What’s it like working on a 2001 iMac today?
Imagine trying to work in this digital age on a computer from the turn of the century, well if you can even remember what they were like. Where pre-installed pinball sucked hours out of your life, computer screens were deeper than the ocean, and start-up sounded akin to that of a Boeing 747. BuzzFeed remember…
If you wanted to go on the internet, you couldn’t just pull out your phone. I know, it sounds insane, but you had to get on a computer. A giant computer. And then when you did get online, the internet wasn’t even that cool.
Back in the early 00s, the fancy new iMacs were the pinnacle. Unfortunately, they were extortionate so most had a PC until there was a noticeable drop in price.
Then, just a few days ago, my coworker Jon gifted me with this beauty:
Sure, it had some dust, but overall it was a solid 2001 iMac, complete with 400 MHz of speed and 128 MB of memory.
Now I could finally recreate my computer experience of the early ’00s.
Transported childhood, into chatrooms, and type “A/S/L?” a bunch of times as I pretended to be a 40-year-old dude in Minnesota.
Or, I could just try living as we did in 2001, with slow internet and even slower computers.
To truly recreate the internet experience from the turn of the century, I would need to limit my connection to below 56 kbps. You know, like dial-up.
Yes. I would ride the nostalgia train back to 2001 and spend an entire day working on this old iMac. I started the computer and first encountered this warning:
I didn’t fix it, because like the computer, I wanted to believe it was March 24, 2001.
As a reflex, I first went to log on to social media. Unfortunately, Facebook was unreadable.
No images would load on BuzzFeed’s site.
I could not post on the website, which meant I could not perform the most basic task at my job under these conditions. But also — back then, my job did not exist!
I continued to drift around the Net. For how bad it looked, Amazon was surprisingly usable.
It was still easy to read up on the O.J. Simpson trial.
However, just because these websites eventually loaded doesn’t mean they didn’t take forever. For example, this picture of a banana took over 25 seconds to load.
“Mac, you O.K.? You hungry? Why you growlin’?”
When I asked the computer to perform any task, its insides would groan loudly.
Safari kept quitting, and I couldn’t use any other internet service to get online (my computer was too out of date). I tried logging on Gmail, but the website got caught in a loop and could never get to my mailbox. I didn’t even try Slack.
I couldn’t do any work online, so I had to try to write in this generic word processor (this computer did not have Microsoft Word).
Adobe was also old and not very helpful. It, too, took a full minute to load.
What was this for?
Apparently back in the day we used to put CD-ROMs in computers, which is just insane because my current computer doesn’t even pretend that’s necessary (there is no slot).
SLOW COMPUTER MAKE ME ANGRY!!!
At this point I felt like going on the internet 15 years ago was a million times slower.
Turns out I wasn’t far off. I checked with BuzzFeed’s tech team, and at 56 kbps, my speed was approximately 2000 times slower than regular.
TWO THOUSAND TIMES SLOWER.
HOW DID WE GET ANYTHING DONE??
If I could have, I would have thrown the computer in the dumpster.
Unfortunately, Jon needed it back.