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Welcome to the Old Internet Again (theoldnet.com)
361 points by myth_drannon on June 27, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 160 comments

If you want to get off at every stop on the nostalgia train, Slashdot keeps a story archive going back to 1998:


Stand-out titles include:

"Nintendo-64 or PlayStation? Which to buy for XMas?"

"NGLayout now called Gecko to be released this week"

"Microsoft blows it again with Windows 2000 name"

"George Lucas Talks about new Star Wars movie"

"Debian 2.0 Beta IRC Party Tonight"

"PDA Overview: Pilot Still King"

“Linux Desktop is DOA?” (December 30, 1998)

Well not that much changed. (The submission comment talks how 1999 will be the year of the Linux desktop.)

Last year, to pick an arbitrary time period, it looks like manufacturers sold about 260 million computers running Microsoft operating systems, about 1.1 billion computers running Linux, and about 280 million computers running iOS, not counting embedded processors and servers that don't have their own displays. So your comment is correct, but only in the trivial sense that the UI on most computers has abandoned the "desktop" metaphor.

A much bigger issue is that now people have much less freedom on all of these platforms, in much the way I wrote about in this essay in 1999: https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/kragen-software.html

Reading this on an Android phone... Some might argue it's an abuse of open source but it is Linux nonetheless.

It was. RedHat with Ximian Desktop and Crossover Office was peak desktop Linux.

It was peak desktop, not peak desktop Linux, and the bulk of the smartphones that took the place of those desktops do in fact run Linux.

Seems they don't have comments though which is a pity since comments are 90% of what Slashdot was about

90% of the comments were "First Post", "GNAAA", "Stephen King is dead", "Natile Portman and hot grits"

Netcraft confirms little of value was lost.

GNAA almost seems quaint these days.

Particularly when you consider that so many of the links to the original sources just 404 now. Those archive pages are a glimpse into the past, but end up just being a tease.

None of the articles there seem to have comments. Was no one commenting yet, or does this interface not provide them?

Sure. 1999 [0]

Here's [2] some comments from the big story of September 2001. I remember watching that happening live on a bash pty on a desktop computer at home. Did the same (albeit a laptop) 500M seconds later on the other side of the planet.

In the old days Slashdot was great - you'd get people from Bruce Perens [3] - he's still there, to John Carmak [4] to Wil Wheaton [5]

It went downhill, but it might be worth revistiing.

[0] https://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=19383&cid=1897446 [1] https://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=15598&cid=2049318 [2] https://tech.slashdot.org/story/01/09/10/0353238/billenniums... [3] https://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=13901478&cid=58544960 [4] https://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=116699&cid=9876672 [5] https://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=317777&cid=20872117

Cool, but I was asking about the comments on the Dec. '98 articles that sgentle linked to. I clicked through a few dozen and found no comments. The N64 vs. PlayStation post has a mod edit warning commenters to be civil and not turn it into a flamewar...and no comments.

Were there really zero comments on these articles? Or did they use an older commenting system that wasn't archived, maybe?

Articles had comments back to when slashdot as chips and bits [0]

The current site doesn't have all the comments, the earliest comment I can see is Jan 1 1999 [1]

Unless you could December 31st 1969 [2]

[0] http://web.archive.org/web/19980113191222/http://slashdot.or... [1] https://news.slashdot.org/story/99/01/01/1214258/notes-on-th... [2] https://science.slashdot.org/story/05/12/21/0211244/dna-of-w...

P.S. been looking at a few things -- really impressed by slashdot. They seem to have fixed the rabid randian comment sections and actually have a good discourse. But the best thing? Actually deleting comments.


Gonna hijack the top comment and share one of my favorites :P https://www.cameronsworld.net/

It's not in the list, but you can put windows95.com into the address bar. Man that's some crazy nostalgia. I wonder if it pulls from archive.com or some other old index/cache.

I remember that era of mIRC and eggdrop bots and fservs and Hotline clients and NNTP servers and RealMedia encodes of Transformers Beast Machines from Canada (which came out months before they did in the US and we'd leave our dialup on all night to download them and then play them through a CRT so they didn't look like trash).

A time when if you didn't find something on Lycos, you'd go to Yahoo and Hotbot and Dogpile and different search engines gave you different results.

It was a different era.

I’m sure it’s just the age I’ve hit, but I have been overwhelmingly nostalgic for those days lately. The internet was FUN, while still being ridiculously useful and efficient. The information of the entire planet was at our fingertips and available instantly (well, at ~2Kb/s).

The web was minimal and slick and information-dense. Content owned the day, whether it was super-active IRC channels or news groups or websites with a 728x90 banner at the top and the rest was content (most of which fit “above the fold”!).

Now.. holy shit the web is a mess.

Despite all its problems, this is one thing I like about 4chan. Minimal banner ads, large images are auto-collapsed (so they don't overwhelm the text), and menus/settings that do exist are almost entirely auto-hidden. Also no mid-post image embedding, emotes, or 90s-era forum signatures. Every post is just text, with an optional image attachment.

EDIT: Are these downvotes about the content on 4chan, which indeed is generally terrible, or my thoughts on its UI design?

4chan derives its design from Japanese forums, and the Japanese web for had a very minimalistic design to a huge part of it, even up to today, due to C-HTML and use from flip phones.

> The internet was FUN, while still being ridiculously useful and efficient. The information of the entire planet was at our fingertips and available instantly

It was more efficient than the library, but finding something that takes seconds today could have taken hours. There were lots of dead ends.

Sometimes you just had to try searching for the same thing next month.

Google's fuzzy search and prioritization of "now" results and results that other people are looking for means that not much has changed.

We didn't have search engines in the earliest days, but we still found what we needed rather quickly. Gopher was pretty slick. I still have occasion to use it. IMO gopher is better than even the current web for certain things.

Remember before search engines, there were this lists, sure, but more interesting were the Web Rings. (Yea, even that far back, everything about hypertext was one mixed metaphor after another.)

Now I'm wondering if the archie (and veronica) search engines that had their brief moment are still operational. So much info with so little overhead and spam!

Regarding, veronica, Floodgap host a version that was still up and running the last time I checked (a few months back):


(Browser I'm using atm can't handle gopher URLs so I haven't been able to check again.)

EDIT: Checked - it's still working.

So much this!!!! Every time I open a browser I think the same thing. Even tech articles were way higher quality back then. https://www.flipcode.com/archives/ for example.

You should try I2P, it is very similar to the old Internet.

Yeah it uses the Wayback Machine. The difference is, this works in arbitrarily old browsers, unlike archive.org which often doesn't.

I'm currently happily browsing from Windows 3.1!

> I'm currently happily browsing from Windows 3.1!

Why man ? Is this machine your daily driver or just for HNing ?

Just for fun.

Dogpile was an aggregator. It searched those other ones anyway.

It also apparently still exists. https://www.dogpile.com/

I still miss hotbot search. I could get better searches from that than I've ever gotten from google. It took a little more work to craft the query, but I could find anything.

I was a "good person to know" because I could print off cheat codes and walkthroughs for any game, on a dot matrix printer over a 2.4kbps lynx connection.

> I wonder if it pulls from archive.com

It proxies the initial html request and then you'll notice any assets on the page load directly through archive.org.

Jokes aside I recently setup a phpBB forum and me and friends are using IRC instead of discord.

IRC is ridiculously fast and so is phpBB.

Fun fact: many dark web forums choose phpBB, because it's just as fully-featured with Javascript disabled (which all the security-conscious visitors will do as a matter of course.)

What's made you migrate away from discord? I grew up on phpBB and IRC, but I've been using discord almost exclusively for all my social media needs. The seamless integration across desktop/mobile, the quick switcher, easy filesharing and the powerful search functionality seem like killer differentiators vs the oldschool way.

IMO voice chat in discord is unreliable. The rest is great barring privacy concerns. I'd like to go back to mumble but my group's inertia is too strong.

Agree. I still use teamspeak as the primary voice chat with my main friend group. I use Discord for centralized access to different text channel groups.

What sort of issues are you guys encountering? I use the voicechat constantly and I haven't found it to be problematic.

I use both discord and mumble regularly, mumble is consistently better and it's run on a tiny vps that's doing other reasonably demanding cpu and network tasks at the same time. Discord can go from great to terrible pretty quickly and the extra latency fluctuates a bit. ymmv.

But IRC has no voice chat, so that wouldn't be a reason to switch to IRC

They probably meant that while voice chat would normally be a reason to stop you from migrating from Discord, in this case it wasn't because the OP doesn't like Discord's voice chat. The rest is privacy concerns. I'm actually with the OP. IRC with Mumble is a pretty nice setup for casual conversations and it's really easy to self host (and takes very little resources). Filesharing is potentially a problem, but there are other services for that.

You can send .MP3 and .WAV files via DCC. Sure, it's pretty high on the latency, but it's a voice chat all the same.

They are starting to clamp down on the censorship of their platform and it will only get worse i.e. naughty words aren't allowed on discord (though it isn't policed that throughly). A friend of mine had one of our discord servers banned for "hate speech" even though we banned the individuals that made the posts and some of our members were banned simply for being on the same server.

People signed up for accounts again with a different email but it besides the point really. The problem with almost all of these companies is that there is no straight forward TOS.

So for example this is my rules on my board:

> 1. Don't harass people. > 2. No doxing. > 3. Unless a board is marked NSFW avoid posting anything NSFW. > 4. Don't be abusive for the sake of it. > 5. Don't Spam.

Now I am sure I will have to amend those at some point but they are straight forward and I intend to keep it that way. I am developing a youtube/twitch/reddit hybrid, I believe the comments on youtube are soo dire because fundamentally their commenting system is dire. I intend to keep that pretty much free-speech with almost no algorithms because I am fed up of things being manipulated constantly to the point where Youtube has kinda broken itself (about 3 years ago it was amazing for finding video of stuff). The same with Google search has got worse over the last few years because they are messing too much with the algorithm.

Slightly aside. I am looking at a client for IRC that is easy to use and Discord-esque features. I believe it is possible to do a lot of this by simply getting the client itself to do a lot of the heavy lifting and using IRC more as a message broker. The thing is what do I build it in. One of the things I hate about Discord is Electron. It application is garbage on a mac and the web version performs better. Python's GUI tools are dire, so I am left really going to the C# or god forbid Java. I dunno enough about C++ to make a client in that and the other options are too esoteric tbh.

> naughty words aren't allowed on discord (though it isn't policed that throughly).

Any source on this. On all discord servers I've been on, there is little holding back on any of that and am just curious.


I know that some servers have been shutdown because because of racial slurs but what is effectively illegal pornography (at least in the UK) is A-OK.

Discord like every other company will enforce their TOS when they want to.

feature bloat. My girlfriend has a HDD and discord starting up is multiple minutes. Everything else she uses that computer for works as fast as you'd expect; discord is the only laggard.

Hey everyone this site is my project. It’s a constant struggle getting taken off the spam blacklists because showing old versions of some sites counts as phishing I guess. Someone mentioned XSS in the guestbook. I’m not sure what they mean by that. The site should be handling this. Please report things like this on the issue tracker which is linked on the site. Thanks and I’m glad everyone is enjoying it!

Cisco Umbrella has this listed as security threat, FYI

The guestbook is vulnerable to XSS so it probably has a lot of other issues.

Maybe also because it's essentially a proxy (to the IA)?

So does ESET. Blocks this site.

This is not how I remember it. Default background colour in Netscape Navigator was not white but #c0c0c0 (and IIRC it wast that colour in Mosaic too). And yes, lots of pages relied on the default.

For example, this post has some screenshots: https://jamesaltucher.com/blog/whats-changed-in-the-past-17-...

Couple of other sites that allow you to get your nostalgic internet fix:



So how is this working? I'm seeing traces of Wayback Archive here and there, but it seems so much faster than when I ever use it directly..

Edit: Ah, if you go to the very bottom of the page, it explains the situation: "It is a dumb, pass-through proxy. If the content exists in the Internet Archive, and the content is requested by the end user, theoldnet will blindly pass the search result from the Internet Archive to the end user."

"The website you are trying to access has been identified as a security risk; access has been disallowed by [corporate information security team]"

Would be nice if the link was changed to http://theoldnet.com/ which shows the home page and works without Javascript. Otherwise you get the impression that this site is just a proxy for archive.org. The home page is much more informative.

Ok, changed from http://theoldnet.com/browser/. Not sure I understand the difference.

Remember to set your browser window size to 640x480!

I have my 486 online running IE under Windows 3.1, now I actually have some sites I can demo on it when people ask me about it! Definitely bookmarking this one.

Usenet as it was 30 years ago: http://olduse.net/

Every time phones, OSes and websites update, I watch my parents struggling to deal with all the UI changes and I keep thinking I am going to be there one day.

Maybe this is the solution to all the unending changes. In Vernor Vinge's Rainbows End, there is an old man who wakes up in the future and is struggling to use the latest interfaces. So the comp just overlays the old Windows 95(?) interface that he is happy and familiar with.

At least Windows 95 had colorful icons, labels, and tooltips on everything. Black on gray dialog boxes didn't blind you, and it had sufficient contrast to be readable (unlike every designer's website that uses microscopic gray text on barely different gray).

On the flip side, about 8-ish years ago, I installed Xubuntu on my parent's PC, replacing XP. I told them here's Thunderbird, Firefox, Solitare, and how to shut down. Once I said that it worked like Windows (i.e. the X in the corner closes things), they didn't have any problems. I anticipated having to move them back to Windows, but didn't need to.

Design trends seems to be getting less and less useful in favor of looking pretty. It took me around two years of seeing hamburger menus before it actually clicked that it was a "standard" icon for a menu. Now that icon seems to be getting replaced to three dots for a menu. Why?

And pretty is subjective, i find the Win9x, Win2K, OS/2 (...to some extent), BeOS, and KDE1 icons better looking than the more recent ones which are usually monochromatic. The Win9x icons tried to be colorful but also were limited by a 4bit palette, which meant that they were both high contrast and had bright colors. Win2K icons are a softer version of those and KDE1 icons are what you'd probably get if you tried to make icons in the style of Win9x/OS/2 but without the technical limitations.

I was never a fan of WinXP and Vista/7 icons, too plasticky, often faded out and shiny.

I did like macOS icons before they decided to get rid of skeuomorphism and made everything like it was designed by a 5 year old with a vector application. They were high quality but also had high readability. As a developer i hated them though because they were very hard to make something decent.

I also like the GNOME 2/Tango style and the elementaryOS style which seems to me to be based on Tango. Tango is a bit WinXP-ish but i think they did a better job with making the icons less plasticky and more readable.

But my favorite is the Win9x and KDE1 styles because of both how they look and how easy (relatively speaking) is to make them (which is important, otherwise it is hard to get a consistent look).

The UI changes are rarely better, and often much worse. They just shuffle things around, and add annoying glitz.

Cars are getting pretty bad, too. Especially with the transition to inscrutable icons. Apparently words like "On", "Defrost", "Fuel", etc., are unhip and so 20th century.

I suspect that's about international markets. Everyone knows the fuel distributor, or the window heating icon. Not everyone understands "Fuel". (Or did you want to say "Gas" ;) )

Also do you want to get into a car rented in Europe and find the texts to read (for example) "Włącz", "Rozmrażanie", "Paliwo"?

> Everyone knows the fuel distributor, or the window heating icon.

No they don't. I've been in a car with a front window defroster and a rear one. The icons are different, but who knows which is which.

> Not everyone understands "Fuel"

More than understand an inscrutable icon. Besides, anyone can look up Fuel in a dictionary. How do you look up an icon?

> "Włącz", "Rozmrażanie", "Paliwo"?

Dictionaries are marvelous tools. translate.google.com works great, too. There are no icon dictionaries, especially when everyone copyrights them so every icon is different. If you don't know what the icon means, you're borked.

Hey, I'd settle for the wretched icon if underneath it they're write "Defrost".

Besides, I've traveled in Poland. I don't know a word of Polish, but had a wonderful time regardless. Everyone I met was very nice.

> Dictionaries are marvelous tools.

1. If you have one. Google translate may also not be available due to lack of data or lack of mobile reception.

2. It assumes you know how to input/lookup the word. It's easier with Latin script. But try the same in Korea / Russia / Thailand / ... Even if you translate into target language you may not find the same version of the word, or just mix up symbols. (Without knowing they're different, what are the chances you'd mix up シ and ツ ?)

> There are no icon dictionaries, especially when everyone copyrights them so every icon is different

Is this really a thing? Every rear window heating icon I've seen since the 90s looked the same. I did check and can't find an image online from any brand not using that same symbol.

> Google translate may also not be available

Google translate for icons is 100% not available

> know how to input

Just use the English word. No problem. English works well on tiny phone keyboards. Always easier than inputting an icon.

> Is this really a thing?

Here's Apple suing over their copyrighted icons:


And icons are copyrightable:


I remember when I worked at Symantec we had to create new icons to avoid copyright problems. Every vendor did this.

I meant icons in cars. I haven't seen variations or copyrights on those. iOS/Apple is a completely different story - they're purpose designed and unique. Symbols in cars are common everywhere.

I addressed entering English words before: "Even if you translate into target language you may not find the same version of the word" For example "gas" may not translate into what you expect.

I grew up in Europe where car interiors have always used only icons for as long as I've ridden them, and I've never heard of anyone being confused. Same with road signs. First time I visited the US I was amazed by how much text is on your street signs, where only icons would be used in Europe.

I recently bought a domestic car in Japan. I had no problems using any features since they all use the same icons that my parents' domestic Swedish 1991 Volvo had that I learned to drive on. If they used kanji words instead I'd be lost.

> There are no icon dictionaries,

It’s called “the manual”. You clan usually find it in the glovebox, and it doesn’t require a data connection. But in reality you've learned all these symbols by the time you get your drivers license (just like you've learned all the road signs).

> especially when everyone copyrights them so every icon is different.

Car interior icons are standardized by the ISO https://www.iso.org/standard/54513.html

> More than understand an inscrutable icon. Besides, anyone can look up Fuel in a dictionary. How do you look up an icon?

This makes sense. But I think that's why the unicode consortium adds common gestures/symbols/icons so actively. The icon-recognizing problem you address here is not impossible to fix with some app combining scanner and translator.

I'd fix it by using words. Icons are a solution looking for a problem and causing problems.

I appreciated your comments throughout this thread.

Symbol language works better in the longer term. When there's consensus about the icon functionality, they work. Look at traffic signs in Europe. They barely contain text. In the USA, they contain text all the time. In a large country where the main language is English this makes sense. In a continent consisting of many languages (and tourism), its important to have consensus on symbols instead.

What does suck is converting to symbols from text whilst you're used to text. That's the legacy of backwards compatibility.

You are oversimplifying. There is a valuable trade off between text on one end and abstract symbols on the other. Icons are in the middle.

On the text end of the spectrum you have high clarity, but it takes longer time to take in and find the one you are looking for. These are good if you rarely interact with the them and it's in situations that aren't urgent and you can't or don't have to train for.

Abstract symbols on the other hand are fastest to identify but require you to be trained. This makes sense for power users out urgent situations that are worth preparing for.

Icons are the middle ground. You can identify them faster than a walk of text and you might be able to guess pretty well what they mean on first encounter.

Using icons on a car this makes sense. You might have to do a little bit of trial and error the first time around, but will be much faster on future usage. This is a worthwhile trade off for a car, since you want the driver to quickly find the right control and then look at the road again. It works especially well given that the vast majority of icons are common between different cars.

I think it's even a better trade off for traffic signs, since drivers get trained anyway. All but new drivers will quickly start relying on the shape of the text on the sign, rather than read all the text on every speed limit sign. If you do need to read it, the amount of text is not practical.

> On the text end of the spectrum you have high clarity, but it takes longer time to take in and find the one you are looking for.

I just don't believe it takes a longer time to find the word "Defrost".

> These are good if you rarely interact with the them and it's in situations that aren't urgent and you can't or don't have to train for.

Take a look at aircraft instrument panels. They are very much designed for clarity and to be usable in emergencies, usually the hard way. They use words. Altimeter, Airspeed, Vertical Speed, etc.

> you might be able to guess pretty well what they mean on first encounter.

Not me. 3/4 of icons in new cars I don't know what they mean. Most of the ones on my iphone as well. Thankfully, sometimes they use words like Save, Edit, Library, etc., and I no trouble with them. The ones on the app screen thankfully have a word under them. After all, look at that weird stick icon, which has "App Store" written under it. Or the Photos icon. Apple has even given up on the trash can, reverting to the word "Delete".

> but will be much faster on future usage

Pilots and airplane cockpit designers evidently disagree.

> drivers

Quite a lot of concepts have no picture that makes any inherent sense for it. Like "60 miles per hour". Or "stop". or "yield". You can certainly get used to a red octagon meaning Stop, but for someone who is not trained on it, the red octagon might as well mean "pizza next exit".

I lived in Europe around 1970, when they were transitioning from the old signage with words to the new ones. They wanted to harmonize the signs. The trouble is, if they used words, it was a matter of national prestige which language was used. Using icons was a solution to the political issue, not a readability one.

The American stop sign was settled on because nobody could agree which European stop sign would be selected, so the compromise was none of them.

To sell this all to the public was the notion that icons are better, but it was really political.

> Take a look at aircraft instrument panels. They are very much designed for clarity and to be usable in emergencies, usually the hard way. They use words. Altimeter, Airspeed, Vertical Speed, etc.

People are trained for those instruments. The written names are not that useful, because you won't fly something before understanding most of the cockpit. The instruments often use shortened or genetic name which is you need to learn beforehand. Example:


What can you learn from reading "FD", or "INS", or "DH", or "M/CG"? Or from tens of completely unlabelled indicators. You either need to already know it, or learn from the manual.

Calling it an "altimeter" reinforces what it is, even "FD" does, an icon does not. Icons are not better, or instrument makers would switch to them and the FAA would mandate them.

Believe it or not, but pilots can get frazzled under stress and make mistakes. Having an actual label that says "Altimeter" is better than the pilot having to remember that squiggle means "Altimeter". Just call it "Altimeter" in the first place. One less level of indirection.

For a related UI case, pilots would learn the different sounds of all the warning horns in the cockpit. But pilots under stress would get confused about which sound meant what. The solution? Replace the sound with a voice saying what's wrong, like "pull up pull up". Works much better.

Gas is a pretty obvious one, because both fuel pumps and gas cans are relatively commonplace.


It can be fairly simple, I think.

The funny thing that in US "gas" may mean liquid fuel and not compressed propane.

Is it obvious, or are you simply accustomed to it?

Or is it watch out for the alien with his wiener in his ear?

   Or are you simply accustomed to it?
Got me there, I suppose.

>No they don't. I've been in a car with a front window defroster and a rear one. The icons are different, but who knows which is which.

Umm ... I do?

For me this was really a "figure out once" and remember forever.

And even if I can't remember which is which, it's trivial to press them and find out. Especially if you have the fan/ac running.

Perhaps they should make this as an international standard and part of the driving test? I mean, if we can learn what all the road signs mean, this isn't any harder.

Edit: Cannot add more comments so replying here:

Looking at your comment above, you seem to believe we're transitioning from words to pictographs in cars. My experience doesn't agree. I've never seen a car without these, going back to the 80's. Looking at old Toyota Corollas, they use the icon. Same for the 80's Corvette.

Given how prevalent they are, did you ever ponder why they use icons instead of text? Serious question.

> For me this was really a "figure out once" and remember forever.

When you drive a car rarely, you don't really remember what all the frackin icons mean. Besides, that's why phonetic written languages were invented - so you don't have to memorize 10,000 pictures. Just 26 of them.

Phonetic writing really is a great invention. It's better than pictographic languages. Good luck looking up a pictograph on google.

What's next? Back to using Roman numerals?

Slowly, over decades, we're developing iconography for common operations. Take power buttons, or menu buttons (the "hamburger" icon). It takes not only time, but some amount of consensus and buy in from a significant portion of the marketplace.

In the US at least the fuel level indicator is fairly easily recognized by a gas pump symbol, and the temperature gauge is recognized by a thermometer icon. The problem is, these don't denote those things exactly but fuel and temperature in general, and sometimes they are instead dummy lights indicating a warning about high temperature or low fuel, and not where the guages are.

> Slowly, over decades, we're developing iconography for common operations.

We did that already and called it written language.

But this is how Chinese writing works, not like e.g. European written languages work.

Chinese writing works in exactly the same way European written languages work. It records more semantic information than they tend to do, but the functioning is no different.

> It records more semantic information than they tend to do

Are you sure? When I was in Japan I compared books printed in English with the same books in Japanese. The Japanese versions always had more pages. It looked like while the Kanji characters conveyed more meaning, they were larger and in the net required more space.

A couple of points:

- What I'm referring to is the fact that in order to write down a Chinese word, you often need to know what it means. The semantics inform the spelling, to a much greater degree than in European writing systems. I am in fact sure about this.

- Translations are usually much wordier than the original texts they translate, for philosophy-of-translation reasons. Were you comparing Japanese originals to their English translations?

You open the owner’s manual, look up the section for the relevant bit of dashboard or console in the table of contents, flip to that page, and read the description of the buttons, gauges, and other labeled elements.

Doesn't it strike you as bad UI design to have to consult a manual to find out that [squiggle] means "Defrost"?

How does that help our international user who cannot understand "Defrost" to be faced with an English manual?

I am much better at using CLI's than I am using GUI's - just for this reason.

Every time I see an icon, I have to think - what is it the person is trying to tell me. Usually, words work much better for me.

I know many people that love architecture diagrams. I much prefer to read the words instead of looking at pictures. To me, a word is worth a thousand pictures.

No. I am accustomed to reading documentation, especially when something isn’t clear to me. Bad UI design for a car would involve icons totally divorced from the physical function and which closely resemble each other.

I wonder why an “international user” has bought a car whose manual isn’t localized and who can’t get a localized manual online.

The front window defrost has always been an option on the air con dial and the rear is a button

>The front window defrost has always been an option on the air con dial and the rear is a button

This hasn't been the standard for a long time. My 2003 and my 2015 cars both have them both as buttons.

Front window defrost has as icon that is wider at the top than the bottom. The rear window icon is typically a rectangle.

Why are you willing to use a dictionary to look up a word, but not willing to use a car manual to look up a symbol? Do you throw out your car manuals and replace them with dictionaries or something?

Defrost, on, fuel, etc. have had pretty standard icons for quite a while though? And they don't require knowing English either.

> on

Is it O for On, or O for Off? I never remember. Besides, if all you know is Sanskrit, how much harder is it for you to learn that On means on than O means on (or is it off)?

> Is it O for On, or O for Off? I never remember.

Does it matter? You know it means either on or off, and you know whether it's already on or off... I haven't seen anyone struggle to figure out what happens given these two pieces of information?

Sometimes equipment isn't obviously on or off. Like the main switch on a power supply. I also like to know that something is off when I try to plug it in (like the table saw).

I thought we're talking about cars? I never claimed all standardized icons for all equipment are intuitive.

Ok, cars. How do you know the electric wires for the defroster are on or off? I can't see electric fields. You can wait 10 minutes and see if it defrosts I suppose. I don't see that as an improvement on phonetic writing.

There's a light that turns on?

Not always.

Well that's the problem then, not the icon...

Umm, it's binary. 1=on,0=off.

These are an ISO standard and automakers use them because it removes liability, not because the designers like them.

You mean the yellow boiling cauldron icon that no one knows what it is?

The tire pressure icon is the newest and least comprehensible icon of them all. I looked at it for years without knowing what it was, and never had any flat tires, due to wear or pressure related damage. Just nails, debris and scheduled rotation during inspections.

When I discovered that there was a new standard of RFID pressure sensor chips embedded in the new tires I bought, suddenly it all clicked.

But that's what it took. I needed to shop around and buy a new set of tires, notice that there were some, a little bit more expensive than others, read the feature list, and notice the RFID chips listed in the spec.

RFID chips? In my tires? It's more likely than you think!


Suddenly it all snapped into place. The worthless idiot light tells me nothing, by magically interfacing with systems behind my back, and what's more, every tire on the road is uniquely identifiable, through remote passive electronic sensors.

This just quietly appears, on the down low. Low key spyware on essential disposable components that everyone needs, and that everyone will eventually be forced onto.

To get rid of them, usually they're in the valve stem, so you could probably just microwave them with a disassembled magnetron, or run a high voltage arc through them with a stun gun. But no one does.

My wife knows now. AFTER she called me to ask what the heck it was. Yellow witch cauldron with an exclamation mark was the exact description.

Do you see that on fuel, defrost, or on?

Depends, I'd be surprised if I'm that lost on any interface (being born in the 80s and having dealt with a wide spectrum of them).

That said, I rant a lot more these days, but not because it's new or different, it's because I know that the change is not done for the right reasons.

I found myself lost on a few interfaces which require some arcane sequence of gestures, and I think the first time I ran into a hamburger menu I didn’t realize what it was. Once I learned the tricks I could figure out other similar interfaces but it definitely made me appreciate why grandpa’s VCR was always flashing 12:00.

Yeah they can make you trip for a minute but you know that any system has a set of inputs, that can be sequenced or composed. It won't take long until you figure it out. People born before learned by habits, they have no conceptual understanding of what's going on; any change kills their interactions with the device.

I don't think we will. We come from a different era and we know how to explore unknown interfaces. Our parents don't. My mom has been using devices such as radios or dishwasher for decades, but she still doesn't understand that "triangle" means "Play/Start", "square" means "Stop", "parallel lines" means Pause. Likewise power on button is always a circle with a line on it, but give her a new device and the first question is "how do I turn it on".

I’m there already. They changed the Netflix app on the Apple TV and now I can’t figure out how to use it.

Clicked the geocities.com link and got a "High Risk Website Blocked - Access has been blocked as the threat Mal/HTMLGen-A has been found on this website" notification from Sophos.

False flag, or malicious?

I think it's to do with the way the Wayback machine API is used and the site altering the code of the webpage (removing incompatible JS and stitching together links).

If you're on a coorporate network or have some kind of security firewall setup this could be flagged as a tampered URL.

I had the same alert.

ESET NOD 32 does not like this site. Sorry.

What I'd like to see is a filter that parsed the hmtl, threw out most of it, and showed just the actual content in a minimalist fashion as an old website would. If I could run specific links through this filter from the right-click menu, for example, that would be awesome. Preferably with no need for javascript once I got there. Does anyone know of something like this? Just throw out all the modern UI crap and the ad crap and just give me the content.

Putting some urls in the text box made me remember this.

Reader view in safari and firefox

Interesting. I usually use Pale Moon. I don't know if it has a reader mode or not. I got on firefox, clicked around for a while, and didn't find any pages that let me trigger it. I did find an extension that lets you try it on any web page, but it doesn't work on all of them. Anyway, better than nothing. Thank you.

Wow. That "BIG SIMPSONS-PAGE" brings back memories. It looks almost exactly like the first website I built on AOL's free web hosting (hometown). The nostalgia is hitting me hard.

cisco umbrella does not like this site.

MITM boxes like that don't like sites that act as proxies. They also block things like browserling because they can act as a browser of other sites.

Neither does my workplace filtering; it's saying it's malware.

same here

What classification are you seeing? Thought maybe the “new domain” blacklist they have but looks like the site has been alive since at least January

Anyone remember Luke Young's Talking Burrito? It was a goofy little "choose your own adventure" style story that a college student threw together about a talking burrito and aliens and stuff. (And I think that's the right name.)

The choices were made by clicking hyperlinks. Hypertext is so normal now that it's hard to relate, but at the time it was fun to see the transformation from book format to hypertext. It was just such a natural fit.

I guess AngelFire had a core user group of Medical Transcriptionists.

Here's their predictions for the future from 1996: http://theoldnet.com/get?decode=true&noscripts=true&year=199...

Lots of talk about speech-to-text. Dragon doesn't seem to be 100% there yet today in my observations.

Changing sites didn't work for me in Firefox 67.0.3

Weird. Changing sites worked for me and I'm on that exact version (Linux/Gentoo). Occasionally I'd get an error, but it'd go away if I go back and try it again.

if you just use html 4, minimal css, and no js, you'll get a good old internet experience. :)

This is one rabbit hole I don't mind falling in. So many links and pages to poke around in!

The old battle.net takes me back. Love the links to topaz chat and winter's bot. I think I spent as much time on channel wars with "enemy" clans on bnet as I did playing actual games.

I remember the time when storage providers were fighting for the title of who had the most capacity. I think xoom.com started offering 1GB at some point and that was unthinkable. Good times.

Missing Midwinter's Lurker's guide to Babylon 5...

O yes, that was one of my goto's as well

None of the functionality seems to be working for me in Chrome 75, Windows 10

How can the under construction image at the bottom of the page not be a gif?

The good old days when JavaScript wasn't used for janky animations

Yeah, back when websites loaded immediately and all at once.

Actually, websites tend to load much faster now than they used to, because "back when," we were using 28k dialup connections, and you would sometimes have to watch a site load a piece at a time. And heaven help you if there were images in the stream, those would probably break.

Lovely use of Netscape Navigator UI

> theoldnet.com is currently unable to handle this request.

Not sure if intentional or hilarious irony.

> We're sorry but theoldnet-browser doesn't work properly without JavaScript enabled. Please enable it to continue.

This doesn't look much like the old internet to me...

neither the main nor noscript version seem to work from a text browser e.g. lynx. edit: works with links browser for me. very cool!

I never understood realism in painting for this very reason. The frame around the painting makes it impossible to accept the painting as the thing it's pretending to be.

You could make the same point for cameras and the human visual system. Neither accurately depict what's really there.

Plus, realist art isn't pretending to be what's really there, with the possible exception of trompe l'oeil. It's a representation in paint, a mimicry created for various purposes, none of which is to make you think you're standing in front of the thing being depicted.

I never understood realism in photography for this very reason. The paper upon which the photograph resides makes it impossible to accept the photo as the thing it's pretending to be.

"Ceci n'est pas une pipe."


This comment might be referring to Trend Micro reporting links on this site as malware:

> Warning! The website contains malware. Visiting this site may harm your computer

> Fraudulent sites that mimic legitimate sites to gather sensitive information, such as usernames and passwords.

ESET Nod32 said it was malware, but second try said it was fine :/

false positive is a thing

yes I have been struggling to get theoldnet exempt from phishing detection sites. There is nothing phishy about it but I can understand how their detection methods would trigger a false positive. If anyone can help me with this please reach out to me using the contact information on theoldnet.com

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