E-Scribe : a programmer’s blog

About Me

PBX I'm Paul Bissex. I build web applications using open source software, especially Django. Started my career doing graphic design for newspapers and magazines in the '90s. Then wrote tech commentary and reviews for Wired, Salon, Chicago Tribune, and others you never heard of. Then I built operations software at a photography school. Then I helped big media serve 40 million pages a day. Then I worked on a translation services API doing millions of dollars of business. Now I'm building the core platform of a global startup accelerator. Feel free to email me.

Book

I co-wrote "Python Web Development with Django". It was the first book to cover the long-awaited Django 1.0. Published by Addison-Wesley and still in print!

Colophon

Built using Django, served with gunicorn and nginx. The database is SQLite. Hosted on a FreeBSD VPS at Johncompanies.com. Comment-spam protection by Akismet.

Elsewhere

Pile o'Tags

Stuff I Use

bitbucket, Django, Emacs, FreeBSD, Git, jQuery, LaunchBar, Markdown, Mercurial, OS X, Python, Review Board, S3, SQLite, Sublime Text, Ubuntu Linux

Spam Report

At least 236528 pieces of comment spam killed since 2008, mostly via Akismet.

I Remember the Web: altavista.digital.com

First in an occasional series where I show how old I am by reminiscing about the '90s World Wide Web.

Do you remember the Altavista search engine? I don't mean the thing that Yahoo bought and buried. I mean the original 1990s version.

Altavista was an exciting game-changer when it arrived at the end of 1995. Web search had a lot of room for improvement. Altavista's two standout attributes that crushed the competition (e.g. WebCrawler) were its size and its speed.

I recall Digital saying it was partly intended as a demo of the powerful hardware they had dedicated to it. But in any case it was a huge leap in usability.

Then Google came along and added better relevance while also being vast and fast. I didn't find Google to be an obvious Altavista-killer at first, but over time it kept improving substantially while Altavista did not.

Saturday, November 14th, 2015
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