Yes, it's April first, and no, it's no joke that today is the NINTH anniversary of the Brutally Honest website!
Nine years... damn, where did the time go?
Okay, few notes about the original website:
The original site was put up on AOL's server on 04/01/1996. At the time, the fastest way most people could connect was through a 28.8 kbaud modem. You had to pay extra (and through the nose) for an ISDN connection, or else fork over your life savings for a T1 or T3 line.
The main page of the original website was HAND-CODED through a Microsoft Notebook program and then checked with Netscape Navigator. Yes, I learned just enough about doing HTML to cobble together that page. A few weeks later, I picked up some free experimental templates from Microsoft that allowed me to create webpages through Word 95, and then soon after that I picked up Microsoft Front Page.
The original column was called "From the Cage", in reference to my nickname "The Beast". (Sorry, you'll have to go to the website's FAQ page to know how I got that one.) And the subjects back then were more towards general issues, not politics.
The very first article was actually a short story about censorship. One of the better stories on the subject was called "Defrag.Net". (At some point, I really have to fix the links and get the rest of 1996 sorted out so it can be easily accessed.)
The most oppressive law at the time was the Communications Decency Act, and it was quickly declared unconstitutional by the courts in 1996. Five years later, Congress passed the USA PATRIOT Act and outdid the CDA by leaps and bounds. By the way, there are still some segments of the CDA that remained intact and enforceable. It's the part that says that Internet providers cannot be held responsible for the actions of their subscribers. (You know that the RIAA hates it!)
In 1996, the Internet was still just a curiosity. There was no streaming audio and video, no file sharing, blogging, DOS attacks, phishing, spyware, zombie computers, pop-up or pop-under ads, and no SPAM. (Spam back then was pretty much kept to the newsgroups.)
In 1996, Microsoft's Internet Explorer was a joke and Netscape was the #1 browser. Today it's the other way around, and now there are several alternatives.
In 1996, you were lucky to get a computer for $3000. Today you can get one for under $500 that can outperform its 1996 counterpart even in sleep mode!
In 1996, Bill Clinton was running for re-election and the Republicans were scrambling to find someone that could beat him in November. Today, we just went through the re-election of George W. Bush, with the Democrats scrambling to find someone that could beat him.
In 1996, a nursing student named Jenni shocked people by putting a webcam in her dorm room so anyone could view what she does normally. Today her site no longer exists, but now parents are shocked when they find out that their kids are showing up on someone's "Spring Break Gone Wild" webcam website.
In 1996, there was no Fox News. MSNBC was just starting as the "bold experiment" between NBC and Microsoft. MTV was not overly infatuated with reality-style programming as they are today. People were still trying to fathom the idea of having the Olympic Games in Georgia and wondering if they would look like something out of "Deliverance". "E-Commerce" was still considered by many to be science fiction instead of science fact. And the most powerful man in the world at the time was Microsoft CEO Bill Gates. (By the way, if you want to see something neat, pick up his 1996 book "The Road Ahead" and check out the interactive CD-ROM that comes with it!)
Of course some things remain the same after nine years. Republicans are still the submissive slaves to the religious extremists. Democrats are still falling apart. Moralists are still trying to take over the world. The media still harps on whatever cause it can find in the name of ratings. Technology STILL trumps government legislation and regulation. Parents still try to fob their responsibilities to the government whenever possible. People are STILL trying to grasp the idea that Atlanta really did host the 1996 Olympics. Bill Gates is still the richest man in the world, but the title of "most powerful" goes back to the resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And of course there's yours truly, still ranting away.
So I hope you will check out the old website... check the archives... see what I've been ranting about all of these years, and then let me know what you think about all of the fun stuff that's been going on.