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April 19, 2014 2:35 AM   Subscribe

What's New With NCSA Mosaic?
posted by Pope Guilty (33 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ah, the original 'best' of the web. Somebody needs to fix all their broken links.

No cats in scanners though. Comments are broken. Does anyone use tags on that? How are you supposed to have Google find any of that? At least [hide] is on by default for the adverting.
posted by Nanukthedog at 2:53 AM on April 19


A bit of history... interesting...

Fascinating that some of those links still work.
posted by HuronBob at 2:54 AM on April 19


I'm currently scouring to see if I can find my early work which consisted of a foxpro database of mice and their genetic diseases/defects.
posted by Nanukthedog at 3:00 AM on April 19


I still remember when I first saw Mosaic in 1993 on my university's lab computers. It looked like the future.
posted by professor plum with a rope at 3:22 AM on April 19 [9 favorites]


It's kind of weird that I can't remember my first time using the web, or seeing a browser. I guess it didn't impress me all that much at the time.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:22 AM on April 19


I have a paper copy somewhere of the link I submitted to What's New with NCSA Mosaic that was accepted! I feel like a teeny tiny part of internet history.
posted by grajohnt at 4:35 AM on April 19 [2 favorites]


If I recall correctly, I used Mosaic back in 1994 on a Sun workstation to explain the World Wide Web for a segment aired on my local PBS station. The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) had a page with sound files you could play. That was the extent of multimedia at the time but it was still pretty impressive.
posted by tommasz at 4:46 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]


It's kind of weird that I can't remember my first time using the web, or seeing a browser.

I remember the first time I heard of the Web. It was an Internet-focused LISTSERV digest, possibly Red Rock Eater News. One of the pieces was an announcement that "there are now 50 sites on the world wide web". It's grown a bit since then.
posted by scalefree at 6:51 AM on April 19 [2 favorites]


Pretty much all the sites I recognize are MUD-related.
posted by Sequence at 6:55 AM on April 19 [2 favorites]


It looks like the oldest site that still works is Xerox Parc's experimental web server, from June 21, 1993.

The next month had an announcement from my team at Sandia: July 25, 1993:
Sandia National Laboratories has introduced a public Web server. Included is information on the Massively Parallel Computing Research Laboratory and the Technology Information Environment for Industry program.
We jokingly called our group MPCRL -- "Many People Creating Relatively Little". Unfortunately name changes and bureaucratic reorgs mean that the links are now broken.
posted by autopilot at 7:10 AM on April 19 [4 favorites]


Aww, man. Somewhere I think I have a remaindered early 1990s "Explore the World Wide Web with Mosaic" book, complete with a FREE copy of Mosaic on a 3 1/2 floppy disc. It makes a nice companion to my remaindered 'Running a Perfect Web Site' book, which was pre-Apache and had a CD rom with NCSA HTTPd.
posted by usonian at 7:21 AM on April 19


It's kind of weird that I can't remember my first time using the web, or seeing a browser.

I remember seeing some mention on Usenet of some sort of hypertext thingie from CERN that might some day give gopher a challenge. Shortly thereafter my isp installed lynx and it was off to the races...
posted by jim in austin at 7:28 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]


Fun bit of history from December 1993:

Marc Andreessen is leaving NCSA for Enterprise Integration Technologies of Palo Alto, CA as of January 1994. You can continue to reach him for the time being as marca@ncsa.uiuc.edu; as of January, his email address will be marca@eit.com.
posted by zooropa at 7:29 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]


Technology should create calm. (via autopilot's link)
posted by nev at 7:40 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]


It's kind of weird that I can't remember my first time using the web, or seeing a browser.

Nor can I, but I remember my first ISP (some local company that also ran a subscription based BBS if I recall?) charged an additional fee for HTTP and that I couldn't convince my parents to pay the extra money. This would have had to have been 1993 or 1994. Actually, to be honest at the time I think I might not have actually been interested in HTTP access...but my memory is foggy.
posted by Literaryhero at 7:48 AM on April 19


Achievement Unlocked: Get access denied message from a U.S. military server.

I have to put some tea on now for the FBI agents I expect will be visiting me shortly
posted by double block and bleed at 8:24 AM on April 19 [5 favorites]


I was talking with a 15 year-old yesterday. He had an iPad with him, but because the WiFi was weak he couldn't call up the virtual keyboard to edit his document on Google Drive. He described this situation as "not having a computer".
posted by benito.strauss at 8:25 AM on April 19 [9 favorites]


I remember I was using Netscape at work in...1995? 1996? My boss standing next to me, pontificating that the web would never take the place of newspapers because "who wants to carry a computer around everywhere they go?"
posted by double block and bleed at 8:29 AM on April 19 [8 favorites]


In the early to mid 90s I was working at a software house and in the early days of the web I remember chatting with a coworker one day and saying "There has just got to be some way to make money on the internet." We talked for like an hour and couldn't think of a viable business model.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 9:01 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]


April 1994, “Due to the TREMENDOUS load being handled by the NCSA WWW server there may be times that you are unable to get the NCSA Mosaic Home Page when you first start Mosaic. This in no way should affect your ability to retrieve documents from other sites. To alleviate this problem you may want to set an alternate home page for Mosaic to automatically load on startup.”
posted by migurski at 9:07 AM on April 19 [2 favorites]


I was introduced to the concept of hypertext and hypermedia sometime in the late 80s when either Time or Newsweek did a one-page article on Hypercard, which I immediately got excited about, even though it would be some years before I actually saw it in action, since I was way too poor to afford a Macintosh. (I once entered a contest to win a Mac by filling out 100 postcards by hand, and instead won a copy of Ashton-Tate's FullWrite, which was completely useless to me without a Mac, and I didn't know any other Mac users to sell it to. Of course, if I had won the Mac, I'm not sure how I could have afforded to pay the tax on the prize, but I didn't worry about that at the time.) I once tried to convince a social service agency that I volunteered for that they should consider putting their directory of local social service providers on Hypercard, but didn't get very far because I had a hard time describing just what Hypercard was to them, and also because it was obvious that I wanted them to spend a few thousand dollars on a toy that I could play with.

Eventually, I got a job at a university, and had access to all kinds of computer resources. I borrowed a copy of Ted Nelson's Computer Lib/Dream Machines, and finally got to play with Hypercard. I ended up submitting an annotated bibliography on hypertext and hypermedia for one of my library school classes in the form of a Hypercard stack, which I think that my instructor allowed mostly because she found the concept amusing. I played around with Lynx a bit, but at the time there wasn't much on the WWW that really intrigued me, especially with most of it in a plain text format. I sort of mentally filed it away under "promising, needs some work."

That was at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the early nineties, and I lived a few blocks from the NCSA; I probably walked or biked past it nearly every day. Little did I know.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:14 AM on April 19 [2 favorites]


Once upon a time yahoo was a really cool website!
posted by bukvich at 9:20 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]


Nor can I, but I remember my first ISP (some local company that also ran a subscription based BBS if I recall?) charged an additional fee for HTTP and that I couldn't convince my parents to pay the extra money.

Probably what you're remembering is that they provided a shell account as part of the standard dial-in connection, but charged more for SLIP/PPP access, which is what you'd need in order to use a graphical web browser on your computer.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:03 AM on April 19 [2 favorites]


I just now started googling for the term "postmodem era" as a pun on the end of dialup, and it's remarkable how many hits there are in old documents, including those that predate the personal computer entirely. Apparently this kerning-based pun is overshadowed by the fact that an awful lot of text on the web got there by a process that began with OCR, resulting in that kerning-based error.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:13 AM on April 19 [11 favorites]


I remember showing Mosaic to friends on my grad department's DEC workstations in the '90s. I thought the web was impressive, but Usenet was the big deal. What's remarkable to me now though is how many of my favorite web sites mimic Usenet's functionality. Metafilter is basically a moderated newsgroup, but Reddit much more has the kind of threaded text-based discussion (with occasional links to outside images) complete with obscure inside jokes and phrases marking one as a member of the community.

The Web is a much more monetized system than Usenet. I remember death threats going out to people who spammed newsgroups. I remember people saying, "They are going to put ads on the web!" Others would say, "Huh, how will that work?" "A little banner will pop up in the corner advertising something." "Weird... I can't really see that working!" I remember an editorial cartoon mocking how trendy and widespread the Web was becoming in the early days by showing how ridiculous it would be if your local pizza shop had its own web page...
posted by Schmucko at 12:44 PM on April 19 [3 favorites]


Graphical web browsers were a terrible mistake. Lynx was the best browser ever made.
posted by humanfont at 1:23 PM on April 19 [3 favorites]


Just in to say it feels really weird that the very top link in the very last news update mentions something that happened in my home town the year I moved there and I remember it. Makes it feel like it's actually a community newsletter to me.
posted by Made of Star Stuff at 1:56 PM on April 19


A Very Incomplete List of Things That Make Me Harken Back to the Glory Days of Web 1.0:posted by double block and bleed at 2:06 PM on April 19 [3 favorites]


Graphical web browsers were a terrible mistake. Lynx was the best browser ever made.

Lynx is still being actively developed. I'm using it right now on my home machine through SSH from my phone. White on black text with an OLED screen, plus the low data use of the SSH connection noticeably stretches battery life. On average, most pages are more readable and easier to navigate with Lynx than Chrome for Android.

If anyone knows how to successfully login using Lynx, so I didn't have to use Chrome to post this comment, I'm all ears.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 3:47 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]


Ah, sometimes I do miss the old days. I was just looking for a screenshot of the Netcom "Oops. You're screwed. [OK]" dialog box.
posted by ob1quixote at 6:27 PM on April 19


I remember graduating from college when Mosaic was coming out of beta, and returning only to discover that Netscape was coming out of beta, and Mosaic had peaked. Not even 2 years.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:38 PM on April 19


Back Door Job Hunter probably was what it said it was, back in those innocent days. Now it's part of wordpress.
posted by Mezentian at 2:48 AM on April 20


Mezentian: "Back Door Job Hunter probably was what it said it was, back in those innocent days. Now it's part of wordpress."

Not any more it appears.
posted by Samizdata at 5:45 PM on April 20


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