Join me on a harrowing journey through time to reclaim my first website to hit the world wide web [www.angelfire.com/nc/ahf]. You may be thinking about visiting that address, don’t do it! I’ve purposely un-linked it so you don’t bombard yourself with the mash-up of pop-up ads and adware that most of these early hosting services have become (think Geo-Cities).
What would I find @ [www.angelfire.com/nc/ahf]?
Once upon a time, in a land north-west of Charlotte, NC there existed a town called Lincolnton (it may still be there, I haven’t checked lately). In this place, in the year nineteen hundred and ninety ~something~, a group of young men banded together to form…a, uh….band. Not just any band, a truly terrible Christian, punk-rawk band that wrote and performed truly terrible songs. In reality, there was a lot of talent in that band, unfortunately the guy who was writing all the music and lyrics wasn’t one of them (hint: it was me).
Why does this still exist? Why, why, why. . .
This is the exact question I asked when I randomly went looking for it a while back. I knew that I had not officially decommissioned the site, but surely this scourge had been purged from the internet after all this time. The kicker is I have no way to login to the site because the email address that was used to set it up has long since vanished. The remainder of the article focuses on my attempts to regain access to this site. However, if you hang in till the end there is a special treat for those of you just dying to know more about AHF.
The Official Route
My first thought was “maybe if I just ask nicely they will give me access”. That went something like this:
As you may have expected, this is the end of that particular story. No reply ever came. I should have suspected it might be a fruitless effort when I noticed the help desk ticket site for Angelfire (now Lycos) didn’t bother with an TLS cert (check out one of my previous posts to learn more about what that is).
The Hard Way
Next, I thought…well I could just browse to each page, copy the source code, download the resources, and reassemble it. Shortly there after I did a quick google search that yielded a magic tool that quickly did that for me: httrack.com
Turning Back Time
Once I had the guts of the website in my hand…I realized how messy a situation I was in (gross pun intended).
- All the lovely pop-ups and ads had hitched a ride on the download train. I had to be sure all of that had been properly stripped out.
- Did I mention it was my first website? Let’s just say my coding techniques could have used a peer review.
In the end I did manage to reconstruct the site (in most of its 90s glory), which you can find here. If you look closely you may even find some newly discovered, yet vintage content.
GitHub Repository: https://github.com/csharpPrgmmr/ahf-retro
Note: For the small group of people that did frequent the website, the guest book (yeah, remember guest books, the pre-Facebook, pre-MySpace, post-bulletin-board, hangout spot) was a hotbed for off color comedy and amusement. Unfortunately that content has been buried in the constantly flowing stream of bits over the years (its gone, I looked, I can’t find it anywhere). If there is enough interest I may look into standing up one for old-times sake, M-G-B-G-A! (Make guest books great again!)
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