Welcome to My Labyrinth

I built this virtual labyrinth in 1995 when I was first learning about the web.

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Photo by Benjamin Elliott on Unsplash

EdNote: If you’d rather not read the backstory on how this labyrinth came to be, you may jump straight to the landing page for my virtual labyrinth which I created in 1995 as part of my first website.

I got my first Mac, a 512Ke, in 1987. It had an 800K disk drive and 128K of ROM. You could not save your work to the computer so you had to create a document, then swap out the working disk to save to another disk. OR, you could buy an external drive and save your work to a disk on that drive, which is exactly what I did. (That first Mac still works, 22 years later.)

Those early Mac years were quite amazing. It was like belonging to a cult. The members of the cult would share all kinds of little programs that they were creating, much like Dylan fans would share bootlegs of his music. It was an underground community.

My second Mac was an SE with 20Mb hard drive. Someone had shared with me a program called Disk Doubler which purportedly turned it into a 40MB machine via code compression or some other magic.

It was on this machine that I was introduced to Hypercard. Hypercard stacks worked much the same as the Web would later operate in which each card in the stack could have links that connect them to other cards. Unlike a book, in which you go from page 1 to page 2 and so on, you could go from page 2 topage 10 to page 3 to page 82.

It seemed to have some amazing potential, and sure enough, it did.

In 1994 I enrolled in a class at the University of Minnesota Duluth called Introduction to the Internet VERIFY. We learned how to send email by Pine, how the Internet bakbone came to be, how to use Archie and Veronica to do searches. In the afternoon I explored libraries in Pisa and Berlin, downloading material to my Mac at my rural home. That evening, when I arrived home and these articles and abstracts were there I intuitively knew that the world was about to change.

The one day class ended with a first view of the emerging World Wide Web. In other words, the Internet existed, but the visual hyperlinked interface we know and use today only came to be in 1994. Mosaic was the original web browser, using File Transfer Protocol (FTP) to do its magic.

That fall Netscape was born. And the cyberuniverse expanded exponentially. Using an Adobe product called Pagemill and some HTML (Hyprtext Mark-Up Language) that I learned through a book titled Learn HTML In Two Weeks, I built a website with more than a hundred pages, primarily featuring articles and art, and my Labyrinth.

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Labyrinths

When I was in high school back in the 60s my best friend and I used to draw mazes, an extension of my tendencies toward compulsive doodling. At first they were one page mazes. Eventually they became very complicated.

On one occasion we created a couple super-mazes using a three-hole punched sprial-bound notebook. The maze beginning on page one would take you from “Start” to one of the three holes. Then you would have to turn pages to see where THAT hole continued out, connecting to the next section of maze, which then ended up leading to the other two holes and you would have to guess the right hole that lead to more pages.

When Hypercard came along years later, it seemed in my mind to be a virtual extension of this concept choices, opening unlimited possibilities. And when the World Wide Web was birthed, I learned how to create pages with code and set about to produce my virtual maze, a series of hyperlinked rooms which included dead ends and corridors to more.

The concept was simple, playful and intended to be fun, as you can see from the labyrinth’s landing page. You will find the entrance at the bottom of this page.

It was fun to create and even more fun to share. I’d love to hear your feedback.

Written by

An avid reader who writes about arts, culture, literature & other life obsessions. @ennyman3 Look for my books on Amazon https://tinyurl.com/y3l9sfpj

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