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GifCities: Over 4.5 Million Searchable, Old-School, Animated Gifs

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In celebration of its 20th anniversary of archiving the web, the Internet Archive has released GifCities. It’s an animated GIF search engine that has indexed millions of animated GIFs from the obsolete GeoCities websites.

Geocities was an early web hosting service, started in 1994 and acquired by Yahoo in 1999, with which users could create their own custom websites. The platform hosted over 38 million user-built pages and was at one time the third most visited site on the web. In 2009, Yahoo announced it was closing down the service, at which point the Internet Archive attempted to archive as much of the content as possible.

Mining this collection, we extracted over 4,500,000 animated GIFs (1,600,000 unique images) and then used the filenames and directory path text to build a best-effort “full text” search engine. Each GIF also links back to the original Geocities page on which it was embedded (and some of these pages are even more awesome than the GIFs).

Head over there to relive a classic era of the World Wide Web. And please, go notify all your readers that your site is still under construction.

Rare Color Film Of The Three Stooges

My father is a big fan of The Three Stooges so I’ve spent many a Sunday morning watching the Stooges clown around in black and white on the television. That’s why it was such a treat to stumble upon this rare color film of the trio. Filmed in 1938 at the Steel Pier, Atlantic City, New Jersey by George Mann of the comedy dance team, Barto and Mann. The film was shot without sound and held no other purpose beyond having fun.


video courtesy of Brad Smith

Museum Of Endangered Sounds

I love the idea of saving sounds from extinction. Marybeth Ledesma, Phil Hadad and Greg Elwood (under the guise of Brendan Chilcutt) have created and curated the online Museum Of Endangered Sounds. It’s an audio archive of yesteryear’s gadgets and electronics. Without the museum the sounds of analog cameras, dot matrix printers, dial-up modems, Speak & Spells, and floppy disks would have died a silent death. But now I have them archived for my own nostalgic musing. We would have failed as a generation if we didn’t try to preserve and then force our past on the youth of today. Long live Museum Of Endangered Sounds.

(via Alan Cooper)

Faithful Friends Who Were Dear To Us, Will Be Near To Us No More

“Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” is probably my favorite Christmas song simply because of its emotional ambivalence. It resonates closely with so many of the feelings I have around the Christmas season. The lyrics open up that uneasy longing for that unattainable ideal of Christmas that so many of us want. The holidays can be hard.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
It may be your last
Next year we may all be living in the past
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Pop that champagne cork
Next year we may all be living in New York
No good times like the olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who were dear to us
Will be near to us no more
But at least we all will be together
If the Lord allows
From now on, we’ll have to muddle through somehow
So have yourself a merry little Christmas now

My emotions during the holidays weigh heavily. Christmastime brings a contemplative melancholia that I actually revel in, and there is a wistful type of comfort in accepting this. In knowing that the season is steeped in nostalgia and want for a better time and place. In accepting that my memories will grow a little dimmer with the passing of the year. In acknowledging that our world can be unraveled, changed, and built back up with little of our own control. In understanding that friends, family, or loved ones are gone from our lives – for good. I feel akin with the folks who recognize that Christmas can be complicated, emotionally irresolute, and inherently blue.
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A Geek’s Journal From 1976

I have recently been enjoying Steven Thompson’s new blog A Geek’s Journal 1976. Steven was a teenage geek in 1976 and he is blogging all of his old diary entries from that year. Each entry is from the current date – 35 years ago. Here’s an excerpt from today’s entry:

After school I took the bus straight over the river again. I picked up one great comic, one great magazine and two not bad comics…as well as finally giving in and buying HUSTLER. Tried to avoid that last one but guess I didn’t try hard enough. I did manage to avoid actually opening it or even flipping through it, though. Stuffed it right under the chair pillow unread. Maybe the more I learn about myself, the more I realize I don’t really need that kind of thing. I can do without it. Maybe I can hold out past my limit this time without any trouble. I hope so.

While I was over there, I ordered my very first triple from Wendy’s but when I got home I found dad had got my usual six coneys. So…I ate all of it!

In the midst of all the posturing, bravado, and “personal branding” in the blogosphere these days, it’s refreshing to see a project with this much heart. There’s a certain level of exposure and vulnerability to a project like this that I find appealing not only because of the often cringe worthy events recorded there in, but because of the both funny and sad way it is written.

Dip And Dunk

There was a time when they dotted the landscape in five and dime stores, bus stations, roller rinks, and amusement parks from coast to coast. In todays world of digital photography, finding an oldstyle photobooth (original chemical chemical dip & dunk botths, not the digital ones) is like finding a soda fountain shop – I can hardly avoid partaking in it’s nostalgic appeal and usually end up spending a few bucks. Photobooths in Colorado can be located at The Collective in Boulder and at Sputnik in Denver. While you’re at it, go check out the Photobooth Blog.