Chris Gulker

Back in the early days of the web, the photojournalist and media sage Chris Gulker made a significant contribution helping drag newspapers into the digital age. He also helped define blogging as a network medium.

Chris learned a few years ago that he was suffering from a rare and fast-spreading yet inoperable form of brain cancer. In July this year, at the age of only 59, he was informed by his doctor that he had a few months to live, at best. He went through with a photo show (YouTube) at the local cafe regardless, and he has displayed an admirable stoicism in the face of adversity.

I started the Wikipedia article on Chris Gulker a month ago today and nursed the piece through a nomination for deletion that was brougt by somebody who didn’t think Chris met Wikipedia’s notability criterion. Happily, the article withstood the challenge. It’s still fairly rough, but I’m sure it’ll improve over time.

HotWired: The fifth iteration of the front door

Between May 1996 and 30 June 1997, the Web zine HotWired used a front page design that prefigured the weblog interface.

Uncharacteristically for HotWired, the design launched to no fanfare in May 1996. Lexis Nexis has neither a press release nor any other contemporaneous mention in its archives.

I’ve started a list of the known references to the design. If you are aware of any other sources, online or off, please do let me know! More…

Blogosphere 1998: chunked diagram

The big network diagram [PDF] I first offered in a provisional analysis of the Blogosphere 1998 is awkward. It may take a long time to render in a PDF viewer, and once it has rendered, zooming in for the smaller node labels and zooming out for the general lay of the land is too fiddly.

Maybe I should print it out as a poster eventually.

While preparing slides for a presentation at the Statistical Cybermetrics Research Group later this month, I decided to chop up the diagram. Here’s a fairly random selection of bite-sized chunks [Flickr set].

Source texts on link attribution

Did link attributions raise the blogosphere in 1998?

When Jorn Barger discovered Chris Gulker’s “whole list of other weblogs” 5 Jan 1998, he returned from his exploration with a handful of URLs that he listed on Robot Wisdom Weblog as “cribbed links” without further attribution. By the middle of February, however, Barger instituted a system of link attribution on his site that arguably founded the blogosphere by converting Gulker’s list of sites into a functional, cross-linking network.

I’m compiling a page of archival source texts on link attribution. Ordered chronologically, the page aims to reconstruct the discussion of link attribution in the nascent blogosphere.

Feel free to suggest further additions from the year 2000 or prior. More…

Blogosphere 1998

Some work in progress: I’ve been doing research towards a State of the Blogosphere in 1998: the preliminary analysis is based on a data set that requires some commentary.

The data set attempts to be an exhaustive catalogue of all the links that passed from one weblog to another prior to 31 Dec 1998. While that ideal is impossible to attain fully, the current list is, I believe, a good-enough approximation that will afford some insight into the process through which the blogosphere first came into being.

Still, it could be better than it is, and I would like to ask all interested parties to contribute towards resolving any of the known issues – or, indeed, raise other issues and point out omissions.