This reenactment of the dial-up internet experience reminds us of the late 1990s.

Demonstration of the late 1990s dial-up experience, using accurate hardware almost periodically and connecting to the latest websites using older browsers via a 31.2kbit / s dial-up connection. Please note: Page loading is real time.

We have all found a coping strategy to survive the pandemic in 2020.Biomedical engineer Gough Liu I like to tinker with technology, especially vintage technology, and in the late 1990s I decided to recreate what it would be like to connect to the internet via dial-up. He recorded the entire process in real time in agony, interspersed with occasional commentary.

People of a certain age (Eheme) remember what they were like before. Just booting the computer, especially in the first half of 10 years, required patience as I was able to take a shower and brew coffee during the boot time. Your computer from a floppy disk. I needed a phone line dedicated to internet connection. Otherwise, the incoming call may interrupt the connection and require you to repeat the entire dial-up process again. In the salad era of Netscape and Microsoft Explorer, browsing the Web took a similar amount of time.

Since then, there have been many changes as the Internet has changed from curiosity to a necessity and in the process has reshaped our culture. As Liu mentioned in his blog:

The internet has become an integral part of our daily lives, but the way to experience the internet over broadband high speed connections is not my childhood way. From the late 90’s to the early 2000’s, I was dialing up from a Pentium 133MHz non-MMX machine with 48MB of RAM running Windows 98SE (and later Windows 2000 Professional). This experience itself reflected the fact that the “always-on” Internet was not considered necessary or normal. At that time, “ttyt,” which stands for “talk to you tomorrow,” was important.

expansion / / Liu had to use miniProxy to connect to the latest websites.

YouTube / Gough Liu

The video begins with Liu’s Techway Endeavor II computer (c. 1995) booted and displayed without commentary for maximum dramatic effect. The heartwarming “credit” provides the basic specifications. It adds an IntelPentiumI 100 MHz CPU, 32MB of RAM, a Fujitsu 2.6GB hard drive, a Sony 3.5-inch floppy disk drive, and a 65k voice modem. Featured software includes Microsoft Windows 98 SE, Netscape Communicator 4.8, and Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5.

Then you’ll hear a clear static sound of dialing up to connect to the Internet. We are ready to start surfing with your fiery 31.2k connection. (As Liu explains, “56k isn’t possible because of the analog nature of the connection.”) Things get interesting here. Direct access to most modern websites isn’t really possible, as changes to the https protocol make it impossible to negotiate common ciphers. Therefore, Liu uses miniProxy. It connects to the site via https, downloads the content, rewrites all the links so that it can pass through the proxy and sends it back to Liu’s computer.

Downloading the executable took 3 minutes and 27 seconds.
expansion / / Downloading the executable took 3 minutes and 27 seconds.

YouTube / Gough Liu

Downloading the sample page from Slashdot will take some time, as the status bar at the bottom will show progress updates. “Web browsing technology has evolved dramatically over the years and is the same as the HTML standard. CSS, certain types of Javascript, etc. didn’t exist at the time the navigator was there, so the site loads. But it looks very different. You’ll experience it in modern browsers today, “says Liu.

The rest of the trip will include visits to the Australian Government Meteorological Authority (still using http),, Wikipedia, xkcd (“Waiting for this cartoon”), etc., all loaded. real time. It takes completely 3 minutes and 27 seconds to download an executable 120kb file for a simple software update. Overall, you’ll be grateful for all the technological advances over the last 20 years, especially the relatively huge amount of bandwidth we’re enjoying today. Children today don’t know how much they have it.

Listing image by YouTube / Gough Liu This reenactment of the dial-up internet experience reminds us of the late 1990s.

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