All posts tagged ‘geocities’

File Under: Social, Web Services

Catch a Nostalgic Glimpse of Geocities on Tumblr

Under Construction. Image: Screenshot/Webmonkey.

The digital remnants of the long since deleted world of Geocities are slowly being reborn, page by page, on Tumblr.

One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age may be the best Tumblr blog we’ve seen, posting screenshots of old Geocities pages for a nostalgic look at the early web, back when everything was “Under Construction.”

For a brief time in the early ’90s Geocities was the web. And, for all its shortcomings, Geocities did nevertheless usher in much of what makes the web great — that anyone can create nearly anything.

The One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age Tumblr project is part of a Geocities research blog by Olia Lialina and Dragan Espenschied. The Tumblr portion consists of automatically generated screenshots from the massive torrent of old Geocities homepages rescued by the Archive Team back in 2009. For posterity’s sake each post also carries the original URL (which obviously goes to a 404 page) and the date the page was last modified.

With Geocities long since deleted from Yahoo’s servers, browsing through One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age is as close as you’re likely to get to a trip down Geocities memory lane.

File Under: Multimedia

Developer Turns Geocities Archive Into a ‘Digital Pompeii’

For a brief time in the early ’90s Geocities was the web. And, for all its shortcomings, Geocities did nevertheless usher in much of what makes the web great — that anyone can create nearly anything.

When Yahoo picked up Geocities for $3.5 billion in 1999 many called it a bargain, but a mere 10 years later the web had moved on and Yahoo shut down and deleted Geocities. The Archive Team stepped in at the last minute and managed to preserve some 650GB worth of Geocities, which lives on as a Bittorrent file. Like most of us you probably find that vaguely comforting, but chances are, you aren’t seeding that file. In fact, we haven’t heard of anything coming out of the Archive Team’s efforts, until now.

Developer and designer Richard Vijgen has put together what looks like a very cool visualization of the Geocities data. Given that Geocities split websites into neighborhoods (usually based on content), nicknamed URLs streets and even called its users “homesteaders,” Vijgen decided to use that metaphor to construct The Deleted City.

Vijgen calls The Deleted City, “a digital Pompeii … that allows you to wander through an episode of recent online history.”

[The Deleted City] depicts the file system as a city map, spatially arranging the different neighborhoods and individual lots based on the number of files they contain.

In full view, the map is a data visualisation showing the relative sizes of the different neighborhoods. While zooming in, more and more detail becomes visible, eventually showing individual html pages and the images they contain.

So far there doesn’t seem to be anywhere to actually access The Deleted City for yourself. Vijgen tells our friends at Wired UK, “The project was intended to be a touch screen installation to be exhibited in a gallery setting. I’m currently looking for a suitable setting to show it.”

In the meantime you’ll have to make do with the video walkthrough above.

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File Under: Web Services

Geocities Lives On as Massive Torrent Download

Right now, you can download the bulk of Geocities in a single, giant 652GB file over BitTorrent.

The seminal free web hosting site has been off the tubes since last year, when its owner, Yahoo, shut it down.

Most of us probably didn’t care about Geocities disappearing. Its content was outdated. The design of most pages made MySpace look like something created by Edward Tufte. And the HTML tables — oh, the tables!

However, enough people did care about the demise of Geocities to form a group that calls itself The Archive Team, which began grabbing as much of Geocities as it could before Yahoo killed it. On Sunday, that archive of Geocities was made available in torrent form — a 652GB torrent.

If you don’t want to download 0.65 terabytes of the web equivalent of space junk, you can merely browse one of the several mirrors the Archive Team has set up at reocities.com, geociti.es, geocities.ws and oocities.org. At once of those sites, you can get your fill of jazz midi files, learn about the totally amazing all-female grunge band L7, and pay a visit to Spanky’s mushroom-infested link compendium without downloading the entire payload.

It’s easy to joke about Geocities. After all, Geocities looks very primitive from this web X.x vantage point. But the archive team has a point, both about our “digital heritage” and the short-lived nature of popular websites.

What we were facing, you see, was the wholesale destruction of the still-rare combination of words and digital heritage, the erasing and silencing of hundreds of thousands of voices, voices that representing the dawn of what one might call “regular people” joining the World Wide Web. A unique moment in human history, preserved for many years and spontaneously combusting due to a few marks in a ledger, the decision of who-knows for who-knows-what.

But you see, websites and hosting services should not be “fads” any more than forests and cities should be fads – they represent countless hours of writing, of editing, of thinking, of creating. They represent their time, and they represent the thoughts and dreams of people now much older, or gone completely. There’s history here. Real, honest, true history. So the Archive Team did what it could, as well as other independent teams around the world, and some amount of Geocities was saved.

If you’d like a little bit of internet history (OK, a massive bit of internet history) head on over to The Pirate Bay. And please, remember to seed.

Screenshot: Red Turboranger’s Home Page.

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File Under: Blog Publishing, Humor

Xkcd Redesign Pays Homage to GeoCities, Which Dies Today

Web comic xkcd is sporting a fresh redesign Monday morning, paying tribute to the free web-hosting service GeoCities. Yahoo, which bought GeoCities in 1999 for $3.5 billion dollars, is shutting down the service today after ten years of stewardship.

GeoCities was a place anyone could start a website for free. The company sold cheap banner advertising against your content, but that didn’t matter — you finally had a place to post that Melissa Joan Hart fanpage or your fully-annotated Art Alexakis discography.

In the web’s early days, you actually had to know how to author a web page in order to publish anything on the internet. You had to have working knowledge of things like HTML, FTP, GIF and DNS. For people with these new-found skills, a GeoCities page was an essential first step into the web, a rite of passage. Next came the easy authoring tools like Dreamweaver and Blogger, then the social networks like Friendster and MySpace, which let anyone establish a web presence with a few clicks of the mouse. GeoCities, along with other free hosting communities like Angelfire, faded into obscurity.

Many of those early pages survived in all their gaudy, glitzy glory — complete with scrolling banners, animated Gifs and blink tags.

Until Monday, October 26, 2009. Rest in peace, GeoCities.

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