Points of Departure

The Inevitable Outdated List of Hotlinks


Did I say "outdated?" Perhaps I should have said "I haven't touched any of this crap in over a decade."

Remember, once upon a time, when a "homepage" was something maybe one or two of your equally geeky friends had, and each homepage had a list of links to a few more homepages, and that, by god, was it? No "portals", no "search engines"... just this big amorphous mass of material linked at the very edges to itself, twisting in and returning like some nightmare sculpture envisioned by Bucky Fuller and Roger Penrose... a new sort of territory ripe for a new sort of exploration... something strange and different around each corner...

Nope, I don't remember that either. Not much, anyway, and probably that's mostly the drugs.

Like most "revolutions", the advent of the Web as Ubiquitous Consumer Companion has left its initial vanguard by the wayside: some still preaching the original gospel, some trying desperately to disassociate themselves from the inevitable bloody aftermath, and most just scratching their heads and wondering did anybody get the license off that truck?!

So, below, find a small testament from the Web's Bronze Age. The only legacy that most of us "early-adopters" will leave: a whole bunch of un-tended links. Any useful or amusing information contained is by this point purely accidental, and you could probably have gotten it faster through AltaHotGoogleJeeves.com. Most of the links will probably not work. The ones that do may be changed beyond recognition. Some of these people are dead. Many of the companies have gone out of business. Most of the interesting technical initiatives never panned out. The ones still standing are as interesting for that fact itself as for anything else. How did they make it? Treachery, deceit and back-room manuvering? Hard-earned popular acclaim and success? Or just pure inertia -- a small server sitting in a closet somewhere on a university network, humming along, pushing out the ten hits a day, collecting dust and just waiting for the power to get cut off by an errant janitor's mop...

This is what's left of the "World Wide Web". You're welcome to it.

--Nathan J. Mehl, 20 Jan 2000
"We're the Dot in 'Fuck.You!'"

Smallish postscript, March 2003: I'm leaving the format of these pages in their original, migraine-inducing white-on-black circa-1996 glory, for reasons which should hopefully be obvious.