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cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17
Remembering the 'old-school' web

I guess m68k brought to light what we've all been seeing as of late. Don't forget the failed fight for a neutral web in the U.S, followed by the latest online fight, cloud neutrality.

The online world appears to be going back to the more web-restricted days before the World 'Wild' Web. Remember those first ISPs, at least the ones I became aware of first: Prodigy, CompuServe and finally AOL. Anyone recall Apple's attempt, eWorld?

Web browsers of old were the first tools Mac and Windows used to get to the www, ones we still attempt to use online today, and the simple search engines that competed with each other: HotBot, AltaVista, ask Jeeves, Yahoo!, MSN and AOL search and quite a few others. Most are gone of course, and a few are shadows of their former selves, with the exception of Yahoo!, trailed further back behind by MSN and AOL search.

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Duality's picture
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Joined: 2014 Mar 1

Hypnospace Outlaw is a browser-driven detective game based around a quirky, fake internet inspired by eWorld. As well as AOL, early Flash, Napster and a couple of other influences that you should be able to pick out between the chunky pixels.

I've heard the Discord for that game has quite a few nostalgia-fueled fans, young and old. Not the least of which is Jay Tholen, Hypnospace's lead designer, and an all-around genuine character.

Duality's picture
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Joined: 2014 Mar 1

Another "portal" style site that was spun off from eWorld, Apple's Youth Central.

Not many captures of that one on the Wayback Machine. There is a small excerpt of a retrospective still online, but the full article is behind a paywall.

OpenSourceMac's picture
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Joined: 2019 Jan 21

This discussion really reminds me of the old divide between CPU and GPU in computing. Other than Quartz Extreme, GPUs were for graphic effects and CPUs were for everything else. The modern crossovers are beneficial, and totally make sense, but it seems like from Leopard on, too many banal things like window-animations starting being about your graphics card, and you'd see a CPU at 10% and still have GUI stuff being laggy, unless you made that jump to a CoreImage graphics card (and gave up OS9 gaming). While things like Dashboard in Tiger had exceptionally smooth software modes, from 10.5 on, you were part of the new system or you weren't. Also, when you look at modern Linux, for example, so much is made of Mint Mate being able to easily add custom icons, lables and search both your system and the internet simultaneously (with a 1GB RAM overhead), and I want to laugh because OS9/Sherlock 2 could do all of that 20 years ago with 128MB or RAM or less (thanks to Apple's eWorld-styled backend). Today, there is less hand-holding in the computer world (machines are much more self-reliant), but I often have to wonder if all the higher current requirements, as well as depletion of rare-earth elements that could be making Solar Panels to clean-up our energy grid are being wasted making gizmos and gadgets to numb the masses, when we already could do that 2 decades ago on much simpler hardware - that lasted much longer.

m68k's picture
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Joined: 2016 Dec 30

All the time and money that went into GPU development and GUI versions that made good use of them - and now a singular MicroSoft strategy change forces us all to return back to a two dimensional, 16 colored tile based interface. And yuck does that look ugly.

There used to be a time, when we as users had a choice in such matters. When there were options to choose from. But not anymore. We got three corporate headquarters left in the world of operating systems and these days they all seem to walk in sync.

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

I can echo that sentiment, Linux seems to be the last front of options in terms of GUI flexibility. I'm surprised no one has tried putting a Classic Mac Linux GUI.

z970's picture
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Joined: 2016 Aug 26

Hear, hear.

m68k's picture
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Joined: 2016 Dec 30

There are indeed "classic" Linux GUIs out there, including based on AmigaOS, BEOS and MacOS. But those are not generally supported and specifically kernel developers won't give a damn about them. So they might stop working after any upgrade.
And semi-commercial distros like Ubuntu go even so far to try to force certain desktops onto the user community. Indeed even in the Linux world the development goes to a few major distros - who adapt more and more commercial attitudes - and smaller "rogue" distributions, who may cease to be actively developed at any moment.

Linus Torvalds actually likes it that way, as he sees the chaotic nature of the Linux biosphere as one of its strongpoints. That forces any Linux user to be forever quick on his feet.

capt_chuckl3s's picture
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Joined: 2019 Sep 17

Netscape was the first web browser that I remember using to get on the www. I miss the little animations it would do when it was pulling your search. I also remember the 56K modems and how you had to wait until the phone call was done before you can access the internet. Good times.

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

Phone companies would also push alerts of an incoming call. Technology was advancing furiously but it seems so slowly now that we've multiplied every advancement of that period. That little browser animation gave you hope that your request had not frozen your browser, lol! If you used pagers, folks would also send you their landline number so you could disconnect to call them. So much fun, indeed!

capt_chuckl3s's picture
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Joined: 2019 Sep 17

Ah pagers. Now that takes me back. When I became a biomed technician and went on call for the first time, the company i worked for issued me a pager. When a service call would come in, the hospital number would light up the pager and I would have to call the number and troubleshoot what the problem was. This was in 2008 and those days wouldn't last as smartphones were starting to be more of a thing.

Gary's picture
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Joined: 2011 Jul 21

I looked at Compuserve when it first came online. That was circa 1979. It was VERY exciting but I couldn't convince my boss to pay for it. No real surprise. There was a monthly fee and a data transfer charge. I don't have the actual numbers any more but the transfer charge was significant. I want to say something like 10 cents per kilobyte transferred. They charged for data coming AND going, plus the monthly fee.

With one connection the boss estimated he would be on the hook for about $1000 a month. There were about 30 people in my department and they ALL would want their turn.

He nixed the idea REAL fast.

Gary

Bolkonskij's picture
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Joined: 2009 Aug 3

I miss the old web too. I miss the "personal" note of it. It was just John Doe and his website about whatever topic.

Sometimes I'd just browse the categories in Yahoo's web catalogue (that was before they used a search bar a la Google) and see what pages are in there. That experience of discovering is missing for me today.

At times I would end up on pages I would have never visited if anyone had told me before. Just because I was on Al's joke page and Al would recommend the page of his buddy Max on sail planes and Max in turn would then link his son's fanpage on a video game.

You'd bookmark the page and come back every once and then and check for new content. That experience is almost dead. At least for me. Usually it's just "Google -> answer" anymore. Just like wikipedia killed all those hobby expert websites on a topic - they mostly moved on to YouTube it seems.

I don't know if this is just a thing I experienced but I fondly remember the evenings you'd go online with no fixed goal and just see where the "waves" would wash you ashore.

That said, I also believe there's nothing that is holding us back from re-creating the old web in a limited style. Just ask fogwraith here on the Garden and being the nice guy he is, he'll set you up a webspace for free for you to start your own website.

Download Adobe Pagemill or whatever html authorin tool from here (or better, even learn HTML) and create a 90s style page about whatever you'd like. Plus points for everyone doing it on actual old Mac hardware (nothing makes me more nostalgic). And yes, you can do this even on an old IIci (*poking cbone* Laughing out loud)

So let's go guys, let thousands personal website bloom Smile
(just yesterday I thought how cool it would be to have a website with collections of low res wallpapers and desktop patterns, accessible for older browsers Smile )

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

You're gonna make me cry, man Wink

I think a bit of that more soulful, personable web is still pulsating in forums like this. Online platforms looked for ways to 'bottle' the net, but their focus is to keep it all to themselves. In latinamerica, whatsapp, facebook messenger and other social media apps make themselves free and unlimited (texting, that is) on mobile devices, in order to hook folks to their platforms, and that vehicle works, but it's not the same feeling.

I'd love to 'bring back that lovin' feeling' of the classic 'net Smile (from Hall & Oates, 1980, originally by the Righteous Brothers. And you're so right, good 'ol YouTube to the rescue!)