Four for Feb

I remember the days before the Internet was for everyone. It was a nerdy thing that you'd disconnect your parents' phone line for. Social media, endless scroll feeds, and hourly news updates were not a thing. Twitter was not there, and hate groups were hidden in their own little fringe communities rather than being algorithmically rubbed into your face. You couldn't put the Internet in your pocket to take with you everywhere.

A few weird people, myself included, had personal blogs, and you'd do Trackbacks to your friend's blogs or to other Internet weirdos with similar interests. I didn't even think of putting in a hit counter or analytics.

A little before blogging, Geocities! Who needs a reminder? Who doesn't miss those colours, gradients and WordArt GIF banners?

Facebook started appearing later in this phase for me, for uni students only; I logged in once, sent a poke, and left it for several years. IRC, MSN or ICQ is where you'd truly talk to people. The choice of messaging system alone would tell you a bit about a person.

No, perhaps it wasn't all great and wonderful as I described. There is a bit of omission there. But those are some of the bits I remember fondly.

In that spirit, I recently read a few things that reminded me of those old days of wonder and hope. About relatively low tech, about blogging with interesting ideas – over viral content and likes or posturing.

  • I love Kelly Shortridge's blog, and especially her post on Amonia Plant Safety. Say whaat? Just read it if you're in tech, or not. I quoted it in a tech conference talk on incidents last year.
  • My System (1978) (alt text version here) - a short write-up by a man called Michael Holley that gives a glimpse into how you'd put a personal computer together in the 70s. I love the enthusiasm, and the pride in that photo.
  • A post about local exploration A single small map is enough for a lifetime. Coincidentally, I have been doing a lot more of this (not in the same manner as the author!) since going full remote at the end of last year, and it has brought me a lot of fascination for the things I've been missing within short biking distance from my house.
  • Saving the best for last. I really enjoyed Where Have All the Websites Gone by Jason. It gave me the idea for this post. Check out Jason's other content, instant follow.