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First Star of the Internet to Retire
March 6, 2001 6:46 PM   Subscribe

First Star of the Internet to Retire The webcam made this one hot item. Before the dot-com boom there was the Trojan Room Coffee Machine, a.k.a the Cambridge Coffee Cam.
posted by vanderwal (14 comments total)

 
Kind of sad.

Nostalgia... I recall first finding cams on the web, starting with Netscape's fishtank cam and the one that let you scroll a message on a display at Netscape's HQ (still loved that one.) The coffee machine was one that I found shortly thereafter via Netscape's What's Cool! section. I found it so remarkable and mind-blowing that anyone could hook up a camera to a computer on the net, and then have the thing refresh!

Now we take that type of thing for granted... how far it has come!
posted by hijinx at 8:16 PM on March 6, 2001


I've heard of the coke server stuff, but not that coffee cam. I get nostalgic when recalling how I blew away sand with a robot via the web in '94 (long live robotic tele-excavation!). I'd like to encounter more web thrills like that nowadays.
posted by gluechunk at 8:37 PM on March 6, 2001


Anyone care to wager when Jennicam will finally give up the ghost?
posted by methylsalicylate at 9:53 PM on March 6, 2001


Not soon enough.
posted by holgate at 3:39 AM on March 7, 2001


Nostalgia...
While things like this are sad, it also makes me glad that I was online way back 'in the day.' Because things are different, today. Back then I was astounded by the model railroad cam and things like that. I'm all ready for the next whiz-bang technologies to hit and dazzle us, but there definitely is something to be said for the net we knew back then.

"Well back when I was young, we had to surf knee-deep in snow, uphill. Both ways!"
posted by lizardboy at 3:47 AM on March 7, 2001


Geez...man...The Coffee Cam will be gone... :'(
This was one of my first links on my first homepage...

Webcams have come very far, hell I even have one if I had the desire to set it up. But Back in '95 when I set that page up, webcams were amazing.

Its a sad day...

posted by stew560 at 5:10 AM on March 7, 2001


Ahh, the memories of a younger, more innocent, Web. Never again will digging in the sand or watering plants be more fun.

I once used the Netscape HQ SignCam to write a short story - submitting a word or two at a time and saving the resulting image.

As for Netscape's fish tank, the auto-refresh page has seen better days but there is a new version.

Check this list for more remote fun (and plenty of link-rot)


posted by Monk at 8:39 AM on March 7, 2001


nostalgia vs. archive the web (read utopia)
lizardboy hit the right chord, and his post made me think that maybe people getting online these days should at least be able to see how it was like.
Shouldn't we try to preserve the web of 1994? I'm still amazed when links work. I'm amazed to find very old versions of netscape lying on netscape's ftp servers. And I'm amazed at personal sites with tilde-urls ~. I can't remember if it was Dave to propose to archive the web. Google does it in part, but beside a few CDs buried in central park (if I'm not mistaken) I think we're loosing grip on the web as it was.

Food for thought...
posted by pecus at 11:08 AM on March 7, 2001


I think we're loosing grip on the web as it was.

You can't archive experience. You can only use it in your own actions. And yeah, I was thinking about my first steps on the web, where every site was astonishing, no matter how mundane the content, because it was a way of connecting that seemed completely new to me.

That's why it made perfect sense that I fired up Mosaic within weeks of the Zapatista Manifesto.

The Web: instant nostalgia.
posted by holgate at 11:45 AM on March 7, 2001


There was a project/company that was trying to archive the web, but it will take some digging as it was a couple years ago or more. Hopefully the name will come to me (or someone else).

Currently there is archive.org that is doing something along these lines.
posted by vanderwal2 at 11:47 AM on March 7, 2001


That's the one, vanderwal. It's a non-profit spinoff of Alexa, which may be the name that escapes you. There are a few other projects, but they're more limited by far.
posted by dhartung at 12:40 PM on March 7, 2001


This may be it. In 1998 (approx.) a firm started to archive the Net. It was adding new and changed content in an attempt to grab most everything. If I remember right they charged a relatively hefty sum to search and retrieve info and pages ($200 to $500 for project).
posted by vanderwal2 at 1:04 PM on March 7, 2001


"the one that let you scroll a message on a display at Netscape's HQ (still loved that one.)"

That cam was so cool. I actually used it a few times to send encouraging messages to the Netscape team. Of course, just as often I just used it to scroll silly things on their display.
posted by CrayDrygu at 5:30 PM on March 7, 2001


Mary Lou Finlay of CBC's As It Happens conducted an interview with Quentin Stafford-Fraser yesterday about this tragedy. (RealAudio link)
posted by aaron at 9:48 PM on March 7, 2001


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