I’ve spent virtually all my career working fulltime in the new media environment. Overall, that’s been brilliant. But one catch is the transient nature of your work. Look through my CV and you’ll see a list of high-profile projects and employers/clients. A quick Google check will find the right web address… but it’s almost certainly not the same website that I built, maybe a decade ago. And web.archive.org will only get you so far.
On reflection, I should probably have kept more screengrabs. But even then, you wouldn’t get a fair picture of ‘how it was back then’. Some of the design was cutting-edge for its time, but just doesn’t stand up by today’s standards.
So it was a real treat to discover that one particular project, from a full nine years ago, remains exactly as I left it. Whilst working for the Foreign Office, I was seconded for a couple of weeks to help the Commonwealth Secretariat as they organised their 1997 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Edinburgh. I decided to run a ‘daily online newspaper’ for the event, covering the event’s formalities and informalities. There were picture galleries, with (relatively) hi-res imagery for free download; a bit of audio, although if we’d made the MiniDisc player work better, we’d have done more; and a daily global (web-based) press review.
Looking back, I have to say, I’m pretty proud of it. All coded by hand, on a Viglen 486 laptop with a 640×480 colour screen (in the days when that was a big deal), and uploaded manually via FTP and a 14.4 dial-up line. Of course, these days, I’d just chuck it all in WordPress and have done with it. But it’s nice to think I might actually have invented the ‘conference blog’ with this?!