I noticed this yesterday: I’ve been on the internet for 10 years now.
August 1994 – my dad introduced me to the World Wide Web, using Mosaic and, in the next year, introducing Java and the HotJava browser. Java predated animated GIFs, so it was cool to see Duke, the Java mascot, doing flips and waving hello. Sun made a tic-tac-toe game in Java, and I was amazed at how good the computer was.
Back then, my dad helped me make my first web page that had a computer drawing of Sonic that I drew, and my home address and phone number. He put it on his Sun Microsystems personal web space. Later, he taught me how to make bold text and paragraph tags, and I basically learned the rest on my own, viewing the source of other documents. In 1994, even corporate sites had really, really simple HTML, so it was easy to just see how they did whatever.
I remember browsing the Netscape “What’s New” and “What’s Cool” pages for cute stuff, like an interactive coloring book using an image map, and NASA photos of outer space. We were on 14.4 back then, and it took us an hour to download a one-megabyte trailer of Pocahontas.
During 1995, I made a whole bunch of other pages – the first one to have a real background was green text on a black and white checkerboard pattern. Yeah. Some pages I just made when I was bored – they were a lot like blogs. I remember making a page and drawing some pictures using Sun’s IslandPaint program – one about how rainy it was, and another about the holidays. I used icon-sized images in place of words. Like, candy canes and stuff.
Like I said I would about a year or two ago in this blog, I think I’ll make an effort to look for the “HALL OF JEFFREY” – my main webpage that I worked on from 1994-1996. Oogh, memories.
My mom got AOL during the summer 1995, and that was where I made the name “JeffreyATW.” Back then, only 10 characters were allowed in the usernames. People in the Nickelodeon Blabbertorium chatroom always asked me what it stood for, so sooner or later I got tired of telling people and never told anyone again. I had my first and last internet “girlfriend” during that time: Breezy92. She was the first person to send me an IM. I wasn’t really keen on IMs, so I’d reply back to her through email or chat, wondering how she did that.
I also remember having an email conversation with Simeon. Boy, did that take long.
In 1997, I would still just browse the net for cool stuff – the Netscape “What’s Cool” page became sorta convoluted, so I just found stuff through links and search engines. Excite was my browser of choice. One place I started writing in was Addventure, a choose-your-own-adventure site. I think there’s some pretty embarrasing, 11-year-old-stupid stuff on there, somewhere.
Signed up for Hotmail in 1997, along with Geocities. I was in the EnchantedForest/Dell community, address 6001, right next to my friend Chris Rauer, who was in 6000. My personal home pages back then can basically be described by this image… but it had the same sort of stuff. My drawings, (other people’s) MIDIs, links, a webring, a bio page… it hasn’t changed too much. People went to my site and sent me awards, like the “KeWl Site Award.” I moved to Tripod a little while later, around the time that they were boasting 50 MB per account… in 2001 I moved to my own hosting and bought jeffreyatw.com.
Late 1997, I got into MIDIs. I searched wildly around the internet for MIDIs of popular songs, and I had quite a good collection. MIDIs were just as good as MP3s back then. Rare, collectible, and fun to listen to. We all used some browser plugin called Crescendo! that would make our MIDIs sound better, or just play them at all if the browser didn’t have a MIDI plugin.
In 1998, James introduced me to RPGs, Cosmo Canyon (the original RPG humor website created by our lord and savior, Fritz Fraundorf), and Final Fantasy VII. We started the Midgar Swamp, an RPG humor website, which continued on until 2003, when James moved his blog onto LiveJournal. ‘Course, the RPG humor stopped around 2000-ish, since no one really cared anymore. All we put up were half-assed reviews of games… but you know, there was funny stuff, like add-ons and 231 sightings and the like. Cedric, Bob, Tim, and Loren Leah helped out too.
I text roleplayed in the Kingdom of Windor messageboards, with Bob. I was Skyler Yokotani a magic-using Crono clone with blue hair, and he was Skan Erraden, a gun-and-whip-and-trenchcoat-toting engineer… with blue hair. It was really good times, although the management was, more often than not, corrupt. Ranagan Labardine, the mod for the boards, was a little bit more eloquent than us 13-year-olds, and had fun mocking us. But I built up a great backstory for my character, and ended up “moving out” of Windor after a big, overblown war story, and started a community, Mundi Noctem, with Mikosi. That was pretty short-lived.
I started making MIDIs in 2000 – thus separating the MIDI portion of my website into two sections: MIDIs that I found of popular songs, and MIDIs that I made of popular songs. My first one was of One Week by the Barenaked Ladies. It was pretty horrendous, but I caught on quickly.
Around 2000-ish, I started using the Midgar Swamp to post less updates but more “FILLER SPACE” about what’s goin’ on and such… sooner or later, I started moving all of my content over to the Midgar Swamp, made Oynx the official mascot… and basically made it my own. James got pissed so in the following year I created Mario Is Stoned, a Blogger journal which has evolved into the page you see today. The archives for my blog are completely online – just click Archives.
And yeah, read my entire blog and that brings us up to today, heh. It’s been a memorable 10 years. I feel so old!