I've been poking around some old web sites, stuff from back in the late 90s. Web design back then was a lot simpler but also more idiosyncratic. You had to hand-code stuff back then, and everybody had their own way of organizing their site (or failing to). Navbars were often more interesting. People were really experimenting with the form before we settled on the header-sidebar-body-sidebar-footer you see so much of now. There was more variety of content, with some really long-form pieces rather than everything being serialized or squished into blog postings.
I'm definitely not saying we should go back to 1997. Today we have stylesheets and servers and bandwidth for much larger media, and lots more tools for serializing and aggregating and mixing content. It's a lot easier now for non-technical people to put stuff online, and of course that's a good thing. I guess I'm saying it'd be neat to see fewer cookie-cutter sites and more uniqueness.
It'd also be great to see a return to more self-reliance and real DIY instead of everyone relying on The Cloud for everything. The Cloud is The Man, Big Brother. <!-- SUMMARY_END -->
Anyway here are a couple old-skool links:
- The Cyberpunk Project Information DataBase. I like the image-mapped IC chip with section headings pointing to it.
- Beyond Cyberpunk: A do-it-yourself guide to the future. Once you get down into the content pages you see a funky low-res navbar-thing that probably dates back to the 1991 Hypercard stack.
- Infiltration: The zine about going places you're not supposed to go. Looks like this dates back to before 800x600 monitors became normal - it's less that 640px wide. The creator passed on so this one is frozen in time.
- And the some new-ish ones:
- indexhibit A sort of photo gallery/exhibit app. This looks pretty old-skool but I think it's actually been kept up to date. Basic layout, easy code. You could put your own photos online instead of relying on Flickr. With a little work an enterprising person could mirror their Flickr photos on their own quirky site.
- Ooga Booga. Arty store in downtown LA Chinatown. They sell a bunch of paper zines, and even some actual cassette mixtapes. The staff look like they're in their 20s--I wonder if they think the zines are like vinyl or something. Like vinyl, actual xeroxed paper zines have a physicality that's lacking with digital media.
Gosh I have to be careful. It's easy to spend too much time moping around about how great the good ol' days were. When I was a teenager I saw a documentary about Miles Davis. He was making his comeback after years of drugs and being away from his trumpet, playing all kinds of strange new music. Somebody asked him if he ever missed the cool jazz he played in the 60s, and if he'd ever go back to it. He got this real wistful look in his eyes, and said yeah he did miss it, but he couldn't go back, he had to keep moving forward.