1348: "Before the Internet"

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Re: 1348: "Before the Internet"

Postby Jorpho » Fri Mar 28, 2014 1:50 pm UTC

drazen wrote:I had biking and roaming in the woods and toys. We had demolisitting ntests with Construx (which is too bad, as I don't think you can get them anymore).
Yay, Construx! That was pretty awesome. A teensy bit too fragile, maybe.

Rai wrote:I'd like to thank Bob Barker, for hosting the only watchable show on daytime TV.
I remember being really happy about being able to stay home from school one day and getting to watch TPiR, and then it was pre-empted by Gulf War coverage. That was annoying.

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Re: 1348: "Before the Internet"

Postby pkcommando » Fri Mar 28, 2014 1:54 pm UTC

dalcde wrote:Are there even kids who know how to build a treehouse nowadays? Would like to know someone who does :)

Now you probably get slapped w/ zoning regulations and complaints from neighbors about 'eyesores' destroying their property values.
:cry:


The Before Time:
I didn't have internet until I went to college in 1999. *shudder* Growing up. I had to play outside, ride my bike, play with a decent collection of action figures and LEGOS - *dramatic sting* - entertain myself. In a rural area no less where my road was left out by the cable company. It was a terrible time. If you missed an episode of a TV show you were well and truly f-cked, unless your buddy videotaped it. But at least I could avoid internet spoilers, so --- win?

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Re: 1348: "Before the Internet"

Postby Whizbang » Fri Mar 28, 2014 1:55 pm UTC

dalcde wrote:
Draco18s wrote:I built a (shitty) treehouse and played with legos (which I still have most of).


Are there even kids who know how to build a treehouse nowadays? Would like to know someone who does :)



My son(5yo) and I built a lean-to this summer. We made it larger and larger as the summer went by. It is not a typical leanto where a long, fallen tree is placed in a crook of a tree, and then other, smaller, branches are laid on the fallen tree, with bark and branches woven in. This is more like a leanto teepee. We have a bunch of long branches/fallen trees laid into the crook of the tree, and smaller branches woven in. This thing has stood all winter, with feet of snow on top. I wouldn't want to spend the night in it, but it was fun building it, and we often play bears or vikings with this as our home base. This summer I am going to expand it and try to wrap it completely around the tree, minus a door.

Spoiler'd because large:
Spoiler:
Image


Spoiler'd because redundant:
Spoiler:
IMG_20140309_111806_061[1].jpg

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Re: 1348: "Before the Internet"

Postby Jackpot777 » Fri Mar 28, 2014 2:09 pm UTC

I remember, pre-internet, how I had a random lyric from a song stuck in my head. Couldn't remember the tune, just the words. And the words were sung by a woman, or a high-pitched man.

For months I carried it around in my head. Then, a few weeks after I first got connected to the internet, I remembered the song lyric. Google wasn't a thing, but AltaVista came up trumps for me. For months, for no good reason I can think of, I had "and I was gonna tell you tonight" from "Alone" by Heart in my head.

Same thing happened recently. Someone on reddit asked for examples of electronic tunes with a similar vibe to the ones they posted. All I could remember was the line "if it's all the same to you then I'm taken" from the song. Googled it, and the first three links told me it was Hybrid - Out of the Dark. The video on YouTube confirmed it was the tune from 11 years ago I was looking for.

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Re: 1348: "Before the Internet"

Postby ctdonath » Fri Mar 28, 2014 2:42 pm UTC

sardia wrote:I would surf [TV] endlessly, hoping for something better to popup, but it never did.


When there were 4 channels, "channel surfing" didn't last very long. TV was in the closet most of the time because it took up space and content mostly sucked.

Instead, spent bulk of my free time programming. Learned a lot trying to concoct games in 1KB RAM (OS & video included).

E-books? Took 9 hours to download the Bible (about the only book with enough popularity to warrant making a digital version).
Phones? You knew contacting someone was iffy and accepted it.
Meeting? Make plans; anyone not at the right place at the right time risked being ostracized for practical reasons.
Phone numbers? Just 4 digits could get you anyone in town. 7 digits got you the county. More digits were too expensive to bother with.
Mobile communications? Amateur ("ham") radio. Big breakthrough was "patch repeaters" which could connect your mobile radio (which you needed a test-based license to use) to the phone system.
Calling help for an auto accident? When the car slid into a ditch during a blizzard, it was a 1-mile walk to a farmhouse where suspicious occupants might let you use their phone.
Streaming music? AM radio. Cool breakthrough was having an FM-to-AM converter for the car. If you were REALLY clever, you could program a computer to cause the right kind of radio interference to play "music" thru an AM radio.
Mapping? Paper maps. Compass if necessary. Learn your way around. Get lost a lot.
Really bored? Go walk thru the woods, maybe visit the abandoned bathtub, probably walk up the stream, maybe try panning for gold (knowing there wasn't any), hang out at the waterfall for a while. Or read, black ink dried onto processed dead tree carcasses, kept in large free-access buildings.

Didn't have to deal with information overload.

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Re: 1348: "Before the Internet"

Postby Aiwendil » Fri Mar 28, 2014 2:49 pm UTC

The internet is definitely a very good thing. But before the internet I did still have books and an imagination. And a computer, for that matter. Life wasn't more fulfilling in some mystical way, but it wasn't all that boring either.

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Re: 1348: "Before the Internet"

Postby Wee Red Bird » Fri Mar 28, 2014 2:51 pm UTC

In spoiler tags because it is something that some may not consider safe for work.

Spoiler:
I remember the usual source for porn was magazines left in bushes. Not sure if it was caught by the wind and whipped out of some poor unfortunate guys hand ("the wife is round at her sister's tonight, its just me and Pam tonight") before he had a chance to read it or if someone purposefully took it to the bushes at the side of the park to fight with the unicorn in the fresh air and left it behind while done.


Also
I remember having a TV in the living room with built in shutters you could close over the screen when not in use. Buttons were marked (UK TV) BBC1, BBC2, ITV1, ITV2. You'd get the names repeated for 8 button sets or a BBC/ITV3 button.
Early remote controls had two buttons. One to advance up the channel list (there were only 6 or 8 presets to get all the way round) and one for mute. It was ultrasonic, not infrared, so the bell on a cat toy could change channels. Bloody cats *squawk*
There was a big deal when Channel 4 started up. It only came on in the afternoon in the first year or so.

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Re: 1348: "Before the Internet"

Postby Whizbang » Fri Mar 28, 2014 2:59 pm UTC

Leisure time might not have been as boring as the comic makes out (people had hobbies, after all, and there was always outside to explore), but it was the in-between time that was unbearable. Anybody who has had to sit in a hospital waiting room without a smartphone or other smart device will know just what boring is. Flipping through print mags that are six years old is the definition of boring. Do you know why there are car games? Because driving for hours is BORING, and anything, anything at all (even singing children songs at the top of your lungs), is a welcome distraction. Been stuck in a hotel room without wifi? No wonder they have wetbars in rooms. There is literally nothing to do but drink yourself stupid.

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Re: 1348: "Before the Internet"

Postby valar84 » Fri Mar 28, 2014 3:17 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:I think the fact that kids may not engage in as much creative play as they once did has at least as much to do with an increasing parental phobia of unstructured and therefore unproductive time as it does with the existence of the Web.

I read once that USian kids in the 50s used to travel an average of 5 miles away from home when playing outside, and that these days this is down to 0.5 miles. I do not know if this is true, it sounds plausible, but urban legends often do.

I think parental phobia is a real problem though. Kids are protected too much. Some of the best memories of my childhood are doing absolutely crazy and ridiculously danger shit. It is not surprising that parents want to stop their children from doing dangerous shit, but at the same time kids need to do dangerous shit to be kids.


It's more than just phobia, it's car-dependent suburban sprawl. In a lot of recent residential development in North America, kids can't go anywhere because the entire urban landscape is built supposing car use. So if you don't have a car, there is nothing within reasonable distance of you. Even school is too far away. The result is that kids are taken at a specific time to school in the morning, then taken back to their home right after school is over. They can't hang around with friends after class or have activities unless their parents are willing to taxi them around all the time. The typical suburban home for kids is the best definition of a golden cage: sure it's comfortable and large, but you can't really go anywhere worth going by yourself. Parents need to micromanage their kids' social lives for them to have any outside school.

Meanwhile, the main playground of kids in the cities was taken away from them. Namely, the street, which is now reserved for the exclusive use of motorized vehicles, parked or moving.

The internet does allow kids to maintain social contacts with their friends without being watched over by their parents. So in a way, it is great, because it broke kids' isolation and gave them some independence. Prior to that, people read magazines, watched TV and played video games, which are largely one-directional media, unlike the internet.

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Re: 1348: "Before the Internet"

Postby Barstro » Fri Mar 28, 2014 3:40 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:I never had this problem.... or else drawing pictures of the stars of the science fiction movies


That's where I initially stopped reading. I thought it was so weird awesome that you would copy the stars of particular movie scenes that you liked.

But, that's not what you did. So you're just some person who reads XKCD and posts on the forum. Still a positive, just not as cool as an image of a child's bedroom covered in sheets of papers with dots on them, and the child pointing to one and saying "that's what the sky looked like on Hoth in the scene when Luke was out at night". :)

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Re: 1348: "Before the Internet"

Postby Tualha » Fri Mar 28, 2014 3:49 pm UTC

How used they keep themselves contented
Before this monster was invented?
Have you forgotten? Don't you know?
We'll say it very loud and slow:
THEY...USED...TO...READ! They'd READ and READ,
AND READ and READ, and then proceed
To READ some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks!
One half their lives was reading books!
The nursery shelves held books galore!
Books cluttered up the nursery floor!
And in the bedroom, by the bed,
More books were waiting to be read!

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Re: 1348: "Before the Internet"

Postby Quicksilver » Fri Mar 28, 2014 3:55 pm UTC

I can relate.

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Re: 1348: "Before the Internet"

Postby eran_rathan » Fri Mar 28, 2014 3:59 pm UTC

Tualha wrote:How used they keep themselves contented
Before this monster was invented?
Have you forgotten? Don't you know?
We'll say it very loud and slow:
THEY...USED...TO...READ! They'd READ and READ,
AND READ and READ, and then proceed
To READ some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks!
One half their lives was reading books!
The nursery shelves held books galore!
Books cluttered up the nursery floor!
And in the bedroom, by the bed,
More books were waiting to be read!



To be fair, the internet has increased literacy rates astronomically, worldwide. Not commenting on content, but merely usage.
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Re: 1348: "Before the Internet"

Postby Black ICE » Fri Mar 28, 2014 4:12 pm UTC

Being born in 1993, I do not remember pre-internet life. I do remember watching day time TV when i was younger. It wasn't that bad. Remember when the history channel played shows about actual history?

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Re: 1348: "Before the Internet"

Postby cellocgw » Fri Mar 28, 2014 4:15 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:
forward4 wrote:I was born 17 years ago (...) I didn't emerge from Roller Coaster Tycoon until I was already a man.

You mean you're still playing Roller Coaster Tycoon?

*rimshot*


You should try the pinball game version!
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Re: 1348: "Before the Internet"

Postby Sprocket » Fri Mar 28, 2014 4:52 pm UTC

I'm confused about which part of this I'm supposed to find funny, there are too many layers of funny and horrible. I'm not sure which parts to laugh about and which parts to cry about.
Maybe I can find a buzz feed quiz to tell me how I should feel about this comic. Thank god I have the internet. How did people understand their own emotions before the internet?
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Re: 1348: "Before the Internet"

Postby Karilyn » Fri Mar 28, 2014 5:15 pm UTC

Aiwendil wrote:The internet is definitely a very good thing. But before the internet I did still have books and an imagination. And a computer, for that matter. Life wasn't more fulfilling in some mystical way, but it wasn't all that boring either.

Books are wonderful, but they are a rather inefficient delivery of knowledge.

As a child, most of the books I wound up reading were fictional, because they tended to be the only books you could sit and read through from beginning to end inbetween trips to the library. With non-fiction books, you generally wanted to read a section out of it that interested you, then you're all like "Well, now what?" But now I can just search for other reliant articles about a subject, and wind up spending 2 weeks non-stop reading about something or another, because I have access to an entire world of knowledge about what I want to find out that I did not have when I was shackled by books.

I can read 20 pages of something, look up one of the citations, and read 50 more. Going to my library, I'd wind up finding a handful of pages at best addressing the things I wanted to find out about. Sure, subscribing to things like Science Magazine were great; I pretty much abandoned reading books for information at a very young age in favor of things like Science Magazine, which I'd read backwards and forwards, and I got a new issue every week.

But still, Science Magazine is the closest I've ever gotten to what I get out of the Internet nowadays. Books, as a learning source, are highly overrated.

Whizbang wrote:Anybody who has had to sit in a hospital waiting room without a smartphone or other smart device will know just what boring is. Flipping through print mags that are six years old is the definition of boring.

And that's where the fiction books came into play. Always kept a paperback on my person for such an occasion. Wasn't particularly educational but at least it wasn't boring.

ctdonath wrote:Mapping? Paper maps. Compass if necessary. Learn your way around. Get lost a lot.

Maybe it's just me, but I really really really hate GPS. If I can't get a static image from google maps, I'll gladly use a paper-mapbook any day of the week. Every time I get in a car with someone using GPS, I watch them drive around in circles because they miss a turn, or something. I've literally never gotten in a car with someone following GPS who didn't miss a turn at least once (going on upwards of 30-40 rides now), then spend 15 minutes trying to figure out how to get back on their route. I don't get lost when I use a static map (paper or digital) and come up with my own directions based on it.
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Re: 1348: "Before the Internet"

Postby eran_rathan » Fri Mar 28, 2014 5:31 pm UTC

Karilyn wrote:
Aiwendil wrote:The internet is definitely a very good thing. But before the internet I did still have books and an imagination. And a computer, for that matter. Life wasn't more fulfilling in some mystical way, but it wasn't all that boring either.

Books are wonderful, but they are a rather inefficient delivery of knowledge.

As a child, most of the books I wound up reading were fictional, because they tended to be the only books you could sit and read through from beginning to end inbetween trips to the library. With non-fiction books, you generally wanted to read a section out of it that interested you, then you're all like "Well, now what?" But now I can just search for other reliant articles about a subject, and wind up spending 2 weeks non-stop reading about something or another, because I have access to an entire world of knowledge about what I want to find out that I did not have when I was shackled by books.

I can read 20 pages of something, look up one of the citations, and read 50 more. Going to my library, I'd wind up finding a handful of pages at best addressing the things I wanted to find out about. Sure, subscribing to things like Science Magazine were great; I pretty much abandoned reading books for information at a very young age in favor of things like Science Magazine, which I'd read backwards and forwards, and I got a new issue every week.

But still, Science Magazine is the closest I've ever gotten to what I get out of the Internet nowadays. Books, as a learning source, are highly overrated.


On the other hand, as a storage medium they are FAR superior to any digital medium.
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Re: 1348: "Before the Internet"

Postby Whizbang » Fri Mar 28, 2014 5:31 pm UTC

Karilyn wrote:
Whizbang wrote:Anybody who has had to sit in a hospital waiting room without a smartphone or other smart device will know just what boring is. Flipping through print mags that are six years old is the definition of boring.

And that's where the fiction books came into play. Always kept a paperback on my person for such an occasion. Wasn't particularly educational but at least it wasn't boring.


I was the same way. Up until I got my Kindle, I always had a book within arm's reach, usually in my pocket. I even read while walking around, shuffling about like a zombie, bumping into things, stopping several times for minutes at a time, drooling from the corner of my mouth. I LOVE reading books. I love reading them on small electronic device much more. The nice thing about it is that it is one less thing to carry around, and has added functionality.

And before the internet, high school research papers were pretty much trying to find ways to copy from the encyclopedia without looking like you just copied it out of the encyclopedia.

I hate my GPS, too. I always miss a turn. But it is nice, if you are truly lost, to just set it to take you home, and you know you'll (eventually) get there.

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Re: 1348: "Before the Internet"

Postby AdamW » Fri Mar 28, 2014 5:48 pm UTC

Wee Red Bird wrote:I remember when the UK had 3 channels only.
And there was only one phone in the house.

And if you were running late to meet your friends, you were stuffed as you couldn't phone or text them to find out where they were.


Yeah, this is the one I have the most fun getting modern kids to think about: the sheer damn pain in the ass it was to meet up with people. You had to actually make plans to be in very specific places at very specific times. Ideally near payphones. Which worked. And it all just inevitably went wrong anyway. In the end your entire social life basically revolved around a) school and b) places where you could kinda count on finding people at particular times.

Modern kids seem a hell of a lot more social than my generation (early 'milliennial', just missed cellphones in school) ever was.

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Re: 1348: "Before the Internet"

Postby San Fran Sam » Fri Mar 28, 2014 6:20 pm UTC

da Doctah wrote:
jgh wrote:Daytime TV in the 1960s? That's just before I was born, I caught up with it via repeats in the 1980s.
doo do du du du doo du...
You're lucky. I got daytime TV in the 1960s in the 1960s. Jack LaLanne doing calisthenics with his white german shepherd, Password, Hollywood Squares, Let's Make a Deal and The Newlywed Game. Felix the Cat, Deputy Dawg, Heckle and Jeckle, The Mighty Hercules and Kimba the White Lion. The Galloping Gourmet gradually getting snonkered on wine over the course of each half hour.

Remind me to tell you some time about "Dialing For Dollars".


I was lucky and kid in the New York City area. at least we had 7 VHF stations. some cities only had two or three.

Let me add to your nostalgia list.....
Officer Joe Bolton introducing Three Stooges shorts
Abbot and Costello reruns
Ray Heatherington, the Merry Mailman
The Million Dollar Movie
Davey and Goliath
Gumby (the original)
Sonny Fox hosting Wonderama
Sandy Becker
Pallisades Amusement Park

God do I feel old. :(

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Re: 1348: "Before the Internet"

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Mar 28, 2014 6:39 pm UTC

eran_rathan wrote:
Karilyn wrote:
Aiwendil wrote:The internet is definitely a very good thing. But before the internet I did still have books and an imagination. And a computer, for that matter. Life wasn't more fulfilling in some mystical way, but it wasn't all that boring either.

Books are wonderful, but they are a rather inefficient delivery of knowledge.

As a child, most of the books I wound up reading were fictional, because they tended to be the only books you could sit and read through from beginning to end inbetween trips to the library. With non-fiction books, you generally wanted to read a section out of it that interested you, then you're all like "Well, now what?" But now I can just search for other reliant articles about a subject, and wind up spending 2 weeks non-stop reading about something or another, because I have access to an entire world of knowledge about what I want to find out that I did not have when I was shackled by books.

I can read 20 pages of something, look up one of the citations, and read 50 more. Going to my library, I'd wind up finding a handful of pages at best addressing the things I wanted to find out about. Sure, subscribing to things like Science Magazine were great; I pretty much abandoned reading books for information at a very young age in favor of things like Science Magazine, which I'd read backwards and forwards, and I got a new issue every week.

But still, Science Magazine is the closest I've ever gotten to what I get out of the Internet nowadays. Books, as a learning source, are highly overrated.
On the other hand, as a storage medium they are FAR superior to any digital medium.
How are they superior to rewritable digital storage? Let us count the ways:
Longer-lasting: check
Ease of mass manufacture: probably nope
Higher information density: nope
Convenience to carry: nope
Environmental impact: nope
Ease of copying: nope
Ease of altering: nope
Ability to store anything but text and static images: nope

Books, if they're well-made, are more durable than digital media. And that's super important if you're focused on preserving information long-term. But for pretty much every single other thing people do with their stored data? Not so much.
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Re: 1348: "Before the Internet"

Postby Whizbang » Fri Mar 28, 2014 6:46 pm UTC

Ease of becoming outdated and containing false information, but people use it anyway because it is all they have and the difficulty/cost with publishing and/or acquiring a corrected version is high: Yes

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Re: 1348: "Before the Internet"

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Mar 28, 2014 6:48 pm UTC

I'm not sure how that counts as a "yes, books are superior in this way" example.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
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Re: 1348: "Before the Internet"

Postby Whizbang » Fri Mar 28, 2014 6:50 pm UTC

Books are superior at becoming outdated or permenantly containing incorrect data.

It was kind of a half-baked double negative kind of thing.

Sorry.

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Re: 1348: "Before the Internet"

Postby orthogon » Fri Mar 28, 2014 6:55 pm UTC

Books, if they're well made, are more durable than digital media

Even this is overstating it. A particular physical book may be more durable than a particular physical digital media device, but not more durable than a redundant storage solution involving multiple backups on different physical media on different continents. What proportion of the internet is stored on the same physical disc it was first written to? (I don't know the answer, but I'm going to state that it's significantly less than 100%.)
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Re: 1348: "Before the Internet"

Postby thevicente » Fri Mar 28, 2014 7:13 pm UTC

Before the Internet I had to pay for porn.

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Re: 1348: "Before the Internet"

Postby Whizbang » Fri Mar 28, 2014 7:21 pm UTC

Image

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Re: 1348: "Before the Internet"

Postby Jackpot777 » Fri Mar 28, 2014 7:38 pm UTC

thevicente wrote:Before the Internet I had to pay for porn.


Image

We had frequent visits from The Woodland Porn Fairy.

That link may be slightly NSFW. Depends if you work in a convent or something.

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Re: 1348: "Before the Internet"

Postby da Doctah » Fri Mar 28, 2014 9:23 pm UTC

Rai wrote:I'd like to thank Bob Barker, for hosting the only watchable show on daytime TV.

It was called "Truth or Consequences".

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Re: 1348: "Before the Internet"

Postby Karilyn » Fri Mar 28, 2014 9:35 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Books, if they're well-made, are more durable than digital media. And that's super important if you're focused on preserving information long-term. But for pretty much every single other thing people do with their stored data? Not so much.

Books still fall apart over time, and, assuming you aren't going to write them out again by hand like people did before the printing press, someone has to load up a printer to print out a new copy of the book. Where are they going to get that copy from nowadays? Digital sources. Before being able to load a digital file up to a printing press to print out a book, it'd take even longer cause you had to set all the movable type by hand.

So while books take longer to decay than digital mediums, they still decay, and it's far easier to duplicate a digital file than a book. Even if you have a computer making a new backup of a digital file every 24 hours, it still combined probably won't take as long as it would to get a printed physical copy of a book remade 100 years from now, and even if it did, unlike the book, you can have the digital file backed up automatically without human input.

There are so many books that have been lost to the centuries due to nobody having made a backup of the book, and the book being destroyed or simply decaying with age.
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Re: 1348: "Before the Internet"

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Mar 28, 2014 9:49 pm UTC

Digital preservation is better than hardcopy preservation *if* you make copies of everything regularly.

But left to their own devices, most books today could easily last 100 years in a cool dry place, even if the paper is shitty and acidic (though that type wouldn't last a whole lot longer). Digital media stored on something commonly available at one time can be hard to retrieve even 20 years later for average people who don't keep things like old floppy drives around, and that's assuming there hasn't been any degradation of the information itself in that time.

So while it's easier to copy digital information, it has to be done at least an order of magnitude more frequently.
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Re: 1348: "Before the Internet"

Postby Steve the Pocket » Fri Mar 28, 2014 10:42 pm UTC

I can't tell what the point of this comic is supposed to be. The woman's sarcasm seems to be aimed at the sort who act like life was unbearable before modern technology, but the girl is clearly meant to represent those obnoxious hipsters who assumes things must have been better back in the "good old days".

For what it's worth, being an introvert certainly served me well when I was younger, because I rarely went anywhere without a book or, more commonly, a pencil and a clipboard with a bunch of blank paper. (I never could get used to using sketchbooks.) I probably would have been bored out of my skull whenever I had to go someplace where there was nobody else to talk to.

Karilyn wrote:Maybe it's just me, but I really really really hate GPS. If I can't get a static image from google maps, I'll gladly use a paper-mapbook any day of the week. Every time I get in a car with someone using GPS, I watch them drive around in circles because they miss a turn, or something. I've literally never gotten in a car with someone following GPS who didn't miss a turn at least once (going on upwards of 30-40 rides now), then spend 15 minutes trying to figure out how to get back on their route. I don't get lost when I use a static map (paper or digital) and come up with my own directions based on it.

I find that the trouble with GPS is that it's designed to expect you to blindly follow the directions as they come, like it's the driver and you're just its speaker-to-steering-wheel adapter. The tiny screen shows so little of the route that you can sometimes see farther ahead through the windshield, and the only thing you know in advance is how many miles to the next turn. The idea is to emulate a navigator in the passenger seat giving directions so as not to be a distraction, but it just doesn't quite work.

Jackpot777 wrote:I remember, pre-internet, how I had a random lyric from a song stuck in my head. Couldn't remember the tune, just the words. And the words were sung by a woman, or a high-pitched man.

For months I carried it around in my head. Then, a few weeks after I first got connected to the internet, I remembered the song lyric. Google wasn't a thing, but AltaVista came up trumps for me. For months, for no good reason I can think of, I had "and I was gonna tell you tonight" from "Alone" by Heart in my head.

Same thing happened recently. Someone on reddit asked for examples of electronic tunes with a similar vibe to the ones they posted. All I could remember was the line "if it's all the same to you then I'm taken" from the song. Googled it, and the first three links told me it was Hybrid - Out of the Dark. The video on YouTube confirmed it was the tune from 11 years ago I was looking for.

And nowadays you can just hum the tune into the mic of your favored pocket-sized computer substitute and get the answer without even knowing the words. Which would have made it a lot easier for me to track down the source of a couple songs that turned out to be by the Canadian act Regatta, because for some reason the lyrics to their songs have never been posted anywhere on the Internet. No joke!
cephalopod9 wrote:Only on Xkcd can you start a topic involving Hitler and people spend the better part of half a dozen pages arguing about the quality of Operating Systems.

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Re: 1348: "Before the Internet"

Postby Karilyn » Fri Mar 28, 2014 11:04 pm UTC

Steve the Pocket wrote:I find that the trouble with GPS is that it's designed to expect you to blindly follow the directions as they come, like it's the driver and you're just its speaker-to-steering-wheel adapter. The tiny screen shows so little of the route that you can sometimes see farther ahead through the windshield, and the only thing you know in advance is how many miles to the next turn. The idea is to emulate a navigator in the passenger seat giving directions so as not to be a distraction, but it just doesn't quite work.

Part of the problem is, that unlike a navigator in the passenger seat, GPS isn't all like "Okay get over one lane" or "Okay it's the road right after Oakwood. Okay there's Oakwood Dr, so the next turn is the turn you need to take," and stuff like that.

You know what would make GPS so much more usable? "Pass Oakwood Rd then... combined with "turn immediately right on Johnston Ave" "then turn at the next right" and "go a little ways and take the right." Because a huge portion of the time, GPS seems to tell people stuff either too early and so you take the wrong turn, or too late and you can't make the turn. I know that for longer stretches of roads (Like 5+ miles long) when I'm driving I look for both the road I need to turn on AND the road immediately prior to it. It's a good double-redundancy so even if I miss one of them, I'm unlikely to miss both roads.
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Re: 1348: "Before the Internet"

Postby PinkShinyRose » Fri Mar 28, 2014 11:59 pm UTC

Did any of the "growing up during the dial-up era" people use the internet very little at the time because it was expensive, slow and lacking in entertainment? What definitions do people use for "before the internet"? I can think of: before internet (migration of multiple networks to ARPANET protocols), before common consumer internet access, or before common consumer broadband access.
gmalivuk wrote:I think the fact that kids may not engage in as much creative play as they once did has at least as much to do with an increasing parental phobia of unstructured and therefore unproductive time as it does with the existence of the Web.

It's probably mostly due to parents refusing to watch youtube, deviantart or whatever newfangled thing is hot now.
Draco18s wrote:But yeah. Kids need to do dangerous shit to be kids. Like jumping off the highest point of the jungle gym (did that). Mom was watching too, didn't once tell me not to. Even after I told her I was going to do it, at which point she said ok and stood there expectantly.

Was it, perchance, at shoulder height for your mom and only so incredibly high from your perspective?
PolakoVoador wrote:At least he is not playing The Sims.

What's wrong with the Sims? I really liked makin' magic, although the loading times were annoying and the dragon, cute as it was, tended to cause trouble... On the other hand, the loading times were better than Morrowinds.
valar84 wrote:It's more than just phobia, it's car-dependent suburban sprawl. In a lot of recent residential development in North America, kids can't go anywhere because the entire urban landscape is built supposing car use. So if you don't have a car, there is nothing within reasonable distance of you. Even school is too far away. The result is that kids are taken at a specific time to school in the morning, then taken back to their home right after school is over. They can't hang around with friends after class or have activities unless their parents are willing to taxi them around all the time. The typical suburban home for kids is the best definition of a golden cage: sure it's comfortable and large, but you can't really go anywhere worth going by yourself. Parents need to micromanage their kids' social lives for them to have any outside school.

I find this interesting: Are schools in the US huge factory halls? Is there only one school every couple of towns? I can easily imagine these situations in rural areas, but living with 4 primary schools within three blocks from here it's difficult to imagine from my perspective (combined with the ubiquity of bicycles in the Netherlands allowing children to travel relatively far at a relatively early age). How does this work with supermarkets? Neighbourhood shops? Is this why the legal driving age is so low in the US and why kids expect to get a car for their 16th birthday, is it because they have absolutely no social life without a car?
AdamW wrote:
Wee Red Bird wrote:I remember when the UK had 3 channels only.
And there was only one phone in the house.

And if you were running late to meet your friends, you were stuffed as you couldn't phone or text them to find out where they were.


Yeah, this is the one I have the most fun getting modern kids to think about: the sheer damn pain in the ass it was to meet up with people. You had to actually make plans to be in very specific places at very specific times. Ideally near payphones. Which worked. And it all just inevitably went wrong anyway. In the end your entire social life basically revolved around a) school and b) places where you could kinda count on finding people at particular times.

Modern kids seem a hell of a lot more social than my generation (early 'milliennial', just missed cellphones in school) ever was.

Wait, is this about the period before the internet was commonplace or about before consumer phones were commonplace? Maybe it's just a cultural difference: couldn't you meet at peoples homes? I think this thread reveals a lot of interesting cultural differences, but maybe with me being the only one noticing it just means Dutch people are weird.
gmalivuk wrote:Books, if they're well-made, are more durable than digital media. And that's super important if you're focused on preserving information long-term. But for pretty much every single other thing people do with their stored data? Not so much.

I thought they stopped large scale use of parchment, vellum and silk quite a few centuries ago...

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Re: 1348: "Before the Internet"

Postby rmsgrey » Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:18 am UTC

PinkShinyRose wrote:
valar84 wrote:It's more than just phobia, it's car-dependent suburban sprawl. In a lot of recent residential development in North America, kids can't go anywhere because the entire urban landscape is built supposing car use. So if you don't have a car, there is nothing within reasonable distance of you. Even school is too far away. The result is that kids are taken at a specific time to school in the morning, then taken back to their home right after school is over. They can't hang around with friends after class or have activities unless their parents are willing to taxi them around all the time. The typical suburban home for kids is the best definition of a golden cage: sure it's comfortable and large, but you can't really go anywhere worth going by yourself. Parents need to micromanage their kids' social lives for them to have any outside school.

I find this interesting: Are schools in the US huge factory halls? Is there only one school every couple of towns? I can easily imagine these situations in rural areas, but living with 4 primary schools within three blocks from here it's difficult to imagine from my perspective (combined with the ubiquity of bicycles in the Netherlands allowing children to travel relatively far at a relatively early age). How does this work with supermarkets? Neighbourhood shops? Is this why the legal driving age is so low in the US and why kids expect to get a car for their 16th birthday, is it because they have absolutely no social life without a car?
AdamW wrote:Yeah, this is the one I have the most fun getting modern kids to think about: the sheer damn pain in the ass it was to meet up with people. You had to actually make plans to be in very specific places at very specific times. Ideally near payphones. Which worked. And it all just inevitably went wrong anyway. In the end your entire social life basically revolved around a) school and b) places where you could kinda count on finding people at particular times.

Modern kids seem a hell of a lot more social than my generation (early 'milliennial', just missed cellphones in school) ever was.

Wait, is this about the period before the internet was commonplace or about before consumer phones were commonplace? Maybe it's just a cultural difference: couldn't you meet at peoples homes? I think this thread reveals a lot of interesting cultural differences, but maybe with me being the only one noticing it just means Dutch people are weird.


Well, there is the thing that the Netherlands are even more densely populated than England, while the US is rather less - and English towns are largely based around pedestrians, with the occasional donkey-cart or horse-drawn conveyance - so even the post-car developments have a cultural background that encourages local corner shops and basic amenities within walking distance...

That said, what I've picked up from American pop-culture is that people did indeed meet around each other's houses - or at some local landmark hangout - but by appointment rather than spontaneously - look at something like Grease - everyone went to the Drive-In; the Pink Ladies gathered at one of their houses; a whole bunch turned up at Thunder Road for the racing; and there were assorted School events. The other major hangout was the Diner, where people more just turned up and saw who else was around...

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Re: 1348: "Before the Internet"

Postby gmalivuk » Sat Mar 29, 2014 1:34 am UTC

PinkShinyRose wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:Books, if they're well-made, are more durable than digital media. And that's super important if you're focused on preserving information long-term. But for pretty much every single other thing people do with their stored data? Not so much.

I thought they stopped large scale use of parchment, vellum and silk quite a few centuries ago...
Which is why modern books only tend to last a couple hundred years instead of a couple thousand.

Keep in mind I'm not talking about a pulp paperback in a box in your damp basement, but rather a well-made hardcover kept in a cool dry place with the intent of having it last a long time. If you want to talk about stuff stored in more typical condition, leave some digital media in that same mildewy basement-box fo a few years and then we'll talk.
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Re: 1348: "Before the Internet"

Postby valar84 » Sat Mar 29, 2014 5:20 am UTC

PinkShinyRose wrote:
valar84 wrote:It's more than just phobia, it's car-dependent suburban sprawl. In a lot of recent residential development in North America, kids can't go anywhere because the entire urban landscape is built supposing car use. So if you don't have a car, there is nothing within reasonable distance of you. Even school is too far away. The result is that kids are taken at a specific time to school in the morning, then taken back to their home right after school is over. They can't hang around with friends after class or have activities unless their parents are willing to taxi them around all the time. The typical suburban home for kids is the best definition of a golden cage: sure it's comfortable and large, but you can't really go anywhere worth going by yourself. Parents need to micromanage their kids' social lives for them to have any outside school.

I find this interesting: Are schools in the US huge factory halls? Is there only one school every couple of towns? I can easily imagine these situations in rural areas, but living with 4 primary schools within three blocks from here it's difficult to imagine from my perspective (combined with the ubiquity of bicycles in the Netherlands allowing children to travel relatively far at a relatively early age). How does this work with supermarkets? Neighbourhood shops? Is this why the legal driving age is so low in the US and why kids expect to get a car for their 16th birthday, is it because they have absolutely no social life without a car?


I live in Canada, we don't have it as bad as the US but we have some similarities. It depends on the suburbs, some have primary schools set inside neighborhoods withing walking distance, but others don't. For example, in many suburbs, when they want to build a primary school, you'll get "Not In My BackYard" (NIMBY) people coming out of the woodwork and protesting against any kind of zoning change (you can't build schools in residential zones, you have to change the zoning). The result is that many schools end up being built on the periphery of neighborhoods because that's the only place that won't get NIMBY opposition, which then means the school isn't within walking distance of many people, and thus leading to the ubiquitous school buses to bus children around. Much of the US has no safe place to bike, and even, in a twist that you, as a Dutch, might find unconceivable, many schools in the US FORBID kids from coming to school on bikes, as it is considered "unsafe".

In some places, parents have been threatened with arrest for letting their kids bike to school.

I wanted to post links and show images of what I was talking about, but I can't. My message gets flagged as spam. I can just suggest going onto Google Maps and zoom on a random American suburb, then search for "elementary school". You will see that in many cases, they are built really apart from residential areas. These residential areas are often built as "subdivisions" which are exclusively residential and have weird street patterns with a lot of dead ends, with only a few accesses to arterial roads to connect to the rest of the "city".

Americans frequently have few or no neighborhood stores within walking distance, everything is reached by driving. They will often buy groceries rarely, but go to big box stores like Wal-Marts built on major roads well away from residential areas and buy in very large quantities. For smaller purchases, most of these will be done at gas stations which have small convenience stores integrated with them and which are located in general on all arterial streets so that they're on the way back from work. There are still more walking-friendly places, mostly old urban neighborhoods, but building these have become illegal through zoning in many cities.

I've explored your Dutch cities on Google Maps and I must say that I am impressed. Relatively dense, but very green and they look like good places to live. I guess it helps that the Netherlands protect their agricultural lands passionately and limit how cities and even small towns can sprawl, so as to preserve fields. I've calculated the population density of some of your small towns and approximated about 15 000 people per square mile, that's denser than many "urban" neighborhoods in the United States. The densest census tract in Atlanta for instance is only 20 000 people per square mile.

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Re: 1348: "Before the Internet"

Postby addams » Sat Mar 29, 2014 5:49 am UTC

Diadem wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:I think the fact that kids may not engage in as much creative play as they once did has at least as much to do with an increasing parental phobia of unstructured and therefore unproductive time as it does with the existence of the Web.

I read once that USian kids in the 50s used to travel an average of 5 miles away from home when playing outside, and that these days this is down to 0.5 miles. I do not know if this is true, it sounds plausible, but urban legends often do.

I think parental phobia is a real problem though. Kids are protected too much. Some of the best memories of my childhood are doing absolutely crazy and ridiculously danger shit. It is not surprising that parents want to stop their children from doing dangerous shit, but at the same time kids need to do dangerous shit to be kids.

I think it is true that childen roamed farther before TV and the internet.
I Know I roamed 5 miles when I was five years old.
I remember it, because I got into trouble.

I was not in trouble for having roamed so far.
I was in trouble for having gone to The Dump.

I was Five! I went to the dump and played in fiberglass.
It was in Hot Water tanks. It looked pretty.

I got it in my hair.
The fiber glass in my hair got me in trouble.

Five miles was not uncommon.
Just, Don't go to The Dump!

I watch other people.
Sometimes, I talk to them.

The children today are the very same animal.
They act different. Very few five year olds can be turned loose to Go Play.

They would get lost.
The world is complex for these people.

They have a lot going on.
The five year old of today can navigate TV, Computer, Telephone, Baby Monitor, and the Beeper for the Car.
The five year old today can not be left alone outside with no one to play with. They are not at fault.

People have fewer children, today.
They can't let them run out in the world and disappear.

When I was a child, children were readily replaceable.
Every family had spares. Very few were lost.

Yes. I remember before the internet.
The comic is correct.

It was a constant War waged against boredom and meaninglessness.
Some battles were fought alone. Some battles were fought communally.

Just like today, some people seemed to be Born Winners and some people seemed to be Born Losers.
There did not seem to be as many Losers. People were the same. We did not Know we were Losers.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: 1348: "Before the Internet"

Postby Karilyn » Sat Mar 29, 2014 6:26 am UTC

PinkShinyRose wrote:I find this interesting: Are schools in the US huge factory halls? Is there only one school every couple of towns? I can easily imagine these situations in rural areas, but living with 4 primary schools within three blocks from here it's difficult to imagine from my perspective (combined with the ubiquity of bicycles in the Netherlands allowing children to travel relatively far at a relatively early age). Is this why the legal driving age is so low in the US and why kids expect to get a car for their 16th birthday, is it because they have absolutely no social life without a car?

Yes to literally all of the above.

I grew up in one of the larger counties in Georgia, 2000km2. There was one, and exactly one high school. The county's population is 50,000, and the high school has 3000 students, so it's not like it's not a rather ridiculously large high school, but it's still it was a ridiculous distance for some children to ride the bus. Some traveled upwards of 45 minutes.

This meant that going from one corner of the school district, to the opposite corner, took almost 1 hour and 15 minutes BY CAR. And yes, I was in one of the far corners, and I had friends in the opposite far corners. Going by bicycle or by foot was absolutely out of the question. I tried biking to my public library once; it took a little over an hour, and I still had to bike an hour back, and I decided I never wanted to do it ever again.

http://goo.gl/maps/TnBbp
Map for your convenience, showing the rough areas that my high school serviced. Yes, that dot in the "middle" is the high school.

So yeah, it was EXTREMELY prohibitive to socializing outside of the school setting. I visited some friends houses like... once or twice, and it was a special all day occasion for a birthday party or something.

Spoiler:
There's technically a historical reason for there only being one high school in the entire county, and you can probably guess it based on it being in the South. Basically about 25 years ago, there was a major fit thrown in the county with claims that there was gerrymandering segregation splitting up blacks into one school and whites into the other. The county seat was like "Fuck ALL of your shit, we ain't gerrymandering anything, it's just the county's demographics are split pretty cleanly down the middle." But people kept giving them shit, so the county seat was all like "OKAY FINE YOU GUYS CAN GO SUCK IT AND HAVE A SINGLE HIGH SCHOOL AND LET US NEVER BE ACCUSED OF GERRYMANDERING AGAIN." And then both of the old high schools were turned into elementary schools, and a new high school was built. And then kept being built. And kept being built

And then new additions continued being built onto it, and the citizens were like "Oh me yarm Oh just build a new high school already, 3000 students in one school is insane," and the county seat was all like "BUT I THOUGHT YOU WAAAAANTED ONE SCHOOL" and so now the county has a completely ridiculous school with 12 different halls with approximately 20 classrooms on each hall, and it's a well known fact that circumnavigating the school takes about 1 hour, and kids were often encouraged to walk a 1 hour lap around the school every morning before school began for exercise. The sheer size of the school is actively disruptive to learning, as it can take over 20 minutes to walk from a class on one side of the school to the other, even when at a brisk walk, and it's so bad that teachers actually often had two different "You're tardy and late to class" times. One for people who were nearby, and ones for people coming from the opposite side of the school.

Because the school takes so long to navigate, the school adopted a 4 period day, to keep the accumulative time students spend trying to walk from classroom to classroom in the 60-90 minute range per day. If they had a 7 or 8 period day, the school would be more walking from class to class than it would be actual classes!
PinkShinyRose wrote:How does this work with supermarkets? Neighbourhood shops?

Neighborhood shops basically do not exist. Supermarkets try to place themselves within a 20-30 minute radius of all houses. Where I currently live it is 25 minutes to the nearest supermarket. There are three, all of which are about equally 25 minutes away in different directions. Cities centers themselves are overwhelming commercial nowadays, and even if you live near a big city like Atlanta (like I do), there's still basically very few places you can live which are actually in walking distance of ANYTHING. Commercial and Residential districts are SUPER specialized, and the city governments plan to have residential areas within X radius of commercial districts, and to minimize commercial businesses outside of the little hubs where businesses are given license to be. Commercial and Residential areas are NOT homogeneously distributed at all.

People consider themselves "living close to shopping" if they are within 5 minutes by car. I once lived within 1 mile of a mall, but there was basically LITERALLY nothing between my apartment and the mall but other retail outlets. I was literally the closest people living to the mall. And it was still 2.5 miles to the nearest grocery store. Which, while not intolerable, is still around 50 minutes away by foot, 1h40m round trip. Not exactly a quick jog to the corner store. And I have to do it in sunny, cloudless, windless, beating-down-heat, 30+ Celsius weather. No thanks. If it was 15 Celsius with overcast skies and a gentle breeze sure, but not weather that hot.

valar84 wrote:Americans frequently have few or no neighborhood stores within walking distance, everything is reached by driving. They will often buy groceries rarely, but go to big box stores like Wal-Marts built on major roads well away from residential areas and buy in very large quantities. For smaller purchases, most of these will be done at gas stations which have small convenience stores integrated with them and which are located in general on all arterial streets so that they're on the way back from work. There are still more walking-friendly places, mostly old urban neighborhoods, but building these have become illegal through zoning in many cities.
This is extremely accurate. Especially the part about zoning. Commercial stories inside residential districts are largely illegal in most cities.

Because of this, American grocery shopping is somewhat warped around the idea of only going grocery shopping once or twice a month. This is what contributes to the huge numbers of preservatives in American diets: Food's gotta last several weeks before going bad inbetween trips to the grocery store.
Last edited by Karilyn on Sat Mar 29, 2014 7:36 am UTC, edited 5 times in total.
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