Internet in the 90s

I really need to get back to blogging … I have a fair number of posts written that I just need to edit & post.

But this has been on my mind for a few months. I watched a viral video called ‘Teens react to 90s Internet’. It did not live up to its promise.

It wasn’t really teenagers reacting to 90s internet, so much as teens reacting to a 1997 educational/instructional video about how to use the internet. It described opening a browser, connecting, internet safety (like not giving out personal information), etc.

I’d really like to see teenagers use a dial-up 56k internet connection, running a simulated/recreated AOL browser (shouldn’t be hard to find one of those old CDs). I want to see the shock on their faces when they see a 4-gigabyte (not terabyte) hard drive and a processor running at 220 megahertz (mine is running at 2.16 gigahertz). I want to watch them download a file with a maximum speed of 5 kilobytes per second (I’ve seen my own downloads exceed 2 megabytes per second). I want to watch them search the internet without ‘google’, to watch them struggle with search sites like Excite or Ask Jeeves. I want to see them use AOL ‘keywords’ and to be restricted to only AOL-approved websites.

I remember those days. I remember trying for days to download an single song without getting disconnected (ahhh, Napster…). I remember my father’s “huge” 20 gigabyte hard drive (I have more than that in my cellphone). I remember a time when only the rich had cellphones, and smartphones didn’t exist at all.

In some ways, I feel like we’re cycling back around to AOL’s business model, just with more processor power. Look at  products like the iPad. Apple restricts what kind of applications you can install on an iPad, and what those apps are allowed to do. The web browser is the one place they don’t restrict content.

Although I haven’t used a Chromebook, from what I understand, they’re barely even computers. They’re really more like glorified terminals that are entirely dependent on cloud computing, and are nearly useless without an internet connect.

Windows is a bit better because you can install apps (which Windows usually calls ‘programs’) from any publisher. In addition, even the smallest & weakest Windows machines still have some internal storage and are capable of working offline. However, instead of just creating a user-account like in previous Windows editions, Windows 8 strongly encourages you to sign-in to Windows using your Microsoft account. Yes, the same Microsoft account that links in with their Outlook email service, Bing Rewards, and any other Microsoft web service. It just strikes me as a lot like the old AOL model of trying to unify all services under one company.

Yeah, I know I’m just letting this drop. My thoughts got off topic, and I seem to have lost my original point. I think it was something about “kids these days don’t know how good they have it” or something like that.


About jurmond

'Jurmond' was the name of my first character in a homebrew D&D campaign. He was a gunslinger and tinker, creating and carrying strange weapons that belched fire and smoke. That was well over a decade ago but I still think of him whenever fiction and firearms collide, so it seems the perfect pen name for this project.
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