ICQ, old internet.

I never thought I'd miss this sound.

Napster on dial-up overnight, then, after Metallica ruined that, on to LimeWire.

Ridiculous amounts of AOL discs and then CDs arriving in the mail in metal cases.

No social media, except Google Buzz, which was kind of cool for the short while it lasted. Socializing was in the comments sections of blogs.

Geocities, or you had to learn to write HTML. Blogging was a bit tougher to set up.

Blogrolls. Webrings. Tip jars.

Fewer ads, less corporate infestation.

Amazon only sold books (I still have the old bookmarks that came in those books).

Usenet, before Google Groups. Where I had rants about things like trying to design two versions of my website (using Frontpage, at the time) to account for people using the older Netscape Navigator 4.

Reading Clifford Stoll's The Cuckoo's Egg in one sleepless night.

Maybe because there was a slight barrier to entry, some know-how required, so that millions of people with millions of devices didn't swarm a system and fill it with stupidity. It wasn't so easy to set up a website, a blog, a social channel. There were installations and code and no super user friendly GUIs. That barrier to entry that demanded you reach up to meet the bar; the bar wasn't lowered.

Back when the internet had an unofficial bouncer, it was nice.

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