Remember the good old days? When you got AOL 4.0 cds? When you were psyched about finally getting a 56k connection? When this exciting new technology called V.92 seemed to be cutting edge?
One of my first exposures to the Internet as we know it today was actually from a commercial- NASCAR to be exact. NASCAR and thousands of other entities, it seemed, touted entering in their respective name as an “AOL Keyword”.
AOL never had a nice browser feature. It was just a reskinned IE, but there was a bar at the top of the window where you could type in keywords and in I’m-Feeling-Lucky fashion, be transported to a whole new world, which in my case was a sad looking (yet simplistically attractive) recap of (then) last week’s race.
Don’t worry though, this isn’t a trip down memory lane using the Wayback Machine as our vehicle (there’s plenty of blog posts about that). This is merely just a look back out how epic “AOL Keyword” was hyped to be.
You see… back then, people didn’t understand what the “.com” at the end of the nascar meant. They also didn’t know that sometimes you could only get to that site by typing “www.” in front of it. Nowadays, the browsers are smarter. Want to go to GMail? Simply type “g” into Firefox’s address bar and hit enter.
Sadly (perhaps not) “AOL Keyword” is used by only the older generation… the dot commers back before the dot com era. Nobody in their right mind uses this anymore, right?
So what brought on this journey into the recent past? Well, I ended up watching both Hackers and Antitrust over the past two days. In between thoughts of “hacking the Gibson”, insecure passwords, and Synapse, old, archiac memories slowly filtered into my mind. Multiplayer paintball via dialup, spending 12 minutes at a time downloading 1mb Need for Speed 3 cars, and a myriad of other things (EZNet anyone?)