. It's not like the 5k site requires any RMDBS features - MySQL would be a good choice.
  • Look i don't want to take anything away from this competition but what is the point of manipulating you page to be less than a certain size. I'm all for small pages, without stupid graphics, java applets, flash, etc... but this seems more like a gimmick than anything else. As someone said before, if this was the 5k & useful poll then maybe it would mean something. (Hell, i know hundreds of sites that are less than 5k... too bad they're all crap :-) )
  • Yeh, if the computer knew how to checkmate, that would be good. Sorry if it matters that much to you.

    When i programmed it, it was meant to be beaten. it's for begginers, and most begginners i've seen play it, get hammered pretty early on. but they get the chance to comeback. it's kind'a like playing agaist your dad when your 6 - he'll hit you hard and then let you win.

    So for that reason, it will only try to "stale-mate" you. it's there for fun, not to beat bigblue.

    As for the the idea of "purpose" in the 5k competition... well what about design and beauty? i still think a well designed HTML site thats pleasing to the eye, and easy to read and navigate, is FAR better then a novelty chess game.

    -amplifi (creator of 5K Chess)

    ps: julie's my lovely (well designed) wife. ; )

Consider the postage stamp: its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there. -- Josh Billings