Originating in 1999, Sector Y wasn’t always at the pinnacle of the yoyoing community. Far from it! It actually had very humble (and maybe even embarrassing) beginnings.
I started my web career sometime in 1998 or 1999. I was in my teenage years, and since blogging hadn’t really existed back then, I took it upon myself to try to learn how to build a personal homepage. I started out making several sites of an unrelated nature before even playing with yoyos. The websites were mostly about videogames, rap music, and funny videos.
After I got into yoyos, I started making yoyo videos and yoyo tutorials. Back then, there was no such thing as clip videos or even YouTube. There were probably only 5 or less people posting videos online, and the only way to learn yoyo tricks at the time was through text descriptions. Frustrated, I set out to make picture-based tutorials. They debuted on my website called Isolation.
Eventually I got more and more into yoyoing, and less and less into everything else, so I split off the yoyo section into it’s own website. Originally, the website was going to be called The Yo-Yo Archives. Here’s the original prototype of the logo:
After deciding to change the name to something a little more modern and “cool,” I settled on the name Sector Y. The name was randomly thought up, and had no association with the Sector Y level of the Starfox videogame. I remember being disappointed in later years when Google searches of Sector Y led people to Starfox pages, but I digress…
Sector Y officially launched on October 15, 1999. I do not have a screenshot of the opening day’s webpage, but at that time it was determined that Sector Y colors would be white and light blue. Here’s the theme that Sector Y used for the next couple of years.
At this point, Sector Y was primarily a trick-video and tutorial site. My videos were made featuring one trick at a time, starting with some of the Spindox footage in addition to footage I got from Nationals 1999. The idea of the internet clip video didn’t really exist at this time, as most people didn’t have the means to film and edit video on a computer. If anything, the best equipment would be a 320×240 15fps webcam, or a videocamera with no way to import footage. Plus, most of the country was still on dial-up internet and the idea of downloading a 30 megabyte file seemed almost absurd.
The first clip video I created was actually not intended to be a clip video. Wanting to put more video content onto the web, I had bought a USB Dazzle capture card. It came with some video editing software, and so I started playing with it after filming some tricks at the February 2000 Spindox meet. I threw some clips together and added some music, and voila! The first clip video was born! (Embarrassing anecdote: the first Spindox video originally used the theme song from “Friends” as it’s music, but thankfully Spindox founder David Capurro slapped some sense into me and pointed me in the direction of Touch of Grey by the Grateful Dead.)
At this time, California was booming with yoyoers. Both Northern and Southern California, as well as Arizona, had a lot of amazing players. The yo-yo boom in 1998 brought in a ton of new players, and by 2000 they were all fine-tuning their craft and bringing intense creativity to the yoyo scene. I just happened to be the right person, in the right place, at the right time, with the right equipment, to bring all of this amazing content to the web. Because I was still a teenager at this time, with no access to transportation, most of my content was west-coast-based. But as the internet started to connect our community, Sector Y also started featuring content from east-coast hotspots such as Massachusetts. With so many new and rising players, Sector Y flourished for many years.
This was the end of the original Sector Y.
As I got busier with life, I entered talks with 2003 World Champion Johnny DelValle to revive Sector Y. He did several site redesigns for me to help get the ball rolling, but for whatever reason we never reached any sort of agreement and the redesign and relaunch never happened. Below are a few of the redesigns that were proposed by JD.
Since I was too busy with life, and JD was busy being awesome and winning contests all over the place, the idea of relaunching Sector Y just fell off the map. Unfortunately, it was just not the right time for the rebirth. At this point, I had all but left the scene and yoyoing was just a passing thought throughout my day-to-day life.
After a few years, in 2007, I started toying with the idea of reviving the site. I started playing around with various CMS (content management systems) to see if new web technology would make it easier to manage a site. I looked into various blogging platforms and concluded that they would be “good enough,” although nothing really stood out to me as something that I could effectively use.
The first redesigns I used were essentially blog templates:
At this point I was simply toying with the idea. I tried bblog (I think that’s the picture above, but I’m not 100% sure), and a friend of mine made the CMS Junecloud, as seen below:
Eventually, I found a CMS I liked called WordPress. It made updating and managing content a lot easier, due to the community-driven plug-in and theme scene. My goal for Sector Y was to make my job as easy as possible, so I could focus more on content and less on actually site management. WordPress did exactly what I wanted.
I relaunched Sector Y sometime in late 2009 after attending the 2009 US National Yo-Yo Contest. I did a lot of filming, so I relaunched my site with 2 new videos that I had made while filming there. Located on a brand new server with it’s own URL, the new Sector Y was made in WordPress using Switchroyale’s Azule theme, as seen below:
As the site got more popular, I had to enlist the help of web developer Scott Nesham from Landlock Design to help modify the theme. I also had my friend, and yo-yo legend, Paul Escolar help create new art for the site. I wanted something simple, but modern. Something that was essentially a Sector Y 2010. I think both Paul and Scott did an excellent job with the new redesign:
I was really happy with the work both Paul and Scott did. But of course, as things came up I ended up tweaking the site to make it less cluttered and more streamlined. This is the site you see today:
Through further unfortunate circumstances, the original Sector Y that was located at the original yoyoing.com server went down, and so it was transfered to this server and is now accessible through the top menu bar titled Sector Y Archive (1999-2003) or through archive.sector-y.com.
That pretty much brings us up to date.
Currently Sector Y is not being regularly updated. But that doesn’t mean it’s gone forever. You may find recent Sector Y videos by following me on Youtube (here and here) and Vimeo, as well as on Facebook, and Twitter.
Will the Sector Y website ever be back in full force? Who knows. With so many yoyo websites and social media sites, it’s existence is no longer worth the effort to maintain. But as our sport continues to grow, you can be sure that the Sector Y entity will forever be around, even if not in full-website form.