The joys and frustations of my dial up internet days
The first time I ever really recall getting on the internet at home was around 2000 I guess. Back then we had a Acer desktop computer my dad had gotten from his job. It had an Intel Pentium III, and that's all I can remember about its specs. It had Windows 98 SE, Office 98, Age of Empires II, Sim City 2000, Sim Copter, Need for Speed III, and Jane's WWII Fighters. So that was all I needed. We had AOL in those days like a lot of people did.
I really started using the internet more around 2003 and onwards when I was 11. By then we had an Emachines desktop. It had an AMD Athlon XP 2600+ processor, 512mb of RAM, and it eventually got a ATI Radeon 9200 SE put in. This was the PC I used throughout my middle school days. I was really shy back then and in 6th and 7th grade I did not have too many friends. So when I was not playing Rome:Total War, or Call of Duty, I was on the internet. Since we still had AOL dial up, my browsing was limited to mostly text based sites. I was really into IGN Wikipedia, Apple, PBS, Snopes, sites about ghost stories. I read soo much everyday because that was all I could really do. Then when 8th grade started (in the fall of 2006) it happened. You Tube started taking off and everyone in my small class of 30 kids was talking about the latest video they had watched, or what was trending.
So here I was missing out (sort of) and all this amazing content I could be viewing. One thing I could manage was online matches in Call of Duty! One winter break I got a needle embedded in my foot, and was out for a week after surgery. So I spent my days playing Call of Duty online. It was great and back then plenty of people still played it. The other thing I did a fair amount was instant messaging. I never had a MySpace in those days and Facebook was not even open to high schoolers at that point. So I got on AIM on talked to my friends. It was the closet to social networking that I could have in those days. I did not even have a cell phone or mp3 player.
Yet for all the things I learned in those dial up days, there was one very dark side to it all. It odd to even mention this on a forum but, In my middle school days I had a very bad porn addiction. Obviously I mostly just looked at images. Yet its pathetic when 14 year old me gets up at 5:30 A.M. so a 5 minuet porn video can buffer. It was really bad, I'm not even sure how it started.
At the start of my freshman year of high school the old Emachines motherboard died. In September of 2007 we got a HP Pavilion Slimline S3200n 2.1 GHZ AMD Athlon 64 dual core processor 1GB of DDR2 RAM, 300 GB hard drive, and a integrated Nvidia Ge force 6150 SE with 256mb of memory. It was a lot better than the older computer (even with its inability to run Windows Vista perfectly). Yet we still had dial up internet. So once again I was back to my old ways reading, and reading, and even more reading. In high school I got more into tech blogs so I started reading Engadget, Kotaku, as well as gaming sites like, IGN, and Gamespot. Things were not so bad in these days. I could always easily get to Facebook, (which I used a ton in high school). Facebook the one thing that was always there.
I got on Facebook a ton in my high school days. This was also at the tail end of my dial up days. Facebook was where everyone of my friends and everyone else was. (There were no parents in these days, very few adults from what I recall) I spent way too much time creeping on my friends, and the kids in school that everyone gossiped about. Then there was Facebook chat which pretty much replaced AIM for me. I simply got on Facebook and everyone else was there. It came in very handy before I had a cell phone.
Finally in the summer of 2009 we finally got broadband internet. It was a 1.0mbs download connection (cant remember the upload) with AT&T. It doesn't seem like much today. Yet it was amazing for me. I finally had access to an entire world of video content. I watched web series, and documentaries. I spent my whole July of 2010 watching all of Red vs. Blue. It was so hard to get to bed when I would start one episode and before I knew its in 2AM but I just can't stop. The summer of 2009 and all years from then on were much better with true internet.
I currently have a 5mbs download 1mbs upload connection (sadly still with AT&T. It is better not what I would personally like but you take what you can get. In the end my days of dial up internet lasted a lot longer than I wanted. Some days I wish I could go back to that time, when I all cared about was ghost stories, gaming news, Wikipedia, and porn. Well maybe not the porn part. In the end I am glad to have gone through many years of dial up. It makes me appreciate what I have a lot more. I'm glad to at least have the internet than having no internet at all.
Does anyone else have good or bad memories of dial up?