#115 90s Internet Was Nothing Like It Is Now.

Recently I spotted a young whippersnapper, no older than 11, using his fancy laptop in Starbucks. My attention turned his way after he kept audibly muttering complaints about the speed and consistence of the public Wi-Fi. Apparently the high definition, 1080p Youtube videos weren’t loading up to par with his whiny wishes and he was enraged by it. Sadly, the generation of young folks currently on the rise has no idea what a 90s kid’s internet experience was like. Some of the struggles we dealt with included:

1. Being forced to hear a loathsome (borderline unbearable), Dubstep sounding combination of screeches, beeps and unidentified noises for about 30 seconds EVERY single time we connected to the internet. (SEE BELOW).
2.  About 50% of the time, after waiting for the detestable dial-up sounds to pass, the connection STILL failed.
3. If we were fortunate enough to successfully connect to the internet, ANYTIME thereafter that somebody needed to use the phone, you were forced to disconnect to free up the phone line. (I can’t remember how many times I heard the phrases “Get off of the internet, I need to make a call!” or “I’m waiting on an important call so nobody get online for the next few hours…”
4.  The internet used to be handicap turtles at the DMV slow. In the year 2012, buffering is often considered intolerable. For 90s kids, it was a regular occurrence. Patience wasn’t a virtue, it was a necessity.
5. Wi-fi didn’t exist, which meant if you were on the internet, you were likely sitting at a desk on a home PC.

Honestly, as time consuming and troublesome as our internet experience was, it was still magnificent. At the time, we knew nothing about high speed, wireless connections or anything of that nature – so we adored our raw, brand new technology. The point here is that those born in a faster, more efficient internet era will never appreciate the remarkable improvements that have been made. Our patience as 90s kids was tested, therefore, it’s a lot easier for us to relax when a computer has a little loading time, than someone who has never experienced that… OK, who am I kidding? I slam the mouse or scream obscenities at the computer during the slightest of malfunctions too, but at least I know from experience that things could be worse.


13 responses to “#115 90s Internet Was Nothing Like It Is Now.

  1. I keep having to remind myself of how long it took to load a video back then to really appreciate what we have now. Today, if I want to watch a movie trailer (average time, 2 and a half minutes) at 1080p, I wait a total of 2-3 seconds and it starts playing (if it doesn’t start playing immediately).

    In the 90s, it took upwards of 10 minutes to load a two and a half minute video (most videos were quicktime which didn’t use streaming, you either wait for the entire thing to load, or you watch it in 3 second intervals) with quality so bad you may as well have just watched it on a TV from 500 feet away.

    Ah the good old days.

  2. Newgrounds, waiting for videos and games to load, or going over the rich kids house to use their internet. I remember us living off free trial discs for a year or two.

  3. June Kleaver

    Music to my ears!

    In 1999 with nascent “hi-speed” DSL, 256k IIRC, a movie (that looked awful, meaning, 480p if you were Vegas lucky) took no less than two or three days to download. We had one phone line dedicated to that function only. Phone company cut us off at three lines for our apartment.

    This site is getting RSS’d, love it!

    Oooh, there’s a book too!!

  4. OMG I think about that sometimes.

  5. i remember this…god how that annoyed me…and sometimes i had to re open the internet because the internet didnt connect the first time…i even remember how long it would take for a video to load completely and how it kept freezing so i would open up many pages and move on to the continuing video while i wait for the other paused video to finish loading lol…but i cherish those memories now….AOL like shyt haha xD

  6. i think imma buy the book…such wonderful memories. i actually want to make a 90s box collection lol xD even though i dont have everything i used to have back then. i think i’d buy them…like the first gameboy.

  7. The first point makes me wonder if perhaps this is the reason for Dubstep popularity. Some sort of subconscious conditioning, like Pavlov’s Dog.

  8. It is crazy how AOL is basically gone now and kids nowadays don’t even know what it’s like to get free trial disks in the mail lol I also used those for free internet for years. Many arguments were had with my siblings over the internet / phone line haha.. the 90s were great.

  9. Internet now streams to my phone so quickly, that WHILE IN MY CAR ON THE FREEWAY I can watch 1080p Youtube videos. My dial-up in high school was so slow that it took 20-25 minutes to download a 5 MB MP3. Oh God bless 4G LTE.

  10. Wow! It’s so crazy how internet has changed over time! 10 years ago you couldn’t even log onto to the internet while somebody using the phone. This is a great blog post and this content is very informative.

    Tayler, @dyr90s

  11. How times have changed. I remember my brother conveniently picking up the phone just as I was connected. Kids these days will never know what 90’s kids and older had to put up with. We had AOL until 1999

  12. 90s kid, still complain about internet connection o: so spoiled… o-o

  13. If you knew better, you turned off your modems speaker.

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