1991 web page found, password lost

In response to an NPR story on the CERN project to restore the first website Paul Jones got in touch to say that he has a 1991 web page put together by the WWW team as a demonstration for the Hypertext '91 conference in San Antonio, Texas. Here it is:


This page comes with some great stories and anecdotes that Paul shared with me during a Skype call.

The paper that Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau submitted to the conference was rejected, and they had to set up shop with their NeXT machine on a table at the venue where they would demonstrate the world wide web to passing delegates. This web page was set up for offline demonstration purposes. The hypertext community were unimpressed with the web; it looked rather simple.

After the conference, however, Tim went knocking on doors. One of those doors belonged to Paul Jones at the University of North Carolina. Paul had a NeXT and Tim demonstrated the world wide web on it using this page.

If you look carefully at the first sentence in the document it reads, 'Welcome to this demonfdgfgstration for Hypertext '91.'

The word 'demonstration' got jumbled up as Tim demonstrated how to create and edit links right from the World Wide Web browser / editor on the NeXT. 

Paul pulled this file off his NeXT some time ago. 

"I can't believe how many machines my data has been on!" he laughs. "There's plenty more stuff on that NeXT, only I've forgotten the password..."

What a great find. I'm sure there is a way to get copies of these old files - and Paul is on to it already. I'll be sure to post updates here if we get news on this.


Thanks Dan for the blog entry and Michael for the password reset trick. My own 1991 page created during Tim's visit is here: http://ibiblio.org/pjones/old.paul.html
The NeXT resists booting even in single user mode. It is "Waiting for drive to come ready................." and giving me that once comfortable and regular NeXT thunking sound as it tries to read the disk (the NeXT 1.0 floptical as well as the internal hard disk).
More news from the past as it happens.

Yeah, those magneto-optical disks were definitely flaky, although they should remain readable 20 years later thanks to the asymmetric read/write technology employed. The trouble is finding a drive in good enough condition to read the media. Perhaps the Bolo computer museum in Lausanne has one? Then I've got a few archives to share...

I have a number of working drives and have dumped 200+ ODD, so if anyone needs media read, or parts for a machine, let me know. I probably have a lot of the early WWW discussions archived somewhere too.

Paul, in your archived home page, you have a link to "Danish sounds" that points to granit.dtb.dk: this was the web site I created in July 1992 for the National Library of Denmark... on a NeXT, hence the "matte black stone"-inspired machine name. One more early site to restore!

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