Just caught this tweet from a colleague:
“Mom, I have a call at 1:30 so don’t use the internet.” HAHAHAHAHAHHAHA
He was, of course, lampooning one of his friends who has the misfortune of visiting his parents who are still apparently using dial-up Internet. It took me back for a moment:
Back Then (1991)
When I was 11, our incoming Freshmen at IU East were just being born. The Internet, as we know it, did not exist.
We had a 486 SX desktop computer with a processor that was 25MHz, a 121 MB hard drive, 1MB graphics card capable of 256 color graphics, and 4 MB of RAM. (a later upgrade to 8MB cost $160) The modem we had, which connected over landline, would tie up our phone while I used it; it could also only transfer 2400 bps (aka “baud”). (note that the lowercase “b” there indicates BITS and not BYTES. 2400 bps is roughly equal to 300 bytes per second, or Bps)
My friends and I would connect to local bulletin-board systems (BBS’s), which were kind of like websites: there was mail features, multi-user games, files to download, and you could communicate with people far away via mail relay services like FIDONet. To give you an idea about speed: when you would load a “page” on the BBS (login screen, a game, a filelist, etc.) you could literally see the text appear on the screen as it was received. It was that slow.
Downloading a single image (hot girls, funny pictures, desktop wallpaper, etc.) took anywhere from a solid minute for a small (15 kilobyte) image. A larger image, say 50kB, would take about 3 minutes. For a frame of reference, the banner at the top of this blog, featuring my picture and “Two-year-olds think I’m awesome”, is 22kB (about a minute and a half) and the entire web page is roughly 500kB.
That would have taken a half-hour. Just to load http://blog.amhill.net.
I am not even kidding. Continue reading