Ask Hackaday: What’s Your Favorite Internet Relic?

[Sadiq Mohamed] posted this great list of light bulb jokes in our post about drones changing light bulbs. This favored relic used to exist on a Compuserve SIG, but fortunately a dedicated user had saved the list.

There have been virtual worlds long before our computers could render anything but potatoes with anime faces. Bulletin boards, mailing lists, and forums dominated and then fell, for the most part, to social media. In a way even the personal home page has gone to the wayside. (remember geocities?)

The internet has gone through many phases of development. We’ve experimented with lots of concepts and when they fail or go out of style, there are ghost towns of information left untouched.

However, we remember. I still think fondly of my old shell server. Some of it is even history worthy enough to be in the books. What’s your favorite piece of internet gone by or just plain internet obscura? An old joke? A book five layers deep in a file structure somewhere. Or maybe just the 1959 definition of the word, “hack,” in the Tech Model Railroad Club’s first edition dictionary.

112 thoughts on “Ask Hackaday: What’s Your Favorite Internet Relic?

  1. Way back in the late 70’s I wrote the first commercially marketed email. I also wrote an online chat and a kind of bulletin board system (essentially public email), etc. This was for a company called Dialcom which marketed it as a service to businesses and then formed a venture called “The Source” which packaged it up with things like a news feed, airline ticketing, and access to various databases and sold those services to end users who paid by the hour using dialup modems. Then CompuServe came along as a competitor to The Source. This long predated the internet and even the PC.

    Wrote it all in FORTRAN 66 (no else clauses and no debugger). Ah, the good old days …

  2. USENET, it was like having a microfiche library which updated. There were some a$$hats on some newsgroups but the well moderated groups were pretty good, I guess it was the autumn which never ended which along with websites had by ’97 degraded the discourse and I like most moved on. Almost anything you do now on the ‘real’ internet you were also doing with email and usenet; social, information, even binary files across several postings; usenet had it and in many ways blew away the mostly local nature of even linked and fidonet’d BBSs. But everything took forever to load on 2400baud.
    Oh, there was my first DSL line which I cancelled over horrible customer service including triple billing. After hiring a lawyer to send a dirty letter they cancelled the account, stopped billing and killed my email address and dialup login, but noticed about two months later that network bridge for some reason had stayed connected. I stripped the power supply wires and added in a DIY UPS and for over 2 years served up a popular anime fansub until I moved the week after 9/11 without paying another fee. No idea if my line would have decommissioned had I ever powered down the network bridge or not, I left it behind, still live, when I moved.

  3. My first experience with the Internet, was surfing NASA’s image gallery from my PC at Hewlett Packard in the early nineties. I was amazed that I could access “sophisticated data” from a government agency.

    Otherwise, here is my list:
    Juno for email and dial up. (my wife still uses her original Juno email address from 1995)
    Compuserv (my dad used it before it was considered “internet” and that is of course where the GIF format was born)
    Johnny Castaway Screensaver
    I think the #1 thing downloaded from the internet at HP in the nineties was Johnny Castaway. We used to sit around a PC at breaktime and watch it. Occasionally, we would change the time on the PC so we could see the bonus Christmas, 4th of July, and New Years events.

  4. Amish Rake Fight

    Dancing Baby, ahh the memories.Ooh ga cha-cha. Ooh ga cha-cha.

    Dial up chat via procomm (used it for business purposes with a hearing-impaired colleague)

    XModem, Ymodem, Zmodem, Kermit

    And that wonderful sound of a 300 baud modem actually connecting to a fidoNET node at 300 baud, not falling back to 110.

  5. Internet? Pfft. My first computer was a Trash-80 with a cassette drive.

    On the internet, the first thing I remember is the science column on Prodigy, around ’94-’95, specifically a multipart series on slime molds. I can’t find it again, bc Prodigy’s content died with the company, nor can I find the author’s name. Surely they’re still writing.

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