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I’m a huge fan of nostalgia. I love to reminisce and one of my favourite pass times is to sit down in front of a classic video from my childhood – The Neverending Story, The Dark Crystal, The Labyrinth, Transformers – The Movie and the Princess Bride are some of the movies that formed the foundations of my youth and sit on my shelf as jewels of my video collection.
With the web now reaching it’s early teen years and for me personally almost reaching the 10 years online mark (not quite there yet) I can also reminisce about my Internet past. In particular I love to revisit some of my old websites I no longer maintain.
Back when I was learning HTML I often did complete web design revisions of my magic site, MTGParadise.com. For me it was a chance to flex my design muscles, be a bit creative and much like rearranging the furniture in your room, helps to breath new life into a website.
Thankfully there is an Internet Archive called The Way Back Machine that has been busy over the years archiving all the websites on the world wide web. Not a small job given how much data is out there. The Way Back Machine boasts that it stores “40 billion web pages archived from 1996 to a few months ago”.
For a bit of fun take a trip down Internet history and look at what some of the modern pinnacles of the Internet were like back when the net was new.
As a practical tool the Internet Archive is quite handy to assess your competition or new business ideas. By investigating the evolution of web sites you can see how long it took to get from one point to another (say subscriber numbers to a forum, or auction listing numbers etc) which you can use to compare to your own metrics. You can monitor the changes of competing sites and get ideas from where they have been. As a worse case scenario you can also recapture lost graphics or web design elements you that might have gone missing from your own personal archives.