Monday, August 04, 2008

Remember when the internet was a black hole?

I'm reading a really interesting book about how the world is now "flat" in terms of commerce and technology and business and communications, and, well, pretty much everything.

The part I'm at now is where the author details the 10 world events that have led up to our flattened world. The first was the Berlin wall being torn down and the end of Communism in East Germany, the second was the creation of the world wide web (WWW).

I'm still in the middle of the WWW part, but it got me to thinking about how when my parents first signed up with AOL, there wasn't much of a search engine out there to find web sites of interest. This was way before Google and it's fabulous search engine. Actually, this was way before there were many interesting web pages. And definitely before there were blogs. And YouTube. And Amazon. You get my point.

So what was one to do way back in the WWW stone age? Why buy a book very similar to a telephone directory to find pages of interest! And type those long URLs yourself. Something similar to this book, which you'll notice is out of print now. And when you did find a web page you liked and wanted to visit again, there wasn't such a thing as favorites, so you better bookmark your book.

The amazing part is it's only been about 12 or 13 years since the time of the WWW book directory. And pretty much the only interesting thing to do at that time was go into chat rooms and torment others with lies (or was that just me?). I don't even know how to get into a chat room now, and that was the only thing I was doing besides e-mailing people (and even that didn't happen too much). I was still writing handwritten letters when I was in college, and yes, I did have internet access.

Instant messaging didn't make its way into AOL land until 1997.

It's even taken some people years to finally understand you can get onto the internet via Internet Explorer vs. signing onto AOL (and you know who you are).

It makes me wonder what Mateo's life will be like when he's 15 or 20 or 35. Our world is on super speed as far as innovation and technology goes. Scary and interesting at the same time.


Mom, Grandma, Coach said...

I have no idea who you are talking about.

Denise said...

I think a lot about how education will be so different for the boys. I would love to see how they learn in college. I have vivid memories of the dot matrix printer feverishly printing everyone's documents at the computer lab. I also remember having access to the internet via the computer lab, but not being able to find a single web site but

Oh..and asking for internet access at work (where you work) so I could easily look up zip codes and being told that all I want to do is mess around and that I could use the USPS zip code book. Lovely memories.

Nut Nut said...

When I worked at Crown, the registers were ran via a key that we had to put into a slot and turn, then manually punch buttons to enter the type of product and cost. PLUS we had to figure out the discount ourselves!

The horror!

It wasn't until a couple years later that we got real-like computer terminals that did everything for us. We even had internal e-mail! Internal e-mail the store manager could read at any time, and he did. So the fun of that was soon lost.