Monday, June 20, 2005

Pathfinder Technologies: Personal Edition

In late 1995, Personal Edition (or "PE") as it was known, became, in the minds of's senior management, the "Great Web Hope" that would turn a money-losing division into a profit powerhouse. The complete story of PE is beyond the scope of this short article, except to say that when it inevitably failed after thousands of man and woman-hours worth of testing, the axe began to fall: slowly at first, butinexorably.

No traces of PE's code are known to exist, nor did its development lead anywhere; it was an evolutionary dead-end that few people remember. Only this T-shirt, issued to commemorate the efforts of PE's many bug-testers, survives. The image is somewhat ironic: despite the Herculean efforts of Pathfinder's Tech and Edit teams, PE eventually became the evil, multi-legged creature that ate pathfinder, consuming the bug testers, the site, and the hopes and dreams of all who had bet their careers on Pathfinder: the World's Greatest Web Site.