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Veronica...Metacrawler...Gopher...Galaxy...Savvy...'The Wanderer', the list is endless.
In the mid 90's the search engine i kept hearing about is the now forgotten about MetaCrawler. I used to use that place all the time. I didnt worry about meta tags, didnt worry about robots.txt, didnt even worry if my page was listed. I used that place to search for other sites.
Fast forward to 2000 and 2 things happen.
1: My site gets a LOT more bigger.
2: I kept hearing of the name Google popping up in a lot of emails.
Those email's were saying that some people found the site i am running in Google. Even to this day im getting about 50 to 60 hits coming in Via google...i like checking the server logs.
In the mid 90's i used search engines to look for other sites.
Now in 2003 i'm using Google to search for my OWN site on a regular basis to see if it's still there in the top 3 for the keywords i used, and it always is, usually in the top spot as well. I've ripped apart the site to make it search engine friendly and i thought i was doing grand...
...till i joined this place and realised that i was messing up on a lot of things to do with Google.
Yup, the Pre-Google internet world. When sites were sites and search engines didnt give you a headache if you were'nt listed in them.
Anyone remember thosedays? Would you go back to that time?
Then came the web. I remember people worrying and complaining about net congestion because of all those useless graphics ;)
Altavista was the first SE I recall - altavista.digital.com
I remember visiting Yahoo when it was considered comprehensive at a couple of hundred sites, and was still available on Jerry Yang's academic account (something like cs.stanford.edu/~yangj/other_projects/yahoo/ ).
I remember that OpenText was my favorite search engine before AltaVista came out, and later Hotbot; Infoseek and Webcrawler were the spammiest; Lycos and Excite somewhere in the middle.
I also remember when I first joined ODP, when the distant goal was to match Yahoo's number of directory listings. There were about 11 sites about chaos theory (compared to ~321 now), ~250 health and beauty e-tailers (~9300), and ~125 banks and credit unions (~5400). There are almost double the number of listings for North Dakota now as there used to be for New York, almost triple for West Virginia.
On the other hand, the category for Mycobacterium Avium Complex is literally unchanged, and beekeeping and feminist philosophy have actually gotten smaller. Obviously we have been spending too much time and effort on commercial sites. ;)
First "PC" was the Tandy TRS-80 and then the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, with a whopping 16K RAM extension.
Migrated on to a Amstrad PC running CP/M. Jeez back then if you didn't know what to do when you saw "C>" you were screw*d.
First "Online experience" was with Compuserve. Loved the forum type settings there but couldn't afford to be on for more than 20 minutes at a time.
Started my own BBS, until the internet killed that.
Used to think Altavista was the king of the search engines, and that you could find anything that ever existed on the net on it. SEO's killed that - well with the help of Altavista themselves of course.
For me my first computer and first online experiencve were far apart.
I remember those first few days, the very first ISP on this country was actually not from here but from italy, bnrought over for a trade fair. The ISPs homepage was all italian which I didn't understand. Neither did I know about SEs, any I was awed and amazed one day when I found a "gateway" on the ISPs homepage which linked to pages outside of the ISP... that's were my surfing started... still no clue about SEs or even typing in URLs.
Actualyl If I think that newcomers todaymay still have a similar disorienting experience it perhaps puts usability and good site design into perspective and makes when want to go back to work on all my sites, and beg for forgiveness from new newcomers.
PS: let's all remember those days and realise that many experience that today and that we should have mercy on them.
Talk about a blast from the past .... so while we're at it, here's mine.
2400 baud modem long distance call to dial up after midnight for the cheaper rates, BBS, then mosiac came along!
Still have the printout of the block print from Alice Through the Looking Glass from the gutenburg project of Alice at the mad hatters tea party, which took 50 minutes to download.
Altavista, gnn, yahoo (what kind of a name is that!?) galaxy, infoseek, usegroups (still do), never quite got the hang of archie, veronica et al.
Then we got local dial-up access and Netscape 1.0 appeared. Revelation! Netmeeting (the one useful thing M$ ever came up with I reckon!) Hey ... this www thingy could REALLY be useful. We might even be able to earn a living from this.
Research, research research ... launch ... 6 years later, and I'm hanging around with the likes of you lot! ; -)
Hooroo from downunder
I'm a dinosaur, baby!
I was into BBS's way back in 1990 at 2400 and then 9600 baud, from an 8088-based Tandy. Mmmm, 16-color graphics. Mmmm, the neat ANSI menus of BBS's like WWIV.
Got onto the internet in 1992, via the local college. Spent a lot of time on a really early internet BBS in Chicago... don't remember their name. Used to MUD/MUSH a bit, more for the social interaction than the combat stuff. Ran/moderated a long-defunct newsgroup in 1993/94. Ah, those were the days.
Gopher was a really great system, and I wish it'd held on. Ah, well. I wonder if the software is still out there somewhere? It'd be kind of cool to run one on a server somewhere, just for kicks... probably get someone to donate the bandwith, for the novelty. :)
I loved the internet, back when it took intelligence to connect to and use it. :) AOL and the WWW wrecked it for me. As soon as people became more concerned about the pretty presentation of information (HTML) than the actual content of that information, I got disgusted. I hated and abhored the budding WWW, and actually left the internet from early 1995 to 1999.
I still hate the web; don't get me wrong. Every time I turn around there's some newfangled "advance" that consumes more bandwith and takes more time to view or download. I differentiate, still today, between the world-wide-web and the internet. To me, the latter is text-based, and the former graphical. Even though I run a couple websites, I much prefer a command-line interface.
I know, I know; AOL and the graphical interface made worldwide communication available to the masses. However, I maintain that's only a good thing if you have rosy illusions about mankind as a whole...
Went back to Uni in '98 and learnt about HTML, Java (1.1!) and C++, and bought my first computer with a 33.3k modem. First used ADSL at home this year, and have never looked back.
In the first few years I was pretty addicted, but now I see it as another information source. I read more offline than on and use computers at home mostly for email... I get enough of them at work...
I also liked metacrawler and used it a lot. Altavista was the king of relevency. I remember when Lycos and AOL search were so poorly set up that keyword stuffing of ODP titles paid off.
Now ODP titles really don't matter that much.
286/12 / 40 meg HD
2600baud external Zoom
305 (now 954) BBS's
MBBS & Crossroads
iCE and ACiD Art Packs
2600 Hackers Quarterly
Netscape Navigator Rules!
SVGA BBSs crushed by the emerging Internet
Pirating Apogee games like Halloween Harry
Spawn and Pitt ansi menus than you can shake a stick at
...and please don't forget Tesla Coils, The Dead Docs, and "moofing" someone from a chat room.
Of course with the net came online gaming and of course doom being one of the first games where you could actually challenge another friend one on one, at the time that was really cool. I look back now to what started this whole other virtual type of world and I just shake my head in awe. Technology is moving so rapidly i cant wait to see what the future has in store for the internet yet alone computers themselves.
Heres a few images of mine I thought id share. The first is an original DOS AOL 5 1/4 floppy I have held onto since day one. The second image is of my ol 386 I use to hack up dos and windows - windows 3.1 on.
DOS AOL 1.6 [superiorsurplus.net]
laser 386 [superiorsurplus.net]