OldWeb.Today is not the time machine you need, it's the time machine you deserve

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Have modern times got you down? Do you miss the good old days before your every move was tracked by your Internet browser? Did you forgot to enter that contest to win a 1997 Ford Explorer. Whatever the reason, you no longer have to move bravely into 2022. In fact, you can avoid a boss battle with Omicron all together by staying home with the OldWeb.Today project.

OldWeb.Today is the new version of classic.oldweb.today and it takes the fun you might have at Internet Archive's venerable Wayback Machine a few steps further with new Javascript tooling. Instead of just rendering old web snapshots in your modern browser, it offers full browser emulation. It’s a bit misleading as it doesn’t actually emulate the browsers themselves, instead opting to deploy virtual machines on the fly. You can browse an Apple.com snapshot from 1996 using IE 5 on Windows 98, or even Microsoft.com using NCSA Mosaic 2 on Mac OS 7. It’s a treat.

Browsing a 1996 snapshot of Applecom with Internet Explorer

While browsing a 1996 snapshot of Microsoft.com using Netscape Navigator 4 on Windows 98, you’ll receive messages extolling the virtues of Internet Explorer. These messages, and the pre-installation of Internet Explorer on Windows systems in the mid-90s led to the infamous anti-trust suit and landmark verdict of 2001.

Browing a 1996 snapshot of Microsoftcom using Netscape Navigator

If you really want to dive down the retro rabbit hole, have a look at this list of websites founded before 1995. Many of these have snapshots hosted by archive.org, so you should be able to get a result for Bianca.com (the first ever chatroom), Aliweb (arguably the first search engine), or MTV. I hear they used to showcase music back then.

So, as the new year approaches, get a taste of what was and avoid the great blight of ’22 for as long as you can. Happy new year.

Note: OldWeb.Today is suffering from high volume, impacting performance. Your experience may vary.

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