Seeking contact inside AOL.

Back in March 2008, on the ten year anniversary of the Mozilla project, I managed to bring the 1994 version of home.mcom.com back online, both as an historical snapshot, and also to make the old web browser executables themselves fully functional again (since they had URLs on that web site burned into them).

I was able to do this with the cooperation of some helpful and historically-minded AOL employees, who set up the DNS tricks for the home.mcom.com and mosaic.mcom.com domains, and hosted the old content there for me.

Unfortunately, this is a fragile situation. For the second or third time, those changes inside AOL's DNS configuration have gotten reverted, and home.mcom.com has begun redirecting back to aol.com. The last couple of times this happened, I was able to get it fixed, but this time, all of my previous contacts inside AOL no longer work there, and have so far been unable to point me at whoever is in charge now.

Dear Lazyweb, do you know anyone inside AOL who could point me at the right person?

What I would like, in increasing order of preference:

    3: Put things back the way they were before, with AOL hosting the content.

    2: Or, point the home.mcom.com and mosaic.mcom.com DNS to my server's IP, and I'll serve the content myself.

    1: Ideally, just transfer the mcom.com domain to me. I'd be willing to pay for it, if it's not a fortune.

Who should I talk to?


Update: Thanks to Jacob Rosenberg, option 2 is in effect, and both mosaic.mcom.com and home.mcom.com are back online, as well as the browser archive. Thanks to everyone who passed my request along!

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22 Responses:

  1. Jason Gill says:

    Get in touch with John Biggs, john at crunchgear dot com or @johnbiggs on twitter; John is the head of CrunchGear and an all-around cool guy. He's unwillingly become an AOL employee after TechCrunch got bought by AOL and would most likely be able to help you out (and give you an extra 1000 hours of AOL, FREE!)

  2. Nathan says:

    If this is for running the browsers on your own computer, you could modify your HOSTS file to redirect those addresses to any IP you desire.

  3. xian says:

    jwz, I work at AOL and I'll ask around inside to see who can help you get this resolved 3, 2, or 1-wise.

  4. xian says:

    p.s.: looks like Jason Shellen's on the case, and he probably has more make-shit-happen mojo than I do but I'll stay on it...

  5. Ryan says:

    I've dropped a line to a co-worker that was recently a senior sysadmin for aol.com -- he may be able to point you the right way.

  6. Shay says:

    I'm an AOL employee now (5min Media acquisition), I'll see if I can talk to someone.

  7. I'm on it Jamie. I currently in charge of AIM in our Consumer Applications Group, but will let you know what we can do ASAP.

  8. Nick Lamb says:

    So, yeah, that seems to have worked. WHOIS says AOL still control mcom.com and dig suggests there's no CNAME magic so presumably you got option 3 activated. Until next time then.

  9. Moses O Gold says:

    Chad Lau (@dogstar) might be interested to know this. Under the title Origin of a Browser, Chad has posted a 1994 archive of home.mcom.com.

  10. Chad says:

    Hey Jamie. You provided me with the mcom archive on my website over 10 years ago. Just wondering if you prefer a direct link to mcom.com from me or to keep the separate archive on my site as is?

  11. vishnu says:

    Yet more evidence that no matter how faceless and monolithic a corporate entity may appear there are always at least some real people in there somewhere...

  12. Thank you Jamie and the non-automatons at AOL for letting me tweet yet another "Pepperidge Farm remembers" bit about commercial browsers.

    cfs

  13. Don Hopkins says:

    "At the risk of invoking the wrath of Jamie Zawinski": ... http://isolani.co.uk/blog/javascript/BreakingTheWebWithHashBangs/ ... Now you have two problems.

  14. Moses O Gold says:

    Thanks for preserving the history!

  15. M Gold says:

    Thanks for preserving the history!

  16. Yuhong Bao says:

    "The web server also had to be configured to not send a "charset" parameter on the "Content-Type" header, because the old browsers didn't know what to make of that. "
    Looks like someone messed that up. From a telnet session to home.mcom.com:

    HEAD / HTTP/1.0
    HTTP/1.1 200 OK
    Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2011 07:57:27 GMT
    Server: Apache
    Last-Modified: Fri, 21 Oct 1994 19:00:00 GMT
    ETag: "10400d9-f1-2c7ebe95f4c00"
    Accept-Ranges: bytes
    Content-Length: 241
    Cache-Control: max-age=31536000
    Expires: Tue, 14 Feb 2012 07:57:27 GMT
    Vary: Accept-Encoding
    Connection: close
    Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8