A Funeral For The Internet Applications Of Yesterday.

blackdress2

This is funeral attire. Goes with the funeral theme of the article. Actually. You know what? Don't ask questions.

At the cusp of the tech boom, a friend and I attended an “Internet Expo.” It was our first introduction to the fascinating world of the Internet. We expected to harvest the tools needed to become pioneers of a new era.

Instead, we bailed early and hit the arcade.

Played that bubble-popping game made for Asian kids.

That game, though?

So good.

So as the rest of the world made billions of dollars on new tech ventures like Hotmail, eBay, Google.

We trail blazed through the annals of losernessdom.

Ha!

Annals.

Here’s a list of technologies that I’ve used over the last 15 years and a brief farewell to them all.

bbs21Bulletin Board Systems (BBS)

The BBS was my first introduction to the online world.

What a horrible introduction.

My 14.4kbps modem would take forever to connect to a local BBS. Then just as it was about to connect, my dad would pick up the phone and say:

Hello? WHO’S THIS!? WE DON’T WANT ANYTHING.

My dad believed anyone calling our house was a telemarketer wanting to sell us something.

So even a robotic, machine noise got the blunt edge of his anger.

Finally, I’d connect to the BBS and immediately hit the file transfer area to download images of Alyssa Milano.

I know. I know. But come on. I was nine.

Fifteen.

OK, twenty-two.

One image would take close to seven minutes to download. And just when there were 3 seconds left?

Hello? WHO’S THIS!? WE DON’T WANT ANYTHING.

Goodbye BBS. You won’t be missed.

ircIRC Chat.

IRC was the Internet’s first chat. You would open the IRC application and select a chat room to enter. I picked “Movies”, because I thought I could talk about movies.

Apparently, no.

I would enter. Some girl from LA would be chatting to her “internet boyfriend” from Virginia whom she had never met while hundreds of others would call them both shitheads.

jjJUlz143: everyone lay off my BF! Ur just jeluz

D-RockA: YEH. I dun like how you talk to my girlll!

Arkham: You guys are both idiots. Admin, boot them.

Me: Did anyone see Jurassic Park!? Great special effects!

I finally logged off for good when people offered me Alyssa Milano images and instead, they were pictures of the Golden Girls.

Try, just try erasing that from your head.

Goodbye IRC.

icqICQ.

When I entered college, ICQ was the new rage. You would install the ICQ chat application with a green flower, be assigned an ICQ Number and then add others after entering their ICQ numbers. When you received a message, it would make a sound similar to an underage teen being poked with a cattle prod.

Wait. I don’t know what that sounds like. Really.

The best part of ICQ is you could uncover your friend’s devastating inability to type. The chat engine showed you them typing in real-time.

I lost respect for everyone.

RIP ICQ.

(Except if you’re from Botswana. Apparently, it’s huge there and everyone just got it. Wow. You know what? If you’re from Botswana and you’re reading this, this is like going Back To The Future.)

friendsterFriendster.

Friendster was like a predecessor to Facebook. It brought you new ways to stalk people you know and don’t really like. You would post your profile and then add others to your network. People could leave “testimonials” on your wall where they would let others know how great you were.

I actually enjoyed Friendster until the day someone told people from the Philippines to join. After that day, 38.9 million people added me to Friendster and every one of them had webcams to show me.

Look, I’m a guy. Of course I checked out one of them.

You guessed it.

Turned out to be photos of the Golden Girls.

Farewell Friendster.

—-

I could include a girthy index of every social media application that lived and died in my generation, but that would take too long. Let me know what I’m missing. Leave a comment. Leave a link.

Just make sure it’s not a link to pictures of the Golden Girls.

I’ve seen all of them.

Follow me on Twitter.

  • LOL!! I couldn’t wait to get on my first BBS but it didn’t take long to realize you couldn’t spell BBS without the BS. Plus another B.

    The whole text-based online world, pre-web, was way too geeky for me, but in a particularly annoying way… as a computer mainframe professional at the time, I was no stranger to geekiness, but this dial-up world was a whole different ball of fish, and it pissed me off that I didn’t speak their particular dialect of jargon.

  • ICQ’s notification sound always sounded like a cartoon mouse going “UH-OH!” to me.

  • You forgot AOL, the first virus created for the Internet. 🙂 Remember trying to uninstall that horror? It NEVER went away. Ever. It insinuated itself into everything on your system. Even a format wouldn’t get rid of it. It was evil.

    Plus, my first access to a BBS was on 300 baud with a 8086 Epson Equity computer that didn’t have a hard drive (two 5-1/4″ floppies). But it had 640k RAM, baby!

    Those were the good old days. I remember saving up and getting a part time paper route so I could afford my own phone line so my dad wouldn’t pick up the handset all the time. haha

    Here’s your Golden Girls pic:
    http://thesensus.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/golden_girls_gone_wild.jpg

  • Hey, that real-time typing on ICQ was a bitch! *sniffle*

    I remember hooking up to the “Internet” with Gopher. Ah, I miss that black screen and those long, long lists of files. *sigh*

    Also, does anyone even use those USENET groups anymore? I may be dating myself here, but I remember when the alt. groups were all the rage. heh

  • Hello? WHO’S THIS!? WE DON’T WANT ANYTHING.

  • I don’t know if you’ve ever tried LiveJournal… I only just recently started dabbling in there. From what I understand, it’s been around for 10 years and people in there take it REAL personal when you do something that is “against the rules” of that particular community. Believe me, I’ve been flamed a time or two for my ineptitude and failure to grasp all the rules.

    It’s a little exhausting in there! 😉

  • I know, I know… LJ isn’t dead (yet)….I just wanted to vent.

    🙂

  • Nick

    “I actually enjoyed Friendster until the day someone told people from the Philippines to join.”

    HAHAHAHA.

  • I used to love Bolt.com! It was yet another social networking website where the main form of communication were about a billion different forums to choose from. I liked to hang out in the poetry and creative writing/short story forums. You could earn “badges” for accomplishing certain things like being a member for a year or having so many friends. Stuff like that.

    And then Bolt was taken over by a new company and started to tank. Probably due to the fact that they deleted the posts of people who hadn’t been on in a while. Including me. 🙁 So then I created an alter ego and I went to all the forums posting nonsense and giving people copious amounts of shit. It was great. 😀

  • I used to be on faceparty :/ Now it’s just a load of weirdos. Oh, crap, hang on; it was a load of weirdo’s before…

    Seriously though, I think IRC’s still reasonably popular for pirate stuff (and getting access to pirate stuff, yaaaar)!

    What about dead technologies though: remember internet TV?

  • There are a few more I would like to bury … or maybe cremate then bury. These are a good start. Hopefully Twitter will not join the ranks any time soon, but the bitchiness is there sometimes. 😀

  • Hey….how did you get that picture of me! I thought we had the stalker talk already 😉

  • Not sure how much longer until my wesite ULR is listed with your tech dinosaurs.

    This post makes me feel SOOOOO OLD!!!!! I remember all of these. My kids taught me IRC back in the old days.

    Great posting THANKS for the memory trip! Almost as good as pong, orb or zot and mario brothers memories.

  • nick

    Yes I recall Usenets, and news readers… there you could get Alysa Milano’s face pasted onto a Golden Girls body. Mmmmm delicious.

    The exciting part of the BBS, watching the picture slowly fill in line by line. Sad, digital strip show where you get to the bottom and realize that 7 min of your life was gone. Similar to smoking.

    I smoked and downloaded at the same time, made me feel as if I was staring at a girl from across a smokey room. Without the bar tab or restraining order.

  • Wait, you’re like, young, right? You waited on a 14.4 modem for BBSs? No, wait again. You’re rich, right? Because when I was BBSing, it was like … GAWD I can’t even recall the non-speed of the modem, but it was pre-14.4 for sure. My puter was a 284. LOL!

    ICQ was not a green flower for me. But I don’t remember what it was. I had a four-digit ICQ number. So whatever the symbol was back then. I removed it because people kept bothering me. I guess I was anti-social!

    I remember vaguely logging onto Friendster. I most likely didn’t join, not understanding the need.

    I do appreciate this article, though. It’s always fun to read people’s various histories of the Internet.

    Oh, and first commenter? Text-based Internet was the bestest!! 🙂 The web really created multiple monsters!

  • I agree. Now is the time to say goodbye to friendster. I’m currently hooked with facebook and twitter. People looks fo full of interactions.

  • LOL!!! OMG I am only 26 and sadly I remember ALL but the BBS (thank God!) I do have to say that facebook could learn a lesson from friendster IMPO lol… but even though everyone says myspace is dead… personally I still enjoy it esp since the Mobster app (which my hubby got me addicted to) ICQ I HATED… Never could figure it out lol… LOVE YIM & AIM both are pretty good (though each have their own set of flaws) loved when MSN first offered the video chat… HATED yahoo karaoke rooms (but ONLY when the jerks came in around one in the morning lol)… I’ve been “officially online” from home just since late 2000 (minus my brief stint in 1994 and again in 1995 when I first got my distaste for dial up *shudders* I hate those 2 word ewwwww lol)… How in the world did so much change online in such short time??? from crappy black screens with green text all the time (Apple 2-C) to 8th grades Compaqs with Microsoft word and Oregon Trail to now with a dell and all the crazy junk that will indubitably be tomorrows “old news”

  • No, you haven’t seen all of them http://bit.ly/vsFv6

    You’re welcome.

  • NermalTheHun

    With the exception of Friendster, all are familiar. But I LOVED BBSes. On Shoreline (Vancouver) I was the guy who came into Galactic Empire (text ver.) with a pissy little cruiser and beat the snot out of your Battlestar before you finally swatted me. They hated me on Shoreline.

  • NermalTheHun

    With the exception of Friendster, all are familiar. But I LOVED BBSes. On Shoreline (Vancouver) I was the guy who came into Galactic Empire (text ver.) with a pissy little cruiser and beat the snot out of your Battlestar before you finally swatted me. They hated me on Shoreline.