Ghost Sites of the Web

Web 1.0 history, forgotten web celebrities, old web sites, commentary, and news by Steve Baldwin. Published erratically since 1996.

March 30, 2006

This Page Last Updated 10 Years Ago

Feeling guilty because your Blog or Web site is a few weeks out of date? Well get a load of these cyber-relics, which haven't been updated since Bill Clinton's first term.

In my view, any page that's been hanging around on the World Wide Web for 10 years or more without being updated deserves some kind of award. What this award would be is anybody's guess (perhaps a 1996-era Pentium 60MHz motherboard would be appropriate).

Without further ado, here are some classic Web relics that haven't been touched in a decade. In a Web 2.0 world, these survivors of the pre-Web 1.0 are true cyber-dinosoars.

The Netizen - Election '96
No, it's not the real "Netizen" (an ill-fated project sponsored by Wired Magazine before Conde Nast acquired and neutered this once leading-edge cyber-magazine and Lycos did the same to the Hotwired Web site. This page is just mouldering copy which somehow made its way to the Computer Writing and Research Lab of the University of Texas at Austin. Last updated on March 7, 1996.

Mu Phi Epsilon
The pages for this music-related fraternity have been residing on the servers of the University of Illinois for so long that it's almost possible to hear the thin strains of ragtime piano being played when the page opens. Styled in a lush 16-color safe purple background, this page was last updated on March 25, 1996, at exactly 10:00 AM.

CLU Philosophy Department
Philosophy, unlike genomics or computer science, generally evolves at a glacial pace, so it's not really inappropos that the Philosophy Department at California Lutheran University looks like it was last updated when Freidrich Nietzsche was still walking around. The ravages of time have left their mark on this page, which exhorts the viewer to upgrade to Netscape 2.0.

The Pizza Project
What was the Pizza Project? Well, it's hard to say, except that it appears this page chronicled a scientific experiment whose purpose was to establish whether a pizza could be purchased online. While it appears that such a pizza could be ordered, it apparently could not be delivered. Last updated on April 9, 1996.

Daina Pettit's Personal Page
An amusing artifact displaying a crudely wry sense of Internet humor (This is my 'personal' page. What are YOU doing here? ;^), This page has been accessed 257892357895279015078912590712 times.) It includes a link to the famous Strawberry Pop-Tart Blow-Torches page, which kept millions of early-adopters laughing through many of the early years of the Web's development. (Note: it really depresses me to think that there's an entire generation of Web surfers which doesn't even know about the Strawberry Pop-Tart Blow-Torches page. Philistines!) Last updated March 15, 1996

A Copyright Guide for Librarians
Having worked in several libraries, I can tell you that librarians are a very strange breed of highly frustrated people which tend to go into violent fits when something random happens in their carefully ordered bubble of existence. This page, which resides on the Catholic University of America's School of Library and Information Science, should have been purged from the virtual catalog years ago, because just about every hyperlink is broken, but it persists, a condition will likely cause life-threatening consternation should its existence ever be discovered. Last updated on April 20, 1996.

Jim's Shack
Jimmy Yap had the good sense to archive this old page, so there's really no shame in having it hang around, no more shame, anyway, than displaying an ancient junker in the front lawn of one's condo. I enjoyed this old page, given that it contained a a nice outdated view of "hot content," circa 1996, including a reference to the Netly News (my former employer), replete with one of Pathfinder's ancient session URLS ( Jim's shack even includes a cached copy of John Perry Barlow's gloriously ponderous essay (One Man's Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace) which ignited the fires of Cyber-Libertarianism back in the mid-1990's. Last updated April 29, 1996.


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