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A Portrait of the Intertubes as a Child
January 26, 2008 10:53 PM   Subscribe

What did the Internet look like in 1996? "...very few web designers had even the most rudimentary of aesthetic sensibilities, and nearly half of them were clinically retarded."
posted by desjardins (89 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

 
Brilliant, thank you. I wish I could find my website from back then -- it's long gone from the Wayback Machine. It was really terrible.
posted by sugarfish at 11:02 PM on January 26, 2008


The worst part is that we waited so many minutes for that ugly shit to load.
posted by boubelium at 11:05 PM on January 26, 2008


Oh wait, holy shit, here's one from 1999. Better than the crap from McDonald's, anyway.
posted by sugarfish at 11:05 PM on January 26, 2008


As embarrassing as it would be to see again, I really wish I could find the Geocities pages I created when I was 13. It's probably better that they're gone for good.
posted by Venadium at 11:06 PM on January 26, 2008


1996? Ha. In 1986, we used the internet without weeeb pages. feh.

I remember some page from back then that deliberately embodied many aspects of really bad page design... it was making the email rounds at the time.
posted by Extopalopaketle at 11:11 PM on January 26, 2008


That is pretty funny. I like how even now those sites take forever to load. Takes me back.

What I want to see is one of those sites that has a page for Things I Like, and a Links page, and a page of miscellaneous Simpsons and movie *.wav files, all over a tiled background. Was that 1994?
posted by salvia at 11:12 PM on January 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


I love how this guy criticizes fixed-width web pages, on a web page that utilizes roughly 40% the width of my monitor.

Ubiquitous wide-screen monitors are a challenge that today's web designers have valiantly met with giant bars of background color.
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:23 PM on January 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


What did the web look like in 1996? Actually, it looked quite nice, as long as you weren't looking for slick corporate sites. This is just around the time the big corporations starting stuffing twenties down the pants of any art-school graduate who looked like they weren't allergic to electricity and could go five minutes without unplugging the computer and trying to lick the cord, remember.

The depressing aspect of this article is that the author immediately thought to look up Best Buy, McDonald's, and Coca-Cola, as if they can't imagine a world where the .com domain didn't compose the alpha and omega of the online experience, and you were more likely to find an apeshit online zine or automated cutup of someone's insane MUSH logs hosted from a wheezy machine in the corner of some university lab than a sterile, smartly-designed shill for some asinine new caffeine drink that promises to bleach your ass while it perks you up.

So yeah. That's not the 1996 web; that's what the tumor looked like before it metstasized. It was stupid and ugly then, and it's stupid and ugly now. Also, that lawn you're on? Mine.

(was that snarky enough? i tried to make that snarky enough.)
posted by phooky at 11:28 PM on January 26, 2008 [65 favorites]


In 1996, I was one of those art-school graduates with the corporate twenties in my pants. Actually, I hadn't even graduated yet.

I'm just relieved that none of the sites I designed made it into this list. They certainly were of comparable quality.
posted by ook at 11:35 PM on January 26, 2008


I feel so much better about my shitty personal website from 1996. I was seventeen and an idiot and it really didn't fare too badly compared to these. Jesus.
posted by cortex at 11:39 PM on January 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


Sometimes I complain about how sites that I was responsible for building have been redesigned and are no longer available to reference. This is never true for sites from 1996. Thank you, unremitting crush of Internet Time.
posted by mumkin at 11:47 PM on January 26, 2008


I first surfed the web in '94. *sniff*. I miss that old place, full of possibility. The web has just become so homogenized.
posted by delmoi at 11:51 PM on January 26, 2008


To they eyes of 1996, the web looked pretty much wicked and revolutionary in that year. The internet had looked fucking awesome for a long time previously.

By 1996, both telenet and tymnet (sprintnet) sucked though, even if global outdials could still be found here and there.

Fuck. I'm getting old.
posted by psmith at 11:51 PM on January 26, 2008


Why is there a seemingly unnecessary "?hoho" on the end of the URL linked in this post? And what's with the SEO link stuck right in the middle of the NY Times section of the linked page? They may not be related, but they both seem kind of odd to me.
posted by teg at 11:58 PM on January 26, 2008


LOL.

Yeah. I can safely say that my first website, designed in 2001, rivals these in terms of ugliness. Though I also blame my insistence on drawing in MS Paint with a mouse.

Also. Pepsi World's site? Made of win.
posted by Phire at 12:01 AM on January 27, 2008


Here is the website I was working on in 1996.

It pretty much looked like that in 1994. I remember the weighty decision to finally add a graphic (an image map no less). We had a very international audience so that meant a lot of 9600 baud connections. Would it be too heavy and cause people to leave? How much could I squeeze the file size down and still get an ok looking photo?

Overall, the site still looks pretty good because it wasn't trying to do design, just present useful information.
posted by afflatus at 12:01 AM on January 27, 2008


I remember 1996 quite well. One of the nicer features of that day: We didn't have designers telling us how stupid we were. We didn't have people wetting their pants over comic sans. We didn't have an idiot in the Whitehouse, either. And 9-11 was what you dialed for emergency help. Good times.
posted by Goofyy at 12:05 AM on January 27, 2008 [5 favorites]


1996? Suck looked good, Rotten was around and using lots of white space (although Wayback seems to disagree with me), and between 1995 and 1997 Salon also used white space quite well. HotWired always looked crap.
posted by meehawl at 12:06 AM on January 27, 2008


If only I could remember my geocities realm and number.
posted by null terminated at 12:35 AM on January 27, 2008


Mitrovarr: I think that's part of the joke - he has NYT's "Please resize your window" footer at the bottom of the post.

Yesterday my boyfriend and his housemate (and I on the other side of the world via GTalk) were talking about old-school webdesign. His housemate thought 1998 was old; I pointed out that I've been only since 1995 you young whipper-snappers get of my lawn. I remember my first website being one of those fill-out-the-form dealies with a bright multi-purple background and everything being centered. I actually got some sort of Kids Award for it - presumably because I was from another country.

I actually remember spending a lot of time on a website like Kids Inc or some other similar name. You could write and do lots of things, and I got a free book for review. Anyone remember it?

Here's my fanfic site from 1998. Behold the marquee, bright pink, centered text, and smarmy writing. Oh dear Lordy. Those of you with Geocities - your website might still be there.
posted by divabat at 12:36 AM on January 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


I still remember my Geocities number, and I'm not telling anyone. There are some things that need to disappear with time, and me in 1996 was the creator of many of those things.
posted by gc at 12:48 AM on January 27, 2008


divabat: Mitrovarr: I think that's part of the joke - he has NYT's "Please resize your window" footer at the bottom of the post.

I think you're right, but it would have been easier to get if it most of the sites on the internet didn't use roughly half of my screen on a good day.
posted by Mitrovarr at 12:51 AM on January 27, 2008


"Why is there a seemingly unnecessary "?hoho" on the end of the URL linked in this post?"

It's a repost from reddit, where seemingly unnecessary "?stuff" is used all the time to repost links that have already been posted to reddit, in a hunt for reddit karma.
posted by effbot at 1:03 AM on January 27, 2008


OK, here is the oldest Wayback of my website, Jan. 97, though they missed the first two years. Anyone wanna claim their site was uglier?!?!? I had people email me and volunteer to redesign it for free, if I would just PLEASE change how it looked. And I took them up on it! (I'm a content guy, I guess.)
posted by msalt at 1:07 AM on January 27, 2008


Ubiquitous wide-screen monitors are a challenge that today's web designers have valiantly met with giant bars of background color.

Amazing that, with all the wide-screen paper available to publishers, they still opt for the same ~1:1.5 ratio.

You know why?
I'll show you why, you big whiner.  Look here at this nice, wide-screen line of text.  Go ahead and read it.  Read and read and read.  Boy, it sure is fun reading a single, absurdly long line, isn't it?
What's wrong? Are your eyes having a hard time tracking the text? Human physiology's a bitch, huh? It's harder for your eyes to track a sentence when it's spread over such a wide width. Now, do you
really think the world would be a better place if web designers actually went ahead and used all 1900 pixels of your screen width? Maybe publishers should just get rid of the whole "book" format and
publish entire novels on a long ticker-tape, like the Incans.

posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:15 AM on January 27, 2008 [33 favorites]


"Do you really think the world would be a better place"

Newspapers solved that little problem some 400 years ago, though... And despite all the things we've managed to mess up lately, I think the world is a bit better than it was back then.
posted by effbot at 1:28 AM on January 27, 2008


Ubiquitous wide-screen monitors are a challenge that today's web designers have valiantly met with giant bars of background color.

What Civil_Disobedient said. Also, having a wide screen and a narrow(er) website makes multitasking easier.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 1:34 AM on January 27, 2008


Brick brick brick
posted by liquorice at 1:37 AM on January 27, 2008


brick
posted by liquorice at 1:38 AM on January 27, 2008


Why is there a seemingly unnecessary "?hoho" on the end of the URL linked in this post? And what's with the SEO link stuck right in the middle of the NY Times section of the linked page?

Exactly what my comment was going to be. This was really funny.... until I got past the McDonald's part, and now I feel like I've been raped for SEO cred.

Well, not that I really am comparing this situation to actual rape. NOT RAPIST. etc.
posted by blacklite at 1:47 AM on January 27, 2008


The Internet is Shit.
posted by bwg at 2:15 AM on January 27, 2008 [4 favorites]


Newspapers solved that little problem some 400 years ago, though.

<sigh>

Newspapers and books are not web browsers. There's a huge, vast difference between a browser and any form of print medium. The primary difference: print medium is physical and fixed. When you design for something that has a fixed size, you can do all sorts of neat tricks like bottom-hugging footers or columns of text or the like.

I have to deal with this crap every day--web "designers" that lay everything out in Photoshop and wonder why their wonderful "designs" don't translate well cross-browser, and wonder why they have to spend three-quarters of their time tweaking their original genius inspired-by-God layouts to conform with to the web. Or to mobile devices. Or to PDAs.

You have to design within the constraints of your medium. That's why you don't see 12pt text on a billboard--you wouldn't be able to read it. It's why you don't typically see tables with 50 columns printed out on paper. The average sheet can't hold that much information horizontally. Yet a browser is supposed to be all things to all people: a billboard, a spreadsheet, a book, a newspaper... No. Design for the fucking medium. A browser is a browser. Start there. Humans don't like reading more than ~50 letters per line of text--there's another starting point.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:22 AM on January 27, 2008 [12 favorites]


Huh, I was going to post a couple of examples of what I was doing in 1996 both professionally and as a hobby, but the SEO link has me wondering if this is for the bin. Too bad whoever that is couldn't resist. The SEO site isn't much better than the illustrated examples.
posted by maxwelton at 2:49 AM on January 27, 2008


"Newspapers and books are not web browsers. "

No, but humans are humans. And contemporary web design hipsters are, with very few exceptions, the most boring humans in the history of humanity.
posted by effbot at 2:59 AM on January 27, 2008 [3 favorites]


Seriously, divabat? Savage Garden fan fiction? What. The. Fuck.

AWESOME!!!!
posted by sveskemus at 3:14 AM on January 27, 2008 [3 favorites]


(I mean, seriously, I point out that formatting text for wide spaces was a solved problem roughly three minutes after humans started publishing formatted text in wide spaces -- just look at some 17th century newspapers if you don't believe me. or the gutenberg bible, for that matter -- and what do I get in return? A generic standard rant on why limitations in late-nineties web technology is a good thing because that's when most ALA writers put themselves in the small boxes that they're still stuck inside? Sheesh. Sometimes, this site is more like reddit than reddit itself.)
posted by effbot at 3:17 AM on January 27, 2008


I had a phase in nov/dec 96 where I changed the white/orange/green or blue/yellow/red I was doing to GREEEEEEEEEEEEN/orange/blue just to tick people off. The waybackmachine has saved the horror. I was purposely trying to annoy people though, honestly! seriously! cross my heart! I'm sorry that green melted your retina...
posted by dabitch at 3:27 AM on January 27, 2008


Wow, my 1996 page is on archive.org. I guess it could have been worse. I no longer have that .com domain. I also found a 1996-era site I designed for someone else. I guess centering was a big deal back then. *sigh*
posted by litlnemo at 5:24 AM on January 27, 2008


Oh, much better. If by better, we mean "uglier." This one was one of my projects too. It makes me twitch to look at it now. But, hey, I was getting paid.

(Top 5% of all websites! Magellan 3 star site! Oh yeah!)
posted by litlnemo at 5:26 AM on January 27, 2008


My site from 2000. Dunno why my logo is stretched. It wasn't then, honest.

Sadly, it was more complete then than it is now. I'm busy with important shit lately, alright?
posted by The Deej at 5:45 AM on January 27, 2008


Top 5% of all websites! Magellan 3 star site!

That brings back memories of really terrible sites. :))
posted by dabitch at 6:00 AM on January 27, 2008


"Oh, they have the internet on computers now!"
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 6:15 AM on January 27, 2008


Happy Puppy is the first website I can remember visiting. I was eight. Seems like now it redirects to generic domain parking.
posted by danb at 6:21 AM on January 27, 2008 [3 favorites]


Well, to be fair, all of the browsers in 1996 were basically glorified gopher browsers. CSS wasn't really around, and web design was primitive in no small part because the tools were so primitive. It's a little like criticizing the 1996 version of Apple for failing to release an iPod.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 6:47 AM on January 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Needs more [ N | Netscape Now! /4.0/] bars.
posted by Spatch at 6:51 AM on January 27, 2008


I too have a nineties (1996) antique like these lying around and Wayback has mirrored it a number of times. Somebody must think it's still useful because it's still up (though it's been slightly changed by later hands, e.g. the "New" line on the front page is not mine, and they totally buggered the prices page using unformatted text when they raised their sample analysis prices.) I'm guessing they haven't bothered to rewrite the site since all the research principles and protocols pages are pretty much still valid. And printer friendly, if a grad student wanted to print a copy to scribble notes on.

The look is certainly very dated (while building the site I did look at it in every browser/OS combo I could get my hands on1, and decided I had better restrict myself to 16 colors) but if the front page navigation link-farm looks confusing to you then you're not looking at it like a lab scientist, who when looking for some kind of document goes straight to the index (second choice being a very detailed TOC.) I was myself a bench chemist and lab manager at that time, not a web designer2, and it's a big site. I have only myself to blame for all the whitespace. I like white and still use it in preference to any other background. No blink tags, fuller preens.

Wayback mirrors only go back to when I moved on to other employment and the Institute moved the site to a UGa server. Previous to that the URL was just http://ash.ecology.uga.edu, which took you to a Linux box in the lab itself, built just to serve out the pages. Distro = Slackware, kernel version 1.0.13. Web server was GN, compiled from source. Overall I don't find the site too embarrassing for a first website effort.

1 Win3.1 (Netscape, IE); OS/2 (IBM Web Explorer); MacOS 7 (IE-for-Mac, Netscape--took Apple forever to write a browser of their own); Linux and SunOS (NCSA Mosaic, compiled from source by me.)

2Or indeed any sort of trained computer person at all, just a hobbyist able to RTFM.
---------

> My site from 2000.

Darryl, that's a handsome, restrained site for any era. I dig the whitespace, heh. Your logo doesn't appear stretched to me, it's about two thirds the width of the "Win your choice..." text line beneath it. Is that right?

> to be fair, all of the browsers in 1996 were basically glorified gopher browsers.

GN served both protocols, http and gopher
posted by jfuller at 7:05 AM on January 27, 2008


Needs more cloud backgrounds.
posted by acro at 7:06 AM on January 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


out of some misguided sense of duty, I've flogged along a copy of one of my very first web pages from the days when I was at the university. Looks like it's probably from 1997. Makes me wish I hadn't misplaced the source for the program that created this--a program that randomly generated POV texture specifications, then rendered them on a sphere to see what they looked like.
posted by jepler at 7:12 AM on January 27, 2008


In 1996 my site used CSS even though basically no browser could view it. I'll pretend that's why it looks like poop. Wayback has a a copy from 1997.

God I was insufferable.
posted by nev at 7:18 AM on January 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh, come on. This isn't fair. Comparing web design in '96 is like trying to compare a Sopwith Camel to the Space Shuttle. People were still hammering out the idiom in 96. You might as well compare Choplifter with Crysis.
posted by Dave Faris at 7:31 AM on January 27, 2008


He didn't set his browser default background to grey, so he's not really seeing the web as it was.
posted by smackfu at 7:44 AM on January 27, 2008


My site from 1999.

I was so damn proud of that site. You could click on each of the pictures to get to where you needed to go. I don't want to say how long it took me to get it to do that.
posted by Lucinda at 8:18 AM on January 27, 2008


I wish I remembered the info for my 2000 site. It was replete with cloud backgrounds, hot chili-pepper backgrounds, and five hundred million links like "Things I like," and "Things that make me mad."
posted by arcticwoman at 8:27 AM on January 27, 2008


Suck holds up remarkably well.
posted by empath at 8:41 AM on January 27, 2008


My Web Design Studio in 1998
posted by Mick at 8:46 AM on January 27, 2008


I used to be responsible and manually archive my sites every so often. Thanks to that, I'm (proudly?) still serving my site as it stood on Feb. 27th, 1996 (and, of course, it's 'Netscape 2.0 enhanced' and best viewed with the window sized to the width of the graphic bars.).

Also still kicking around: Feb. 14th 1997 (pretty slick by '97 standards, though somewhat broken in today's browsers) and March 30 1998, most notable for the sub-site I had for Gig's Music Theater, an all-ages alterno/goth/punk dance club in Anchorage. I'm still fairly proud of that site, especially for '98-era hand coding.
posted by djwudi at 8:47 AM on January 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


<>Suck holds up remarkably well.

I concur.
posted by meehawl at 8:48 AM on January 27, 2008


> My site from 2000.

Darryl, that's a handsome, restrained site for any era. I dig the whitespace, heh. Your logo doesn't appear stretched to me, it's about two thirds the width of the "Win your choice..." text line beneath it. Is that right?


Thanks! (blush)

My 1999 version of the site won Earthlink's "beginner" category website award. I am famous! It was printed (yes! on paper even!) in bLink magazine. What's better than that? I'll tell you what's better: getting a demin shirt with the Earthlink logo on it. And look what the Wayback machine found! Scroll down to beginner category and be in awe!

That's when I peaked, and I didn't even know it.

posted by The Deej at 8:53 AM on January 27, 2008


This is ridiculous.

Let's criticize tube amplifiers or steam engines while we're at it. "Look how long it takes for that train to get to 20 mph. Those unimaginative idiots were so clueless back then, weren't they? LOL"
posted by Jay Reimenschneider at 8:57 AM on January 27, 2008 [2 favorites]



My site from 1999. I was so damn proud of that site.
posted by Lucinda


You should be! It's still way cool!
posted by The Deej at 9:02 AM on January 27, 2008


Reminds me of my company's website now.
posted by dasheekeejones at 9:03 AM on January 27, 2008


I was doing to GREEEEEEEEEEEEN/orange/blue just to tick people off. The waybackmachine has saved the horror.

Oh dang. That greeeeeeen is dang near to the color I use in my logo. (Yet another site I need to update... no content in portfolio right now.)

Anyway... I like that greeeeen! :)
posted by The Deej at 9:06 AM on January 27, 2008


Let's criticize tube amplifiers

Dude, tube amps are totally sweet.
posted by cortex at 9:07 AM on January 27, 2008


I'm pretty happy with the site I worked on in Summer 1997. All hand-coded html in notepad or something, and it still looks exactly right in a modern browser.

Unfortunately their archive has really spotty coverage in 1996/1997, so a lot of the stuff I worked on is lost forever. Oh well.
posted by smackfu at 9:09 AM on January 27, 2008


Civil_Disobedient: Newspapers and books are not web browsers. There's a huge, vast difference between a browser and any form of print medium. The primary difference: print medium is physical and fixed. When you design for something that has a fixed size, you can do all sorts of neat tricks like bottom-hugging footers or columns of text or the like.

Yes, well, on a dynamic medium like the internet, you can do all kinds of crazy things that no print medium could handle, like introducing or removing extra sections depending on the size of the screen.

Still, I feel for web designers. You don't know if someone will wander into your site on a 1900x1200 computer with every plugin known to man or a 200x200 cell phone without java or flash.
posted by Mitrovarr at 9:18 AM on January 27, 2008


1996? I just designed a webpage for the class I'm TAing for, and it pretty much still looks like that shit.

I am teh suck.
posted by papakwanz at 9:27 AM on January 27, 2008


The whole world was once Metafilter.
posted by LarryC at 9:39 AM on January 27, 2008


MetaFilter could use a few more wizards on bicycles, though.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:04 AM on January 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


I used to display the following on my sites with pride:

"This site is 100% Lynx compatible."
posted by afx114 at 11:12 AM on January 27, 2008


Why do you need to do anything special to know what the internet looked like in 1996? Just check out some preteen Myspace pages and you're all set. Bad colors, websites that play songs and even animated GIFs are all there just for your perusal. You might even still find that Pepsi background as a repeated image if you look long enough.
posted by Gular at 11:16 AM on January 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


I had several pretty horrid personal websites from about 1997 to 2000, although I at least avoided some of the more standard faux pas, like filling pages with animated gifs.

For better or worse, none of the ones whose URLs I can remember are in the archive, unless you want to count my GeoCities page, but that just has a redirect to the page I made on Xoom (now defunct), and the Xoom site isn't on the Internet Archive.

Oh well.
posted by Target Practice at 11:40 AM on January 27, 2008


My favorite "old school" site is actually a newish site meant to look old: The Great World of Sound.

(Here's an earlier FPP I posted about it.)
posted by The Deej at 11:43 AM on January 27, 2008


PLEASE OPEN YOUR WINDOW TO THE WIDTH OF THIS LINE OF TEXT
posted by flatluigi at 11:49 AM on January 27, 2008


I still have a site whose design hasn't changed since January 1996. Aside from images sized for 550 x 350 and the frame set (seemed like an interesting idea at the time, very in keeping with my "multimedia" CD-ROM background), it's not mortifying. Well, the writing is mortifying.

MSN was proprietary until 1996, when they opened themselves to the web. They had very odd guidelines at the time, trying to bend the web to use MS junk, and were very wary of anything bohemian like tables. All of the animated stuff they wanted had to be AVI files, for example.

That said, this is what I was doing commercially for a few weeks in early 1996. Believe it or not, this was a bit outside of their comfort level. The site is pretty cheesy, but it does have the expanding design coveted in the comments above, and nearly everything in "live" text. The icons deserve a quick death; they all came from the ubiquitous clip art CDs floating around the office and a web site without icons was simply not possible in that universe.

Frankly, I'd give a lot to go back to the late 90's and work on the web. Sites were generally simple enough to not get bogged down insisting on futuresplash flash or having to worry about any sort of back-end management, and I had the good fortune to work on a few sites which had great content and rich material to draw on, even though some of the site design looks a bit naive now it was pretty "with it" for the time.
posted by maxwelton at 11:52 AM on January 27, 2008


I'd give a lot to go back to the late 90's, too, if only to adjust a few of my investments.
posted by Dave Faris at 11:55 AM on January 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


What is sad, of course, is like maxwelton I used to make a living building websites before and around this time period as well, specifically front end user interface work for companies that were moving their software from DOS to an intranet system.

Now I can't even create a metafilter link without broken code or double posting. How far I've fallen.

Absolute positioning? DHTML? Evil glimmers in Microsoft's eye. All of the fun was in trying to beat page layouts into cross platform submission with tables wielded like restraints in the S&M fun house of notepad. I also would go back in an instant though. I used to enjoy getting paid (and paid way more than I make now) to create custom 16x16 pixel 5 color system icons depicting obscure company specific language and symbolism. Whee!

(This post made me go check on my graveyard of a website from those days. Unlinkable framed pages with 20 nested tables. At least I had white space. Take that, Netscape!)
posted by stagewhisper at 12:32 PM on January 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


I can't find a copy of my site from 1995. It's a pity, since I miss that nice gay-pride rainbow-checkerboard background image I had used on the left column. I don't miss the employer who "had a problem" with my personal site, where I'd described who I was and what I did (programming for a large retail chain). It "wasn't approved by corporate communications" and I was asked to remove the innocuous reference from my site. Maybe they didn't like the context. :-/
posted by Robert Angelo at 7:42 PM on January 27, 2008


Pfft. The nostalgia's less fun without screenshots from BBSs.
posted by desuetude at 9:25 PM on January 27, 2008


nev writes "In 1996 my site used CSS even though basically no browser could view it. I'll pretend that's why it looks like poop. Wayback has a a copy from 1997. "

That actually looks pretty good, and back then I was getting paid to create sites. I was pretty good at the time, but I fought CSS at first, maybe because of all the time invested understanding how to get layout to work with tables on any browser.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:54 PM on January 27, 2008


I was convinced this was going to be Gizmodo's recent take on old websites only to go back and re-read Gizmodo's post and realize that actually they ripped off the guy who did the one mentioned in the FPP. They did cover a few more interesting ones...and they also credited their source.
posted by librarylis at 12:00 AM on January 28, 2008


In 1996 there were only 4 tags, and two of them were BLINK and MARQUEE.
posted by Artw at 12:08 AM on January 28, 2008


"Pfft. The nostalgia's less fun without screenshots from BBSs."

Screenshots? I still run a BBS. Complete with circa 1990 text-only interface. And for bonus points, the BBS web page hasn't been redesigned since around 1997!
posted by litlnemo at 2:45 AM on January 28, 2008


Classy!
posted by dabitch at 5:02 AM on January 28, 2008


jfuller, way up above, said: took Apple forever to write a browser of their own.

Let's not be so quick to forget 1996's Cyberdog, shall we?
posted by ericost at 7:22 AM on January 28, 2008


I found a 1999 version of a page I worked on in 1997 or so. Hasn't changed much!
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:57 AM on January 28, 2008


litlnemo, that's awesome.
posted by danb at 10:23 AM on January 28, 2008


My old company's site from 1996 (woo hoo, flashy! not). My My old bio page sans the photo of me from back then... THANK GOD. Believe it or not, one of our clients was Tricon International, the restaurant division of Pepsi. Too bad they didn't have us redesign their site! We ran everything on Linux...
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 10:34 AM on January 28, 2008


I bet MSU is thrilled that he's using his personal webspace to advertise a business, though upon reading their AUP, maybe they don't care.
What this whole page boiled down to for me was:
PLEASE HIRE [GRATUITUOUS AD FOR SEO COMPANY] ME, CRACKED.COM

And check this out:
You can find an article I wrote for CRACKED.com here.
Clearly, it worked!

[Brewster only keeps archives of mine as far back as 1999, and he didn't keep the graphics I made through cooltext.com, so there's not much to show.]
posted by britain at 1:37 PM on January 28, 2008


MetaFilter: could use a few more wizards on bicycles
posted by meehawl at 5:30 PM on January 28, 2008


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