NiemanLab: Way back in 1989, USA Today launched an online sports service. I found it at Goodwill. “In 2006, one of the most memorably bad ideas to emerge from Bristol, Connecticut came to life in the form of Mobile ESPN, a service that aimed to convince people to sign up for a specialized mobile phone service, at a time when it was hard to imagine subscribing to a mobile company dominated by one brand. At the time, most people already owned a phone, and they weren’t going to shell out extra for one that shouted sports scores at you.”
Boing Boing: People are creating huge online archives of GIFs from 90s CD-ROMs. “Tumblr user Gearsphere found this neat CD-Rom of animated GIFs in a thrift store, and uploaded all 22,000 images to a public Google Drive for anyone to download and use. They are gloriously 90s, gloriously 8-bit, and just glorious overall. Not to be outdone, someone else by this act of silly-internet-history kindness, and uploaded their 6-CD-Rom set of animated web clips, too.”
9to5Google: ‘New Google.com’ adds weather, news, and other cards, enters wider testing [U]. “The Google homepage has historically been known for providing a clean interface that primarily offers a Search field. Google Search is now testing a row of cards on desktop web for an experience that’s similar to Discover.” Or, if you’re old like I am, similar to the Excite portal back in 1999-2000.
The Register: The Return of Gopher: Pre-web hypertext service is still around. “An announcement about a new handheld games console a few days ago caused confusion, because it was online but not on the web. It was published on Gopher.”
Ars Technica: Take one last look at Google Toolbar, which is now dead. “December 11 marked the birthday of Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer, which Google inexplicably left running nearly 21 years. We say ‘nearly’ because we had this hands-on birthday post written ahead of time, asking, ‘How is this project still running?’, but someone at Google was apparently on the same wavelength. We gave the website one last check before publishing and discovered Google Toolbar is dead. Google shut down the website sometime in the past week, just before its birthday. RIP.”
New-to-me, from AV Club: We condemn you to Websites From Hell, an archive of the internet’s ugliest websites. “When we think of heinous websites, it’s usually the words and images displayed on them that come to mind and not the visual design, which templates and decades of wisdom have typically managed to keep at a certain quality bar that only the rare examples fail to reach. The internet is vast, though, and keen explorers can still venture out into the wilderness to find garish artifacts from the past or businesses that have continued to update the digital equivalents of an old house’s never-replaced green shag carpet. To ‘honor’ these ugliest of online destinations, we have Websites From Hell.”
Mashable: 9 websites that will bring you back to the old internet. “The internet has been around for long enough — and shifted so drastically in that time — that it’s really easy to get nostalgic for past versions of online life. I mean, remember things like Xanga or the old-school AOL homepage? Those sites are pretty much gone — at least how you knew them. But there remain a few sports for old school online life. That in mind, if you’re ever in the mood for some internet-based nostalgia, we’ve got you covered. We rounded up 9 websites that’ll bring you back to the old internet.”Mashable: 9 websites that will bring you back to the old internet. “The internet has been around for long enough — and shifted so drastically in that time — that it’s really easy to get nostalgic for past versions of online life. I mean, […]
CNET: Facebook announces internet nostalgia app E.gg. “A weird new Facebook app is launching, and it’s based on bringing back the internet of the ’90s. E.gg is the latest creation from Facebook’s experimental app team New Product Experimentation and is aimed at ‘recapturing that atmosphere’ of the early web.” Because of all the things we left behind, we really need to recapture blinking UNDER CONSTRUCTION gifs and “Punch the Monkey” banner ads.
Rhizome: First Look: The Thing BBS. “Founded by artist Wolfgang Staehle, The Thing made up just a few of the tens of thousands of BBSs that flourished in the years preceding the popularization of the public web, and it fostered a community that sought to experiment with cultural practices via telecommunications networks: writing and publishing, interacting with a community, performing an identity, and distributing art. Immediately preceding the rise of the public web, The Thing was an important forum where early ideas of online art were rehearsed. Despite its historical significance, much of its content has been inaccessible for years. Now, thanks to a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the New Museum’s digital art affiliate Rhizome has created a contextual archive of messages that were posted to The Thing.”