I have been around the Internet seemingly for ages. As soon as I found a way to go online, I did and around 1993 or 1994, with the advent of the Mosaic browser, a whole new world opened up. Memories as to what I actually did online way back when remain hazy, but I do recall a name and a URL that I started to frequent around 1996 or 1997. The name was Lance Arthur, the URL was glassdog.com and when the “Glassdog Club” rolled around, I was hooked.No matter what transpired before and the many things I dabbled in later, Lance Arthur’s many different iterations and reincarnations of his glassdog domain were my first serious encounter with (first a single person and then) a whole group of people who cared about the web, had something to say, put effort into improving things and, best of all, were interested in pushing the boundaries of what little seemed possible at the time.
When the Glassdog Club came into existence, a forum for people who – amongst other topics – wanted to talk about the World Wide Web, designing websites and trying out new things, it became the single destination to frequent in order to stay up to date and to get web technology and design-related answers, usually within a very short period of time. I simply cannot remember if I posted more than a question here or there, but I do recall going there almost daily, having a look at exciting new websites that were being critiqued, participating in the early Cascading Style Sheets excitement in 1996 – when the level 2 specification was developed by the W3C – and, altogether, being inspired to read more, learn more and improve.
It was an exciting time and despite the many people active around then, people who had something worthwhile to say, I always thought Lance Arthur was the real pioneer. He also wrote up a storm and I recall reading most of what he published way back then. One of the funniest pieces was one on trying to install Windows on some PC. I have that saved somewhere. It was a hilarious read, mirroring millions of people’s experience with a buggy installation routine.
It all started with Lance Arthur for me and then continued with people like Raymond Piroux, David Siegel and, later, with the 9rules crew and many other more or less known individuals. I still have very fond memories of that earliest stage of the Internet craze, one that was a lot more innocent than it is today.
To be quite honest, I sometimes wish we could have just frozen that moment in time.