Monthly Archives: February 2023

Bruce’s Home Page. Part I. “Malaysia’s Bill Gates”
Bruce’s Home Page. Part II. Calvin and Hobbes



Bruce’s home page was the first screenshot published on the One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age Photo Op tumblr blog. Of course that doesn’t mean this is the first page ever made on GeoCities, or even the oldest one in the archive. There are 3 dimensions of time at work here:

  1. The inception date, when a user first claimed an address on GeoCities and filled out a template or published some files. The best approximation for this time is the earliest last-modified date found on a file in a user’s directory.
  2. The last modified, when a user stopped updating their GeoCities project. The most effective approximation for this is the last-modified date of the home page, since most users would announce any change to sub pages on their home page. That’s also why these were selected to be screenshotted and made public.
  3. The posting date, when the screenshot of a home page is appearing on tumblr. Only home pages are posted, in chronological order, according to their abandonment date.

The later a page’s last modified date, the longer the difference to the inception date can potentially be, and the more research is required to understand if content and design of a particular page are tied to the page’s last-modified date or if the page is even older. (More on the complexities of interpreting the last-modified date will be addressed in the upcoming essay “Generation Update”.)

In relation to Bruce’s page this means that there are other pages which were claimed earlier and hence are older, but since they have been updated by their users for longer and where abandoned later, they will also appear much later on the tumblr blog. As I am writing this, pages abandoned in March 2006 appear on tumblr, yet they might have been established many years before.

Let’s forget for a moment the metadata that’s available, and rely only on researchers’ eyes and ears. How can we guess a website’s age? How could we guess Bruce’s Home Page age?

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Ten years ago, on the 7th of February 2013 at 11:07 CET, the very first screenshot of a freshly restored GeoCities home page was published on the Tumblr blog One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age Photo Op. Since the start of this project more than 231,000 screenshots showing the pages in their original software environments were circulated, inviting a new audience to discover and make sense of the history of user culture on the web. We still have approximately 160,000 pages to come, which will probably take 4 more years.

In this post I collected 10 most popular (+ 1 relatively popular) screenshots of the first 10 years. We turned many into video with sound, some pages are restored and can be explored on the live web.

#1. Kylie’s Home-Dog Page

84059 reactions

Last modified 2002-10-08 02:22
Posted 2019-02-27 22:20

The absolute leader. This screenshot got reposed, liked and commented as no other was. No wonder! It is incredibly cute and it is made by Kylie herself (you may want to read more about dog webmasters).

Apart from that, this is a famous website that was started in Heartland/Hills but soon became, which gathered a lot of fans and was featured in mass media.

Kylie died in 2009, but the website is still online as well as another one her family made for her, it was last updated in April, 2017.

Though you can almost fully explore the universe of Kylie’s pages and blogs on the contemporary web, one thing is missing — the audio file bark.wav playing in the background of her original GeoCities website. We video recorded the home page so you can here Kylie’s voice. Don’t forget to turn up the sound:



#2. without <title></title>

37942 reactions

Last modified 1999-02-08 07:04
Posted 2014-05-08 02:20

My personal favorite. A gem in the Give Me Time/This Page is No More collection. The screenshot with a full “reaction GIF” potential.


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Bruce’s Home Page. Part I. “Malaysia’s Bill Gates”

In the One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age archive, every GeoCities page and file is associated with meta data. A small portion is technical (there is not so much that can be said about a singular file apart from its URL, last modified date, and the links it contains), the most interesting and important information are the tags assigned by humans.

The chronologically first page in the archive, Bruce’s Home Page, was tagged with “calvin”, “welcome”, “give me time”, “template”, “portal”, and “interview”. These tags were not assigned at once, but added gradually. Only after seeing other pages it became clear to me that the page was made using a template, and only later research revealed that there could the be possibility for an interview with the person who made it. Well, it’s still a prospect. More on that in Part I of this series on Bruce’s Home Page.

“Give me time” is my tag for pages that are freshly born, or rather conceived and immediately abandoned, but their author leaves a promise to finish the page very soon, when school starts or ends, when summer starts or is over, or as in Bruce’s case “after my exams”.

The tag “calvin” was the first one I gave to this page, assuming that the graphic on the top means that the person was a fan of the comic strip series Calvin and Hobbes, and the future page was ment to be about it in the future. There are a lot of pages I misinterpreted like that.

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Ten years ago, on the 7th of February 2013 at 11:07 CET, the very first screenshot of a rescued and restored GeoCities home page was published on the Tumblr blog One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age Photo Op.

Bruce’s Home Page was a fortunate exemplar to open the project with. Although it doesn’t have a lot of content and doesn’t look particularly spectacular, it offers a good deal of graphic and structural elements and verbal expressions to start a conversation about the web of the mid 1990’s and introduce the material we at the GeoCities Research Institute have at hand. The page can be discussed as an early web page, as a web page on GeoСities, and as an artifact of the archive. One could write a book about it, but let it be a series of 3 blog posts. And since it is a 10 years anniversary I’ll start with a little sensation.

“Bruce’s Home Page” or, by its semantic title, “topgun’s Home Page”, as visible in the browsers title bar on the top left, is a simple page. There is not much more to it than what is visible on the the screenshot. If you compare it with the actual page you’re only missing a footer containing an email link, a link back to the Hollywood neighborhood, a broken  Beverly Hills Internet icon (this  is how the company that started GeoCities web hosting service was originally called), a second under construction ribbon, and a copyright note “© 1995”.

The only thing we get to know about the author is that he calls himself Bruce and that he is “a Malaysian who is thrilled of having a website”. We assume he is a young Top Gun and Calvin and Hobbes fan. (More on the Calvin and Hobbes mystery will be discussed in part II.) He also seems to know something about computers, at least this is how I interpret the “I hate Bill Gates” label of the link he pointed to
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