Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Screwing your neighbor and the Netscape fish

Some good will come out of this technology, I promise you—The Internet isn’t new. We take it for granted even though I can make a case it is the greatest invention since the printing press. Absolute garbage that has found a home here, along with the seriously ill people who produce it, but mostly it is a wonder. I have no idea how I did my work before the internet.

Someone—there is no identification on the blog—has produced his or her list of the 100 greatest moments in Internet history. Go see for yourself but my favorites include:

  • Pathfinder, Time Inc.’s first attempt at strutting it’s stuff on the internet had two problems. One, it was badly designed. Two, well, on the day of the O.J. verdict, they kind of fucked up.
  • Before corporate America discovered the internet, nerds did. For instance in 1994, while playing around with domain names, Wired reporter Josh Quittner registered When the fast food chain decided it needed a presence on the web, they were too late. Some others who had taken corporate names early sold them for a fortune; Quittner gave it to MacDonald’s for a promise to fund a T-1 line in perpetuity at a high school in the Bronx.
  • Bloggers discover that a guy asking President Bush a meatball question at a White House news conference isn’t a reporter, is not giving his real name, and has posted on a naked homo-erotic website.
  • One of the first internet games was Psycho Bondage Bunnies, in which a robot in a corset fought bunnies wielding cattle prods. Very bad bunnies.Then there’s also Quake
Australian Bernadette Taylor was one of the first to use a webcam. She fought censorship (happily posing naked) and launched a one-woman war on Microsoft. Then one day, she announced she had breast cancer and started an online diary. She went offline in 2001 and presumably died of her cancer. No one seems to know. That's her to the left.

  • A young woman in Washington kept a blog on her sex life. She was getting laid by six different guys and she was an intern for a Republican Senator. Ana Marie Cox found it and published all over Wonkette, her political gossip blog, and ran down the identity of the woman (who indeed worked for an Ohio senator) making herself and her blog famous. The intern made it to Playboy.
  • In 1997, someone in Hollywood hired two guys to produce a cartoon as a video Christmas present. He paid them $2,000. The cartoon spread from one end of Hollywood to another. It took six hours to download “The Spirit of Christmas” (53 megabytes) and you got some foul-talking kids and a kung fu match between Santa Claus and Jesus. Then it went on television (censored a bit) and became “South Park.” I bet you didn’t know that.
  • Jennifer Ringley was another pioneer of the webcam, keeping her camera on for eight years and becoming an old friend to her audience. Then she slept with her neighbor’s fiance—on camera—and pulled the plug on JenniCam. They are still together. That's her picture up top, taken a few days before she went offline.
  • Oh yes, the Netscape fish. When Netscape ruled the world, before Microsoft made it road kill, they had a salt water fish tank in the lobby of their Mountain View headquarters. They set up a webcam and if you knew the URL you could watch the fish. That’s all. I did it for hours. They are still there.

And finally, there is the website Jesus of the Week. It speaks for itself.

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