By January of 1996, there were 100,000 websites online. Thirty of those were Mike’s clients, including a “matchmaking” service.
There were now 36 million internet users. Computers at home still weren’t commonplace, but email was a must-have for government offices and most businesses. Of those who were “surfing,” 86% used Netscape’s browser. Internet Explorer had been released though, and by bundling the browser with its Windows operating system, by 1999 Microsoft had converted nearly every user. The Netscape browser became open source as Mozilla and remained technically superior, but not commercially viable.
Lycos was the most popular search engine/web portal and published many of our early sites to their “Top 5% of the Web” directory. Internet Advertising’s website now contained more information about the business, but also continued to serve as a portal to our client sites.
James was now working for Uncle Mike full-time. With his gift for “figuring things out,” he learned what he needed to know when he needed to know it. He was plugged in 24/7 and a sponge for new knowledge.
Then came 1999, a divisive year for the tech industry. Early programmers hadn’t thought beyond the 1900s, meaning that some software would not know what to do when the year 2000 arrived. It was dubbed Y2K and speculation abounded. Some predicted an apocalyptic end to the entire world. Others theorized all computer tech would stop working. Then there were those who didn’t really think anything untoward would happen at all.
Mike was somewhere in between, concerned about his business but not a worldwide catastrophe. Mike and James spent hours doing research, installing software patches, doing tests, and then starting the process over again.
Andrew and Paul were part of the latter group, unconcerned.
Keara was two, hanging out at home with brother Jordan. Angela used the home computer as a learning tool for them, including Freddi The Fish.
Nick was now 4 and more interested in playing outside rather than on any sort of screen time.