Have you seen the Drudge Report?

I was skipping around the usual tech websites when I saw this article about Hotmail. Whoa….Monica Lewinsky, the Drudge Report, Jesse Ventura elected governor of Minnesota. <— That was a little 1998 flashback. I had a vague idea that Hotmail was still around – as a journalist I sometimes get emails from offbeat accounts. I have since learned that it remains the largest web-based email service with roughly 360 million users. It has been trying to shed the image that it is stale compared to Gmail and has been adding various doodads. And it’s still free. Now I read that Hotmail is offering alias accounts. I thought that’s what Hotmail accounts were for: To be an alias account. Well, now you can make alias accounts on your Hotmail account, which already was one of your aliases.

When I see the name Hotmail, I think of the mid-1990s, when I crawled out of my AOL crib and encountered a world with companies like Lycos and Excite. It seemed like every teenager had a Hotmail account. Are those companies still around? Yes, they are, but sort of like the undead of the dotcom bubble era. Excite is a throwback portal with a home page that probably hasn’t undergone a meaningful redesign in more than a decade ago. Fun fact: In 1999 Excite rejected an offer to buy Google for $1 million. Anyway, I started thinking that it would be cool to have an Excite.com email address. Sure enough, Excite still has email (you can send me email at warpafx@excite.com). I checked Lycos. Incredibly, they charge for email. Yeah, right. I’m going to do some searching on WebCrawler to see if any other 1990s web-based email services remain.

Bonus: Like the taste of 1998? Here’s Steve Jobs introducing the iMac in 1998.

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