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When the internet was a weird, magical thing
Let's dig back into the archives. Though we actually don't have to go that far back...
World wide what?
World wide what? (Michael Keller/Corbis)

The New York Times: November 3, 1993

The problem, computer and telecommunications experts say, is that the computer network called the Internet, once a cozy community of a few thousand computer scientists, engineers and programmers who quietly and freely shared their on-line data, has suddenly been besieged by millions of newcomers. Anyone with a personal computer and a modem can easily and cheaply gain access to the Internet, a global web of thousands of computer networks. [New York Times]

The New York Times: November 9, 1993

In a typical electronic-mail transaction, you might write a letter on the little computer before calling the big computer. Then you sign on; the service costs $6 an hour. It takes, say, two minutes to send the letter. That is 20 cents, not counting the $12 monthly charge for the service, which you probably use for other things anyway. [New York Times]

Spin: October 1994

Loading a clip from a (Beastie Boys) appearance with Fab Five Freddy on MTV takes nearly an hour on a standard high-speed connection. It’s brief, grainy, and tiny enough that it’s obvious why no one at the network would bother crying "copyright" even if they had the time, access, and/or inclination to load it. [Spin]

Popular Mechanics: April 1995

I search my hotlist of Web addresses and double-click on Internet Underground Music Archive. A few clicks more and a song by The Barking Spiders is streaming onto my hard disk in digital stereo. It’s a 5-megabyte file, and even with my 28.8-kilobits-per-second modem, it'll be awhile before that download is finished. [Popular Mechanics]

New York: July 10, 1995

Even if we acknowledge the right of parents to protect their children from unwholesomeness, the cyberporn controversy has an air of unreality about it. As anyone who has spent time on the World Wide Web can tell you, it is, if anything, less sexy than what can be found on any corner newsstand. If we extrapolate from (Time Magazine's) own figures, only 0.3 percent of Internet traffic is composed of naughty bits. [New York]

New Straits Times: July 28, 1998

Q: Can I catch a virus by looking at a web page?

A: You can't, but your computer can catch a virus if you download an executable program from an untrustworthy site and then, of your own free will, double-click on it in your file manager. [New Straits Times]

Therese Oneill has written for The Atlantic and The Salem Weekly and is a regular contributor to Mental Floss. She lives in Oregon and blogs at writerthereseoneill.com.

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