A Tour of the Internet in 1993

YouTube / The Computer Chronicles
YouTube / The Computer Chronicles / YouTube / The Computer Chronicles

In 1993, the Internet was both old and so, so young. The network hosted mature services like newsgroups (discussion forums), FTP servers (file downloads), Gopher (for Web-like things before the Web), and so on. But in 1993 things got real when the Mosaic Web browser was released. That year, the PBS show Computer Chronicles spent a half hour touring the internet, but only mentioned the Web in passing. Let's go back a couple decades and enjoy what the Internet looked like right before the Web took over:

Some favorite moments of mine:

3:02 - The downloaded file is Clinton's inaugural address. Yes, downloading a compressed text file took measurable time in 1993.

4:00 - Hanging out at ARPA, in their version of the Enterprise. I'm here to tell you, Trekkies made this world.

6:00 - "'Net-surf'...that's what the cool kids are calling it."

7:30 - NASA has developed video conferencing with 2 frame-per-second video.

9:30 - Brendan Kehoe gives us a tour of Gopher, and attempts to order a CD online...but gives up because it's taking too long. Kehoe's book Zen and the Art of the Internet was a huge deal in those days. Oh yeah, and around 13:00 he downloads the full text of NAFTA. 90s-riffic!

17:07 - "Internet talk radio." Ahem, podcast prior art?

19:00 - Howard Rheingold, wearing an awesome outfit, explains The Well and predicts that the Internet will be a huge deal.