Way Back!

Mr. Peabody, His 'Boy', and the Original Wayback Machine

Mr. Peabody, His ‘Boy’, and the Wayback Machine

   Yesterday marked the 20th anniversary, 1993-2013, of the first web site. This was a web site created by CERN, (European Organization for Nuclear Research). In those days before browsers like Netscape appeared web pages were all text and consisted of links to other web pages or web sites – but again all in text, no graphics. The URL to connect with their original web site,telnet info.cern.ch, required that you had access to the Telnet. Commands, e-mail, everything, was all text.
Click here to go to the recreated first web site by CERN.

   I have grown up with the Internet, literally. In the mid 1980s I got my first computer, an Apple ][ with a whopping 48K of RAM. This was before the disk drive came out so loading a program meant re-typing the code every time or saving it on a cassette tape. The Modem I had was an acoustical modem at 300 baud. That modem changed as time went by and I am pretty sure I bought every speed that came out up to the 56K modem. It was around then that I finally went broadband!
   There was nothing called the Internet back then, but there was dial-up using a modem to connect to a local BBS. Where I lived in Peoria Illinois Bradley University operated one of the few Telnet systems called the Heartland Freenet. When you dialed in you could then connect via the Telnet (and at broadband type speeds) to other sites on the Freenet. This allowed me, for example, to connect with the Big Sky BBS in Montana where I would work on a Distance Education project with teachers from some Pacific Northwestern states, and Alaska.

Click on this image to go to January 2000

Click on this image to go to January 2000

   In those days, as a newsletter editor/publisher, I saw some serious value in learning how to write HTML and moved from posting on discussion boards to having my own web site. What I saw was the ability to connect, link, to other web pages. This was important in my thinking because I could more easily reference something, or connect with a similar web page. However the really big change came when the TABLE command was added. Suddenly page formatting became more like desktop publishing in the sense that columns could be created for a more ‘newspaper look’.
   Back then personal web sites were actually a web page or pages and were typically a sub-domain under the ISP’s web name. Many web pages had a URL that included the ISP name followed by /~ (slash tilde) then followed by the person’s name or name for the page. For example on every ISP I used I was /~starwalk, for example, http://www.pei.net/~starwalk (web site no longer at the address). These were not truly websites as we know them today but were very common. In the spring of 1997 I bought a domain name, currentsky.com, and for a couple of years out of a concern for being mistaken for a commercial site I would always follow a post by adding that ‘despite the .com’ this is not a commercial web site – nothing for sale.

   My oldest set of web pages is from January 2000. I had a monster of a disk drive crash sometime the year before and lost all files on even a backup drive. However on the Internet Wayback Machine there are copies that go back to april 1997. Click here to go way back to Qué tal in the Current Skies web site April 12th 1997!

   
   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information.

Explore Space With Uwingu

Depending on the translation from the Swahili language Uwingu refers to the sky and could literally mean ‘sky’, or ‘cloudiness’. (My preference is for the former translation!) However to a group of scientists, educators, and artists it is not only the name for a commercial business venture, it is also the focus of the group. Currently they are in the process of generating enough funding through ‘crowd-sourcing’ to get the business started.
And with this funding what will they do?
With the start-up funding the group plans to develop and market products related to space and space exploration. This may be in the form of Apps, PC programs, and online resources. From the sales of such products funding will be made available to support space-based education and research – in a way enhancing the already limited funding available.
Check them out, see who is involved and what their plans are. Do an Internet search for the word Uwingu to read what others have reported about the group and its plans. Then consider joining me and many others by taking part.

Click here to visit the Uwingu web site