Monday, October 06, 2008

Into the aether

This is old news by now, but Google has made their index from 2001 available for searches. I was excited about this, but after playing around with it for awhile, I thought, I'd really like to look at older stuff. Pages from '97, '96. The pioneer days.

That led me to the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine. When I signed up for my first email account, it probably looked like this. I signed up so I could email the cute girl I met on a college visit to Houghton. I ended up going elsewhere. She ended up going to Princeton. So yeah, she was probably out of my league, but so is my wife. So there.

I wonder if I could go further back. Back to the first time I ventured out on the internet, in junior high, so around '95 or '96. I was researching Henry David Thoreau for a Minnesota History Day project that I never completed. I found the entire text of Civil Disobedience--for free! I sent the whole thing to the printer. My heart beat faster as I mentally urged the printer to hurry; soon the librarian would be back to kick me off before I spent too much money. Unfortunately, I don't remember what website I found the text on. It probably looked something like this (which happens to be the first Father Brown story, worth a read).

(Ok, I just wandered into a tangent to my tangent. This page is just called "Oxymorons". But the first several examples aren't oxymorons, they're tautologies. And eventually the page slides into a bunch of quotes from Samuel Goldwyn. To be fair, a few of these are oxymorons. But they're mostly malapropisms. A question for you to answer in the comments: This page of "Oxymorons" is of more value than what percentage of blogs?)

You can read about the background of the Internet Archive here. Interesting stuff for those who understand it. I think I understand about 80% of it, which means I probably really understand 40%.

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