Quora Answer: What was it like to browse the Web in the nineties?

Oct 18 2014

At that time Software Tool and Die was the only ISP in the USA as far as I know, and I had to rent a modem line to get to Boston or where ever they are to be able to log in. It was kinda lonely in as much as there was no WWW yet, so you could FTP and Telnet and a few other things.

But mostly it was good to get academic papers which was what I was interested in. There was no illusory continuity that we are immersed in today with the WWW and hyperlinks. Every server was its own island with its own permissions to get in or not as allowed. But on the other hand there was no garbage either.

Now there is mostly garbage a little bit like the great cesspool in the middle of the Pacific full of plastic junk. Quora is one such item floating in that great mess which has gotten even worse with Web 2.0. Long gone are the ‘dot com’ days when we thought that all the problems of the world would be solved by the WWW. That was before pornography, spam, worms, trojans, viruses, idiocy, advertisements everywhere online, loss of privacy, identity theft, surveillance by government agencies, the anti-social masquerading as sociality, exploitation of our social networks, etc. (all the bad stuff we now know comes with the WWW).

But guess what has not changed, but even gotten better — the academic web. There are myriad papers out there that are worth reading and free that are now available (when not held hostage by publishers of academic journals). You can now find out even more than back then if you are interested in educating yourself. What was great at that time is even better now. But of course that is little seen by most users of the WWW today.

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