In the 80's and 90's, Robert Norman "Bob" Ross gave us The Joy of Painting. In each minimalist, 30-minute show, he would create an imaginary landscape using a wet-on-wet (or alla prima) oil painting technique while gently teaching viewers his methods. His signature, soothing comments described the "happy little clouds," "almighty mountains" and "happy little trees" that he was creating with his brush. Of the 31 seasons and 403 episodes that aired on PBS, the Internet Archive currently has the first 19 seasons (247 episodes) available for stream and download. [more inside]
"If you want to hear music, you know what you do - you turn on the radio, put on a CD, or even go to a concert. But as the age of the info superhighway inches forward, you can even get music from your own home computer." That's the intro to a short CNN segment on IUMA, the Internet Underground Music Archive, which opened in 1992 as an effort for unsigned bands to share their music on the world-wide web, for free. Unfortunately, it fell the way of many early 1990s online entities: it was bought out, then the new owners couldn't keep up with changing times, and the site went dark. Except before IUMA disappeared, John Gilmore grabbed much of the material and backed it up on tapes, and turned to (MeFi's Own) Jason Scott and Archive.org to bring back IUMA. They did, and you can now browse through over 45,000 bands and artists, and more than 680,000 tracks of music.
In 2003, Andy "waxpancake" Baio created Upcoming, "a collaborative event calendar focused on interesting arts and tech events around the world, curated by its community. It surfaced weird and wonderful events that usually fell under the radar of traditional event listings from newspapers and local weeklies." In 2005, it was acquired by Yahoo!, who killed the site last April with little warning, and no way to back up events. Fortunately, the complete site was saved by the Internet Archive. But Upcoming isn't dead yet! Two months ago, Yahoo! offered to sell the domain back to Baio. And now, with a fully-funded kickstarter, he's planning on "rebuilding it for the modern era using tools and platforms that weren't available when it was first designed." Welcome to the brilliant life, stupid death, and improbable return of Upcoming.org. [more inside]
Each week, the Internet Archive's tumblr account is completely transformed by a digital resident along a theme of their choosing. [more inside]
Visiting the Big Apple? "Don't ask a pedestrian where a certain street is. He is usually too busy to stop, and if polite enough to stop, won't know. No New Yorker knows anything about New York." And another kind reminder: "Don't gape at women smoking cigarettes in restaurants. They are harmless and respectable, notwithstanding and nevertheless. They are also smart." Advice from Valentine’s City of New York: A Guide Book, published in 1920. [more inside]
It's an open secret that many bands and solo artists allow fans to audio record their live performances for non-commercial trading. The Internet Archive's Live Music Section is maintained by volunteers from etree.org, and currently offers over 120,000 live performances from nearly 6000 bands, for in-browser streaming as well as download in a variety of formats. [more inside]
wwwtxt.org: "In 1995, commercialization, a swelling population, and the multimedia revolution began to shape Web 1.0 and the modern Internet. 1988–94 represent the final years of a much smaller, non-commercial, and text-dominated Internet. / The users of this era were not only programmers, physicists, and university residents—they were also tinkerers, early-adopters, whiz kids, and nerds. Their conversations and documents—valiantly preserved by digital archivists—are fractured across numerous services, increasingly offline-only, and incredibly voluminous (100GB+). / wwwtxt digs deep and resurrects the voices of these digital pioneers as unedited, compelling, and insightful 140-character excerpts." [more inside]
The universe (which others call The Twitter) is composed of every word in the English language; Shakespeare's folios, line-by-line-by-line; the Exegesis of Philip K. Dick, exploded; Constantine XI, in 140 character chunks; Sun Tzu's Art of War, in its entirety; the chapter headings of JG Ballard, in abundance; and definitive discographies of Every. Artist. Ever... All this, I repeat, is true, but one hundred forty characters of inalterable wwwtext cannot correspond to any language, no matter how dialectical or rudimentary it may be. [more inside]
Superguy was a forum for the posting of original, comedic fiction based loosely on superheroes and related concepts. ... It existed during the birth of the modern Internet culture, and survived much longer than many similar groups, diminishing in activity only when the webcomic trend became widespread. ... It is one of the longest running collaborative shared universe projects on the Internet.
"[W]ebsites and hosting services should not be “fads” any more than forests and cities should be fads – they represent countless hours of writing, of editing, of thinking, of creating. They represent their time, and they represent the thoughts and dreams of people now much older, or gone completely. There’s history here. Real, honest, true history. So Archive Team did what it could, as well as other independent teams around the world, and some amount of Geocities was saved." Now, one year later, they have announced that nearly a terabyte of web history will soon be made available to the public as a 900GB torrent file. (Previously. / Previously.) [more inside]
Internet Archaeology is archiving the early graphics of the Internet. There are still graphics, animated ones, and complete websites. They also have a blog featuring select images. (via) Some images NSFW.
The Internet FAQ Consortium is a goldmine of information. The highlight of the site is the Internet RFC/FYI/STD/BCP Archives.