There was a time when there were no blogs.
There were internet providers – the first one for me was, if I remember correctly, Primenet – from which you could get a few MB of space for your own website. That was at a time when you often saw the notice “This site best viewed with Netscape Navigator” on these very web pages. Even though Al Gore had invented the internet he had not yet given us good guidelines on how to consistently access it with predictable results. It was sweet anarchy.
Newciv.org broke into this climate. This was a simple Intel (probably) 386 computer with a modem as a connection to that World Wide Web. Hardly any private person could afford a permanent internet connection, so a dial-up line had to do. With an automatic re-dial when the connection was lost and a repeated access to some page at the provider in order to avoid being hung up due to non-activity.
Flemming had written a whole suite of software that ran the New Civilization Network but I encountered that server initially in Max’s office. It was exciting, there you had this computer to which all of the outside worlds had access, could create accounts, and could communicate.
Part of the software suite was blogging software, and did we blog!
Flemming – obviously – had the very first post. And believe it or not, it is still there:
Article _a000010-000001.htm – there sure was room for expansion. The reason this blog is still working perfectly is that Flemming kept the domain ming.tv pointing to his blog on the NewCiv server. Some of us had our own domains pointing to our blogs. Max Sandor’s was the Sandorian Grove – sandorian.us. Mine was zensory.com – for whatever reason – I guess it was a cool domain name. Max’s domain was later repurposed and eventually went away when Max went on to greener pastures.
But if you know the internal structure of NewCiv – as Flemming does – that blog is still there, even with many broken links due to the fact that sandorian.us does not exist any longer: http://www4.newciv.org/nl/newslog.php/_v245/__show_log/
My zensory.com first turned into a WordPress blog – on my own server in a data center, obviously connected to some faster backbone. It needs to be said, that at that time, the NewCiv server was co-located in a data center as well, not requiring a dial-up connection to the internet any longer.
Still, my old blog is also still up and running, even though I had to ask Flemming for it’s URL: http://www4.newciv.org/nl/newslog.php/_v286/__show_log/
Flooded with sweet nostalgia, I looked over that old blog and noticed the blog roll (blogs that I followed) in the sidebar. The one that caught my attention was Don To Earth – at that time he was touted as the oldest blogger. His blog was hosted on Blogspot, a free-for-all open blog. The nice thing about those free platforms is that they don’t go away. Not like a privately hosted blog that goes away when the person paying for it every month finds better things to do and leaves this realm (as, inevitably, this blog will go away when I do).
So, yes, I could look up Don!