Category Archives: Internet

The Thrill of the internet.

I ought to outline from the off, that this is not about internet porn sites. The title may suggest, but really it’s simply the thrill of the internet.

 

While researching some information relating to Windows 8 today at work, I was presented with screenshots of windows through the ages. The second or third picture was Windows 95.

Stupidly, foolishly and geekishly sounding, Windows 95 was where my computer history began. I remember watching over my granddad’s shoulder as he played games sent to him by friends on floppy disk.

 

Back then, we had no clue what was going to come of the computer and of the internet.

Windows 95 and it’s hopeful icons such as “Set up the Microsoft network”  (running in a virtual machine on windows XP!!!)

 

Our first computer was second hand… It was a sort of TV/Computer thing, which now days would be branded “Media Centre” It was way ahead of it’s time, yet suckishly lagging behind all in one go: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olivetti_Envision I remember it developing a fault, to which an engineer told us “your problem is you are turning it off… it’s only supposed to be put to sleep”.

 

I digressed from the internet for a short while, so let’s return…..

A short while after having the computer, my parents decided that only being able to play “Floppy Swap” with their friends was not enough, and that they would try some of this new fangled internet malarky.

Internet started for many users with the CDs that were given away by ISPs. Every paper, every magazine, HAVE A CD FROM 5 ISPs. Everywhere you looked you could find a CD from AOL with their new version of software…. the poor Sods, all those CDs in the 90s and early 00s but where are they now?! How a user chose an ISP was and still is beyond me… I’d have thrown CDs into a pile and picked the most colourful.

Those of you whom were adept in the internet usage of the 90s will remember that you had a binary choice. A 1 or a 0. Did you want to be able to make/receive phone calls or did you want internet?

When the internet choice was made, it was often accompanied by many shouts of “Get off there, I want to use the phone” OR “Oh, Aunty X said she was going to phone me at 6.30, if you’re on that computer, she won’t get through.”

Avid internet geekies will remember that many ISPs (Namely ours – freeserve) would not connect you to the internet unless after 6pm. Meaning that we’d gather round the computer at 5.40 awaiting 6 to arrive so we could dial to the world.

This waiting till 6pm gave a thrill, a magic, a mystery to the world of the internet. As a young child I often wondered if the world would end if we dialled up before 6?Would a little man explode as there was a call to early? Working in IT, I now know, We’d have just got a rejection message and no connection until 6pm.

At 6pm, a connection was created. Mother clicked some buttons, Typed a password… and the computer started making a funny noise… INTERNET HAD INITIALISED.

The internet made us, or maybe just me, feel a sense of excitement – this element of mystery which involved bright colourful (16 bit) Images, and text magically zapping down the phone line, only after 6pm.

Back in the 90s, had the Harvester EarlyBird deal been more wide spread (or even in existence  you could have popped out for your cheapo Harvester meal before 6, and then been back in time for the internet. However… as things evolve… Earlybird and Internet are both available all day now…. Coincidence? I THINK NOT.

Internet is now available all day. Not just all day but everywhere you go. (Ok, Not EVERYWHERE but you know what I mean) It’s so in your face that you take it for granted. Each time I tap the icon on my phone to tweet some pointless information to 600ish followers who probably don’t give a damn about my latest meal, or temperature… I forget the thrill of the internet.

Internet vs phone is no longer a binary choice… you can natter on the phone while internetting, and family rows have henceforth decreased. Internet connectivity allows us to communicate pictures, voice, video and text to eachother, around the world in a matter of seconds from within the palms of our hands, now wirelessly on our mobile phones….

I can bet you, that none of us, gathered round our computer at 6pm in the late 90’s thought, that within 10 years, we’d be internetting, from our palms, all day, at nearly 10x the speed… all without a promotional CD ROM.

So next time your internet connection goes down, or your phone/laptop battery dies… Just pretend it’s before 6pm and you are waiting for the magic to happen…. and when connection/battery is restored…. think carefully as you reconnect, as to what we could be doing differently in just 10 years time.