looking forward into the past

MySpace, 2008:

You are about to leave MySpace.com. In an effort to stop phishing, we are warning you: DO NOT ENTER YOUR MYSPACE PASSWORD on this new website! To continue to this website, click the link: Tom's blog about Phishing. Tom's Blog about this Warning Page.

NCSA Mosaic, 1993:

BEWARE: Despite our best and most strenuous intentions to the contrary, absolutely anything could be on the other end of this hyperlink, including -- quite possibly -- pornography, or even nudity. NCSA disclaims all responsibility regarding your emotional and mental health and specifically all responsibility for effects of viewing salacious material via Mosaic. With that in mind, are you *sure* you want to follow this hyperlink??? Yup, I'm sure, really. Ack, no! Get me outta here.

Tags: , , , , ,
Current Music: Jem -- Save Me ♬

30 Responses:

  1. positricity says:

    How did they accomplish that prompt?

    <a href="http://example.com" onclick="return prompt('Do you really want to leave our Web site for example.com?')">This is a link</a> is a semi-modern method.

    • jwz says:

      It was built into the browser!

      If the option "protectMeFromMyself" was set, it would pop up that dialog every time you clicked a link. And it wasn't (just) a joke, it was added as a requirement by some customer. (I don't remember if that customer was inside the university or was corporate, though.)

      • poige says:


        It's quite clear what should be happening if "Yup, I'm sure, really." would had been chosen, but where to "Ack, no! Get me outta here." was leading then? :-) Just canceling [Go] is boring. :-)

        • jwz says:

          It just cancelled the click.

        • cnoocy says:

          Google seems to have adjusted their algorithm, but there was a time where searching for "Exit" or "Leave" pulled up Disney as the first result from so many people using it as the alternative when asking to enter a porn site.

          • marnanel says:

            I can also remember Disney being the top hit for "no" (as an answer to "Are you 18 or over?"). Now it's Wikipedia, as is the top hit for almost everything else.

      • icis_machine says:

        ahh... that explains why i never saw it even the first month of mosaic or when i worked in those same uni sites for 3 years.

        we did however have a huge porn problem by the name of joshua laugh that might begin to explain reaction.

      • lionsphil says:

        Ugh, the requirements of paying customers. Word has it that that's why Opera supports the abomination which is <blink> in this day and age.

        I don't know what Firefox's excuse is.

        • marnanel says:

          If you attempt to use the "blink" text-decoration in styling an external page on Facebook, it removes that line and generates the warning message "Are you kidding?"

  2. inoci says:

    Which versions/years was that warning included in? I seem to recall seeing it once, but I can't remember when or where, though a computer lab of some sort comes to mind. It was notable at the time as I just figured the first paragraph was more of a promise than a warning.

    • jwz says:

      It was in XMosaic 2.5 at least, and I think earlier.

      • mark242 says:

        It was earlier.

        I wish I had a screengrab of one of the pranks a group of computing-club members (as undergrads) pulled on the grad students in their nice clean spiffy X-Terminal lab (while us undergrads had to deal with vt100 greenscreens). Someone "acquired" root access and modified the script that fired up XMosaic to force that option on. Then, they took beav and modified the actual message to say something like "Prior to clicking continue, please call (System Admin Guy who we didn't like) at XXX-XXX-XXXX to verify hyperlink integrity", or some such nonsense.

        To this day, I'm amazed that university admins let the club exist, when it was pretty clear who was causing all of that trouble.

  3. baconmonkey says:

    so that is what space smells like!

  4. elfs says:

    "Pornography, even nudity"?

    Shouldn't that have been the other way 'round?

    • giles says:

      If I wasn't so lazy I'd draw a great Venn diagram on this topic, but the short answer is: nope! You've got your old men in diapers (for recreation, not incontinence) and the people in dog crates and women stomping on things and fursuits and imperiled bondage and the Food Network.

      • marnanel says:

        It's true that there's porn which DOESN'T involve nudity, but I think elfs's point was that since the proportion of porn which does include nudity is larger than the proportion of nudity which isn't pornographic, it would have made more sense to say "nudity, even pornography" rather than "pornography, even nudity".

        Also, I can't type "porn" any more because my fingers keep correcting it.

    • insomnia says:

      Admittedly, this was '93 we're talking about here, so chances are good it would've been ascii text pr0n...

      • elfs says:

        Oh, yeah. I was responsible for an awful lot of that myself, back then, wasn't I?

      • kragen says:

        Yeah. For years nobody could run a free porn site on the web, because the traffic would swamp their server and their network connection and cost them loads of cash. When did sounds.sdsu.edu shut down their free music download archive? 1994?

  5. insomnia says:

    Dear Jebus, pls sav mi frum d'click. Kthnxbye.

  6. bmused says:

    Hi there -- I just saw a comment you left in Brad's journal asking about the potential benefits of solar panel installation at DNA. I've known and worked with the owners of SolarCity for many years, and I'm sure they'd be happy to help you out.

    If you're interested in hearing more and/or would like me to get you in touch with them, please feel free to email me at my LJ address.

    /shameless + intrusive plug

  7. taiganaut says:

    Those assholes ruined my rickroll and I had to fix it this morning.

  8. or even nudity.

    ah, the winsome naïvetè of the early Web.

  9. icedaemoness says:

    Dude. I love Jem. Good job with the music selection. ps omg thank you for your costume on friday.

  10. steveshot says:

    Clearly, Mosaic is wayyy better than Myspace. ^_^

    Sense of humor is good compared to the seriousness of the Myspace warning of not typing your Myspace password in the new website.

    I mean, what if the new website was the place where you had an account to it and you're using the same password? ;) I know using the same password on mulitple accounts is the worst things ever, but they obviously didn't consider that this person going to this site had an account on it. They just automatically call the site outside of Myspace (any site, I guess) a phishing one. XD

  11. jwz says:

    Incidentally, I didn't just happen to have that Mosaic screen shot handy. I dug an SGI O2 out of the closet and compiled NSCA Mosaic 2.5 on it from source to grab that.

    I will go to great lengths for a joke.