Tag Archives: dial up

#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.

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