In other breaking news, Hurricane Katrina. Wow. April 13, 2010 5:32 PM   Subscribe

So the first MeFi Projects post was four and a half years ago. Isn't it time to change this copy?

The "About" page for MetaFilter Projects reads like an announcement for something new, including a blurb about a contest that was won by banished. There's no mention anywhere on the page of the year this contest occurred, and it took some digging to find out it happened way back in 2005.

I don't even know if this counts as a pony request, but it seems like that text should probably be updated to reflect that MeFi Projects is now a well-established part of the site, and the contest and old mailing list are basically irrelevant.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis to MetaFilter-Related at 5:32 PM (11 comments total)

Yeah, we update those about pages very rarely but it's definitely overdue for a rewrite. I'll try to work something up this week.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 5:40 PM on April 13, 2010

I just took a first stab at editing that page down, I'll give it another look tomorrow.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 5:44 PM on April 13, 2010

Looks good, Matt! It's not exactly a critical update but it's still cool to see stuff get done so quickly. :-)
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 5:53 PM on April 13, 2010

God I love the color of that page.
posted by iamkimiam at 6:48 PM on April 13, 2010

How about we all tell everyone when we first started using the internet, and what was the first thing that made you say "wow, this isn't just a place for freaks after all?"
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 6:52 PM on April 13, 2010

God I love the color of that page

I like it too. Professional white is my favorite color.
posted by special-k at 6:54 PM on April 13, 2010

Yeah, do you mean the internet isn't just a place for freaks, or MetaFilter? Cuz they both are and both aren't.
posted by Mister_A at 6:56 PM on April 13, 2010

Looks great.
Could be a good idea to add that it's the only place on the site where some kind of self link is allowed.
posted by bru at 7:06 PM on April 13, 2010

I first started using the Internet back in probably 1990. Dave Godfrey was a prof at UVic, and started up something called COSY, which was sort of like a Unix (?) based intranet with a command-line UI. Call Creative Writing 100 students (there were about 120 of us) were required to get a username, and were encouraged to participate on COSY, which could be accessed at a variety of terminals in the basement of the Clearihue Building.

There were MUDs, chatrooms, places to learn about coding or "desktop publishing", and there were also different forums - I remember one long-running forum that was a serial novel about the erotic life of university students. It was hard to tell who was writing it, because we were allowed to create anonymous user ids and handles.

I remember several of the female students were constantly harassed online by anonymous users, and even death threats. The whole thing got shut down because of stalking, and that was that.

In the next year or so the Creative Writing Department actually got its own building, which was equipped with Sun Spark stations that were actually connected to the internet. You could use archie and gopher to retrieve files. I was fairly thick-headed (still am), so I used the Spark stations to play Nettrek, which wasn't very interesting because of the lag.

Another Fine Arts student basically took over the computer lab ("what are you doing in here? you can't do that! have you signed the sheet?"). He eventually built a software company right there in that computer lab while I was playing Nettrek, and sold it to a large corporation 10 years later.

I wouldn't really connect to the internet again until 1997 when I was living in rural Japan and discovered the local library had an internet connection. "Wow, I'm visiting a webpage hosted in Zimbabwe.... That's on the other side of the world!
posted by KokuRyu at 12:24 AM on April 14, 2010

I'm pretty sure that the first time I went online was in an internet cafe, in the late 90s; the web was becoming fairly well-established but not something my parents had any interest in paying for. I had a vague understanding that you could search for stuff, so I was just typing words and phrases into the address bar and getting "page not found" errors for half an hour. It was very underwhelming but the girl working at the cafe was cute, so I called it a net win (no pun intended).

wow, this isn't just a place for freaks after all?
I always considered the huge numbers of geeks, weirdos and obsessive fans/hobbyists on the internet to be a feature, not a bug. But a friend of mine in high school bought a car from the profits of a web shop he set up instead of getting a weekend job, so I was used to the internet being a big part of my peers' lives before I was in a position to have even semi-regular access myself.

I finally convinced my grandfather that the 'net isn't just something for nerds a couple of weeks ago. Somehow, Kiping's poem The Gods of The Copybook Headings came up in conversation; various people there could remember fragments of lines, but not the whole thing. So I pulled out my phone, searched, and within a few seconds was able to recite kipling to him, fetched from the computers of a library on a different continent. He has always been interested in the advances of computer technology in an abstract sort of way, but I'm pretty sure that was the first time that he's experienced the internet being used to directly solve an everyday, non-technical problem for him.

Also, I got another fun "OMG We're living the in the future!!1!" moment. Three generations of my family sat around the fire, reading poetry aloud... from a pocket-sized touchscreen computer that's fetching any poem we can think of, near-instantly, from other computers scattered around the globe. The modern (affluent) world is awesome sometimes.
posted by metaBugs at 6:52 AM on April 14, 2010

Wow, KokoRyu, you bring back lots of memories. Once upon a time, I spent as much time in MUDs (and MUSHes) as I did in real life. Played a lot of NetTrek too.

The funny thing is, I was a late-comer to that side of the internet. I first logged on via AOL v2.5 — yes, AOL — in 1995. And I was a Mac user running System 7. No CLI so I had to get a standalone telnet client to get into TinyTIM, which, amazingly, appears to still be running today though the web site hasn't been updated in eleven years or so. Occasionally I'd visit the computer lab at the local community college, who had opened up their ISDN line to the public and web pages only took ten seconds to load instead of two minutes.

There were a couple cool MUDs playable through the AOL client too. At one point they went to a monthly paid model and lost the vast majority of their players before closing up shop for good. I got a lot of enjoyment out of them before that happened though. I also played some online WWII flight sims with "amazing 3D polygonal graphics." I miss playing tail gunner in a B-17 flying fortress!

It's true, the web isn't a frontier anymore. I'm glad I got to enjoy it while it still was, though I'll always wonder what it was like before I got to it, when BBSes and USENET were all there was. The stuff I've read sounds positively arcane and geeky and cool. I should've been born a decade earlier. I think I would've enjoyed phone phreaking.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 7:25 AM on April 14, 2010

« Older Not ok to use spastic   |   End the "Brand New Day" Policy? Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments