The Boston Diaries: There was a time when search engines were a thing. And it seems they still are. “I was poking around in the deeper parts of my harddrive when I came across the source code for Geofind, a metasearch engine I wrote back in the late 90s. A ‘metasearch engine’ is a website that searches not the Internet, but instead passes the search query to other search engines. Back in the 90s, search engines weren’t quite as good as they are now (although some might contend that they aren’t as good as they were a decade ago), but there were a fair number of them, and the thought at the time was, ‘hey, if we query a bunch of search engines at the same time, maybe one of them will have useful results.’ In fact, quite a number of them. Unlike the … um … two? (Google and Bing). maybe, three? (if you count DuckDuckGo, which I only know about because of the circles I travel in on the Intarwebs) which exist today.” Wow, he doesn’t even look for Ask Jeeves, Northern Light, WWWWorm, Electric Monk, etc. but check out his list and get ready for the nostalgia.
Mashable: Remembering LiveJournal in all its drama-filled glory. “The internet of the mid-aughts seemed softer, somehow. Before Facebook was used by Russian trolls to incite race-based violence, before alt-right goobers created Gab in their own image, and before, well, Twitter became synonymous with Kanye and Trump, there was an entire online world of message boards, Myspace pages, and chat rooms that in retrospect seem impossibly quaint. And shiningly brightly atop it all as the North Star of our heartfelt earnestness was a little thing called LiveJournal.”
Oh man, is this important. From Tim Bray: Google Memory Loss. “I think Google has stopped indexing the older parts of the Web. I think I can prove it. Google’s competition is doing better. Evidence · This isn’t just a proof, it’s a rock-n-roll proof. Back in 2006, I published a review of Lou Reed’s Rock n Roll Animal album. Back in 2008, Brent Simmons published That New Sound, about The Clash’s London Calling. Here’s a challenge: Can you find either of these with Google? Even if you read them first and can carefully conjure up exact-match strings, and then use the ‘site:’ prefix? I can’t.”
JSTOR: The Rise And Fall Of The Blog. “New York Times writer Nicholas Kristof was one of the first to start blogging for one of the most well-known media companies in the world. Yet on December 8th, he declared his blog was being shut down, writing, ‘we’ve decided that the world has moved on from blogs—so this is the last post here.’ The death knell of blogs might seem surprising to anyone who was around during their heyday.” Speaking as someone with a blog… I’m not going anywhere.
With a tip o’ the nib to John S, from Vice: I Bought a Book About the Internet From 1994 and None of the Links Worked. “The endless pace of linkrot has left books about the internet in a curious limbo—they’re dead trees about the dead-tree killer, after all. To their credit, books about the internet carry a bit of permanence about them, but they also go out of date quickly, which isn’t helpful. But for my purposes, that’s a virtue.”
Motherboard: Long Live Gopher: The Techies Keeping the Text-Driven Internet Alive. “The Gopher protocol isn’t supported by the modern web basically at all, but despite this, it lingers on, a quarter century from its peak. Here’s how.” I love this.