Yesterday was mostly midtown, and kind of oppressively so. I felt horrible for oversleep and poor diet. I find myself thinking about the past more than I prefer. Watching videos of myself from 1997, leaving New York and setting up a short-term life in Atlanta. Watching it again makes the screws dig seeper into my psyche. I should never have made that move. It’s as close as I ever came to being a career guy. A Company guy. Make a huge sacrifice in lifestyle and personal goals for the sake of the Company.

I forgot about the options. I was granted a shit ton of options at a generous strike price. But this was Time-Warner in late 1999. In early 2000 AOL bought the company and those generous options became worthless, Had AOL never bought Time-Warner and I held on to those options for 5 years or longer I would probably have cashed out pretty well. But that didn’t happen and I’m fine with it. Not concerned about wealth. Wealth, I believe, comes with responsibility. Most wealthy people do not live up to that responsibility but that’s another discussion. I would have done something societally beneficial with my wealth. I have no idea now what that would have entailed and there’s no point chewing that cud this far away from it all.

I wandered Midwood, Brooklyn. At least I think that’s where I was. Neighborhood delineations can be confusing. I passed the Edward R. Murrow High School, coincidental to my recent rediscovery of a set of LP records containing the Murrow-curated “This I Believe” series.

If I were to doa “This I Believe” it would focus on lying, and how lying works. Lying is a currency of advancement in professional and personal life. Everybody lies abobut something. Some of us lie about everything. My most significant personal and professional advancements came to pass largely on account of lies I told, whether deliberately or by accident. This I believe.

Midwood, if that’s really where I was, is solidly residential with businesses found on the alphabetic avenues. I spotted an old telephone EXchange name number, CLoverdale, on a fence. That alone made the trip worthwhile.

It reminded me that the Internet seems to have lost a true gem of a website. The Telephone EXchange Name Project was the most comprehensive set of data and memories from when telephone numbers started with letters or words. It was a bit craggy in its interface but that didn’t matter if you really needed to know what IL stood for in Queens COunty, or what AL meant in CHelsea. IL was ILlinois and AL was ALgonquin.

There does remain, through, a pretty comprehensive collection of New York City EXchange names. But the TEN Project covered sall of the US, going beyond the default EXchange names recommended by the phone company and documenting the laternative or localized words that some communities used.

The TEN Project lives on in a petrified state at That site was built in a way that defied Archive’s typical static-webpage-only. They do not seem to have picked up much of the very heavy JavaScript, and I believe there was even a chunk of server-side JavaScript that Archive would likely never have captured without deliberate human effort.

So many sites like this that vanish when the bills stop being paid, when someone dies, or when someone is just not paying attention and forgets to pay their domain name registrar. Sometimes Archive captures at least a smattering of a site, enough to prove it actually existed. But much of the time these sites vanish into the byte bucket.

I knew a guy in the payphone business whose website had designs and plans for a “LinkNYC Killer.” THis was a kiosk which, in appearance, was not dissimlar to LinkNYC. But it had a series of macho-sounding features that would make LinkNYC look like a toy (which it kind of does on its own anyway). I believe the device would have had an actual handset, unlike LinkNYC, which forces you to scream into a two-way speaker to be heard by the person you call.

I cannot be sure of that design element of Dennis Novick’s LinkNYC Killer because his website disappeared soon after he died from Covid, and it had not been online long enough for to have captured it. The product was written about in a trade journal. I contacted the writer of that story to see if they had any information about that product. THe writer ignored me.

I believe the product was a hox, but it would have been a pretty hilarious hoax if anything came of its alleged existence.

Another website gone has an intriguing backstory. Leslie Harpold used to play Scrabble on my probably-illegal Scrabble site, which has been gone for many years now. It was hosted on

One of the many security shortcomings of that game was that the players’ login and password were stored in the URL. THat’s highly insecure but it was not uncommonly done in the mid to late 1990s, when this Scrabble suite of Perl scripts was written. I just warned people not to use a meaningful password that you use anywhere else, and it seemed most players understood.

One night, not long after Leslie died, I noticed that the Yahoo search bot had indexed Leslie’s Scrabble URL. From this it was possible they might have indexed the entire underground Scrabble network.

It did not appear Yahoo ever did that, honoring the robots.txt directive like an upstanding search engine should. But how did they get Leslie’s URL in the first place?

A bit of sleuthing revealed that on her website, which was still online for some months after she died, she had stored a text file, not intending to be publicly linked but somehow it was. The text file contained notes, passwords, credit card numbers, and general musings and rough drafts for stories or poems she might have put together.

Once I knew what I was looking at I tried to look away, but that proved difficult. Leslie was an interesting woman with an active mind and reading her notes, however voyeuristic, seemed reasonably harmless after her passing.

Her Scrabble URL was included in that text document. That’s how Yahoo picked it up. How the text document was linked publicly I never figured out. Not my problem. None of my business.