Whatever happened to …

… the web that you could read and trust?

The inspiration for this flashback came from this post The Web Through a 30 Year Old Lens.   The article took me back to a web that was young and had reference to one of the first web browsers – this for the NeXT Computer.

Since it was a working simulation, I had to give it a shot.  Here’s a peek at this blog as rendered by the browser.


Ah, the blog has text.  You’ll notice that it renders only standard text characters.  And all the beautiful colours and graphics that I have around here are missing.

Now, the reality is that you don’t have to work on an emulator to get the same effect.  You can also use the Lynx browser, still in development.


It was a different time.  People were using the WorldWideWeb (I can’t believe I just typed that) to link documents to each other.  Content in the form of text was king.  (Actually it was the only game in town so that’s easy to say).  The whole premise, it seems to me, that it was an academic challenge for coders to actually show proof of concept of a world where we were connected to documents for research.  Everything that was happening was visible on the screen.  There was no tracking or other things going on behind the scenes.  (Or at least I’d like to romantically think so)

Then, things changed.  I wonder if it was inevitable or whether companies realized that they could make money from the concept!  In addition to the good uses, we hear daily of the bad things happening involving those who would access bank accounts, re-create others identities, and so much more.

There doesn’t come a day where I can’t read yet another article about how to stop Facebook or Microsoft or Google or Apple or <insert anyone here> from stalking me.

Today, you have a whole slew of browsers at your disposal.  I can recall moving from Lynx to Mosaic and Netscape and then the flood gates open.  On this computer, I have Chromium, Lynx, Firefox, and Opera installed.  And, it’s important to keep them updated lest you visit a website where you are admonished to return with a “modern” browser!

I’m sure the Lynx developers would take offence.

For a Sunday, your thoughts…

  • Have you ever used a text only web browser?  If yes, which one?
  • What was the first web browser that you used?
  • What browser are you using to access this post?
  • Are you concerned that companies are tracking you?  What sort of evidence do you have that they actually are?
  • Do you have privacy extensions like Disconnect, Ghostery, Privacy Badger, DuckDuckGo, Adblock, etc. installed to protect yourself?
  • Does advertising on the websites that you visit bother you?
  • If you were giving advice to a first time Internet user, what sorts of things would you include?

As always, I’d be interested in your thoughts.  Please share them in the comments below.

This post appears originally on


If you read it anywhere else, it’s not original.  Please don’t support them.


Author: dougpete

The content of this blog is generated by whatever strikes my fancy at any given point. It might be computers, weather, political, or something else in nature. I experiment and comment a lot on things so don't take anything here too seriously; I might change my mind a day later but what you read is my thought and opinion at the time I wrote it! My personal website is at: http://www.dougpeterson.ca Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dougpete I'm bookmarking things at: http://www.diigo.com/user/dougpete

One thought on “Whatever happened to …”

  1. I remember the web being like that! If any companies ever tracked me I’m sure they gave up quickly. My internet use is rather boring. I generally hate ad, especially when they cover content or interrupt my reading (as in news articles!). But it’s great people can make money on their blogs.


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