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Hudson Entertainment reviews

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chriso1
656 reviews
3,140 helpful votes
5/12/10

Crayon.net has been around forever, which you might guess from reading the FAQ and the warning that you don't want to download a whole newspaper - because it'll weigh in at a staggering 3 Megabytes and take half an hour on a 14.4k modem. Yes, crayon.net comes from an almost forgotten age, when you could sign in with either your email address or your AOL password, and Newsreader programs were something you watched on TV.

But despite its age, it still works, and if you want a simple, idiot-proof way of building your own individual "newspaper" from your choice of online resources you could do worse. And it really is simple and devoid of unnecessary graphics, ads, and new-fangled web concepts such as CSS. It's heard of javascript, but when this was put together it wasn't necessarily a given that a user would have it enabled.

So what do you get? You get to choose from a handpicked (in 1995) list of resources in around eighteen different categories, which broadly match the various sections in a physical newspaper but also include religion, web news, and others that don't normally get equal prominence on paper. Perhaps most usefully, you can choose your own resources too, as long as you have URLs for them, and the list can be as long or as short as you like.

This information is then run through a PERL script (I threw that in for geek readers who remember such things) which compiles it into an HTML page of links. Links were a pretty darn impressive thing, back then. And that's it, aside from giving you a personalized URL based around your email address. When you want to read your "newspaper", you visit that URL and there are your links. The list itself never changes, as it's just an index, but the resources, of course, do.

This is unlikely to appeal to anyone used to looking at their Yahoo or Google or - what's that other one? - homepages, with headlines and photos right there. The principle is the same, though. It may have no more than curiosity value now, a reminder of what the web used to look like, but since it's basically a text list, so you can nominate far more links of your own choosing than you could fit on a modern homepage, you might find yourself bookmarking your URL and coming back. Don't worry if you don't, by the way, as unused accounts are purged anyway. I guess they'd have to be, given that even 10Mb of online space was a pretty big deal back in the day.

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