The Real History of TC and EB

By | August 4, 2022
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The Real History of TC and EB 

Intro by TC

Darcy (EB) wrote this in 2008 — I cannot being to tell you how much things have changed over the last fourteen years — but our history is still the same. We hope you all enjoy this little trip back to the beginnings of Cloudeight when EB and TC first met. (TC 8/03/2022)

The Real History of TC and EB by Darcy (EB)

We have had many ask us to tell the story about how Thundercloud and I met and how we developed Cloudeight… so the story begins.

It all started in a land far, far away.. well, actually it started in Michigan when I met my friends Orca and Ldy on the old IRC (Internet Relay Chat) Michigan Chat lines. We had a regular group of people who came to chat. Then sometime in 1996, TC came snooping around one day… even though he was not from Michigan! It made him stand out, so naturally, I began chatting with him. He was making a web page and was a newbie, so I took him under my wing, shared all my store of knowledge from the two months I had accumulated, and taught him how to put some images on a page. We started emailing and chatting about new things we were learning, and found that both of us were eager to learn all we could! Wow.. a cyber match made in heaven!

OK… on with the story. One day I was searching the web for something new I had just learned called “scripts” and set out to learn them inside out. I was playing around with one of these scripts (a script simply automates something) and it made my picture appear to be scrolling. Wow! Something really cool! I sent it in an email to TC and asked him if he could “see” anything. I was not sure if only I could view this scrolling picture or not!

He was as excited as I was.. instead of just answering me to say yes or no, I had to wait all day and my answer finally came.. he had created a nice graphic of his own (using skills he had obtained from the one and only… !) and had it scrolling away! We couldn’t believe something like this could be done on the computer, much less in email! We wanted to tell our friends about this.. so off we went, emailing our friends our new discovery.

We found our friends were just as excited about our new discovery, and soon they were asking how to do this. We tried to explain, though it seemed so complicated, especially for those that didn’t understand scripting or those that did not work in PSP/Photoshop, so we “made” a \stationery for them and send it to them in email. They would in turn click reply, remove all the text, change who they were sending to, and were sending their “own” stationery. It was a roundabout way of doing things, but it worked, so our circle of friends were having fun along with us now!

Soon the requests got overwhelming… and we just couldn’t find the time to send stationery to everyone! So, TC and I decided to make a website page for our friends to download the stationery we had made. We created it from any pictures we thought were nice and soon we had 10 or 15 people a day coming to our new website. We were ecstatic when it hit 20! Twenty people in one day! We couldn’t believe all the traffic!

When we weren’t chatting, we were creating! We would spend days working on a single stationery design. sometimes editing an image one pixel at a time to get it to tile perfectly. I remember letting “the little things” go, like the dishes and the laundry so I could create!  We put our hearts into every single creation, and couldn’t wait to show each other what we’d done. Then up to the web, it would go! Lucky for us, Thundercloud had his very own domain… it was empty so we had a great place to put our stationery! Cloudeight had not yet been born.. but soon would be and its home would be on Thundercloud.net.

Our next step was to come up with a name for our site. We pondered on this for days, tossed names back and forth, but nothing sounded “right”, until one day we mentioned something about being on cloudnine and how nice it was.. and it hit me.. let’s combine our names.. (or part of our names!) and call our site Cloudeight! A step back from “being on cloudnine” but better! And finally.. a name that clicked and after all these years we are still known as Cloudeight. This explains why Cloudeight’s home is on thundercloud.net!

Jump ahead to today, we have a mailing list for our stationery and tech news with over 200,000 members, and while we have created many new sites and products since then, our stationery site remains our biggest site with nearly 10,000 visitors daily and more than double that amount during holidays and winter season.

An Afterword by TC

It has been fourteen years since EB wrote this. Little did we know in 2009 – one year later – we would find our dream shattered by Microsoft and the introduction of Windows 7. Windows 7 brought an end to Outlook Express and its sister Windows Mail.

Our stationery, designed for these two great email programs, was about to become unusable by those who moved to Windows 7. Microsoft decided not to include an email client in Windows 7 then offered Windows Live Mail (part of Windows Live Essentials) as an alternative. But Windows Live Mail was a resource-hungry, flaky program, noted for being buggy. We tried desperately to find a way to make our stationery for Windows Live Mail — and Thunderbird — but it just wasn’t the same… no scrolling, no music. These email clients allowed little more than backgrounds in email — and that’s not Cloudeight stationery, at least not to us.

Our mailing lists – once over 200,000 gradually shrunk as more people started using Windows 7, our stationery, once the lifeblood of our business, slowly faded away until only a small number of people used it.

For many of the past 14 years, we have struggled financially. There were times we wondered if we’d make it through the next month. We existed week-to-week – and as I’m sure many of you know, that isn’t fun.

When things were good, Darcy and I got along famously — we constantly shared new ideas and had a lot of fun with our work and our site. But things became deadly serious when we struggled to make ends meet. We took 50% pay cuts to keep things going. We worked harder, got paid less, and seemed to get nowhere.

In 2011 we started Cloudeight Direct Computer Care Services (Darcy’s idea) and things started looking up a bit. Cloudeight Direct takes a lot of our time because we are the kind of people who always want to do the very best we can for everyone. To this day, we try to treat each computer that we work on as if it were our own — and sometimes we are too fussy and take a lot longer than we should with each customer… and we would not have it any other way.

To say the problems we’ve endured over the years haven’t affected our partnership and our friendship wouldn’t be true. It’s really been hard for us both. I tend to be hot-headed and temperamental while Darcy is ever the diplomat. So I guess I made it harder on her than it should have been — Heaven knows it’s been a long, rough road.

I am not an easy person to get along with — I’m very high-strung and lash out too often when things don’t go well. I’m impatient and I can be condescending and gruff — but like Darcy, I too have a heart of gold and I am compassionate — I just don’t show it as well as Darcy does.

But… there is one thing, more than any other, which has gotten us through the thundering rapids of decline — and that is you. Those of you who have made donations, purchased one of our products or services, or used our Cloudeight Direct Computer Care Services are the reason we’re still here. 

Without all of you, Cloudeight would have fallen into that vast sea of dead websites, long ago –  abandoned, and long forgotten. All we would have left would be good memories — because “…what’s too painful to remember, we simply choose to forget…”

So we both sincerely thank every single one of you who stuck with us.  We appreciate you more than you know.

 

6 thoughts on “The Real History of TC and EB

  1. Evelyn R

    This is a amazing story! I’ve been with you since 2001 and you have always been so helpful and honest. I know I speak for many other when I say we’re glad you guys never gave up. I wish you two all the best! Thanks for all you do for so many!

    Reply
  2. Maggie

    Dear TC and Darcy, Where to start? I have been an avid follower, and supporter but truth to tell never been a critic or disappointed in anything that I have observed over the years. I guess that I can safely say that I have almost been with you since your inception. When I first started my journey on the computer I was extremely ignorant of the working of this amazing piece of technology. With your help and direction I have stayed with it and now compared to yourself and Darcy I am still in the early days of learning. I spent so much time with your stationery which was so wonderful to be able to share with friends and relations who also enjoyed the pretty emails that I was able to send to them. I still try to use your stationery for Easter and Christmas and sometimes it works and sometimes it does not my fault of course. Although the music is now not embedded in the email I play around and am sometimes able to add it as an attachment which means that the recipients have to open it but I feel the magic is still there. TC do not be too hard on yourself as we all suffer from intolerance now and again and Darcy has stood the test of time so perhaps it is not as bad as you think. I wish you both all the very best, take care and stay safe
    Kindest regards and warm wishes,
    Maggie.

    Reply
  3. Martha Gress

    I am not sure how long I have been using both of you for my computer repairs but have been very happy with everything you have done. I remember using your stationary when it first started and enjoyed it. Never been unhappy with anything with you or your services. Definately don’t get on the computer as often. To many interuptions!. Thanks to both of you for teaching and helping me over a lot of years. Stay healthy and be happy!

    Reply
  4. Annabelle

    Want to thank you both for hanging in there for all of us that sure need your help. Enjoyed reading your story about how you two met and began Cloudeight. We have come to trust you both with our computers and at times, stupid questions we send and ask you. God Bless and hope you stay healthy in these uncertain times.

    Reply
  5. Sharon

    Thank you for the story of how you two became friends and partners. I had read this before but still enjoyed reading it again. I’m so glad you did find one another. You have helped me countless times and I want you to know how much I appreciate that. I pray you will be around for a long, long time helping everyone. Bless you both!

    Reply
  6. Eileen Edwards

    I first was introduced to you both by a dear friend, Holly. I joined Not over the Hill and I learned so much. How to things and made a lot of good friends. Some are gone now. Then I found your computer service and was so pleased, I had no idea things like that would work but it does . Now if I have a problem I call for help from you both.

    I know how difficult it has been the last couple of years , I help when I can. But now I am old and don’t use computers as much.

    Thank you both for all your help over the years. It is appreciated.

    Reply

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