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Saturday, December 22, 2007

ten years on the web

On December 22, 1997, I uploaded my first personal web page to Southwind Internet. Back in those days, most web pages were pretty simple. E-commerce really hadn't taken off yet. Not only was "google" not yet a verb, did not yet exist. Nor did Wikipedia. Most sites were personal experiments, little more than a few paragraphs of random text with a too-busy background image and an "under construction" icon. My own site read like a personal ad.

The Wayback Machine discovered my site on February 14, 1998, and here's how it looked then. Here's my "awards" page -- a list of comments from visitors -- as it was archived on October 8, 1999. The comments get more, um, interesting toward the bottom of the list. My links page, also first archived on October 8, 1999, links mostly to sites that are no longer active. Most of my friends who had websites back then have since moved to other states. I hope it's not because of me.

My website featured a "joke of the week," that I updated manually every week until I got tired of it. It would be nearly six years before I added scripts to my site to automate updates.

I was hampered in my site development by the fact that I was still using an old 386-based machine running at 33MHz, that I had bought back in 1993. It had Windows 3.1 installed, but the processor was too slow and the memory too small to run it, so I was stuck using MS-DOS and the text-based Lynx browser. I had no idea what my site looked like, and in fact went through maybe a dozen background images that looked cool in my paint program but clashed with the text of my web site. After getting complaints about every single background I tried, I settled on the dull beige background seen in the Wayback Machine archive. If I had known how ugly it was, I would have picked a different color.

As an homage to my text-based eary days, I still keep the "Lynx friendly" logo on my site, though it's not as Lynx friendly as it could be.

A lot has changed in ten years. I wonder: In December 2017 will this blog seem as archaic as my original home page looks now?

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At 12/22/2007 3:44 AM, Blogger John B. said...

Happy 10th anniversary to you. You are a Methuselah of the Internets, you know; in February, my blog will turn 4 years old. Old-ish, but nothing like yours.

Did you have any idea you were at the beginning of something when you posted that page? You don't say anything in your post here about a presentiment along those lines. Just curious.

At 12/24/2007 8:59 PM, Blogger Steve Hayes said...

I also tried the Wayback Machine, but mine only went back to 1999, not August 1996 when I started my first web page.

I think my shade of beige was nicer than yours!


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