by Jason Snell
‘A scarce and unusual image’
So my friend John Siracusa sends me a tweet that took me down a rabbit hole ending in something I worked on 26 years ago:
If you need to reach me, I'll be cybersurfing over at The Internet Mall. https://t.co/7E10bIYloM
— Lizard 🦎 Scaly (@liza) October 3, 2022
The link in this tweet goes to a page on Boston Rare Maps highlighting this:
A 1996 “road map” using a cartographic metaphor to explain content available on the Internet, provided as a bonus for purchasers of MacUser magazine and with a decided emphasis on the Apple ecosystem…. In all, a scarce and unusual image of the internet in its early days of development.
Yes, this is MacUser’s Internet Road Map project, an extra (I can’t remember if it was only in newsstand editions or if subscribers got it, or if it was an inducement to subscribe?) that I worked on with my fellow MacUser editor (and current podcast compatriot) Shelly Brisbin back in the mid-90s.
The entry on Boston Rare Maps also highlights Geoff Duncan as our “Net surfer[!]” — their brackets and exclamation. To explain: We wanted every link on the Internet Road Map to be real, representing an actual hyperlink on the Internet from one page to another. To find those, Geoff Duncan wrote (in HyperCard, if I recall correctly) a web crawler that would follow links and mark interconnections. It allowed Shelly and me to find ways to get our favorite pages onto the map without breaking the rules. (We ended up with lots of Yahoo directory pages on the map simply because were the best way to connect a bunch of disparate websites.)
We did a second one of these maps a year later. (Geez, I wonder what it sold for?) It did not follow the same strict rules as the original and was more of a poster than a “real” map of the Internet.
Anyway, Boston Rare Maps is selling this subscriber giveaway for $1750 in “about excellent” condition, which is making me regret not saving more of them. Though I have at least one, and maybe more, tucked away in a box somewhere.