The ’90s! It was a time of Jennifer Aniston hair, and also some of the other stuff that happened. Some of that stuff was tech!
The ’90s were a truly special time in tech — the World Wide Web came into being, owning your own computer went mainstream, and there were no Facebooks or Googles to corral everything into one place.
It was a wild time of awkwardness and fumbling exploration, so if you want to call it the adolescence of modern technology, we won’t stop you.
And, like those memories of adolescence, even though you’ll look back in horror at a lot of this ’90s tech, you won’t be able to help but smile.
Before we transcended physical media before we had those shiny DVDs and Blu-rays, we had the VHS tape and by extension the VCR.
Today, going to your pocket is as much as work as you need to do to watch a movie, but in the VHS days, you got a whole experience — going to Blockbuster, buying popcorn and candy at the convenience store next to the Blockbuster, then going home, watching the movie, and using the time it took to rewind the thing to actually discuss the movie.
I’d take those rewind conversations over Twitter 100 times out of 100!
Pour one out. Somehow, AOL Instant Messenger not only survived past its late ’90s-early ’00s heyday but survived all the way to December of last year, when it finally passed from this world.
For many of us, it was the first exposure to chatbots, the personal expression on the internet, and the lesson that it’s not cool to send messages to all your Buddies nonstop.
Also, you could go invisible online, which is really, really, really not a thing anymore.
A bulbous computer with a colorful semi-transparent back! What will they think of next?
Well, they thought of a lot of stuff, but very little of it let you peek inside, so point goes to the ’90s.
I don’t know, I remember mine pooped and died a lot. Good times I guess.
Also, don’t forget Neopets were a thing! Everyone always forgets about Neopets, who also pooped and died a lot.
They tried to make Tamagotchi a thing again, but it was really the right thing for the right time. You can’t recreate that magic.
Heck yeah. None of this easy mode photography we’ve got now. Back in the day of actual film rolls, you had to point, shoot, and then wait until you took enough pictures to fill up the roll and send it in for development.
It would be weeks, sometimes months, before finding out whether or not you totally botched that precious family memory. Exciting!
Before Myspace and Facebook provided us with social presence scaffolding, we were free to let our creativity run wild on Geocities sites.
The internet was so colorful back then. You can see some old one preserved on a site called Cameron’s World, which I can assure you is a wild time.
CDs were the new hotness in the ’90s.
Taking them with you on the bus and listening with those flimsy headphones that broke in your backpack after like three weeks? Even hotter.
Back when the brick Nokia phone built like a brick was actually awesome on its own merits, and not retro curiosities!
The browser of choice for the internet users of the ’90s who successfully resisted the barrage of AOL free trial CDs in the mail.
Even in the ’90s, I’m pretty sure Oregon Trail was the beginning and end of my experience with floppy disks.