I’ve uploaded some backups I had from my precocious high school years, when I was full of ego and big ideas and not much sense. The backups are websites from what increasingly feels like internet prehistory, and are from right on the border space of The Internet Wayback Machine’s early years. These are not my oldest websites I developed, but certainly the oldest ones I still seem to have a copy of of, and not all of this particular backup archive (though not for embarassing reasons, simply because I don’t have a PHP host nor trust this old PHP code enough to live). At the time of this writing I have not edited anything, these are straight dumps from my backup archive: not the obvious things like case-sensitive filenames being wrong or dead links to long dead websites, nor the little things like references to an email and ICQ number I haven’t actively checked in more than a decade.
This stuff is an embarrasing moment in time for me, but fascinating time capsules. (Examples include: DHTML components! Classic animated GIFs! References to dead but beloved websites! A VB3 app for you to try! Now ironic uses of the word “New”!)
The Background and Archeology
I was trying to remember some details about a design I had used for my website/blog long ago in the past. Searches on the Internet Wayback Machine weren’t turning up the results I was looking for, and knowing that many of my oldest websites had in fact been lost in the great AOL Hometown purge that resulted in the foundation of the Internet Wayback Machine, I was worried the design I was thinking of may have been been lost to that era altogether. I also realized that I didn’t remember very well the website URLs I must have used prior to my domain name.
In the process, I remembered I had some time ago found a backup of an old server I had once used (Quack the Compaq), and in fact dumped that old backup into my modern backup software. Turns out that the design I had been looking for was in this backup (the WorldMaker Online circa 1999) and from it’s source I found a URL that does exist in the Internet Wayback machine: WorldMaker Online circa 1999 on Wayback Machine.
I also found the somewhat handy 2000 cheat sheet called “Indefinitely Onhold” on Wayback Machine. I don’t think I have backups remaining of the versions that “Indefinitely Onhold” refers to as “New”. I’d be somewhat curious to find a backup copy of that “DRAGONzine (New)” site, because as I recall I partly abandoned it by how slow its JS got as I added content in the site. I was using JS as a CMS in a time before modern JS knowledge, and I’m curious how that code looked (and how it would run in modern browsers).