Going Way Back

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Last week I was on a Southwest plane that was trying out WiFi capabilities. Knowing ahead of time that this would be a WiFi flight, I brought along my laptop. The five-year-old laptop weighs what feels like 200 pounds, and it was no fun carrying it just to use on the plane. But I did manage to fire it up and get a web connection. It lasted maybe an hour (my laptop battery is pathetic). I packed it away once I got to my destination and did not use it again until the return flight, another WiFi-enabled trip. To my dismay (and the airline’s), the wireless connection broke down, so passengers were unable to catch up on email or whatever this time around. For now, when it works, the service is free on Southwest. Expect that to change sometime in the future. And be aware that not all flights offer the service.

Wifi on flights is news of the future. Let’s turn back to the Internet’s past, starting with the demise of Geocities. Sites like MySpace and Facebook, along with the explosion of blogging, and yes, Tweeters, have done away with the corny old free web pages and hosting we once knew. I owe a debt of gratitude to Geocites and to Tripod.com (which lives on) for providing space to plunk down my weekly CyberScribbles columns. Currently they can be found at the blogger site, WordPress (https://cyberscribbles.wordpress.com).

Recently I ran across a mock salute to the old Geocities’ web presence. Be warned in advance that some of the content is inappropriate for young viewers. But Andy, the site’s creator, has reproduced the old look of former webpages, when whirling, twirling gifs, dinky digital music, guestbooks, and stats were clearly the standard for home-made (meaning: not professionally created) sites. Andy’s site is located at www.flashpointsocialmedia.com/Area51/Orion/.

Here are some things Andy had to say about the good old days at Geocities:

“When the World Wide Web was still considered to be the “World Wide Waste” by many, Geocities allowed amateurs to produce some interesting and funny content. People could quickly post information on their personal pages and link to it from their instant message programs (an instant message program is sort of like Twitter). In a way, Geocities allowed people to set up a rudimentary blogs, only far far less useable and much more painful on the eyes.”

Andy goes on to thank Geocities and Yahoo, sponsor of the free web page program, for “opening up the Web” to him. He is glad, too, that the Internet Archive has not found his original website.

Internet Archive (www.internetarchive.org). This is where you go to find all the good stuff of days past from the Internet and beyond. It is now home to the Wayback Machine, where many old, obsolete websites are archived. More than that, there are texts, audio programs, videos and so much good stuff from yesteryear waiting to be downloaded here. Noncommercial music, old radio programs, videos and vlogs. If you wait until next week, I will tell you more about the wonders of the Internet Archive. Otherwise, go there now and find out for yourself what treasures await.

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~ by IndianaDunesPoet on May 13, 2009.

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