Yesterday I discovered that my mobile phone was out of contract. Whilst quite happy with my handset, my friend encouraged me to look online for a new one. If I’m going to pay, I might as well get one that’s included free in the plans. They all seem to connect to the internet and let me ‘stay connected’ with friends via Facebook and Twitter. Great! I have Facebook and Twitter. How backwards am I if I keep going with a phone handset that doesn’t let me access those? And how is it it’s taken me SO long to get an official blog? After all, it is 2010!
Let me tell you a bit about building this blog. I really enjoyed it. I found a template online and using Photoshop, I changed all the colours and headers to suit. I made the header myself using Flickr images under CC licencing. If you look closely, you’ll see it’s a dragonfly wing (I’m somewhat obsessed). Anyway, back to my point…The blog took me over 16hrs to build, even using a template. But that’s because I learnt coding in html and this is something else called xml or something. The cool thing (for me anyway) was that I could do it myself. I already knew how to customise it and I could make it look truly unique. Unlike some of my other social networking sites.
See, the idea of me being considered technologically backwards makes me giggle a little. After all, I’ve been online since I was 14. That’s HALF MY LIFE. And I’m probably far too young to utter these words, but, “In my day….”
In my day the internet was slow and expensive. There was no broadband. Things took forever to load. If I wanted to talk to my online friends (who inevitably were in the US), I would use a bunky old program called Talker. It was basically a bulletin board where you would post your part of the conversation (usually in character) push the button, then wait…and wait…for somebody to reply. It could take hours sometimes. Talker was the first place that I learnt to code HTML. You had to learn it if you wanted to do fancy things like coloured text or import gifs and bmps. JPGs were still a bit new and way too big to use on the internet.
Because Talker taught me some coding, I built my own website when I was about 14 or 15. It wasn’t flash by today’s standards. It didn’t have frames. Music was a format of high pitched beeps called ‘midi’ – if you think the old polyphonic ringtones were bad, you haven’t heard anything! Here’s a midi file. Allegedly it’s of The Beatles’ “Help“.
People stayed in contact using webrings which would link from one page to another with similar content and the measure of your worth was how many ‘awards’ (simple animated gifs from other users), guestbook comments and pagehits you had. My page was even featured in a 1997 edition of Britain’s Net user Magazine. I wonder if I still have it? I have found traces of my old site via the Internet Archive but nobody needs to see my 17yo stupidity in action.
Back in 1995 one of the most visited sites I knew of was “The really big button that doesn’t do anything“. *Nods* Yes, I’m serious. That and the ‘end of the internet’.
From Talker, there was mIRC (an internet relay chatroom network) from which I used to meet heaps of people and go on really fun outings. I met strangers off the internet!!! Shock horror! *giggle*, Then there was ICQ (I seek you) and MSN which are quite similar, bulletin boards, forums, Live Journal, more forums, Snapfish, Photobucket, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter and now Blogger. For the record, I even met my Husband online – via a dating site.
I still see people look in horror or roll their eyes when somebody they know doesn’t have Facebook. I’ve probably done it myself at some point. But in all honesty, given all I’ve just written. Facebook does seem awfully basic in comparison! After all, we’re in a decade of 3D tv and video games that look so realistic, I have to look twice. When I was a kid we played 8bit video games. Given what’s now out there, why the hell would I want to play Farmville?!
I have a great memory for dates too. I survived just fine without my birthday reminders being emailed to me. I used to get these great paper things in my day too. They were really pretty pictures picked out by friends and they’d arrive right at my door. Sometimes they even had money in them! I really miss those things. I think they were called…. cards…. 😉
So now, I don’t feel so technologically backwards and I’m not so worried about the mobile phone. It’s not flash but takes calls. It’d be nice to get one of those again.