10 Relics From the Early Days of the Internet That You Didn't Know Are Still A Thing
Internet Explorer is dead, long live Internet Explorer… in a pit of fire being poked with spikes for all eternity by an army of mutant worms, because that’s what Internet Explorer deserves. Instead, Microsoft is finally ditching IE and replacing it with a new browser called Project Spartan. That’s OK too, I guess.
I honor of “the U2 of browsers,” here are ten other nostalgia-rific institutions from the early days of the Internet that have somehow made it into 2015.
LiveJournal and DeadJournal
It’s not-uncommon knowledge that early aughts blogging platform de rigueur LiveJournal is still really popular in Russia—I’ve heard the Russian mob is a particular fan, and I don’t care whether that’s true, because it’s true in my heart—but did you know LJ’s emo stepbrother DeadJournal is active? And it looks E X A C T L Y like it did when you had one? If you were a teenager who spent all their time and money buying Tim Burton merch at Hot Topic, that is.
I feel like every year, we see stories about how MySpace is back. And indeed, there it is, still MySpaceing, now as some sort of pop culture news hub. I have attempted to muster my shits about what MySpace has to say on ex-Australian Idol contestants, but there are just no shits to muster.
(Pajiba via the GeoCities-izer)
Don’t freak out about your free 10 megabytes of space too much, fans of animated “Under Construction” gifs: The world’s worstbest webhost is currently only available in Japan. As a form of communal grieving, let’s all comment with the embarrassing details of our olddschool Geocities pages. Admit it, you had one. Mine was Star Wars-themed, and yes, it did have a blinking star background.
Geocities might be geoblocked, but we Amurricans can still use good ol’ Angelfire, the All Saints to GeoCities’ Spice Girls. Tripod, is still active too, having been purchased by search engine Lycos (nope, not dead yet either) in 1998. They were the B*Witched of free early webhosts, though, so no one cares.
I don’t remember my third grade teacher’s name, but I can still rattle off my old ICQ number. This was AOL Instant Messenger for smart people, at least according to my 13-year-old self, who admittedly had some severe nerd-related inferiority complex issues. Regardless: Learning that ICQ is still going strong was only slightly less shocking for me than realizing “ICQ” is just netspeak for “I Seek You.” It took me several years to crack that one.
OK, maybe you’re not so surprised that this one is still around. FFN, or the “pit of voles” as it’s not-so-affectionately known, is still going strong. I, personally, have done my damndest to block it from memory. I do not begrudge the 13-year-olds of 2015 writing and reading shitty, grammatically challenged self-insert fic, but it makes me feel uncomfortable that a relic of my embarrassing fanfiction past is still out there. FFN is my shady fandom horcrux. I’m sophisticated now! I spend hours wearing multi-chapter high school AU epics on Archive Of Our Own like an adult!
I spent so much time on the Excite Star Warsmessage boards back in the day. So much. I once wrote a really shitty poem about my grandmother there. I don’t wan to talk about it. Excite was acquired by Ask Jeeves back in 2004, but they haven’t really done anything with the potential crown jewel in their empire yet. Speaking of…
…or ask.com, following a 2006 rebranding. The Internet’s butler and Clippy are sipping tea and being backseat writers in that great recycle bin in the sky. Still better than Bing.
You can take your Google Translate and shove it. I’ll stick with Babel Fish, the internet’s first translation service, which had the side benefit of being named after a creature from Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It started out with early search engine AltaVista, which was purchased by Yahoo! in 2003. In 2013, Yahoo! mercy killed AltaVista entirely, but they kept Babel Fish around… eventually to fold it into Bing’s translation service. You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.