Hard News by Russell Brown

Read Post

Hard News: The Web

109 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 5 Newer→ Last

  • Grant McDougall,

    Google arrived as not only a better search engine (and search engines really were fairly rubbish until it did), but one that prioritised results according to the links we’d made ourselves.

    I remember in about '96 or '97, in their "what's hot / what's not" column (or whatever it was called) Metro rated as hot "Ask Jeeves - the search engine with grunt".

    I've no idea if Ask Jeeves had "grunt" or not, having never used it. But given that that was pretty much the last time I was to even hear of it, I suspect not. Presumably Google must've learnt from Jeeves and their ilks' mistakes and the rest is history.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 760 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington,

    I was just thinking about this the other day. It would have been May 1994 when I hooked up the first public library computer in the Nelson/Tasman region to the Internet. We used Telecom Learning Link (remember that?) initially and then moved fairly quickly to Planet Nelson run by the anarchic and lovely Chris O'Donoghue.

    I remember the feeling at the time that this was big stuff and 20 years on it really feels like the whole world changed from that moment.

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 949 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Grant McDougall,

    I remember in about ’96 or ’97, in their “what’s hot / what’s not” column (or whatever it was called) Metro rated as hot “Ask Jeeves – the search engine with grunt”.

    Lame! Not really a search engine and certainly not as good as Alta Vista, which was already in wide use at the time.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis,

    It is great to look back and discern how our lives have been changed
    Ask Jeeves was one of my list of search engines although hardly the best
    It will be interesting to see where it all goes but jeeze there have been some changes when you compare my Amstrad with my present computer of choice a mini ipad retina

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 578 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Ask Jeeves is now ask.com

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • izogi,

    Maybe I only saw one side of it, but I remember the big point-of-difference with Ask Jeeves being that it let people type in questions, instead of search terms. It was meant to be more naturally usable, and therefore become extremely popular to sell more advertising, or something.

    I don’t think its actual search results were especially better than anything else around. That’s what mattered in the end.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1142 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Speaking of ye olde search engines, when I started at Xtra in 1999, there was a page I had to maintain on the Xtra website that was a list of search engines that people could use, including one for New Zealand sites.

    Anyway, this anniversary is a good a time as any to revisit Down to the Wire, a history of the internet in New Zealand, from 1989 to 2010.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Bell,

    And the first thing to be sold online was? weed

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 175 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Lame! Not really a search engine and certainly not as good as Alta Vista, which was already in wide use at the time.

    Agreed, webcrawler was ok too , Yahoo for a while until it couldn't keep up with new sites. But when google came along it was a seismic shift in searching.

    Northland • Since Nov 2006 • 510 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston,

    Its funny but when I think back to my early experiences with the net in 1995 I don't feel much nostalgia, yet I do with music etc .
    It got better so fast that the past was so slow in comparison why would I feel anything but relief it had moved on. Netscape on a 14.4 kilobits/sec modem was a dog.

    Instant email communications with people around the word was still magic as was email attachments, they revolutionized the business I was in .

    Northland • Since Nov 2006 • 510 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Richard Aston,

    But when google came along it was a seismic shift in searching.

    ...And now it doesn't just mine data about websites people might want to read, it mines data about its users.

    It's a bit weird how stuff changes. I've recently switched from Chrome back to Firefox/Iceweasel because I became sick of so much of everything I do on the 'net being so dependent on Google. It's only a token change in the scheme of things, but it's kept me sane.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1142 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Can’t remember dates as such but I do remember my first BBS experience, it was like WOW, my mind raced with possibilities, “I wonder if you could use this for digital music via file sharing?” (you could, and still can, download music as a .txt file and, although I can’t remember how now, convert it to music, it may have just been MIDI but back then….
    I had previously, back in the mid eighties, thought about the end of having to buy a new cassette every time you wanted a new tune, “just take the cassette to the shop and they can record over it” I thought. Of course it didn’t take me long before I accepted that cassettes were rubbish and we needed a new storage medium, “What about some kind of memory chip that you connected to the Net and just download from a collection they kept of all music available?” And along came the infant internet with the BBS and the Chat rooms and the ranting and raving of new found voices. Then I got a copy of Mosaic.

    The most fascinating thing, to me anyway, was the HTML. You could get a link from someone and follow it, within that document you would find other links and follow them and so on and so on, who needed a search engine when you didn’t have a clue where you might end up?.
    Then along came Alta Vista.
    I could find stuff easily and pass that along to friends so they could play the maze game of following links to infinity and beyond.
    Now we have Google the all powerful. I don’t mind Google, they say they are not evil and they are at the forefront of FREE being the new price for everything basic (you pay through the nose I guess for more than basic and that’s ok by me) BUT…
    and it is a big but. As Russ says ” one that prioritised results according to the links we’d made ourselves.” and that is the problem for me, the maze has gone, you are now guided by a “helping hand” that just “knows” where you want to go because you have been there before.
    Sad.
    But Happy birthday big wide world web, its just a shame you got tamed.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Heh. One of the first lessons I learnt about getting information from the “web” – before the web existed – when using Veronica, Archie, Gopher (etc) was to write something that was nearly right and include a “silly error”. Talk about elicit a storm of “silly bugger” responses. It were a grand way of finding out from everyone the answer to your query! I thank Brenda Leeuwenburg for that gem!!

    Netscape on a 14.4 kilobits/sec modem was a dog.

    Luxury! God! I remember watching the bloody byte meter tick over bytes, 10s of bytes, scores of bytes….oooooo… its getting faster…. (then back again) while huddled over the screen with the images turned off so that you wouldn’t go over your volume!!!!

    Use(r)groups and those “Local Nets” where people would phone you to tell you someone (in freaking Norway!) has been reading the Wellington Use Group and wonders if anyone knows where they can find you.

    Steve: BBS! Yes!. I remember having dinner with Jim Shaw and seeing the original ACTRIX sitting in the corner of the dining room!!!! Connected to THE WORLD!!! Staggering.

    And my first email address having to be 8 letters or less. Took out the “o” in mason to satisfy this st&^%%^id bloody byte wide system!!

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report Reply

  • bob daktari, in reply to Richard Aston,

    Its funny but when I think back to my early experiences with the net in 1995 I don't feel much nostalgia, yet I do with music etc .

    I do feel a nostalgia for pre internet times - when the world was huge and complex and it just doesn't feel like that anymore, information is at our fingertips and everything seems accessible

    I sometimes reflect back on how the net impacted on work life and how that made so many time consuming jobs easier and easier, well faster - I was in importing and distribution... turnaround from order being faxed to landing on the door went from a fortnight to 3 days over a number of years - depending on country... magic really.

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 540 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Ross Mason,

    the original ACTRIX sitting in the corner of the dining room!!!!

    They are still going too.

    And my first email address having to be 8 letters or less.

    Yup, I used my car registration number, more hxr like ;-)

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson,

    I remember when Alta Vista came out (or I discovered it), and suddenly searching the internet became so much easier. Google was of course, another step up, but recently I've been finding Google much less useful for the sort or searches that I am doing. It doesn't look like DuckDuckGo is going to be the saviour for which I had hoped.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 620 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Remarkable in hindsight that Gibson's Neuromancer came out in 1984. Like most readers I had no idea hyperlinks would so quickly go from fiction to reality to banality.
    We joined PlaNet Canterbury in late 1994, which seems almost pioneering, except they'd been around since '93 I think. Browsing in Netscape, it was vital to turn off pictures/gfx, or the speed was glacial.
    Email was a big reason to join up. But when we suggested emailing files to a local newspaper, they scoffed and made us buy a fax :)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2110 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Just checking TVNZ Back in the Day to see what they have on WWW, nothing yet but I have Ms M. A. Hacker (great Name eh?) looking for what TVNZ has.
    Did find this gem though Hi Tech Video, 1988

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Dave Patrick,

    I signed up to iHug’s original “all you can download” dial-up plan in about 1995 (my now-Vodafone account number is so low I always have to repeat it when I ring customer service) – back when Mirsky’s Worst of the Web was relevant, because you could almost keep up with the number of pages on the web.

    I always loved Hotbot as a search engine – better than Lycos and Alta Vista, and I never used Ask Jeeves either.

    Rangiora, Te Wai Pounamu • Since Nov 2006 • 261 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Early searches - I found Lycos the best (of a fairly bad lot) but like everyone, abandoned it fast when google arrived (I remember reading a NYer article about it, thinking - what a brilliant idea! - and pretty much never using another search engine.)
    Now- like izogi, I'm beginning to move away from chrome towards firefox. It's not as sleek - clunky even - but I'm uncomfortable how much data on us all google is storing. I used to laugh and think 'no- you are!' when the little 'you're missing out' sign appeared in chrome, urging log-in. It doesn't seem so funny now. There's something wrong with my wife and I searching the same term in google and getting different results. It's not wholly removed from the way the (bad-old) search engines sold rankings.
    It's hard work doing no evil.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2110 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    There's something wrong with my wife and I searching the same term in google and getting different results.

    Yeah, that harks back to my point about the "hand holding" its getting a bit creepy.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi,

    I don't think I realised the significance of this at the time, but my first experience on the internet was the result of a brief foray into journalism in 1995 or 1996. I had been hired by an indie radio station in Gisborne to be "news manager", responsible for the news bulletins, interviews, etc on the morning show. Essentially this involved going online to Yahoo and reading out their articles on air.

    Yes, I realise now this was a terrible idea, but none of us thought anything of it at the time. Having access to news stories before the printed copies of the newspapers even made it to our doorstep was a huge deal for us. (For the record, I did terribly at the job, with no background in journalism and no other characteristics to recommend me beyond a deep speaking voice.)

    Of course, I couldn't afford my own computer or internet connection, so I used to use a computer in a cafe where you'd pay $10 for 15 minutes access...

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 864 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Ooops. That link to TVNZ Back in the Day was a bit wrong, took you to page 7 of a search.
    Here's a better one.
    TVNZ Back in the Day
    Still think TVNZ should make this easier to find.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Wallington, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    Michelle Hacker... a very helpful news video researcher. She was running NVR when last I darkened the threshold of the Starship Enterprise.

    Waikawa Beach • Since Sep 2013 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Phil Wallington,

    Michelle Hacker… a very helpful news video researcher. She was running NVR when last I darkened the threshold of the Starship Enterprise.

    My BFF :)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 5 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.