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Thread: Before the Internet

  1. #1
    Hasta Siempre Madrigal's Avatar
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    Before the Internet

    What did you do before the internet?

    Obviously, anonymous-blogs-that-any-stranger-could-read didn't exist, so I kept several diaries. The downside is that I can no longer read them, because they're written in code. It's just an alphabet of invented symbols with no spaces, so it's probably not that hard to crack, but shit, was I paranoid. Only I knew the code and it was stored in my mind.

    I wrote long letters, sometimes dozens of pages long, over the course of several weeks, and sent them to friends in other countries. I still have over a hundred letters I received from people over the years (and I wrote more than I received).

    I read a lot of fiction books and poetry before bed, it was how I fell asleep.

    When I had to do research, I went to several different libraries.

    Mixed tapes. Holy shit I still have a lot of mixed tapes.

    Voice tapes I sent to friends.

    Photos were special. I had albums for each holiday. There are periods of my life with very few photos (this is probably a good thing because all of high school was a bad hair day).

    Sometimes I lost track of people and wondered if I would ever know what happened to them. I used to think, "Well... there's always the phone book if I'm in that city again."

    Breaking news came from CNN.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hephaestus View Post
    Heh. We've been here years now.

  2. #2
    No Blorg's Avatar
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    I became an expert at being dead. If I'd been alive pre-internet, I probably wouldn't have done much differently-- I'm so sorry for all of you who had to live through that hell.

  3. #3
    Persona Oblongata OrionzRevenge's Avatar
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    BBSing from the early 80s into the 90s
    For you kiddies, BBSs were like the ancestors of Forums. access by dial-up and most folks not phreaking could only afford to call a few (if lucky), in your hometown, due to long distance rates. The kinda stuff seen in War Games, but no ICBMs.

    Collecting Reference books.

    Reading

    Getting outdoors to read, draw, think, etc.

    Computer Games

    Microscopy

    Astronomy

    Local Radio / Playing Albums

    Renting VHS movies / Taping shows
    Creativity is the residue of time wasted. ~ Albert Einstein

  4. #4
    Tawaci ki a Gnaska ki Osito Polar's Avatar
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    I was actually on the Internet back when I was eight years old. But it was an utterly different place back then, and I mostly used it to download research material or to read what other nerds thought about music.

    I used Prodigy.

    I ran a BBS.

    I listened to college radio and I used to call in a fair bit.

    I read books and magazines.

    I spent way more time outdoors.
    "I don't have psychological problems." --Madrigal

    "When you write about shooting Polemarch in the head, that's more like a first-person view, like you're there looking down the sight of the gun." --Utisz

    David Wong, regarding Chicago
    Six centuries ago, the pre-Colombian natives who settled here named this region with a word which in their language means "the Mouth of Shadow". Later, the Iroquois who showed up and inexplicably slaughtered every man, woman and child renamed it "Seriously, Fuck that Place". When French explorer Jacques Marquette passed through the area he marked his map with a drawing of a brownish blob emerging from between the Devil's buttocks.

  5. #5
    Your Huckleberry lethe's Avatar
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    When we didn't have internet, we also didn't have cable.

    We all (my family) spent a LOT of time in libraries. A LOT. The library was the first place I was allowed to be out alone (dropped off) other than playing outside around the neighborhood. I still fondly remember the days or full weekends spent there researching papers on my own.

    At home we had many books and read constantly; it is still how I fall asleep. My brothers and I played outside most days, and the family was often camping, picnicking, or hiking. (We brought our books there, too.) We also were constantly learning new hobbies or crafts. We had math workbooks bought from the Learning store to use as puzzle books for entertainment.

    As kids we just stayed out of the loop for news or popular media, did not discuss shows, celebrity, music, or fads. Even the few games we had on the computer were educational. Other kids were constantly moving in and out of town; relationships outside family were fleeting and focused on whatever activity we shared. Later we played magic cards and DnD.

    When internet was new I still wrote long notes to whichever best friend I had that year, and started making mixed CDs. I think the radio was my biggest link to popular culture.
    Don't remember changing this.

  6. #6
    a cantori Perdix's Avatar
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    Before the internet I was a young child and spent my time outdoors, building shelters and exploring rural areas in Texas, I swam a lot, several hours a day in the summer. I read an astronomical amount, The Odyssey was my favorite piece, I must have read it front to back over ten times. My parents had all of Homer's epics on tape, we listened to them on cross country trips before I could read, which I assume is why I gained an appreciation at such a young age. I actually won several awards from my school for reading, the only reason why I wasn't kicked out for all of my tomfuckery.

    Dry ice bombs were fun, paintball from 8pm till 4am was fun, camping with friends on weekends and in the summer was fun.

    I actually might have been happier without the internet .

  7. #7
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    This would have been high school and early college. There was internet when I got to college, but all it was good for was finding Nirvana lyrics and crap. Even towards the end there wasn't that much out there. A lot of grad students' web pages and geocities pages. There was no google.

    In high school, I watched a lot of TV and went to the mall. My friends and I also hung out at a truck stop restaurant and an elementary school playground. We smoked cigarettes and acted like little assholes.
    In college, I studied, slept, partied, and generally hung out with my college friends. Also spent a lot of time exploring Boston and Cambridge: MFA, Harvard Square, Quincy Market, the Freedom Trail. Went apple picking in New Hampshire once. We discovered a Whole Foods on Mass Ave and thought it was the absolute bomb because of all the fresh produce. I take Whole Foods for granted now.

  8. #8
    A Transient Configuration Sistamatic's Avatar
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    There were a lot of products I didn't know I needed.

    I couldn't decide to buy some random thing, like say, a lava lamp, and then just go find one. If it wasn't in a local store or the Sears catalog, you couldn't have it and if it wasn't included in an advertising campaign on one of the 12 stations that could be picked up via the antenna, you probably didn't know it existed. My Aunt had a lava lamp. I wanted one. There was no place to get one. There was simply no way to have one because they were not sold locally and were not in the Sears catalog...the Sears catalog was where you found cool weird stuff. We made our Christmas lists from the Sears catalog. For you youngsters, this was a physical book about an inch and a half thick that was mailed out 2 or 3 times a year. Looking through it was like browsing through Amazon.com.

    If I missed an episode of Battlestar Galactica (the original) because my parents didn't understand the all consuming importance of not missing an episode, there was no recourse. Luckily my dad understood for the most part.

  9. #9
    libertine librarian sandwitch's Avatar
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    My dad signed us up for dial-up fairly early in my life, so "before the internet" is pretty vague for me. I remember that there were computer games I enjoyed, but I needed help finding the right floppy disks. I didn't have unsupervised access to the internet until halfway through high school, prior to which I was largely oblivious of things happening outside of our valley.

  10. #10
    chaotic neutral shitpost jigglypuff's Avatar
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    i went through the first 9 yrs of my life without internet & didn't really get into it until i was around 10, when i started having an independent-ish social life.

    before the internet, there was tv (i started watching south park & pro-wrestling before the internet; that's so cute). and books (little kid encyclopedias before wikipedia). and the telephone and 3 way dialing. and... i had sega genesis. and my parents made me do a lot of extra-curricular activities. i barely remember those days. i remember using an electronic dictionary.

    the first website i visited was dog.com. first favorite website, stupid.com.

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