The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

June 6, 2007

Digging Up Ancient History

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — Brian Lutz @ 7:53 am

Let’s face it. If you’re living on the cutting edge of technology, you’re probably going to be left bleeding every once in a while. In an era where computers are often obsolete before they even leave the box they are shipped in, and software release schedules are so rushed that even the release versions seem like all they’re missing is the word “beta”, one can feel like they’ve fallen head-first into a Salad Shooter(tm) at times. If the computers themselves are really that bad, it’s a wonder that anyone would even THINIK of surfing the Internet. Strangely enough, millions of people dive head-first daily to surf the 500-foot tidal wave laced with used syringes, landmines and insurance salesmen that everyone, strangely enough, seems to think is some sort of 12-lane highway. If only real life made this much sense…

It was with this paragraph sometime back in 1996 that I opened up The Sledgehammer, my first long-forgotten attempt at writing a weekly “column” on the Internet that lasted for about two years and 78 “issues” before I let it slowly rot into oblivion…  Or at least I would have done so if not for the fact that someone decided that it would be a good idea to try to  back up the entire Internet and save my little forgotten piece of Web 1.0 for time and all eternity.  In some ways, I think I’d be better off just leaving my old stuff sitting on some hard disk and calling it good.  To be honest, even I have a hard time reading some of the stuff I wrote back then. Egregious spelling errors are scattered throughout the site (which was written entirely using Notepad, something I apparently took pride in at the time.  I’m surprised I didn’t get angry e-mails from vi users at the time.)  For my efforts, I think I managed to get about 12,000 hits on my homepage, and a couple of brief mentions in print magazines (I think these were good for a few hundred hits each at the time.)  This means that in theory, someone still exists out there who might have seen the original site.  Back in those days, most of my traffic came from a single link on Yahoo’s directory, since search engines like Google were still several years away at the time. 

When I began writing The Sledgehammer, I was fresh out of high school, and thought I knew everything.  Now nearly eleven years later, I’m pretty sure I don’t know everything, but I should in a year or two.  At the time, my subject matter consisted mainly of complaining about my job (at the time, I was in the middle of the two years I spent in tech support, to which I credit much of my cynicism toward Mankind,) and writing about the three computers in my den in much the same way that  one might write abou their cute little misbehaving puppies.  Add to this some assorted bashing of whatever corporate entity I felt deserved it at the time.  I also sought at times to document the happenings of the computer industry at the time, covering such hot topics as the Pentium FDIV bug, the ongoing proliferation of AOL floppies (CD-ROM drives hadn’t quite caught on yet) and the imminent collapse of the Internet under its own weight.  In a way, I was writing a Web 1.0 version of a Blog, although it wouldn’t be until about five years after I stopped writing The Sledgehammer before such a thing as a Blog actually existed.  Of course, with nothing but static HTML pages and a couple of assorted CGI scripts to plug in here and there, such a thing as a Blog wasn’t really all that practical at the time. 

Ancient history aside, I think that what I was trying to do with The Sledgehammer at the time is now a lot more practical, and capable of reaching a much larger audience, so I believe it’s time to give it another whack.  Granted, this isn’t my first attempt at blogging (I will probably bring over some of the posts from my first Blog at some point) but at the time I still hadn’t quite figured out how to make this work properly, and as a result I lost interest.  I will outline in more detail what I intend to write about (and not write about) in upcoming posts. 

 And for anyone who wants to see how truly horrendous the original version of The Sledgehammer was, you can find the link here.


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