20 Years of ACD

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Lemming
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20 Years of ACD

Post by Lemming » Wed 16th May 2018 12:21 pm

Yes, it's nearly as old as the Internet* itself!

Back in 1998 this new-fangled Internet thingy was just becoming popular. As a programmer, it seemed like a bandwagon I should be jumping onto. These things called 'web sites' were popping up all over the place and I wanted to learn how they were made. The easiest way to learn seemed to be to try to build a simple web site myself.

My very first attempt was about the band Here & Now but I didn't have much material for that. For my second exercise I chose a subject that I had some more knowledge of, Amsterdam's coffeeshops (I'd already been visiting Amsterdam for 10 years and had taken several friends over there and introduced them to my favourite coffeeshops).

By this time I'd learned how to make clickable spots on a picture and I fancied combining this with my love of maps. So I drew a map of Amsterdam and marked the coffeeshops on it. This was a fun exercise and I thought the resulting map would be useful to me and my friends.

This clickable map become the centrepiece of the new site. Combined with a few notes on each shop there was just about enough material to build a simple web site with a bit of basic functionality. On the 3rd of July 1998 I uploaded this site to a bit of spare space on an account belonging to my then employers (I don't think they ever knew).

There is a copy of this very first ACD here.

This copy is functional but most of the external links no longer work. The rest of the world has moved on after 20 years.

Much to my surprise, this new site started to get visitors other than just me and my friends. In fact, it quickly became rather popular.

With people seemingly finding the site useful, I thought I'd better make some effort to improve it and make it into a real resource rather than an exercise in learning HTML. I added more pictures and descriptions, expanded the site from its initial four pages and gradually attempted to include all of the coffeeshops in Amsterdam and the rest of the Netherlands.

Strangely, as far as I know, there is no public definitive list of all of the coffeeshops in the Netherlands. One of my main sources was Highlife Guide, a paper directory, along with countless other sources. Since I created my database, most subsequent coffeeshop sites seem to have used the ACD as their main source - if I made a mistake or misspelled something, it's been replicated everywhere.

In 2000 I moved the site from my employer's web space to FreeUK and in 2001 I bought the domain name 'coffeeshopdirect' but until 2016 this only acted as a redirection to the FreeUK location.

As the site grew from its original four pages, I designed it to work in 'frames' and gave it a sort of 3D look with rounded corners. It remained that way for many years but this style went out of fashion and eventually I redesigned it again using CSS.

From the early days I began to receive emails from people recounting their visits to coffeeshops and, after a while, I added comments sections to the shop pages to publish these reviews.

In time, the volume of these emails became overwhelming. I also became aware that many of the people writing to me were also members of a forum on the Channels site. It struck me that a forum attached to the ACD would give people an alternative means of posting coffeeshop reviews and other stuff.

My friend Brian (RIP) introduced me to Peter (RIP) who had a server and the knowhow to set up a forum. He kindly offered to create one for me for fun. In March 2005 the new forum went live.

Initially the forum was on Peter's localinet domain but this was associating his mainstream business with cannabis so he changed it to coffeeshopdirect.info. After Peter's death I lost that domain and temporarily used acdforum.site. FBN kindly hosted the forum on his server for a while and then HullDJ provided not only some server space but also a means of finally using the coffeeshopdirect domain name properly for both the main site and the forum.

HullDJ continues to host the whole of the ACD. Much thanks to him for that.

So, on the 3rd of July 2018 ACD will be 20 years old. Macky has generously invited a few people over to Canada to celebrate this anniversary and legalisation in Canada, scheduled for July 1st. See here.


* Strictly speaking it was Tim Berners-Lee's World Wide Web that appeared in the 90s, the underlying Internet is older.



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Pierre von Mondragon
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Re: 20 Years of ACD

Post by Pierre von Mondragon » Wed 16th May 2018 03:05 pm

Cheers for posting the old site man, very cool. I don't think I even used the internet until 1999, and that was in uni buildings, so never saw it then. Mad props for the years of keeping it going when so many things like it fade away.

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AzLaker
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Re: 20 Years of ACD

Post by AzLaker » Thu 17th May 2018 05:07 pm

Thanks for the history lesson Lemming. Wouldn't be the same without having a ACD map on me. :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

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RoMoney
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Re: 20 Years of ACD

Post by RoMoney » Fri 18th May 2018 08:08 pm

Lovely post and piece of history, really enjoyed the original site you shared, I was using the internet in the 90s for anime research and anime fan sites used to all look like that too :) So simplistic.

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Re: 20 Years of ACD

Post by jiffa » Sat 19th May 2018 02:45 pm

I Remember printing a copy of the map for my first trip in 1999. How time flies and now planning a trip for my mates 50th at New Years. Lost count of how many trips between then and now and this site has always been a constant for information on whats good, bad or Meh! Honest opinions help with planning a trip(Not counting usual stoner distractions :mrgreen: ) That destroy best laid plans!

Thanks Lemming and everyone who has contributed to making the site an invaluable guide for anyone making that first trip to the wonderful city and beyond.
Jail for growing a plant laughed the gypsy!

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ed the head
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Re: 20 Years of ACD

Post by ed the head » Tue 5th Jun 2018 01:01 pm

SPEC

TAC

ULAR

:!:
He who tries to shine dims his own light

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gapie
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Re: 20 Years of ACD

Post by gapie » Sun 23rd Sep 2018 12:47 am

repost and idea only I said this before copy paste my posts only

yo what we also can do
we are a forum and we make stickers with ACD
thus coffeeshops can be a member with us
then u go inside the coffeeshop
then u need login with yer name
on a computer or on your phone offcourse
on the forum then it wil register which coffeeshop u are and what u got
then also the dealer knows u are from ACD and then we got deals etc...
u all know what i mean

if it is posibble we need to connect the other forums to in one big database with the names and passwords we can use php that is the easiest becoz we can make an loginscreen and everything behind it and we combine with php
we can make one site for to connect to the database of the forums then it will register which coffeeshop and then u see also the deals from the coffeeshop example White widow 7 euros per gram but the deal for 10 euros 1.5 grams or something like that but it is IDEA i hope it will work and we need some coffeeshops that join us IDEA we can go to 420 cafe de kuil becoz lots of the meet and greets is there and it is nice if we got some deals over there the white widow is nice there but 8 euros is a lot thus if we can make an appointment with 420 cafe for 10 euros 1.5 grams orso achj jaa we will see
GetHigh,DoStuff&Dont give a FUCK!

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Lemming
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Re: 20 Years of ACD

Post by Lemming » Fri 12th Oct 2018 12:40 pm

@Pierre von Mondragon, @AzLaker, @RoMoney, @jiffa, @ed the head - thanks guys :D

@gapie - Thanks for the ideas.

I like the idea of ACD stickers. This is the site with no budget but I might look into that sometime.

Some sort of automation for posting bud reviews in collaboration with the coffeeshops is a nice idea. Really, though, most of that is possible now in that you can wear an 'Official Correspondent' t-shirt, you can tell the shop that you will be posting a review and so on. The blagging potential is already there and a few people do post reviews, although not as many as we'd like.

Maybe a fancy app with GPS integration would encourage a few more people to post reviews but I'm afraid this lazy stoner-developer has neither the time or the inclination to create such a thing and I'm not convinced it would be worth the effort.

As for merging with other forums, would they really want to do that? Would we want to do it? ACD-Channels anyone?!

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AzLaker
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Re: 20 Years of ACD

Post by AzLaker » Fri 12th Oct 2018 07:06 pm

Lemming wrote:
Fri 12th Oct 2018 12:40 pm
As for merging with other forums, would they really want to do that? Would we want to do it? ACD-Channels anyone?!
I like ACD the way it is. Why would we want to merge with Channels or anyone else?
Lemming's done a GREAT job consistently making ACD a better place to find anything your looking for in the Netherlands.
And this Forum is second to none when it comes to what's happening in and around Amsterdam!! PLUS...the people here are civil to each other, 98% of the time. :wink: :wink: :lol: :lol:

Let's not mess with a good thing!!! :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

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Lemming
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Re: 20 Years of ACD

Post by Lemming » Fri 12th Oct 2018 07:55 pm

Don't worry Az, I don't think that's likely to happen :D
That may not be what he meant anyway. Not sure.

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AzLaker
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Re: 20 Years of ACD

Post by AzLaker » Fri 12th Oct 2018 08:57 pm

Lemming wrote:
Fri 12th Oct 2018 07:55 pm
Don't worry Az, I don't think that's likely to happen
That may not be what he meant anyway. Not sure.
No problem, had to give Gapie crap :crazy: :crazy: :crazy: :lolno:

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