Gathering online like it's 1999

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Annalee Newitz made a similar point in a recent New Scientist article - suggesting that because the internet was the way many people were interacting with each other and the world right now, that it would change what people expected of it. Her focus was more about expecting greater accuracy and truthfulness, as the idea that the internet was this “unreal” thing that didn’t impact the real world wouldn’t hold water when it was one’s world, now.

I absolutely think there will be cultural changes brought about because of this; it’ll be interesting to see what happens, what they actually end up being…


in Ingress, these last 7 yrs, most of the smurfs I coordinate with I haven’t met irl.


Uh, they chose the wrong photo for that article. Commodore CBM computers were long dead by 1999, and in any case were not generally used to go online.


That also appears to be a toy CBM by its size so :man_shrugging:.


ah the late 90s.

i got my sex education from reading ken starr report and typing the words i didn’t know into yahoo

and that’s how i got banned from the library computers for a month…


Back in 1999 I was social distancing by hanging out with my comrades on IRC.


I’m nearly certain that any possible changes, at least for EU citizens will only go in wrong direction. Due to EU copyright filter directive all smaller online forums will not be available anymore, with only a few big players left. Then due to legally enforced oligopoly the few large social media companies will be able to get even shittier than they are now. Internet will be limited to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.


And they didn’t have GUIs with dialog boxes as shown, either. It reminds me of the aggravating TV show “Halt and Catch Fire”, where C64s were shown with “C:>” prompts as if they were MS-DOS machines!


Read “The Machine Stops” – a 1909(!) short story by E.M. Forster (the guy who wrote those dramas like “A Passage To India” and “A Room with a View” that were made into movies in the 1980s).

Forster predicts a future where people live isolated from each other and rely on “The Machine” to communicate with each other and to order goods. It is considered quite vulgar to actually visit people in person. In recent decades people saw the story as an amazing prediction of Internet culture with “The Machine” being like a combination of Facebook, Google, and Amazon. All of this is true, but there was something else which people didn’t pick up on. The people weren’t just living alone because of the great technology they had, but it was implied that something had happened in the past that made living together dangerous. Which obviously seems more relevant now.


Sometimes they did:


Well, the later C64 did, but that isn’t a C64, but a CBM 8032, which was a late model Commodore PET. Those machines didn’t have anything that we would recognize as graphics (at least not without being modified)


One temporary change we should see is that all responsible websites should stop autoplaying videos until the global shutdown ends. Think about all the unnecessary bits flying around.

Yes, there are ways to stop it for users who care, and in normal times maybe that was OK. For now, we’ve all had Zooms and VOIPs where people drop off or can’t even get on.

That said, it’s almost always annoying and I often jump back when a page is slow to load because they’re shoving some annoying ad at me first.

Are you listening, Boing Boing?


What I miss about the early internet was a lack of sophistication on the part of advertisers.

Every site I went to didn’t have cookies or targeted ads.

Make no mistake there were plenty of shitty people online 20 years ago, the only difference was the feeling of actual freedom of not being continuously tracked by someone or some agency.

20 years since, the only thing I’ve learned about the internet is ISPs overcharge massively for access, if you get access you will be bombarded by a flotilla of ads, and shitty toxic people who police your every word will follow you through posts, as if it was their life’s work to continue harassing you.

The jaded fall of things isn’t going to be fixed by being forced to interact with increasingly jaded, acerbic, petty and shitty people this modern internet has created.

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But everything was plain HTTP. And Doubleclick was founded in 1996.

You may not have felt tracked, but it was happening.

Not sure I follow?

Tracking was actually worse in the 90s/2000s, since there weren’t as many privacy enhancing technologies and various intel agencies could modify packets in flight.

A more appropriate prompt (tongue-in-cheek, of course) would have been “C=”.


Finally! I found you. It’s taken me a while. I switched to Geico and saved a mint!


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