Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Ancient Blog Post 2: Peter Merholz



Here are some early blog posts by blog pioneer Peter Merholz.

Rather than just his first post (like I did with Cameron Barrett a while ago), I decided to give you a wider glimpse.

Most company and product names are links in the original posts.

Links have been disabled due to rampant link rot (destination deterioration: 404 Page Not Found errors). Not Peter's fault, old pages often are removed from the web.

Please note how these highly respected, pioneering, uber-bloggers were:

(1) brief
(2) focused
(3) tech savvy
(4) critical
(5) blogocombative

Some are excerpts, most are complete postings for a given day.

Peter Merholz 1998 Archives


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December 21, 1998

An MIT economist weighs in with some interesting thoughts on The Web Gets Ugly.


December 17, 1998

So, instead of renaming themselves ReInvent, they've gone with the straight-forward USWeb/CKS.

Apart from creating a hideous domain name, can you see what it's an anagram of?
(Click to see)

A tasty nugget of way-new browser interface for you folks: CritSuite, "Critical Discussion Tools for The Web." Some great ideas, though I must say I found their Java mapping applet to be a bit wonky.


December 13, 1998


Interface designers beware! If you develop a sloppy UI, it might find its way into the Interface Hall of Shame. Conversely, if you excel, you could ended up in their Hall of Fame. Typically, the former is *much* larger than the latter.



December 2, 1998

Ha! A Furby autopsy. Reminiscent of the classic The Inscrutable 8-Ball Revealed. Any other toy dissections I should know about?

Remember when you saw stuff on the Web that was just cool, not useful, not earth-shattering, but damn cool, and you wanted to tell everyone about it? Well, here's some cool eye candy you've got to check out.. [requires Shockwave]

If you're not getting your fill of daily link pointing from me, Camworld, and TheObvious, there's now Tomalak's Realm.


November 9, 1998

The Industry Standard has a special feature on Internet Professional Services. Wow! About time someone covered my industry!


November 4, 1998

From the "That's Kinda In The Past Isn't It?" File--a picture of me at Burning Man. We get it.


October 27, 1998

"I suppose this implies that informers are fuckers and the well-informed are truly fucked."-- find out what's being discussed (and it's actually very interesting), here.


October 25, 1998

Alison Grippo's Ten Commandments for Producers should be read and followed by all involved in Web development.

The Finger points to buzzwords and catchphrases that have been drained of meaning, such as "alternative", "interactive", "thinking out of the box."

Submit your own favorites! (If that article isn't what you see when you click the link above, click on the "pinkies"/Friday icon on the left.)


October 19, 1998


Sign of the times. (When done reading, make sure to head to the home page, and then email Sam, and tell him that content-oriented framed-sites suck if you can't direct people to the tidbit you want to send them to because it's buried in a frameset somewhere.)

The Virtual Autopsy gets big points for this intro:

"This site has been designed with medical students in mind--i.e., lots of big buttons, simple instructions, and pretty colours."


August 25, 1998


Jakob Nielsen and Donald Norman have joined forces to create the Nielsen Norman Group.

My former employer has just been bought. Sigh.


July 9, 1998


I am Not Quite Fierce.

See, I've been skewered by Tor, who disparagingly labels me a member of the "new web intelligencia." He and his sideburns are laughing at you right now, because if you're reading my lame site, you must suck, too.


July 8, 1998


Browser Wars, Revisited:

Wired News reports that Netscape and Microsoft are proposing very different ways of doing the same thing, again. I'm sick of their crap. I think I'm gonna just use Opera from now on. Small, fast, and conforms to standards.


June 28, 1998

My list of links not enough? Check out Camworld, whose filter list puts me and theobvious to shame. Some fun stuff there. Go on. Try it. Just come back when you're done, okay?


June 6, 1998

Interface design mucky-muck Bruce "Tog" Tognazzini humorously details the difficulties users face with something as seemingly simple as maximizing windows.


May 24, 1998

Funny net.stuff!

In the same way you can count significant humor print magazines on one finger (now that Spy is gone), the Web is also somewhat lacking when it comes to mirth.

However, here's a few sites that should elicit a laugh, chuckle, snort, maybe even a guffaw.

The Onion. The King of Web Humor. Not humor about the Web, but on the Web.Originally begun as a college humor newspaper out of the University of Wisconsin, Madison (don'cha know!), it has grown to become a Media Entity in its own right.

The Brunching Shuttlecocks. A homegrown humor zine out of Santa Cruz, this place has guaranteed giggles for the twentynothing crowd. My personal favorites are the ratings, particularly of The Superfriends and Breakfast Cereals.

Stick Figure Death Theater. A simple idea--depict stick figures meeting their maker in little animated .GIFs. Not only is it funny, it seems to have tapped a chord in Webheads, as the innumerable fan-created scenarios attest.


May 17, 1998

Two more Way New Interfaces:

I/O/D's Web Stalker. An alternative web browser that doesn't render pages, but sites. If you're willing to struggle through an extremely obtuse interface (you must read the Help documentation), you'll be rewarded with a radically new way of envisioning the Web, the first serious attempt (I'm aware of) of breaking free of the page-centric paradigm.

PlumbDesign's ThinkMap. My current fave-rave Way New Interface because it not only radically departs from traditional modes, it's fairly intuitive. Two applications of the ThinkMap are the Visual Thesaurus, and the Smithsonian Institution's Revealing Things. ThinkMap is about displaying relationships between information in a graphical, kinetic way.

My single favorite feature is the real-time graphical search narrowing. With the Thesaurus' noun-verb-adverb-adjective knob, or Revealing Things' sliders, you can easily refine your search and immediately see the effect of your decisions... Much better than submitting a new query, only to be told after considerable delay that it retrieved either 0 or 3,000,000 results.

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