It’s going to hard to dodge bleeding edge tech news and Oscar related memes this morning, but if you fancy a dose of honest-to-goodness internet history, CERN has you covered, with a reproduction of the very first HyperText browser, from March 1989.
That — terrifyingly because I was born in June 1989 — means that the HyperTest browser is now 30 years old and as it was created by Engineers at CERN, also known as the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, the outfit has taken it open themselves to open a time-machine and invite you to hop in.
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You can access it here and hop into a simpler internet, but remember you’ll need to double-click links, and UI and UX design has come a long way in the last thirty years. It seems to have been a simpler time back then, too. While individual newsgroups aren’t accessible, there were links to forums on abortion, drug usage, gun ownership. Progressive activism and other hot topic issues. Elsewhere, there are forums for home-owners, tropical biology, and all sorts of other things. Being able to have an actual peek at some of these forums would be fascinating, but for now we can just see the way the internet was originally planned out and delivered, even if most of the content has surely been lost to the ages.
If you want to learn more about the forces, timeline and others aspects behind the creation of the first browser, CERN has set up a host of information around it that should answer all the questions you’ve got: I’ve spent most of the morning on it.
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While it’s little more than a curio, it’s hard to deny there’s something charming about seeing what the deal was with the early days of the internet, and also that we talk about much the same things as we used to, and use the internet in a lot of the same ways.
There weren’t any gifs though. Gifs are new.
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