back to top

Here's What It's Like Working On A 2001 iMac With A 56k Modem Today

Nostalgia can be very misleading.

Posted on
Andrew Richard / Jon Premosch / BuzzFeed

Fifteen years ago, we lived in a simpler time.

If you wanted to go on the internet, you couldn't just pull out your phone. I know, it sounds insane, but you had to get on a computer. A giant computer. And then when you did get online, the internet wasn't even that cool. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter AND BuzzFeed didn't exist yet.

Back in the early 00s, I remember desperately wanting one of the fancy new iMacs in deep blue. Unfortunately, I never got one of those brightly colored pieces of heaven. We were a PC household. Or at least we were, until I crashed the computer with porn viruses in high school — then we got a Mac ;).

Apple

Then, just a few days ago, my coworker Jon gifted me with this beauty:

Jon Premosch / Buzzfeed

Sure, it had some dust, but overall it was a solid 2001 iMac, complete with 400 MHz of speed and 128 MB of memory.

The computer also used to be white.
Jon Premosch / BuzzFeed

The computer also used to be white.

Now I could finally recreate my computer experience of the early '00s.

I could be transported back to my childhood, go into chatrooms, and type "A/S/L?" a bunch of times as I pretended to be a 40-year-old dude in Minnesota.

Or, I could just try living as we did in 2001, with slow internet and even slower computers.

To truly recreate the internet experience from the turn of the century, I would need to limit my connection to below 56 kbps. You know, like dial-up.

youtube.com

Yes. I would ride the nostalgia train back to 2001 and spend an entire day working on this old iMac. I started the computer and first encountered this warning:

I didn't fix it, because like the computer, I wanted to believe it was March 24, 2001.
Sarah Burton / Buzzfeed

I didn't fix it, because like the computer, I wanted to believe it was March 24, 2001.

As a reflex, I first went to log on to social media. Unfortunately, Facebook was unreadable.

I swear I have way more than 0 friend requests. But then again, Facebook didn't exist back then, so poo-poo to it anyway.
facebook.com

I swear I have way more than 0 friend requests. But then again, Facebook didn't exist back then, so poo-poo to it anyway.

No images would load on BuzzFeed's site.

I could not post on the website, which meant I could not perform the most basic task at my job under these conditions. But also — back then, my job did not exist? MY GOD, GOING BACK IN TIME IS WEIRD.
buzzfeed.com

I could not post on the website, which meant I could not perform the most basic task at my job under these conditions. But also — back then, my job did not exist? MY GOD, GOING BACK IN TIME IS WEIRD.

Jon Premosch / BuzzFeed

I continued to drift around the Net. For how shitty it looked, Amazon was surprisingly usable.

I was a click away from purchasing that Bop it! when my internet completely crapped out.
amazon.com

I was a click away from purchasing that Bop it! when my internet completely crapped out.

FogCam was still going strong.

It was still easy to read up on the O.J. Simpson trial.

Plus I could still check out the website of my FAVORITE movie.

However, just because these websites eventually loaded doesn't mean they didn't take forever. For example, this picture of a banana took over 25 seconds to load.

"Mac, you O.K.? You hungry? Why you growlin'?"

When I asked the computer to perform any task, its insides would groan loudly.
Jon Premosch / BuzzFeed

When I asked the computer to perform any task, its insides would groan loudly.

Safari kept quitting, and I couldn't use any other internet service to get online (my computer was too out of date). I tried logging on Gmail, but the website got caught in a loop and could never get to my mailbox. I didn't even try Slack.

I couldn't do any work online, so I had to try to write in this generic word processor (this computer did not have Microsoft Word).

Sarah Burton / Buzzfeed

Adobe was also old and not very helpful. It, too, took a full minute to load.

Staring at the screen, I got to thinking: when were wide pleated grey slacks ever in? Like, this guy looks so uncool. He is probably running to work because he's excited to do his job. He's that lame.
Sarah Burton / Buzzfeed

Staring at the screen, I got to thinking: when were wide pleated grey slacks ever in? Like, this guy looks so uncool. He is probably running to work because he's excited to do his job. He's that lame.

Da fuq was this for?

Apparently back in the day we used to put CD-ROMs in computers, which is just insane because my current computer doesn't even pretend that's necessary (there is no slot).
Jon Premosch / BuzzFeed

Apparently back in the day we used to put CD-ROMs in computers, which is just insane because my current computer doesn't even pretend that's necessary (there is no slot).

SLOW COMPUTER MAKE ME ANGRY!!!

Jon Premosch / BuzzFeed

At this point I felt like going on the internet 15 years ago was a million times slower.

Turns out I wasn't far off. I checked with BuzzFeed's tech team, and at 56 kbps, my speed was approximately 2000 times slower than regular.TWO THOUSAND TIMES SLOWER.HOW DID WE GET ANYTHING DONE??
speedtest.net

Turns out I wasn't far off. I checked with BuzzFeed's tech team, and at 56 kbps, my speed was approximately 2000 times slower than regular.

TWO THOUSAND TIMES SLOWER.

HOW DID WE GET ANYTHING DONE??

If I could have, I would have thrown the computer in the dumpster.

Unfortunately, Jon needed it back.So old Mac currently sits next to my flashy modern day computer, just chilling. It makes for a nice #tbt, but other than that, it is totally not worth it. I did not miss out on much not having one of these as a kid.
Jon Premosch / BuzzFeed

Unfortunately, Jon needed it back.

So old Mac currently sits next to my flashy modern day computer, just chilling. It makes for a nice #tbt, but other than that, it is totally not worth it. I did not miss out on much not having one of these as a kid.

Better to leave to 56k internet and the slow-ass iMac where they belong: in the past.

Top trending videos

Watch more BuzzFeed Video Caret right

Top trending videos

Watch more BuzzFeed Video Caret right
The best things at three price points