Back in about 1994 my sister and I were lucky enough to own a state of the art IBM PC (for those too young to remember, IBM used to make PCs and then sold this side of their Business to Lenovo). This hardcore PC had a massive 64MB RAM with an Intel 486 DX4/100 processor. Boy did that baby fly! It was a tough choice choosing between the IBM OS/2 and Microsoft Windows 3.1 Operating Systems but we went with Microsoft (a short while later a major move forward was made with the release of Windows 95). Oh, the IBM also came with a state of the art CD Rom drive with a brisk 4x speed (this was before recordable CDs were widely available) as well as a sound card. Yip, we owned the Ferrari of PC’s.
The Birth of the Internet
But that’s not all (this is starting to sound like an advert); it also came with an external US Robotics 28k modem to access this strange network of computers called the World Wide Web where people ‘surfed’ (my skin is very sensitive to sun so I wasn’t too sure how much ‘surfing’ I’d be able to do). Anyway my poor parents had to tolerate massive telephone bills and a constantly engaged telephone whilst we dialled up to our service provider which acted as a gateway to the Internet. Oh, bulletin boards (e.g. alt. ) were also popular and proved be the forerunner to forums which still are massively popular.
At that time there were three commonly available Internet Browsers (which all looked similar and did similar things …. much like now); NCSA Mosaic, Netscape Navigator and the new Internet Explorer by Microsoft. Netscape generally looked the best so that was my weapon of choice. As for search engines, there was Yahoo, Lycos, Excite, InfoSeek and a few others (expecting to see Google were you? … they came along later). Graphics on the Web were very crude (and for good reason) because it took so darn long to display images; caching was almost non-existent and loading anything over dodgy South African telephone lines was a joke.
The Need for Speed
It’s kind of strange because, later on, the advent of DSL/ADSL and better graphics processing allowed for a more image-rich Internet experience which many Webmaster have taken advantage of. The problem is that images again are becoming the bottleneck in Webpage load speeds (Theory of Constraints enthusiasts will love this one) and hence the welcoming of CSS3 where CSS may be used in place of images in some circumstances. Anyway, I digress….
And why this flash-back to the past? Because I’ve been waiting in the doctor’s office for over an hour and can’t get mobile broadband reception (damn you Optus and Vodafone). Isn’t it strange that we get annoyed when we have to wait a second longer for a Webpage to load but tolerate waiting ages in a doctor’s office …