Introducing Hack a Day: the retro edition

Hack a Day hasn’t change its format since 2004. Even though MAKE has gone Web 2.0 with buttons using mouseover, and Instructables has fancy drop-down menus, Hack a Day has been a constant black background, green text child of the web circa 2004. A while ago, we decided it was time for an update to our layout. Today we’re pleased to announce an open beta test for our upcoming update – Hack a Day: the retro edition.

In case you’re wondering, yes, this is a joke, and no, we’re not going all Web 0.1a on you.

The retro edition is a little side project to our upcoming update where we’ll be rolling out a new template for Hack a Day. We’re going to fix a lot of the problems with the current template – searching, and an admittedly terrible commenting system design – and generally ‘cleaning up’ the design. We already have the store up and running, so progress on the update is slowly being made.

As far as the retro edition goes, we’re keeping that. We’ve had a few nerd-offs trying to load Hack a Day on the oldest computer possible, so a version of Hack a Day built for computers from 1983 seemed like a worthwhile goal. Think of it as a challenge: if you can send in a picture of your Commodore PET loading up the retro edition, we’ll add you to the retro successes page.

There’s a bit more we’d like to do with the retro edition, namely guides to getting your old computers up on the Internet. As a little bonus (and in keeping with the retro theme), we’re putting up a few classic Hack a Day posts from the days of yore.

So, there you go. We’ve tested the retro edition on a Mac PowerBook 170 and a Quadra 700, but feel free to dig out your old hardware and give this a spin.

EDIT: As far as the ‘retro competition’ goes, [Jaromir] wrote in and brought up an interesting point: Loading that .GIF logo would be really hard on computers with kilobytes of ram, so I’m changing that to a .BMP. Just so we’re all clear, there are no official rules, you’re competing against yourself, and if you can get a picture of an old computer loading this site, you’re going to be listed on the ‘successes’ page.

Comments

  1. oldbitcollector says:

    Yes, but will it run on a Commodore 64? :)

    http://pdf.textfiles.com/technical/c64online.pdf

    If I had more time I’d toss together a demo. Perhaps one of the CBM’ers will jump on this.

  2. krater says:

    Nooooooooooo….don’t change the existing nice 2004 style !

  3. Ivan says:

    No links on the article titles?
    Other than that, using Lynx seems to be working for me. ;-)

  4. Redion says:

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

    Keep green and black. The retro looks like s**t
    PLEASE PLEASE!!!!!

  5. 0ldrunk says:

    Will Hack A Day retro be hosted on a BBS so I can telnet in with my ZX81 ?

  6. ScubaStan says:

    You really want to change the layout? For me, it seems to be better than any other website i frequent. It’s simple, easy to look at, and does its job more than good enough. Sure, redo the way comments are handled if you wish, but i really liked the way HaD has always been.

    • Volfram says:

      and yet another “report” instead of “reply.” Whoops.

      ’cause I really, really agree with ScubaStan. I hate all the bells and whistles that websites have been adding lately. They generally don’t look significantly better, and serve no real purpose except to make a given website run slow. It’s like everyone on the internet has a grudge against anyone using a Netbook or a machine more than 2 years old.

  7. 0x4368726973 says:

    please, make it a regular thing, though I can understand if you at least automate the process of creating the page. retro.hackaday.com is much much easier to read on my phone. (I hate the mobile version of this site.)

    • 0x4368726973 says:

      oh, and bring back the shout-preventer (force all lower case)

    • The problem with making it a regular thing (mirroring hackaday on the retro page) is that we don’t get ad revenue. Honestly, we love it here, but servers aren’t free. Since we’re getting rid of all the PHP and Javascript on the retro version, that means we can’t host ads.

      Yes, I know how awesome it would be to have a mirrored version of Hackaday with this 1993-era HTML, but that would probably be abused. A lot. The retro version might turn into a ‘best of last week’ version, but we simply can’t mirror it.

      Oh, and if you’ve disabled AdBlock for Hackaday thank you.

  8. Ren says:

    Would using a plotter with a reed stylus on a clay tablet count?

  9. rtjure says:

    php shouldn’t put extra load on the client(correct me).

    please make this site fully functioning. http://blog.fefe.de/?ts=bb96afe8 might give an idea how.

  10. John says:

    I wonder how it looks on my TRS-80. Yes, I really still do have one. A portable to boot! I think it has a 16×80 character B&W (not gray scale) LCD. Don’t know if it’s still functional though.

  11. M H says:

    Please DO NOT update hack a day to be web 2.0 bloat.

    The current version works quite nicely on dialup on an old Pentium II 400MHz and Windows 98.

    Fancy scripts and menus add nothing to most sites dealing with just presenting text (as this site does.) They just make the sites slow, incompatible and unusable. You don’t have to go back to retro edition, just keep the simple version you have.

    Nash’s Observation: Progress was alright once,
    but it went on too long.

    Just say no to Web 2.0

    (For me the whole scripts thing is a pain because it makes pages load slow, render slow and break a lot. I wonder if anyone has investigated the net effect of such changes on bandwidth – the server has to send all those scripts and pictures and bells and whistles. Seems like it would cost the maintainers more too.)

  12. gnomad says:

    How about a port we can telnet in to?

  13. m4rcu5 says:

    there is a bug in the retro page.. in the old days we did not have any uppercase characters on the site! :-)

  14. Leif says:

    Gopher!!!!!!

  15. jacgoudsmit35 says:

    Challenge accepted! :-)

    By the way, the retro website is from the future: it says “Posted on July 12th, 2012″.

    ===Jac

  16. bill beaty says:

    Bravo!

    Should we try to display it on the old high-speed-rotating-carbon-brushes-LEDs-drum? Too much wind at 3600RPM, must wear goggles and leather aviators’ helmet to view it.

    lol, blink.

    – Bill “entire amasci.com still hand-written html” Beaty

  17. vic says:

    I’ll refrain from commenting on the new template until I actually see it ;)

    I love the challenge idea though, so much that I might actually participate.

  18. rue_mohr says:

    dam, my stock only goes back to 8080!

  19. oldbitcollector says:

    Are microcontrollers invited to this challenge?

  20. adcurtin says:

    What do I get for loading the site in lynx on my ADM3A form 1977?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ADM3A

  21. Oliver Heaviside says:

    Do anything you want, and yes, you deserve to monetize this sucker. Follow the original google plan – small text ads – served from HAD’s server, and maybe a banner or two.

    I beg of you – stick with the non-registering cookie identity posting methods, and don’t require javascript. Maybe HAD needs a drop-shipping hacker store, with prices slightly higher than it’s advertisers.

  22. einballimwasser says:

    Uhm okay, hello there! HaD is powered by WordPress, right? so one could simply alter the design and put a virtualhost with the other design onto the other page!

    the videos may be carried out as links and the images be converted automatically :)

  23. gijs says:

    the logo is out of focus.

    chack this: http://1x-upon.com/

  24. MrX says:

    I love it!!!

  25. KillerBug says:

    Frak…and I just left home without my IBM luggable. Next time I get back I’ll have to see about finding a working isa nic so I can see HaD on a tiny green screen that makes my eyes hurt. I’m also gonna bookmark the page in my phone for the next time I’m in nowhereville Texas without a fast enough connection for gmail.

  26. m00ntear says:

    This is of course nowhere as cool as an Apple ][, but as there doesn’t seem to be anything old yet I just wanted to give it a shot with IE5 running on Windows 3.11:

    I got Windows 3.11 running in a VM and use it on developments just for the kicks of it. Funnily not even the blink tag seems to work.

  27. m00ntear says:

    This is of course nowhere as cool as an Apple ][, but as there doesn’t seem to be anything old posted yet I just wanted to give it a shot.

    I present to you IE5 running on Windows 3.11:

    I got Windows 3.11 running in a VM and use it on developments just for the kicks of it. Funnily not even the blink tag seems to work.

  28. Fallingwater says:

    Please, please, please make the new style resize with the browser window. I have a 27″ screen and I read Hackaday in a thin vertical strip in the middle.

  29. barryronaldo says:

    Good luck. I tried to get another member to use a listserv instead of twitter and was nearly excommunicated.

  30. BLuRry says:

    Web 2.0 doesn’t mean bloat. If you follow smart usage of the new standards, you should be able to degrade gracefully to be functional to older clients. A good all-around approach is to use simple HTML markup, the simpler the better. Make sure that it is at least readable. Put all navigation in your page using unordered lists and link tags — don’t generate it with DTML! Then use javascript libraries (e.g. JQuery and YUI) to add the fancy-looking user interface for clients that support it. Add CSS to control look/feel as needed but make sure that that you use CSS compatible with older clients wherever possible. If you follow this approach, you won’t piss off anyone (unless they just want to be pissed off at something.)

  31. BLuRry says:

    Second to that, if anyone wants to pull this off with an Apple ][, I've already found your solution. You have to have the uthernet card, and use a tomcat webserver to proxy images:

    http://rich54321.tripod.com/bruther/bruther.html

    (disclaimer: I wrote the image conversion code used by this project -- originally the image conversion was for the Apple Game Server project reported here long ago.) The webapp downloads the image and converts it to the odd/funky format that the apple uses for its hi-res graphics mode. Rich added other stuff like proportional text, but I don't know how far he got. Anyway, long story short, you _could_ do this on an Apple // already for the past several years. Trouble is that uthernet cards are hard to come by.

    (and if you insist on 100% native image conversion, there is an old program called ][gif which displays gif images without any external conversion on an Apple //. :-)

  32. Willrandship says:

    How about Gossamer on a ti-83+? They’re really old, and even embedded hardware.

    It won’t load the logo though. It’s text-only.

  33. alex says:

    what happend to using the script i gave you?

  34. FozzTexx says:

    Heh, I’m typing this comment using my NeXTstation and OmniWeb. I posted a picture to my twitter @FozzTexx.

    Just also wanted to let you know that bmp wasn’t a “web standard” at the time so OmniWeb doesn’t like it. It’s good with the gifs and jpegs though.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 94,053 other followers