20 years





September 11, 2001 is quite a memorable day for the obvious reasons. But for me, it holds an additional significance. Because on September 10, 2001 I registered the domain bit-101.com and on the morning of September 11 the first version of the site went live, only to be massively overshadowed by other events just a couple of hours later.

Initially the site was a single page with a Flash application containing a calendar that linked to various interactive experimental pieces. I’d started doing the experiments in late August, so I was able to launch BIT-101 with fourteen experiments. It ultimately grew to over 600.

This was the previous site that was retired on 9/11/01, also fully Flash:

That KP logo came in with a really cool animation and there was a funky 5-second free music loop that I snagged off of FlashKit, which got really annoying after roughly 10 seconds.

A later version of BIT-101:

Yeah, I liked the Papyrus font back then. Also… what are lower case letters? All those sections were draggable and closable windows. Peak 2002 “web design”.

BIT-101 lasted in this general form, with various interface changes up until the end of 2005. There were many months I posted something new every day. Towards the end, it got a bit slower.

While all this was going on, near the end of 2003, I started the first BIT-101 blog. I say the “first” one because in late 2017 I did a blog reboot, to the new blog that you are reading here. The old one had a good 14 year run though. And is immortalized here: http://www.bit-101.com/old/. Amazing to think that the blog reboot is now almost 4 years old, which is about as long as the first old Flash site lasted. Time keeps moving faster.


Things sure have changed since that first site 20 years ago. Back then it was all about Flash for me. I was not working full time as a programmer, but I had a steady flow of side jobs doing Flash work. I’d written a few Flash tutorials on the KP Web Design site and those had done really well. In fact it led me to contributing to my first book, Flash Math Creativity.

This led to many more books, mostly with Friends of ED and Apress, but also OReilly.

In 2003 I was invited to FlashForward in NYC where I was a finalist for their Flash awards ceremony in the Experimental category. I remember being so starstruck meeting all my Flash heroes there – many of whom I consider good friends to this day. As it turns out I won the award, which was amazing. I went back to my day job the following Monday. I was working in the estimation department of a mechanical contracting company. I hated that job. I was thinking, “Why am I here? I am a published author and I just won an award for Flash. That’s what I should be doing.” Amazingly, when the boss came in, he called me into his office. Apparently I had screwed up delivering an estimate the previous week and he fired me. What I remember most clearly about that conversation was trying not to smile as I realized I was free. The next day I went to talk to a company in Boston that I had been talking to about doing some Flash work on the side and said I was ready to go full time. They hired me and thus began my official career as a “professional” developer.

Of course, Flash officially died earlier this year. But I had really moved on from it in early 2011, when I did my “31 days of JavaScript” series on the old blog. The inaugural post here: http://www.bit-101.com/old/?p=3030. This series got a lot of attention and by the end of it I had personally switched over to doing all my personal creative coding using HTML5 Canvas.

In 2018 I started looking for some other platforms for creative code. I discovered Cairo Graphics, a C library that is pretty similar to the canvas api in JavaScript. It has bindings for many other languages. I tried it with Python and liked it, but wanted to learn a new language. I’d been interested in both Rust and Golang. I converted my JS library over to Rust and got it working well. But Rust is a pretty exacting language. I found it hard to work with for something like creative coding. I spent more time trying to satisfy the compiler than I did writing any interesting code. So I tried Go and that really hit the spot. It’s been the mainstay language for my creative work for the last three and a half years, though I still keep active in JavaScript as well.

Work-wise, starting from first job in 2003:

  • Exit 33 / Xplana Learning
  • Flash Composer
  • Brightcove
  • Infrared5
  • Disney
  • Dreamsocket
  • Notarize

I started all of those jobs as a Senior Developer/Engineer/Programmer. At Notarize I am now an Engineer Manager, managing 10 other engineers and not really doing any hands-on coding myself. That’s fine with me. It’s a totally new challenge and I’m enjoying it, especially seeing and helping new grads out of school growing into amazing engineers. Interestingly, only two of those jobs required a formal interview. The rest of them were almost straight to offer from people I had gotten to know well through the Flash community.


It’s been an amazing 20 years. I had no idea where this was going when I randomly came up with “bit-101” and registered the name back then. But it’s worked out pretty damn well. What about the next 20 years? If I’m still breathing and able to type coherent code, I’ll be cranking out something for sure.

11 thoughts on “20 years

  1. Thank you Keith fo your amazing work! I think I’ve bought every book I ever found your name on, superb work! I bought all of the FriendsOfEd stuff. So useful. Loved the story about your old boss! I find when you don’t get time to think you can’t think of what’s next! You’ve helped me a great deal. Thank you!

  2. Yeah just great Keith and always inspiring, just lately gave some of your books to newbies, cause some in flash, they are still very clear and usable.
    Pff 20 years, my childs from 4 ,8 to 24,28.
    Yours too grown I think, and as I remember ‘survived’ a lightning long while back,. Thunder here that’s why I thought of that .

    But than 20 years, you still look as fit bit as hell thx for all your shared inspiring work

  3. Thank you so very much for everything you did! I really came here from the Coding Math YouTube Channel, but after reading this article I only appreciate you more now. Thank you so much!

  4. Thanks for the great summary Keith. I remember when I found bit-101 and was amazed by all physics and your “moving agents” experiments. That has sparked my interest in Flash even more, leading to becoming ActionScript developer myself (not to mention it contributed to better understanding of physics).
    I was a big fan of your Minimal components library and I’ve used it extensively in my HiSlope framework presented at FOTB conference in Brighton. I feel I’ve never gave you a proper credit or even a thank you email, I am sorry for that!
    You’ve paved a lot of paths for many creative developers. I’ve still been using your spring equations in my creative work, recently even trying to port it to 8 bit assembly code for Commodore C64.
    Wishing you a lot of success for the future and thanks for the ever lasting inspiration.

  5. Bill Gates touched your Mac Book Pro huh? That’s kinda cool and all, but Keith Peters mentioned me in a book once. So I got that going for me.

    Glad to see you’re still working/playing as hard as ever. May you have another 20+ years of unbridled creativity!

  6. Keith,

    Your site and Flash got me started as a developer. I took great inspiration from your experiments and was able to develop my skills enough to become a freelance Flash and Flex developer.

    I am still in the IT game, though not development, 20 years later!

    Thank you for inspiring myself and many other creators I was friends with in the early 00’s.

    To 20 more!

  7. Dear Sir, my name is Gerard Rorik, retired sailor, mecanic on merchant ships.
    I found a method to draw a real, logarhythmic, egg shape. All methods make circular curves,
    but a real ellips and oval has nowhere the same curve, it changes logarhythmically milimeter to milemeter.
    I dug the internet and many forums to find a really good method, to no avail.
    If you are interested, tell me and I send some examples.
    Greetings from the South of the Netherlands, Gerard.

  8. Hey Keith, I know you may never see this. But I randomly remembered the name of the site I browsed every day after school in the early 2000s, as a young boy. I’m 30 now, firmly in the tech space at Lonza, and I have you to thank for cultivating such an interest in technology in me. Thank you, Bit-101, and all your creative uses of flash that astounded young me.

  9. As a side note, your early experiments with Brownian motion has also helped me understand some pretty complex things involving biology in my field of work, so again, thank you. It’s been wonderful remembering this and seeing what you’ve been up to the last 15 years or so.

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