Here's What It's Like Working On A 2001 iMac With A 56k Modem Today
Nostalgia can be very misleading.
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 ;).
Then, just a few days ago, my coworker Jon gifted me with this beauty:
Sure, it had some dust, but overall it was a solid 2001 iMac, complete with 400 MHz of speed and 128 MB of memory.
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:
As a reflex, I first went to log on to social media. Unfortunately, Facebook was unreadable.
No images would load on BuzzFeed's site.
I continued to drift around the Net. For how shitty it looked, Amazon was surprisingly usable.
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'?"
Safari kept quitting, and I couldn't use any other internet service to get online (my computer was too out of date).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.