… you remember this
Sadly I remember it … it was the 90s. I was 16 years old and just graduated from high school. A regular computer was $2000-3000+ so I rented one. The days when we were easily amused by stupid animated GIFs, viruses were rarely seen and ads, spam and malware didn’t exist yet; well at least not at the magnitude they do now. They were so rare that they were only limited to businesses so it was years before I even ran a firewall or antivirus on my computer. McAfee was actually good, Norton was even better.
The height of my internet entertainment were reduced to AOL chatrooms, bulletin boards, IRC, Geocities, Alta Vista, Lycos, Hotbot and everyone had either an AOL or Yahoo! email address. The internet mainly consisted of two breeds of people; nerds and noobs. It was before the psychos of the Internet appeared so you could actually meet people online and not be worried about possibly ending up in a roadside ditch. I remember chatting with a guy on AOL for months, his handlename was FivePN97. I finally met him in person … turned out to be the most boringest guy known to man. He’s a better person when he’s in binary.
Google was around, somewhere, but no one had heard of it and by the time we did hear of it, it was still only a search engine with “Google” on it and nothing else; similar to way it still looks now. At the time the top search engine was Yahoo! though. You didn’t have a web site unless you knew HTML markup language to build one, so I taught myself how to code HTML; I still got that disk. My site sucked but hey, it was there which was more than I could say for most people. There was no childish web site builder, nothing to help you make a web site and there certainly was no WordPress. The 90’s internet, you had to earn your keep! Again, you were either a nerd and had a website or you were noob and didn’t have one or paid someone to make you one. It was only later on ISPs caught on to this and started giving people stupid web site builders with their service.
My first ISP was Prodigy, others besides AOL were Compuserve, PETAnet (yes PETA – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals – had an internet service. I still have that relic disk as a momento) on a raging 56k dialup, which was fine because all web sites were text then, actual images were deemed “too large for web sites to show and made them slow” so the only graphical interface you had was through an ISP, mainly AOL since they compressed images. But then AOL was so popular, they had to keep giving you new local numbers to dial in. Pretty soon the alien communication coming out of the speak of your modulator-demodulator, rang in your head to the point where you knew if you had a bad or good connection just by the sound it made. Would ring busy when AOL got too damn popular and you would scroll through 5 connection numbers before you get a connect.
In late the 90’s came the first threat to internet’s existence and fookin ruined everything, the RIAA. I remember when the RIAA went after Napster for music sharing and they went crying to the government to shut down Napster. I remember Bill Clinton’s response being something around saying, GTFO MY OFFICE! The government wants nothing to do with the internet! P2P file sharing was isolated to Napster, Morpheus, Limewire, and other file sharing services. Thanks to those p2p services, I made my first mix CD of The Matrix, too bad I lost it though because it was fookin awesome. My browser of choice was Netscape Communicator because Internet Explorer still sucked in the 90s too. Internet service was between $12 and $19. I still have the AOL software on my computer just for nostalgic reasons … I cover my screen if someone walks by. Despite all this time, the AOL browser is still a very good one if you’re looking for things to do on the internet when you’re bored; people don’t give it much credit.
Then cable arrived. My cable ISP was Cox@Home (yes the same people you know as Cox Cable now). I remember being put on a 3 month waiting list for installation. I think it was only a 5Mb service but that was hella fast since websites were still mostly text and data wasn’t that big. Better not let your service lapse or you were put at the back of the line and it was another 3 months to get hooked back up! AOL died a little inside when I called to cancel my service; then … they just died. Years later, Netscape was their sacrifice and was resurrected as Firefox.
My games of choice were FPS games, mainly Unreal, Doom and Quake; I also played Tombraider and Sims alot. I modded the Sims and played a topless maid and Osama bin Laden with the body of a Cylon. If you didn’t have a Microsoft Sidewinder gamepad, you were just not cool. Playing big games on laptops was deemed unworthy and you were laughed at if you even tried.