Thursday, April 17, 2008

You Might Be an Old School Internet User If...

From 1994 to present. In no particular order of oldness:

  • You loved searching the 'net with Webcrawler. And you even used Lycos sometimes too.
  • You posted some ridiculous stuff on Prodigy, CompuServe, or AOL one night at a sleepover at your friend's house.
  • You think you were actually the first person to write about a given topic on the internet. (For example, I still maintain that I was the first person ever to write about Lynda Barry on the internet.)
  • You took advantage of those 1,000 free hours of AOL.
  • You did Napster on dialup, only to have some song ruined when your mom picked up the phone.
  • You later used Napster with blazing ethernet speed from your dorm room and "went buck." You and everyone like you took up 90% of your school's bandwidth with that stuff.
  • You got an IM from someone on Napster about June Panic.
  • You got sued by Metallica.
  • You had a profile on MakeOutClub.
  • You can't help but think you hear that AOL Instant Messenger sound every time you hear R. Kelly's "Trapped in the Closet."
  • You got real freaked out about that email tax rumor and signed the petition.
  • You made a homepage that was hosted on your college's server (bonus points if you were only allowed 1MB of server space or less and still made it "better than any of the crap out there today").
  • You rocked dialup.
  • You rocked a text-only browser via dialup.
  • You eventually later rocked Netscape or Mosaic.
  • You tried out eWorld. You maybe forgot to cancel your subscription, got charged.
  • You left the computer going overnight to download an MPEG of some movie trailer.
  • You ever made a webpage that said "Best if viewed in Internet Explorer Version (whatever)." People used to say stuff like this about IE's superiority with such a smug sense of superiority that it made me want to punch their website in the face. Alas, it's pretty obvious that the test of time has revealed Internet Explorer to be the George W. Bush of web browsers, so I guess the joke is on them.
  • You ever met up IRL with someone from a Telnet chatroom.
  • You have ever "fingered" someone without ever actually touching them. (Telnet, dude.)
  • You were part of a webring. And it felt good.
  • You had the guys at the Bad Art website draw you an MS Paint picture of Lisa Loeb.
  • You sent away for your free Intrrr Nrrrd patch. It never came.
  • You found some pretty cool stuff in GopherSpace.
  • You had a GeoCities page.
  • That GeoCities page had a repeated graphic as the background that made your text real hard to read.
  • You had some real cryptic URL.
  • You remember when Hotmail was HoTMaiL. You thought it was cool that email could be checked on a browser. Weird.
  • You actually used the term "netizen" without being sarcastic.
  • You had a list of bookmarks that dropped all the way down to the bottom of the screen.
  • You ever had an "Under Construction" banner on your page.*
  • You coded all your homepage's HTML by hand.
  • You used the blink tag.
  • You posted a 10-second 8-bit .AU file of your favorite Boy's Life song on your homepage. It was a huge webspace sacrifice, but it was so cool.
  • You marveled at transparent .GIFs.
  • Your mind was blown by how small .JPGs are compared to TIFFs.
  • You were pretty much sure you would never be able to afford a scanner.
  • You waited for two minutes for PhotoShop to load up on the fastest computer on campus.
  • You went buck downloading fonts this one time at the computer lab. One of them was the Grunge Font. You saved it onto one of floppy discs in your collection.
  • You tried to get your Aldus PageMaker files to turn into webpages.
  • You loved Bob Nanna's blog. Or that list he made of every movie he watched for a year.
  • You always kept a copy of Stuffit Expander on a floppy in your backpack just in case.
  • You contemplated going halvsies with your friend to buy a 100MB Zip disc.
  • You had a Friendster account.
  • You got made fun of by a kid in high school for having a Friendster account when "MySpace is clearly better."
  • You remember when it was called
I'm sure I'm missing some. Feel free to add others. I'm pretty much void of internet clich├ęs from 1996-98, since I was in Japan at the time. Any help filling in gaps there would be appreciated. I'm sure there was some like super-important stuff that happened then.

*This one is really interesting, because the new update-based paradigm, in which the internet is all about updates, and when a site is assumed to not be a static entity, then it allows for the notion of something being "under construction" to really seem like a quaint little joke. Things are no longer under construction. Instead, being in a state of flux is now a desirable thing that keeps people coming back to the website. I mean, I guess it makes sense that everyone thought so small when the internet first came out. What did we have as examples of what good media was supposed to look like? Books, magazines, newspapers. These are all things that are done once and then never done again. What so many people didn't see is that the real power in the internet was that you could change things around easily, you can add things easily, and that simply having a website was not enough, that if you wanted to keep people coming back, you had to offer new content for their eyes. Oh how silly we were!

Many of the above memories are related to the times I had freshman year at Purdue with Chris Foresman. He's the one who pointed me to The Beginner's Guide to HTML and got me started making bad web pages. Props to him, he is now a famous Apple webster. He hangs with The Woz like all the time, I heard.


Anonymous said...

You downloaded your first porn from an AOL chatroom.

Anonymous said...

Without that little modem speaker screaming the handshake you were never sure the damn thing was working.

Anonymous said...

You had an external modem

Chris Foresman said...

I still have the stack of floppies I used to carry around to the Mac lab at Stanley Coulter. Mac IIvx FTMFW, yo.

Davor said...

My old school internet crush, ca. 1996, Purdue Cal computer lab:

Dysfunctional Family Circus. It was intoxicating. I don't know if I've recovered from that feeling I had - I'd post things, and sometimes, they would actually be funny enough to make it on the site.

Davor said...

I just found one of my DFC usernames on a comic!

Friend of Tone Csernak, Hungarian Stallion

I'm pretty sure I also used "Mighty Owl" and "Raymond Scott Pfledderer of Deli 26." Ancient inside jokes, anyone?

rachel said...

You got actual checks from AllAdvantage for keeping their ad banner at the bottom of the screen while you browsed the internet.

TORLANDO said...

when m/16/MI described you perfectly only two years in the future.

Dylan said...

I left my computer on for two days and nights to download the Star Wars Episode 1 trailer with a 56k connection, it still never worked.

Jennifer J. said...

wow, i definitely did that whole font thing. i went font-crazy. i couldn't get enough fonts!!!!

and TOTALLY chatted on napster. oh napster!! those were the days. definitely went "buck".

also, you are totally missing so much great LiveJournal stuff, and other diaries/social networking sites:

lipstickandciggarettes (for hipsters)
DEADjournal (for goths, obvi)

makeoutclub is classic.

so many more that i cant think of at the moment!

brian cors said...

Psst. Yeah, you.

Send me your mailing address, and I will send you your INTRRR NRRRD patch. I just found the last [4] patches as I was cleaning our place in preparation for a move.

You can also find and add me on the Twitters.

Thanks for posting this, it was awesome.