New York Times: In Vintage TV Ads, a Curious Fountain of Hope (and Cheese). “Search YouTube with the word ‘commercials’ and the decade of your choosing, and you will find hundreds of compilations, including transfers of old broadcasts with everything but the advertisements and the breaking news updates edited out. I put on these compilations as background noise when I’m doing chores or eating dinner. It allows me to make believe that I live in a world I never got to inhabit but is still familiar, a time that seems simpler by virtue of the fact that it isn’t actively making me miserable.”
Wired: I Can’t Stop Escaping Into Google Photos’ Nostalgia Vortex . ” This spring, the coronavirus pandemic shut down college campuses and canceled gatherings across the country. For those of us so privileged that our only diagnosis is to stay home, long stretches of isolation and anxiety spirals still take a mental toll. The idea that there might be an escape hatch from the fear and grief many of us are feeling, however temporary, has never been more seductive. My own colleagues have found escapist respite in Animal Crossing and reality TV, ASMR and a Barbie Polaroid camera. On sleep-starved nights, I’ve tapped through each one of my apps, in search of solace within the safe perimeter of my phone screen. This was how I opened my long-dormant Google Photos app—and unleashed the most potent diversion of them all.”
Slate: The Insanely Popular App That Mimics Those Flimsy Disposable Cameras From the ’90s. “While the hazy, overexposed aesthetic of the photos it takes isn’t all that different from what you can achieve in with Instagram or VSCO, David’s Disposable ups the verisimilitude by simulating the most inconvenient aspects of using a disposable camera. Using the app requires you to squint at a minuscule virtual viewfinder. And after you take the picture, you can’t see the resulting image until 9 a.m. the next day, a feature premised on the assumption that what kids really admire about disposable cameras is the wait time for developing photos.”
Ars Technica: The best science and math moments in Sesame Street’s first 50 years. “There was nothing on television like Sesame Street when it premiered 50 years ago, and the truth is, there’s still nothing quite like it now. (That’s a big reason why it was such a valuable acquisition for HBO in 2015.) Throughout the years, the show has always been on the front lines of what’s important to teach children. And as some of the show’s greatest hits demonstrate, long before educational advocates began popularizing the STEM acronym (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), Sesame Street was already there with silly characters promoting serious lessons.” I am always here for the pinball song. One two three FOUR FIVE six seven eight NINE TEN eleven twelve….
Wired: The Rise and Fall of Facebook’s Memory Economy . “Facebook’s Memories feature—where it shows you pictures and posts from a day in the recent or far-gone past—used to be my favorite thing about the platform. I mean, I have posted some hilarious things that my son said when he was little, and that time I went on a reporting trip to Area 51 was seriously cool. Heck, I’ve reposted it three years in a row. Now, though, I think Memories is the platform’s most cynical element. It’s a cheap ploy to keep us creating new posts, keep us interested, at a time when our interest is starting to drift away.”
theday: Vintage mania: The race to buy vintage clothing on Instagram . “It hadn’t been more than five minutes since Kaye Chapman had posted a photo of a vintage ’70s maxi dress to sell over her Instagram when she heard a response back. ‘How much? I need it,’ she read in her inbox. After responding with the price, another minute later, the client replied, ‘I’ll take it.’ And just like that, the dress was sold.”
Los Angeles Times: Rediscovered memories on forgotten rolls of film: The Lost Rolls America project displays its trove. “Slightly faded and scratched, the image of a sailboat in Monterey Bay looks like countless vacation photos that might be boxed in the attic or sandwiched between pages of a scrapbook. The boat sits slightly off-center in the frame, its significance a mystery. The photographer might have explained it — but the film was misplaced at some point and Gabriel Berent had to wait almost 20 years to see that image and feel the flood of memories it evoked…Berent had heard about a project whose organizers were asking Americans to dig through their drawers and closets to find undeveloped rolls of film and send them in to be processed. Now his image is part of a national archive — christened Lost Rolls America — that includes hundreds rescued from obscurity.”
The Register: Mac fans’ eyes mist over: Someone’s re-created HyperCard. “Video Apple fans with a bent for nostalgia have some to wallow in after a HyperCard clone debuted on Monday.” If you’re not a certain age this will probably make you go “pfft,” but I used HyperCard a LOT of in the early 1990s and man, do I miss it.
The Telegraph: BBC launch archive of memorable programmes to help dementia sufferers. “…fond memories inspired by footage of Sir David Attenborough’s encounter with gorillas, Kenneth Clark strolling through Civilisations and the theme tune to the Old Grey Whistle Test have been shown to have a greater purpose: helping those with dementia. The BBC has launched a permanent archive of pictures, audio and video clips as part of a project to help people with dementia, their family and carers, using their extensive archive to spark conversation.”
The Verge: I lost my favorite YouTube channel because I trusted the internet to keep track of it. Putting aside the fact that YouTube’s search engine is just awful and the site itself has unbelievable amounts of spam, Lizzie Plaugic makes some good points. “…what these sites don’t account for is the ease with which the things we love can be lost within them. In the past, we came in contact with so few things that they could be uncovered with research and patience. Now, while everything is technically more searchable than ever before, the things we love are more likely than ever to be ‘lost.'”
LittleTechGirl looks back on her site with the Wayback Machine, which takes more nerve than I have. “When did you create your first stand alone website? I registered this domain in the year 2000. Before I settled on LittleTechGirl.com being what is today it went through changes… changes that I would mostly like to forget. 🙂 But thanks to the power of the Internet, and the hardworking Wayback Machine some versions of our websites are frozen in time… possibly forever! It can be umm… eye-opening!”
Do you miss the “old days” of the Web? Maybe a trip to Oldweb will help you take off your nostalgia glasses. “Oldweb.today lets you revisit websites in their days of yore. Of course, it’s not the first to do so – the Internet Archive is an excellent resource – but the difference is Oldweb lets you recreate what it actually felt like navigating the Web back in the day. To do so, the tool emulates old Mac, Windows, and Linux platforms, including browsers like early versions of Safari, Internet Explorer and even Netscape.” Oooo Netscape!