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YouTube, circa 1997
December 17, 2011 9:25 AM   Subscribe

If Google+, YouTube, and Facebook were created in 1997. "Three important contemporary web sites, recreated with technology and spirit of late 1997, according to our memories. Best viewed with Netscape Navigator 4.03 and a screen resolution of 1024×768 pixels, running under Windows 95."
posted by stopgap (81 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Maybe I should look at it when I'm at work, then.
posted by box at 9:28 AM on December 17, 2011 [55 favorites]


ALTAVISTA RON PAUL!
posted by drezdn at 9:28 AM on December 17, 2011 [33 favorites]


1024? I'm pretty sure that I only had 800x600 in '97.
posted by octothorpe at 9:30 AM on December 17, 2011 [14 favorites]


I have seen things, questionable things.
posted by arcticseal at 9:30 AM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why stop at 1997? GOPHER RU PAUL.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:34 AM on December 17, 2011 [20 favorites]


The difference between Facebook circa 1997 and MySpace is surprisingly small.

Except Facebook circa 1997 is quite a lot less annoying than MySpace.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:36 AM on December 17, 2011


Are their servers getting hammered already, or is being painfully slow to load part of the experience?
posted by thecjm at 9:39 AM on December 17, 2011 [26 favorites]


WHOIS RON PAUL
posted by notyou at 9:39 AM on December 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh for a minute I was certain YouTube was going to have everything formatted in RealPlayer, and it was going to trick me into watching something that never stopped buffering...

INKTOMI RON PAUL
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:40 AM on December 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


WAIS RON PAUL
posted by jenkinsEar at 9:41 AM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


FINGER RON PAUL
posted by idiopath at 9:41 AM on December 17, 2011 [26 favorites]


"no plan"
posted by idiopath at 9:41 AM on December 17, 2011 [35 favorites]


Are their servers getting hammered already, or is being painfully slow to load part of the experience?

On the page itself:

The transfer speed of our server is limited to 8 kB/s («dial-up» speed).
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:43 AM on December 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Are their servers getting hammered already, or is being painfully slow to load part of the experience?

The transfer speed of our server is limited to 8 kB/s («dial-up» speed).
posted by snofoam at 9:43 AM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


VERONICA RON PAUL
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 9:44 AM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I find my nostalgia greatly diminished by the slowness. Such is progress.
posted by tommasz at 9:45 AM on December 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


Back then a site like metafilter couldn't kill another site by linking to it.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:47 AM on December 17, 2011


Oh, they made it slow on purpose.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:48 AM on December 17, 2011


This joke blows.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:49 AM on December 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


FINGER RON PAUL

That joke stinks!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:49 AM on December 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


cjorgensen, Slashdot was around in 1998, and was certainly killing sites by linking to them.
posted by Mr. Excellent at 9:51 AM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I cringed. I waited. I was amused.
posted by spitbull at 9:56 AM on December 17, 2011


This isn't as much fun as I thought it would be.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 9:56 AM on December 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


ftp wuarchive.wustl.edu
login: anonymous
password: hahahfakeadress@fake.com
cd public
ls | grep "RON PAUL"
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:58 AM on December 17, 2011 [17 favorites]


Neither was 1997.
posted by mazola at 9:58 AM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


~$ echo RON PAUL_
posted by stopgap at 10:02 AM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


What magic dialup got 8 kb/s? I was lucky to get 3.
posted by sonic meat machine at 10:06 AM on December 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


At first I thought the throttled speed was a cute idea, but the joke got old fast.

If I'm playing Oregon Trail, I don't feel the need to actually contract dysentery.
posted by The demon that lives in the air at 10:08 AM on December 17, 2011 [19 favorites]


Meanwhile, MetaFilter looks exactly the same, a dozen years later. Fuck you, progress! (I kid because I love.)
posted by ColdChef at 10:11 AM on December 17, 2011


ASK JEEVES ABOUT THIS RON PAUL CHAP
posted by Navelgazer at 10:12 AM on December 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


What magic dialup got 8 kb/s? I was lucky to get 3.

8 kB/sec downloads were in the domain of dial-up ISDN, which was around in 1997. You could even get 13 kB/sec on a good day with a fast site if you had a fancy terminal adapter with Multilink PPP.

Also, DejaNews Ron Paul. For reals.
posted by eschatfische at 10:19 AM on December 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Connect failed
Your request for http://1x-upon.com/ could not be fulfilled, because the connection to 1x-upon.com (176.28.16.221) could not be established.

Yep, that's just like 1997!
posted by Foosnark at 10:21 AM on December 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


$ rn alt.news.ronpaul.bork.bork.bork
posted by jquinby at 10:23 AM on December 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


"Pray tell, sirrah, the story of good Sir Ron Paul?"
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:26 AM on December 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


First Letter of Ron Paul to the Corinthians.
posted by box at 10:31 AM on December 17, 2011 [8 favorites]


a/s/l Ron Paul?
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 10:32 AM on December 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Listen my children, and I shall recall
The primary ride of Mad Ron Paul...
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:33 AM on December 17, 2011 [2 favorites]



                  %\__,           \.^vv@ RON PAUL
                   /--\         .'
                              .'
    V__,                     %\__,
     ^^                       /--\

                  %\__,
                   /--\


posted by mazola at 10:37 AM on December 17, 2011 [10 favorites]


b=bits, B=bytes .. 28.8kbps was typical (or about 3.6 KB). 8 KB would be 64 kbps or ISDN speed, if that is what they are using then holy cow that's cool. I installed 100s of ISDN lines in the 90s but never knew if anyone still uses them for Internet access. Given all the wireless and broadband options it would be mighty retro. Most likely they are using software to limit the server so it doesn't overload their available bandwidth. Yeah just checked, the server is in Germany and it's located at "hosteurope.de" so they are probably paying for a server with 64k bandwidth, software limited.
posted by stbalbach at 10:40 AM on December 17, 2011


The internet is a series of straws.
posted by crunchland at 10:43 AM on December 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


"A plugin is needed to display content"

<Clicks Install Plugin>

"No suitable plugins found"

Wow, that is pretty good recreation of '97.
posted by octothorpe at 10:47 AM on December 17, 2011 [20 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that none of those sites would be that shitty. Old technology does not equate to poorly implemented technology.
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 11:00 AM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sometimes I miss the old, weird internet. But MAN, there were a lot of things about it that were bogus.
posted by troublesome at 11:11 AM on December 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


fail. no midi.
posted by RockyChrysler at 11:14 AM on December 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


<Marquee LOOP="infinite">Click any of the links below to learn more about Ron Paul!</Marquee>
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 11:26 AM on December 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


I've had to enable javascript to display these.
Was that really used back in 1997?
posted by bigendian at 11:31 AM on December 17, 2011


Heh. Frames.
posted by 4ster at 11:33 AM on December 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, I guess that answers the question of why Facebook wasn't invented in 1997...
posted by schmod at 11:52 AM on December 17, 2011


As I said elsewhere, table border=0 existed in 1997.
posted by rhizome at 12:03 PM on December 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Metafilter was started in 1999, and basically had the same layout it has today. The only changes were a refinement of the banner graphic, the live preview and favorites, for the most part.

In fact, I'm pretty sure that netscape 4.0 supported "DHTML", so you could do a lot of what you see on the web these days with that browser. It just wasn't well supported.

You also had people going nuts with table layout. If you set the border and padding to zero on a table you could basically lay things out however you wanted.
posted by delmoi at 12:05 PM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah JavaScript was awesome for stuff like scrolling text in the status bar!

Is that even still possible?
posted by Ad hominem at 12:06 PM on December 17, 2011


HotWired through the ages
posted by kersplunk at 12:17 PM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh for a minute I was certain YouTube was going to have everything formatted in RealPlayer, and it was going to trick me into watching something that never stopped buffering...

We've certainly come a long way from those days. Now YouTube videos never stop buffering in Flash or HTML5.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 12:23 PM on December 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Sing, O Muse, of the rage of Ron Paul
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:25 PM on December 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


schmod: "Well, I guess that answers the question of why Facebook wasn't invented in 1997..."

Facebook was invented back in 1996-1997 (by PlanetAll, SixDegrees and Classmates), but it was called PlanetAll.com until Amazon bought it in 1998. As a result, Amazon now owns the Ur-Patent for social networking, and you can bet that Facebook is going to be paying Amazon a vig every year until that one expires.

A more interesting question is how and why Amazon's execs initially recognised the commercial appeal of social networking in the late-1990s, then somehow forgot or ignored it for the next ten years or so. I guess a critical mass of easy JS/PHP and XMLHTTPRequest needed to be in place to enable rapid prototyping and user profiling.
posted by meehawl at 12:27 PM on December 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


Have they limited their connection to dial-up speeds, or each client connection? Because servers (for things like this) in 1997 would surely have been connected at faster than dialup speeds. Probably running on a machine surreptitiously plugged into a work or university LAN.

And facebook wouldn't have been in squares like that. There would probably be a top frame and two side frames, and the content would be scrollable in the middle, not in frames. I like the spiral bound graphic though, that's completely accurate.
posted by gjc at 12:30 PM on December 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


On the other hand, 1997 YouTube just crashed my browser. That's some remarkable verisimilitude right there.
posted by Kalthare at 12:37 PM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


The difference, of course, is that in 1997 we waited for these things to load because we really wanted to see the content. These mockups are just something I'm only mildly interesting in looking at, so waiting for more than 10 seconds just makes me say "oh well, it's probably cool, but I don't care that much."
posted by halftone at 1:00 PM on December 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that none of those sites would be that shitty. Old technology does not equate to poorly implemented technology.

Well, putting them side-by-side with an actual 1997 website (November 1996, technically), they look just about right.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:16 PM on December 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Best viewed with Netscape Navigator 4.03 and a screen resolution of 1024×768 pixels, running under Windows 95.

No, best viewed in Lynx running on a telnet session to your University's Unix server. That's the only sensible way to do dial up.

Anyway, when I need a nostalgic trip down memory lane I prefer to visit http://home.mcom.com, the first Netscape portal circa 1994. That server used to be slowed down just enough that you could watch the interlaced GIFs load, but that no longer seems to be the case.
posted by i_have_a_computer at 1:24 PM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


RON PAUL ATE MY BALLS
posted by item at 1:26 PM on December 17, 2011 [8 favorites]


Well, putting them side-by-side with an actual 1997 website (November 1996, technically), they look just about right.
There aren't too many visible table borders on that site.

Anyway, a couple points: There's a big difference between what you could design for Netscape 4.0 running on a high-end machine with true color graphics and what you could do if you wanted your site to be comparable with older browsers and 256 color graphics. Remember the "Web safe color pallet"? You also had the load time issue with modems, and the fact that people's CPUs were pretty slow

The other is that NS4 had a lot of features, many of them nonstandard. They had this thing called the layer tag that worked a lot like a div with position: absolute; You could move them around, and so on.

So, if you wanted to make a site that would be seen by people who you knew were going to be using NS4, who you knew would be connected over Ethernet and who you knew had high-end machines you could do a lot.

The other thing, though is that people didn't really know what they were doing from a design perspective. That was the other problem with web design at that period. People didn't know what they were doing. If you were to design a page for 1997 browser specs but expecting broadband and today's machines you could make pages that looked pretty similar to modern ones.
posted by delmoi at 2:13 PM on December 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


AOL KEYWORD: RONPAUL
posted by team lowkey at 2:15 PM on December 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


I understand like none of the jokes in this thread.
posted by Think_Long at 2:45 PM on December 17, 2011


Ron Paul Can Stay My Home!
I Kiss You!!!!
posted by Pallas Athena at 2:51 PM on December 17, 2011


So what the hell is with this inane Ron Paul derail? Are you guys seeing something I'm not?
posted by crunchland at 2:55 PM on December 17, 2011


The other thing, though is that people didn't really know what they were doing from a design perspective. That was the other problem with web design at that period. People didn't know what they were doing. If you were to design a page for 1997 browser specs but expecting broadband and today's machines you could make pages that looked pretty similar to modern ones.

Or at least acceptable ones. Argon Zark, for example, is relatively decent.
posted by ZeusHumms at 3:01 PM on December 17, 2011


So what the hell is with this inane Ron Paul derail? Are you guys seeing something I'm not?

I imagine they're all takes on the phrase "Google Ron Paul", which I guess is big among his supporters.
posted by ZeusHumms at 3:03 PM on December 17, 2011


crunchland: "So what the hell is with this inane Ron Paul derail? Are you guys seeing something I'm not?"

Google Ron Paul
posted by octothorpe at 3:43 PM on December 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


ásécaþ Ron of Paul
posted by benzenedream at 3:48 PM on December 17, 2011


But what does Ron Paul have to do with this retro website simulator?
posted by crunchland at 7:52 PM on December 17, 2011


"Who is Ron Paul?" is the "Who is John Galt?" of the internetworked wired world
posted by infini at 9:12 PM on December 17, 2011


Google Ron Paul +"retro website simulator"
posted by mazola at 9:14 PM on December 17, 2011


But what does Ron Paul have to do with this retro website simulator?

Ron Paul is a living throwback to the days when humans were naïve, and experimenting with concepts they did not fully understand. A time traveler from a simpler time, when people thought that all black people run fast, that the gold standard was a good idea, and that there was no need for a central government. He is a retro politician simulator, thus the immediate comparisons of our MetaFilterian brethren.
posted by cmonkey at 11:42 PM on December 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


mazola: "Neither was 1997."

The shit are you talking about? That was the first year of a glorious 3 year reign of awesome.
posted by symbioid at 9:01 AM on December 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ásécaþ ða ðe snyttro mid eów hæbben, ðæt mé þinga gehwylc þríste gecýðan untráglíce, ðe ic him tó séce
posted by symbioid at 9:05 AM on December 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


octothorpe wrote: 1024? I'm pretty sure that I only had 800x600 in '97

Weak sauce. The 15" Trinitron I bought in 1995 did 1280x1024. In '97 my friend bought a nice 17" Trinitron that did 1600x1200. It wasn't until 2000 or so that he splurged on the 21". I thought it was a little silly that the far more expensive 21" didn't have BNC connectors like the 17 did.

Of course, during most of 1997 I was using some 12" monochrome screen attached to a 386SX/16 running Slackware 3. That's the kind of thing you have to stoop to when the cops take your good computer and break it before giving it back.

ricochet biscuit wrote: On the page itself:

The transfer speed of our server is limited to 8 kB/s («dial-up» speed).


Is it just me or does nobody grasp what dial-up speed really was? 8kB/s was more than you'd see on a single channel ISDN line in the real world use with PPP. Realistically 6 or 7 was the most you'd get out of an ISDN line. I rarely saw more than 5 on a dial up modem, and I was easily able to connect reliably at 56000 bps downstream with both x2 and V.90, thanks to being only a few hundred wire feet from the SLC in my neighborhood, where it all went digital. Too much overhead, I guess.

That's why I spent $100 a month on an ISDN line. With two channels I got a whopping 14.5kBps download!
posted by wierdo at 9:32 AM on December 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, and that Space Jam site led me to the screensaver page, which had a mac and win version and I thought "what version of mac os?" and it looks like 7. But then I saw that mac os 8 came out, and wikipedia claimed that warez groups held off on pirating it, because they didn't want to see apple die, and they linked to this article in Forbes (from 1997, mind you) and remember when all internet writing was the heady cyberspace utopian vision with cool terminology and it inspired visions of the future and people living in the edge, and they would in their own way GLAMORIZE the hacker culture? In a corporate mag nonetheless? And they gave space to the pirates to give their voice, not just be a corporate mouthpiece as you would likely find today with the PR and corporate spokespeople out blathering on with their bullshit stats? And you felt like this is it? This was the cusp of the future? And that was 1997 and the pages looked like shit, but by GOD things weren't so fucking gentrified online and forced into Facebook vs G+ ghettos and sure, all we did was stare at a webcam of a coffee-maker but goddamn how cool was it that we could look at a coffee-maker at MIT, for fuck's sake??? And we could use our VERONICA and ARCHIE and WIRETAP.SPIES.COM and oak.oakland.edu and find all these cool bits of data just hanging around out there in cyberspace, and we had to stream .RA files and we had to wait interminably for a short clip from some anime made in Japan to download and it was low resolution but it was amazing.


I'll go take my meds now.
posted by symbioid at 9:32 AM on December 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


JOIN THE RON PAUL WEBRING
posted by tracicle at 4:42 PM on December 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


What CRT monitor was complete without pokemon stickers?
posted by addelburgh at 6:50 PM on December 18, 2011


I can't handle the wait on this, I'm done.

How did I sit patiently at 9 years old? I've lost the ability.
posted by Defenestrator at 11:19 PM on December 18, 2011


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