Harken returns to the late '90s with a re-creation of the mobile internet experience
Find out what happens when you try to visit modern websites with Windows 98. Biomedical engineer Gough Liu loves to play with technology - especially older ones. In the late 1990s, he decided to try to get back online through his phone number. He recorded the entire agonizing process in real time, full of occasional explanations.
Demonstration of the late 1990s phone experience using semi-finished hardware, connecting to modern websites using older browsers over a 31.2 kbps dial-up connection. Note: The page loads in real time.

People of a certain age remember very well what it was like: even just starting a computer required patience, especially in the first decade, when we could shower and make coffee. To boot the computer from a floppy disk. One needs a dedicated phone line to connect to the internet, because otherwise an incoming call can disrupt the connection and force the entire calling process over and over again. Browsing the web was just as time consuming as Salad Netscape and Microsoft Explorer.

Many changes have occurred since then, the internet has become a necessity out of curiosity and our culture has changed the world. Processing. As Liu points out on his blog:

The internet has become a vital part of our daily lives, but the way we feel now with high-speed broadband connections is not like my childhood. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, I was calling from my non-MMX 133MHz Pentium, which came with 48MB of RAM with Windows 98SE (and later versions of Windows 2000 Professional ). This experience in itself reflected the fact that the internet “always” was not considered a necessity or a norm - at the time, “ttyt” meant one thing to “talk to you tomorrow.” Zoom / Liu must use miniProxy to connect to modern websites. YouTube / Gough Liu

This video opens with Liu's launch showing the launch of the Techway Endeavor II. Computer (circa 1995), no commentary for best dramatic effect. Language "credits" are as follows: Intel Pentium I 100MHz processor, 32MB RAM, 2.6GB Fujitsu hard drive, plus 3.5" Sony floppy disk and 65KB audio modem. Premium programs include Microsoft Windows 98 SE, Netscape Communicator 4.8, and Microsoft internet Explorer 5.5. We are ready to start browsing with your 31.2KB connection. (As Liu explains, “56K is not possible due to the analog nature of the connection.”) This is where it all gets interesting. In fact, most modern websites cannot be visited directly because changes in https protocols make it impossible to negotiate a shared password. So Liu uses a miniProxy which connects to the site using https, downloads the content and sends it with all links rewritten to Liu's computer so they can go through the proxy. 3 Length Zooming in/downloading an executable took 3 minutes 27 seconds. YouTube / Gough Liu

It takes some time to download a sample page from Slashdot, The status bar at the bottom provides updates on our progress.” Web browsing technology has evolved greatly over the years, and like the HTML standards, things like CSS and certain types of JavaScript didn't exist at the time of Navigator, so the site loads, but it looks and feels very different. . Here's how it works: Liu says you'll try it out in a modern browser today. "We'll be waiting for this comedian for a while"), and others, with everything uploaded in real time. Downloading a 120KB executable file for a simple software update takes a full 3 minutes 27 seconds. The video will thank you for all the technological advancements of the past 20 years - especially for the relatively wide bandwidth we enjoy today. Kids today don't know how good they are.

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