Video Throwback: The County’s New Web Site in 1997

by ARLnow.com May 4, 2011 at 8:00 am 3,089 24 Comments

It’s hard to believe this video is only 14 years old, because for many of the internet generation it will feel like ancient history.

Yesterday Arlington put a county television news item from 1997 on its YouTube page. The video discusses the county’s newly-redesigned web site (or, in the parlance of the time, “home page”), which was described as “easy to use,” “updated and improved” and more “dynamic” than the previous web site.

Check out the early web graphics, the oversized cursor, the early Netscape browser (running on Windows 3.1), and the explanation of what a “URL” is.

  • Dave

    Oh the good old days when we didn’t have to dial the area code.

  • 4Arl

    They have video from 1997, but the video of the public budget hearing a month and a half ago is not on the website. What gives?

    • PhilL


    • That video will be ready in 2023.

    • Jennifer K. Smith

      The videos from the March 2011 Budget and Tax Rate Hearings are actually online. You can view them at

      Board meetings that are videotaped are typically archived online within hours of their adjournment. (Note: Work session videos are not online, as they are not videotaped.)

      Jennifer K. Smith (Arlington County Communications Office)

  • Note to self: Don’t allow yourself to be put into a public service video and sign a waiver allowing the County to use it for more than 6 months. Spare yourself the humiliation of future generations laughing at your hair, dress, and computers.

    • E-Ross

      Yeah, good call there! amazing how far we’ve come in 14 years…

    • dynaroo

      Everyone’s got a yearbook picture. 😉

    • dynaroo

      She’s a librarian – she probably looks exactly the same today.

    • V Dizzle

      People laugh at me already…well, not for my computer.

  • charlie

    too bad the county website still sucks.

  • Arrrrrlington

    Haha, gotta love how long it took that page to load at :57 of the video. Good ol’ 56 kbps.

  • Steve S

    Anyone else notice to quick glimpse of the connection speed on the lady’s browser (if you can even call it that)? She was loading a page and at the bottom it said something like “downloading at 2.0kb/s”.

    I used dial-up for a couple of years, but I can’t imagine ever going back.

  • CO Transplant

    I can access the World Wide Web from the comfort of my own home! Huzzah!!!

    • PhilL

      They have the internet on computers now!

  • steve

    Too many genY connors on here. I’ve been using the internet since 1992. There were a lot fewer webpages, but t hey certainly had it. First time I ever saw it was at a friend’s house, then when I got to college, we had internets access in the computer labs. 1997 is way late in the game.

    • V Dizzle

      I had the internet before there were computers. I win!

      • Al Gore

        I invented the internet. Excelsior!

    • CW

      Can we get some newsgroups going around here?

    • In all fairness to Arlington…

      It isn’t about them having their first website (as she mentions in the beginning) but updating to a different format and a site that is not set up on a server elsewhere, etc. The internet had obviously been around, and their basic “About Arlington County” type site had been too.

      Sidenote: I think I love that though this was a real news clip, it’s nice that we can sort of get a chuckle out of the amazing transition from then to today in the time frame. It wasn’t edited at all to make fun, it just is in itself very funny to watch.

  • abc

    what’s a URL ? 😛

  • 4Arl

    Jennifer, if you click on the March 22 video link, it says no server available. The wmv link says the same with please wait for it to finish. It looked like it was still being worked on since there is no MP3 audio link either, unlike the tax rate hearing.

  • Jennifer K. Smith

    @4Arl — thanks for detailed info…we’ll check on it and get back to you! (either me or somone on staff)

  • Thomas

    You can see what they upgraded from here:


    They may have had slow Internet connections, but they had BEARS DOING GYMNASTICS!!!


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