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Unraveling the web's story


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Main stories, part of the timeline

  • Technocratic Panic at the Millennium and the Real Threat Beneath the Code

    Technocratic Panic at the Millennium and the Real Threat Beneath the Code

    It’s been over seventeen years since the world ended. Or, rather, it was supposed to be The End of the World as We Know It. If that sounds like a big deal that’s because, at the time, it truly was. This is how things were supposed to go down. On January 1, 2000 at the… Continue reading

  • Reddit v. Digg: A Difference in Approach

    Reddit v. Digg: A Difference in Approach

    Jessica Livingston has a passion for the web’s future. It’s what lead her, in March of 2005, to quit her day job and help start up a new kind of investment firm called Y Combinator. Livingston had been a director at another VC firm, but she wanted to do things a bit differently with Y… Continue reading

  • The History of Rewriting PHP

    The History of Rewriting PHP

    If you work on the web, you know that with software, things don’t always go right the first time. The web is this massive, global community tinkering with loosely connected technologies to piece together websites that, with any luck, work well together. These tools and technologies are always in flux and there have been plenty… Continue reading

  • Discovering the True Meaning of the Web

    Discovering the True Meaning of the Web

    In the late 1980’s, Aliza Sherman moved to New York City and took a job in the music business, helping to manage bands like Def Leppard and Metallica. In 1992, she changed gears and began working with the Internet. The web still existed mostly within the hallways of CERN, but Sherman found her place on… Continue reading

  • GoTo: The Forgotten Search Engine

    GoTo: The Forgotten Search Engine

    I’ve been digging into the history of search engines and centralized platforms lately. Mostly my goal has been to uncover what happened on the web to make privacy a commodity that is less than sacred, and intensive advertising the dominant business model. It’s easy to think that our current modus operandi (tracking scripts that follow… Continue reading

  • Making a Framework for the Web

    Making a Framework for the Web

    It started with a simple manifesto. A manifesto posted online with 37 guiding principles, small phrases showcasing big ideas like “We See People” and “Not Full Service” and “We Don’t Throw Curves.” The website was a list of rules for a web design agency to follow, created by Jason Fried, Carlos Segura, and Ernest Kim… Continue reading

  • The Unlikely Pioneers of the Early Web

    The Unlikely Pioneers of the Early Web

    How many websites are there? That’s not an easy question to answer. The web is, by its very nature, decentralized and global and super difficult to properly account for. A feature that we’re more and more finding is both a blessing and a curse. Best estimate for that number right now (at the time of… Continue reading

  • The Winding Tale of Neopets

    The Winding Tale of Neopets

    Neopets was a massively successful and inclusive digital world, but I think people focus far too much on its advertising model. There’s so much more to the site. The site spawned its own unique economic simulacrum, had a tenuous connection to Scientology, a constantly shifting design, and a dedicated and ambitious fanbase that built it… Continue reading

  • 15 Years of WordPress

    15 Years of WordPress

    It was January of 2003, and 19 year old blogger and amateur programmer Matt Mullenweg was distraught. In a post on his blog titled The Blogging Software Dilemma, Mullenweg wrote: My logging software hasn’t been updated for months, and the main developer has disappeared, and I can only hope that he’s okay. Mullenweg’s “logging software” was… Continue reading

  • A Short History of WaSP and Why Web Standards Matter

    A Short History of WaSP and Why Web Standards Matter

    This article was originally published in CSS-Tricks. In August of 2013, Aaron Gustafson posted to the WaSP blog. He had a bittersweet message for a community that he had helped lead: Thanks to the hard work of countless WaSP members and supporters (like you), Tim Berners-Lee’s vision of the web as an open, accessible, and universal… Continue reading

  • Almost (Standards) Doesn’t Count

    Almost (Standards) Doesn’t Count

    In 2008, the team at Microsoft found themselves in quite the pickle. Let me back up. In 2002, the team at Mozilla found themselves in quite the pickle. Mozilla was the team inside of Netscape that had been spun out as a non-profit to work on Netscape’s browser. Netscape was, in turn, acquired by AOL… Continue reading

  • The Day(s) The Web Fought Back

    The Day(s) The Web Fought Back

    February 1, 1996 was an absolutely terrible day for Shabbir J. Safdar. Safdar believed deeply in the open web, so much so that he started the non-profit organization Voter Telecommunications Watch (VTW) so that he could help protect it. That day, the first of February, the United States Congress decided to dismantle a part of… Continue reading