Category Archives: web

blasts from the past

Just because web 2.0 is here, bringing with it some lavish technologies (capable of invading your privacy forever), doesn’t mean that all the best websites are recent launches. Here’s 3 cool old-skool sites.

One of the most functional (for the time) websites I ever came across was the superb mtnsms.com – online text messaging done right. This site ran from circa 1999-2002, by which time some 7,500,000 people were using the service.

The site would forward web SMS’s to recipients mobiles on any network for free. No catches, no surveys, no delays, free. If you didn’t have a mobile (last century, so not everyone did), they allocated you a virtual number, so you could receive txts online. You kept a phone register there, a txt history, all sorts of cool features we’d never had before.

The system would show when a txt had been received (indicating the recipient phone was switched on) and when it had been opened (read). You could delay txt sending by an unlimited length of time – so I wrote my NYE 2K txts in late November & left them there to send at midnight 31/12/99. The biggest SMS flood ever hit the networks right then, crashing SMS systems worldwide. Nobody got their txts sent or delivered within hours of midnight. Except for mine, they were arriving right on time.

Mtnsms.com would have evolved into a social media leader, seeing as it had the messaging platform in place already. Unfortunately, txt messaging was still a cash cow – they cost 20c ea to send from your phone back then. So mid-2004 MTN closed the site down.

The first time I experienced real life outrage at a virtual presence was the petition to ban bonsaikitten.com. It worked too, the site was swiftly removed from teh Interwebs. Recently though, it’s been restored. Pet lovers everywhere rejoice! Bonsai kitten – how gullible are you people?

Microsoft realised they had a serious competitor on their hands with the iPod Classic & the way it dominated the personal music player market. Realistically, Microsoft was one of very few companies capable of competing with Apple for that space.
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