Ten years ago, back in 1997, when Reinvented was still called Digital Island and most of my work was with the Province of PEI, I went down to the Coles Building here in Charlottetown in the late afternoon and was locked inside, along with a bunch of reporters and camera operators, until 8:00 p.m. when then-Provincial Treasurer Pat Mella delivered the Provincial Budget address in the Legislative Assembly.
The result was this page on www.gov.pe.ca (back when web design was so much simpler…), the first appearance of the PEI budget on the Internet at the same time as it was delivered by the Treasurer.
Back in 1997 this meant dialing up to the Internet from an old Toshiba laptop from the desk of the Coles Building Commissionaire to upload HTML that had been finagled out of the original WordPerfect. The budget documents came to me on a floppy disk in an encrypted ZIP file. The whole thing took about 5 minutes to upload.
Other than the heady excitement of being locked up in the heart of the excitement, my strongest memory from that and future budgets was the green-tinted Nanaimo bars in amongst the collection of snacks and sandwiches provided to we temporary prisoners (I think they came from the Central Farmer’s Coop on Queen Street). They were dreamy. And caused my blood sugar to skyrocket. Which only added to the heady excitment of it all.
It’s easy to forget that back then we were considered foolish (at best) or crazy for bothering to put things like the budget online. Ten years later it’s expected.