The early 1990s Internet belongs in a museum

Jane C. Hu for Slate:

Apple has long been revered for the clean, minimal style of its products and for its slick press conferences and ads. But take a look at its website from back in 1994 and you’ll see a different Apple. Back then, the company still used a rainbow version of its iconic Apple logo, and the colors streak across the page into menu options, which include a mysterious link to something called “Smorgasbord.” By today’s design standards, it’s an eyesore.

You can view this and other snapshots documenting the evolution of Apple’s website, as well as its operating system, through a digital archive called the a href=”” target=”_new”>Version Museum…

Alex, who launched the site with his son in May, says the project started as a hobby. (The son is about to start high school, and given his age, the duo wishes to remain anonymous.) “I have really fond memories of a lot of the early versions of these technologies, and I think that when people use computers and websites or play video games these days, they don’t realize that we’ve been on a decadeslong journey to get to where we are today,” he says. “The main purpose of the site is that we want to educate people of what came before what we have now.”

Beyond teens’ amusement or adults’ nostalgia at these decades-old designs, they serve an important role: preserving digital worlds that might otherwise be lost as sites and software update their looks. The nonprofit Internet Archive preserves sites through its Wayback Machine, and librarians, historians, and archivists are building their own records, but it’s impossible to preserve everything—and so what hobbyist archivists like Alex and his son gather may include glimpses into the past that no formal archive does.

MacDailyNews Take:’s “Smorgasbord” didn’t last very long!

FYI: is an “early 2000s” site. We registered the domain sometime in the late 1990s, parked it at a web host, had full-time jobs, moved, and finally the site launched on September 11, 2002. It was originally designed, built, and run on a BlueBerry iMac.

We’ve changed many times over the years, too – although maybe not as drastically as! See our evolution via the Wayback Machine here. Our current all-time post total: 69,195 articles. Whew!


  1. If they were to set up a real museum, I’d possibly send them my Power Mac 7100. Purchased mid-1994, running first MacHTTP then WebStar for web, and MailShare then AIMS/EIMS for email, I still have it in storage in running condition.

    Ah, the 90’s being a sysadmin on the Mac platform was like living in the Wild West (which I did…). The days of Macjordomo and LetterRip for list services, NetPresenz for ftp. Tango and Butler for data queries, and databasing via program linking (on which I built conceptually probably the world’s first “blog” in 1996).

    There was a lot more than that, but that was the core of Classic Mac on Power PC in the early days! My first internet connection to serve it all was a 14k, then 28k and 56k modems, with a 56k frame relay connection coming on board around 1996/7.

  2. I’m surprised of the glaring and “Substantial Similarity” of the museum and the Internet Archive’s logo. Had the Archive not been so altruistic, I’d think a copyright lawsuit would be pursued.

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