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

Nostalgia can be very misleading.

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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 ;).


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.

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:

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.

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.


Safari kept quitting, and I couldn't use any other internet service to get online (my computer was too out of date).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.

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

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?

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).

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.



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

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.