Electronic Newspapers Circa 1981 -- Two Hours to Download



So you think your internet connection is too slow...Go back to 1981, and you will see how far we have come since then.
While the “internet” has existed since 1969, it really didn’t trickle down to the masses until the first browser Mosaic was released 12 years later in 1993, introducing “The World Wide Web.” Even then, it took a few years for users to update their computers and increase memory to accommodate the memory-hog browsers. I believe we acquired our first internet-ready computer in 1996-1998.
Funny. I can’t remember exactly when – it all seems so organic now.
I remember the antiquated dial-up system when I worked in the tech department of a college library; the tech department was responsible for doing data base searches for profs. You actually placed the phone receiver on the modem, which then connected you to a data base (LexisNexis, etc.). Once you had your info, you would print it out on fan-fold paper with sprocket holes and send off to the packet to the professor via interoffice mail.
In those days, printers had a sort of annoying grinding sound. We still have our old Nec 400 printer, but forget about finding ink cartridges and fanfold paper – it would make a big, ugly paperweight.
While this 1981 news story seems a bit quaint now, it was actually very futuristic for its time. Of course, newspapers online are now commonplace, but in 1981, the notion wasn’t even on most people’s radar –in my computer class, we were still using keypunch cards, although the professor warned us that the future was about to move forward and that keypunch cards would soon be obsolete, that data would be stored on tape or disks. 



Time marches on, like it or not. In 33 years – 2047— humans will be looking back at this time, and laughing at our slow 2014 connections and funny-looking Google glasses and clunky iPhones. Perhaps Google and Microsoft will be defunct and something called Qanja or IoTqa will be the new behemoths on the block. Okay, I made up those names – I own Qanja.com and IoTqa.com. (Last one: acronym for “Internet of Things, Questions and Answers, another post for another day). Perhaps one of you, my brilliant young readers, will buy one of these and develop a killer search engine or site... 
I’m a brand, remember?

UPDATE: I have added The Computer Chronicles, a video from 1993, about the “Information Superhighway.” It's a bit long, but still worth watching. I saw a few TLDs scroll by, an .edu and Internet.com, but it looks as though domain names were still pretty much under the radar.
Funny. Still, some of the commentators were very prescient about the future, for example, how the internet had the capability to connect the world, while, at the same time, disconnecting people. How true that has turned out to be...
One aside: one of the hosts is Janelle Stelson, who is now a local anchor for WGAL; she is still quite lovely.

What a small world!






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