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Author Topic: 1990s websites  (Read 1208 times)
brisray
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« on: April 22, 2023 @951.09 »

Many of the early public websites were either made by governments or universities. In 1996, where I work had three servers running, papa, mama and baby. Papa and baby were taken offline years ago but for some reason mama, which was run by our Center for Biological Computing is still running. I don't even know where on campus the physical computer is, and neither does anyone I've asked.

Starting around 1997/8 part of the server was opened to our students. The Management Information Services section was for people in an early web development course and one of their projects was to write about a local community organization. The Student Web Pages section was for their personal pages and they could do more or less what they wanted on them.

Be prepared for lots of broken pages - this server has been running for 25 years, but there are some gems on it.

I use an old program called Analog to visualize my server logs. In February, it started messing up because it was trying to process 7 years worth of logs and ran out of memory. The output pages have unique text and it was while searching for that to see who else was using it and what they were doing with it that I started thinking about these very old sites.

« Last Edit: April 22, 2023 @952.56 by brisray » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2023 @615.90 »

This is pretty interesting!
I wasn't able to get much out of it besides the homepage and the RC5 page but its still a nice time capsule into the past.
I found the RC5 page in particular to be very interesting. Reminds me of the early days of bitcoin before it became the monster it is today.
Thank you for sharing this. I hope the server is found, but I really hope it isn't decommissioned. 
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« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2023 @630.43 »

Papa and baby were taken offline years ago but for some reason mama, which was run by our Center for Biological Computing is still running. I don't even know where on campus the physical computer is, and neither does anyone I've asked.


For some reason this quote in particular reminds me of an old story I found when I was finding about uptime records about a Novell server that was still running at a university but they never managed to find where it was located and it turns out it was sealed behind a wall.

I don't even want to imagine the uptime of that server tho...

And talking about old common types of 90's (web)servers, I've always had an interest in those old public access UNIX servers (or pubnixes) that offered their users free (or paid) shell services like email, IRC, usenet and web hosting (the latter is what attracted me most), as well as those old ISPs that offered small personal web hosting as part of their subscription.

If we talk about pubnixes, SDF (the real OG since 1987) is one of the few that are still active although thanks to the new trend of the Tildeverse many have begun to emerge although the vast majority of them host other types of things that don't interest me much.

And about ISPs, this page of the ArchiveTeam wiki has a huge list of active and dead ISPs who still have personal web hosting services https://wiki.archiveteam.org/index.php/ISP_Hosting
« Last Edit: April 23, 2023 @671.55 by GeckoF » Logged
brisray
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« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2023 @823.65 »

The Tell-Tale CPU and The RAM of Amontillado were my favourites  :smile:

I've been running into a few shell hosts recently. Analog is ancient but still works. At one time there were 40 mirrors of it. Surprisingly 5 are still running, 3 in the US and 2 in eastern Europe and most of those appear to be on some sort of shell account.
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« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2023 @928.76 »

spent a bit of time exploring through the A section, unfortunately the bit i wrote was lost when i had to restart my computer  :tnt: i will still recount my adventures!

quite a few people had their resumes listed in what is now pretty antiquated html and css. i really wish mr alharbi had taken the time to put up his work on desertification...  :sad: it seems so interesting!

there were several (unfortunately now defunct) pages for fraternities/sororities. it's a funny juxtaposition between what is seen as stereotypically dumb and stereotypically nerdy  :ok:

anon's page is really hard to read... were the standard colors in css a little different back in the ~early days?~

and of course: heather is a punk!



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« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2023 @194.42 »


Haha, this is great! I love exploring time capsules like this. My favorite student webpage so far is bagel. Very straight forward, and maybe the last updated webpage, since the photo might be from 2002? Thank you for sharing this! Also, if we're talking 90s websites, one of the ones I had a lot of fun exploring is the OBSSE Abbey, I love old fan websites like this. Anyone have any other good websites they wanna share? I also recall a Hellraiser one in a similar style.
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brisray
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« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2023 @681.33 »

At one time, anyone who worked or studied here got their own web space and really could do more or less what they wanted on it. They even had access their own htaccess files. Nowadays, our IT staff would sooner lose arm rather than give anyone that much control.

@teatime - Standard web colors? WAI? WCAG? What are those? Half the time they were lucky to get anything on a page, let alone worry about what color it was. If they had a couple of fav colors then they used them, it didn't matter if they were readable or not. If a visitor really wanted to read them they could highlight the text and do it that way. It wasn't just our students and staff, half the internet was either black text on a white background, text and background with hardly any contrast, or text on some garish background image.

My first pages had a pink and blue background that came from the MS Office collection with blue text. I just checked and the Internet Archive didn't capture the original background image, but just in case of things like that I used a background color as well. Is this bright enough for you? - https://web.archive.org/web/20000925085014/http://www.brisray.co.uk/biog.htm
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« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2023 @220.49 »

I love this stuff so much. There's something almost bittersweet about it; it's been so long and most of these people will have fundamentally changed in that time. I wonder if anyone making these pages thought about the possibility that someone could be browsing them over two decades later? In a way it feels almost like maybe I shouldn't look too much, just in case there's something we were never meant to see on there.

Anyway, I really love the use of fonts in Flood. Very cool visual design.
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« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2023 @872.67 »

I've actually found many old websites from the 90s, especially by 3D modeling masters of the 70s-90s teaching at universities. One of my favorite sites from this era is by Paul Debevec, he has a whole thing about the history of reflection mapping, where he posted some awesome stuff, including the first reflection map ever made!
Paul Debevec's website
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Melooon
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« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2023 @985.61 »

including the first reflection map ever made!
Paul Debevec's website
Thank you for posting this! Its really cool to see someone who's in a pretty serious job at a big tech firm holding onto their old site design and really making it work well :omg: I'll use this as an example next time Im trying to convince someone they don't need a crappy squarespace site to be professional :grin:
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« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2023 @102.88 »

Thank you for posting this! Its really cool to see someone who's in a pretty serious job at a big tech firm holding onto their old site design and really making it work well :omg: I'll use this as an example next time Im trying to convince someone they don't need a crappy squarespace site to be professional :grin:

Im glad you found the site pretty useful! I do think his site is pretty fun. Whats even more fun is that sometimes he still responds to emails and messages, like when I messaged him about some Mario 64 SGI stuff! Thats actually how I found his website in the first place. If theres anything you should know, its that you can find the most awesome things if you do enough digging!
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« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2023 @596.42 »

I spent my early childhood playing a lot of games you could download from people's individual websites, many of them from the 90s. Some of them are still up today and it's fascinating to take a glimpse at them today. Here's a few, check these out:

* https://laser-tank.com/ltank_en.html
* https://wim.vree.org/gpjs/index.html
* https://web.archive.org/web/20120928012129/http://www.dauwalder.net/WinPac2/ (this one was still up last time I checked a few years ago but it seems to have finally gone offline. It was saved in the Internet Archive thankfully).
* https://www.windowsgames.co.uk/index.html (this one is an entire site filled with games made by one person. This site hasn't changed since I saw it as a kid in the early 2000s).
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Frost Sheridan
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« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2023 @608.77 »

* https://laser-tank.com/ltank_en.html

oh wow that laser tank website is a blast from the past! i remember finding that game on a "Software USA" shareware collection CD when i was younger. my friends and i would spend a ton of time making wild custom levels with its level editor.
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« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2023 @620.34 »

oh wow that laser tank website is a blast from the past! i remember finding that game on a "Software USA" shareware collection CD when i was younger. my friends and i would spend a ton of time making wild custom levels with its level editor.

Nice!! I used to spend time messing around with the in-game level editor too. I only found out about Laser Tank having been introduced to it by a relative. It's awesome to hear others here remembers it!

On topic, here's a few more interesting sites from the 90s that are still up:

* https://www.simpsonsarchive.com/
* http://boglin.iwarp.com/
* https://fogcam.org/
* https://www.mcspotlight.org/index.shtml
« Last Edit: September 14, 2023 @622.80 by Snow » Logged
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« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2023 @653.74 »

Oh, this is amazing!! Some of these websites are older than me, wow...

Of the few pages I've accessed from mama, there are some really pretty pages. Although lots of pages are broken I greatly enjoy learning about their creators. I wonder where they are now!
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