This is a story of a 11-year old boy (or was it 12?) who got his first computer back in 1998. The computer was offline, of course. One day, his father came home with a box in his hands – it was a dial-up modem. State of the art, with a maximum speed of an unbelievable 56 kbps! This boy discovered the Internet!
But now what? OK, his parents knew that the phone shouldn’t be picked up or the line will disconnect. But what does one do on the Intenet for the first time? You grasp it and learn, surf around, find whatever you want, do whatever you would in a new, bigger city, culture, in a new world. Those are the words of that boy today, when he remembers those years. So, what did this boy do back then? What did you do?
Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator, the Chromes of the 90s
Yes, yes, Internet Explorer, buuu – we get it. However, back then there were no HTML5 or CSS3. Sites were being designed using HTML tables mostly without images because it was taking too long to open them. Back then, you could choose only between these two browsers, updates were a rare thing and everything was much more… peaceful.
Social networks didn’t exist back then (well, they did, but not in todays form) and we knew how to get disconnected and get offline. After all, phones were still a big thing back then, so you had to allow oyur parents to have some time to talk to people.
ICQ and IRC, the Facebooks of the 90s
The boy tells me how, back then, there weren’t Facebook chats, groups and pages. Twitter didn’t exist, blogs weren’t blogs, but static, rarely updated web sites. Without comments. But there was a tool for communication – ICQ. It was the first instant messenger I used, the kid remembers. I’ve managed to find one person on it to chat with me, a silly 11 year old. That guy, whose nickname I still remember – Ray, had a website – RaysWorld.com and he was the reason I later got into web design.
Later I found out about IRC, virtual rooms where you could talk to lots of people from all around the world, the boy said. He liked IRC more than ever and had a feeling back then that internet communities are something that’s going to get big in the future.
Forums, newsgroups on Usenet… it was all a part of everyday life for this little kid. Everything was so – slow, but more fun than it is today.
Where is this boy today? Well, as a matter of fact – in each one of us (if you’re 22 years or older). One of them is sitting behind the screen, writing this blogpost 😉
Image credit: 9gag.