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The Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine took its first snapshot of on March 31, 2001. I could call the time between 1997 and this 2001 crawl the Dark Ages of because it’s undocumented, and, consistent with the theme, the site’s background was literally black for the first year or two.

I remember animated, glowing, purple accents — I was still a teenager — and perhaps dalliance with the brand-new <FRAME> tag. Then later, definitely, DHTML to make positioned drop-down menus and, if insane memory serves, a car that floated across the viewport (I liked cars, still do).

What this was: joy, unhindered by wisdom. Just getting something online. Self-doubt would come later, in spates. But for those years, everything was wonderful and ugly.

First proof: March 31, 2001, March 31, 2001, via the Wayback Machine

This is the Wayback Machine’s recollection of my website on March 31, 2001.[1]

Themes: self-absorption, photography and over-reliance on humanist-geometric typefaces, manifested as an ongoing obsession with Futura.

This is one of the few times of my life that I, a chronic un-fun-haver, can say that I was having fun. (I was also entirely miserable). I won’t speak to the reasoning behind the apparent lowercase letter-spacing being committed here; I cannot recall my own agency in the offense. Let’s go ahead and gloss with forebearing grimaces right over the palette — though I’m sure those are all web-safe colors., March 31, 2001, via the Wayback Machine

This homespun nonchalance would persist until 2005: no frameworks, no tooling, no CMSes. Just my own naïf’s PHP, a MySQL-backed photo database, an overabundance of Photoshop gimmickry (transparent GIFs!, and, O!, the layer effects and glass filters!) — but again, all of my own hand. Stolid, unglamorous LAMP — this was an era when it was not formidable to be a soup-to-nuts webmaster[2]. Also, I had created blogging software by this point, but I didn’t know that’s what it was supposed to be called.[3]

If you view source of this capture, you can regale in the inlined CSS, spacer GIFs and table-based layout. I regret nothing.

And for my next trick…?, May 28, 2002

May, 2002, as captured by the Wayback Machine.

A new “is coming soon now”…but is/was it? (And why would anyone care to wait?)

  1. I believe the broken images visible here are an artifact of the Wayback Machine's crawling. ↩︎

  2. The term developer didn't arise until the mid-aughts, and, boy, was I thrilled when it did. Webmaster is corny and engineer is inaccurate. ↩︎

  3. Those of tighter scrutiny might allege that the term weblog (cheesy) and its blithering stepchild blog (eye-rolly, an unnecessary contraction) both existed by 2001. They did. But they hadn't really settled, at least not in my circles. ↩︎

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