So today we celebrate 20 years of public WWW? Well, just the right occasion for a real vintage experience. So I went to the basement and pulled out the right equipment to check out if it still works, could make a connection to ‚the net‘ and if so revel in memories. At least a partly success!
So for those of you too young to remember, not calling themselves early adopters or simply having forgotten – this is what it really looked like around 1993. The computer here is a Apple Macintosh Quadra 650, originally running OS 7.1 (forgive me. Here its OS 8.1, but I couldn’t find the other 160MB SCSI hard drive). So I hooked up the machine once again to the internet through a 10baseT Ethernet connection and DSL (well, Telekom Germany delivers me an almost ‚historic‘ 3 MBit/s!) squeezed through an AAUI Transceiver. Yes, in those days RJ45 so sockets were just about to break through. But after all most desktop Macs had already a built in networks for both Ethernet and their proprietary Apple Talk (the Personal Laser Writer 320 coming along with the machine is attached to the latter and has Postscript!). The display is the classic 17″ showing 832×624 pixel @75Hz and 32768 colors. This was declared ‚true color‘ at that time. The Quadra, introduced in October 1993 had originally a Motorola 68040 chip running 33 Mhz. But I choose this machine early spring 1994, because there was the option to upgrade it to the first PowerPC Generation, on a PDS slot running RISC and 66 Mhz. This was supposed to break the light barrier, way back then! Also on board 3 NUBUS slots, one of them I immediately equipped with an Digidesign Audiomedia II for Sounddesigner 2. Right then I started doing audio hard disk recording, when I was a young free lance radio reporter for German Public Radio, running a small correspondent’s office in Nuremberg (but that’s another story for some other post).
Going online 1994
Anyway, around the same time, when buying a modem, they gave you vouchers for testing a month free a Online Company. Compuserve and AOL – not running local branches yet – tried to invade Germany. There, Deutsche Bundespost – before being seperated – had been running BTX for already for ten years or so. But it took them, some 5 more years, until thy managed to get a software for a Win oder Mac out (Oops, yet another story….)
Now. through a Compuserve account I’d been using already for 6 months before I got the Mac, through a Commodore C128 in terminal mode, I had some crude experience: typing numbers „1,2,3,…or ESC“ for navigating through menus trying to retrieve any information.
Being now on a Mac with a GUI felt like paradise. The only question was: How to get out form the proprietary dial-in network of the Online Company to the ‚free and unlimited world wide web‘. Of course soon hacks spread around. Yet Mac OS 7.1 was a bit tricky to set up correctly – but still nothing compared to that damned configuration work, that any Win machine tortured you into.
Back to the present. As you can see the machine is well and running. Occasionally it serves as for real time audio digitization. Also the 2x CD-ROM (no burner!) does still an excellent job transferring elsewhere almost unreadably discs into files (it even ignored stoically any copy protection, some years ago, when the recording industry thought this might solve their problems).
So hooking up to the internet was done easily. On the machine, I still have a folder, with ‚historic browsers“ from 1994/1995 (reinstalled from my first CD-ROM backups): Mosaic 2.0.0 as A17 and B12 (1995) , as well Netscape 1.0 and 1.1 .
But typing in the URL of the original first website
resulted in either a an endless spinning globe or remarks „Transferring data“ without any result or even a simple „404 error“. Apparently something must have chanced during the last 20 years. Maybe I have forgotten to change a small preference in a configuration. I don’t know. So it gave it a try with a much later Netscape 4.73 from 1998 – and wuppps! There you are. Saving this as html file and opening it in any of the vintage browser finally created a „That’s what it looked like“ picture, shown above.
Yet I tried out something else: What about NCSA’s website?
Sorry, Cern. Still available on a vintage internet set up.
Mac OS 7.1 reactivated. And thanks to Vintagemacworld.com even managed to get the Ethernet/Mac-TCP up and runnning. Next step: Getting my 14.4 kBit/s modem back on line. It’s the right time to get used to slow internet again – thanks to the announced plans of Deutsche Telekom to speed down internet…..