The History

Mosaic Web Browser
Adobe MAX Awards 2004 & 2006
TeachIVUS MAX Award Winner 2004

In 1989, my family got its first real computer. While I had had video game consoles for years now, an actual computer was quite a different story. My dad was a graphic designer so we didn’t end up with a base model PC, instead we got a Macintosh IIci, with a whopping 12mb of RAM and a mind-bogglingly massive 80mb hard drive. Even at the age of 12, I intuitively saw the power and potential inherent in this magical device and immediately threw myself at learning all I could.

Forgoing cartoons, the Nintendo or playing outside, I investigated every aspect of the Mac that I could. I had the great fortune of installing Photoshop 1.0 (off of 4 floppy disks!) and spent untold hours trying to figure out how to create and retouch images.

I was there for the early days of the BBS networks (the 28.8 baud modem noise connecting will forever be etched into my soul) and I somehow managed to download the Mosaic browser just a few months after it came out. Looking back, I was unintentionally among the very first of those early internet adventurers, creating “web pages” and learning HTML. It was all incredible fun and a huge challenge, since there was no Google or YouTube and learning things took some real gumption.

Halfway through college, having already been freelancing to create websites since 1994 or so, I had the opportunity to take a job as a web designer with an entrepreneur that I had done a few projects for. At the time, he offered a generous salary and I figured that if it didn’t work out, I could always return to school after a year, having made some decent money. Little did I know that 25 years later, I would still be working for that same company, now as the Director of User Experience.

In those intervening years I have seen my company go from two people, to a dozen, back to two, and now a several dozen. I have had the amazing opportunity to be awarded two Adobe Max Awards for my work in the early days of Flash, creating sophisticated web-based simulation tools for physicians (to this day I'm still stunned that as the sole developer of those programs, my work beat out companies like Toyota, Yahoo or the Wharton School of Business). Now, I work with a talented team to develop a SASS and websites that help colleges and hospitals manage their continuing medical education.

Looking back, that 12 year old me is still very much present. I continually try to learn new things and dive into a wide variety of topics. I branched off from purely digital work to create tangible, collectible items (read more about that below) and explore the world as much as I can, both online and by experiencing the world through travel or being in the outdoors.

Nondescript is just one little corner of the web where I can play and get some creativity out. I look forward to many more years of learning and adventure because there is always something new to explore in our incredible world.

Paul Carpenter

Macintosh IIci Computer
Photoshop 1.0 Splash Screen
Hiking in my local parks
The road goes ever on and on...
Mt. Arenal, Costa Rica


It seems that part of being a generally creative person is that the interests and experiments never really end. There are so many amazing things to learn about, try, or make and while I have some definite core interests there are always new things to investigate.

When I stumble across a really interesting product or a work on a fun creative project that I'm proud of, I love to write about it! Give these topics a click to learn more.

The Side Biz:
Encarded Playing Cards

You can learn more about Encarded via our social media accounts:

Instagram YouTube Twitter Email

Chancellor Gilded Laser Edition Aurum Laser Cut Edition Priory Premiere Edition Zenith Signature Series

The world of playing cards is full of amazing decks, but even with the variety currently available there are ideas that no one has produced, designs that no one has seen, and features that no one has considered yet.

I founded Encarded in 2011 to explore these new design ideas. My first project was funded by the Kickstarter platform and was the 6th playing card project on the platform (there are now more than 3,000) and that deck went on to set the Kickstarter record for a playing card project. In the decade since, I've designed over a dozen different decks and have sold tens of thousands of decks to collectors all over the world. Encarded strives to make beautifully usable decks that any card collector, cardist or magician would be excited to have. My projects have become highly coveted by collectors and are known for their intense attention to detail, innovative visual features and unique motifs that make each deck release an exciting new experience.

The decks designed by Encarded are printed by the the finest playing card manufacturers in the world, such as the United States Playing Card Company (USPCC) and the Expert Playing Card Company (EPCC). All Encarded decks are produced to the highest standards, in limited numbers and will never be reprinted. I've kept this design promise to my loyal followers for a decade and the results are some of the most valuable collector decks in the market. Some of my early designs are so hard to find that they routinely trade for hundreds, or occasionally thousands of dollars each.

Tendril Playing Cards Aurum Deus Playing Cards Zenith Playing Cards Priory Playing Cards

It is very exciting, and also a little humbling, to be able to take a random thought that was once only in my head and transform it into something that people from all over the world treasure and appreciate. Designing playing cards has been very fulfilling and lets me explore ideas that I probably would never think about in the digital design world. While it's a lot of work to design, manage, market, fulfill and support a business on my own, the rewards of that hard work are worth it.


Everyone needs something to do and think about, right? Some of us occasionally go a little overboard though. Here's a few of the things I like to collect, experiment with or get out and do.

Click a topic for details and pictures...

Ultralight Backpacking
Even as a young kid, a walk in the park or a hike on a trail always felt right to me, and now that I'm a bit older I have taken to doing actual backpacking and primitive camping. There are a number of beautiful areas here in SW Florida to get out in nature, and I've also done sections of the Appalachian Trail on multiday hikes. I have carefully assembled a perfect-for-me kit of ultralight gear that is a great mix of lightweight and comfortable and I greatly enjoy getting to head out for a day or three, with nothing but my hiking clothes and the bag on my back.

Backpacking Gear Mountains Appalachian Trail Sign Misty Trail Me on trail Camp setup Wet trail Sunrise Backpack Trail

Playing Cards
As you might have gathered from the section above, I am a fan of playing cards and sleight of hand and have a decent little assembly of beautiful decks from a number of makers and designer friends. Each is a little work of art that you can fidget with and they all harken back to ages past, a time of kings and queens. I like that nod to history quite a bit.

Bicycle Factory Collection Zenith Priory Tendril Coin

Oakley Collectibles
In 1993 I got my first pair of real sunglasses, an Oakley M-Frame, to use for cycling. I became enamored with the company and their approach to design and how they seemed to take perverse joy in throwing out all convention and making truly insane things. Over the years I've collected a few rare items of theirs, from the original X-Metal Romeo (made from a plasma-forged titanium alloy that only one lab in the country could make) to the crazy C-Six, with parts made of 3D milled carbon fiber. While the company has transitioned to a more mainstream market these days, their roots are built from craziness and I love that.

Oakley Collection Oakley Romeo Oakley Collection Oakley M Frame Oakley C-Six Oakley Minute Machine Custom Oakley Oakley Elite

Knives & Pens
I got my first pocketknife when I was 11 years old, a classic Swiss Army Knife that I promptly stabbed myself with. With that lesson under my belt, I built a small but carefully curated collection of knives from a variety of makers and have one in my pocket everyday. A natural companion to knives is a good pen, so I have a small assortment of handmade items (made of titanium of course...) that are incredibly useful to have in a pocket.

Knife Collection Knife Collection Rockstead Knife Collection Pen Collection Grimsmo Saga

My father was a cyclist (and still is even at 70) and I started riding bikes with him at an early age. I've always loved getting out on two wheels and while my true love is single track mountain biking (which Florida is not exactly a hotbed for) even riding around town can be a great experience. I now actually ride an eBike most of the time, though of course I had to augment it a bit with carbon fiber rims, lighter components and a higher wattage motor controller. Because, of course you do that, right?

Sondors Thin Carbon rim Sondors Thin

Console & Retro Gaming
My first experience with video games was when my family got an Atari 2600 as a Christmas present, and basically since that time I have had an uninterrupted string of machines. From the early Nintendo days, to the more esoteric consoles like the TurboGrafx-16 and DreamCast, to my current PlayStation 5, all have provided me uncountable hours of entertainment. I also have the ability now to run most of the games of my youth on my Mac via emulation and I also still have a few old Nintendo portables for the full out experience. Each generation of games can give a totally different type of fun and I love them all.

Playstation 5 Custom Gameboy SP Retroflag GPi Mario My First Emulator Emulation

Solar DIY
There is something about powering things with the sun that is inherently fascinating to me, so I've played around with small solar panels and batteries for a while. You can read about my latest creation in the blog and see how I put together a portable little power unit, perfect for car camping or emergency backup. I think this concept of clean energy also inspired my love of the eBike and my electric car.

Solar charging Solar system Solar panel

Laser Cutting & Engraving
As part of my playing card business, I needed a way to accurately cut and fabricate paper items, and a laser is really the only way to go. I was an early adopter of the GlowForge and it has performed amazingly, earning it's value many times over. I've also been able to build fun stuff with my kids, make gifts for friends and generally have a way to imagine something and make it in minutes. "Just make it on the laser!" is a common phrase in my house.

Glowforge Chancellor Gilded Playing Cards Nerf Gun Engraving Priory Premiere Edition Engraved acrylic deck box

3D Printing
As you would imagine, if you have a laser cutter you naturally are going to get into 3D printing as well and I recently added a resin system to my repertoire of tools. It's been a blast being able to make darn near anything you can imagine and model, and it's already made toys, useful items like a stand for my Apple Watch, and collector items for my playing card business.

Development of an intricate playing card deck stand Aurum Deus Display Stand 3D Printed Figure Anycubic 3D Resign SLA Printer and Wash Station

Tech & Gadgets
Technology, in any form, is just fascinating to me and I constantly play with new gadgets, computers and servers, how to optimize my wifi, and more. While I spend a lot of my time in a digital space, learning about a new gadget or technology is endlessly fun to me.

The desk setup Custom PC Raspberry Pi Tesla MacBook Pro Vollebak Ceramic Base Layer Homelab