The Today Show Asks: "What IS The Internet?" Circa 1994

This news clip from the Today show's archives is an interesting look at how awkward and uncertain the first discussions of the Internet on television actually were. On January 24, 1994, Katie Couric and Bryan Gumbel did a short segment on the massive "computer billboard" that's getting bigger and bigger all the time.

The mind-blowing thing is that we thought computers in 1994 were all fast and capable and stuff. If you could watch videos in Compton's Encyclopedia or the 7th Guest you were rocking.

Other fun tidbits include no on being sure how to say "@" (though Gumbel gets it right), not wanting to read the "dot" in addresses, and calling an email address an "Internet Address."  Also, you don't need a phone line to access it, though no one clarifies exactly what else the folks reporting on the 1994 Northridge earthquake would have been communicating with.

What's interesting about this 1994 story is how much it  applied to those of us who were working with computers back in 1994. Consumers were on the Internet by then; services like Prodigy, AOL, and GEnie were already thriving. Computer upgrades, however, were still being driven by multimedia features like CD-ROMs, sound cards, and VGA capabilities. Couric and Gumbel sound hilarious now but back then they weren't too far behind the curve.  
coolice 3 years ago

What is the internet??

A tool the Canadian Radio-Television & Telecommunications Commission CRTC uses to charge Candians a tax more expensive that fuel.... $1.90 - $3 / gb of internet use.... not only that... but limits you to how fast you can use it.

If your a Canuck/ Canadian..... Please, I beg you, Sign this petition!!! Ang gain back what was once ours! our Freedom!

coolice 3 years ago

On an interesting note... I was 4 years old when this video came out.... VERY interesting to see this!!

Just to see this much change in 16 years..... Fascinating!!

I'm glad that i dont need to say "about" vs "at"

Then i'll be talking like on msn or facebook

"hey guys have you heard @ the crazy stuff happening in Canada", "Yea.... Whats that @"

rapid1 3 years ago

rofl; that is funny, and you listed prodigy my first internet provider, but then I went to AOL shortly thereafter. Then of course to another one all together after that. It may have been mindsping I don't remember really, it is funny though as I was actually on it back when IRC was pretty much the only game going. One of my friends (ROB) almost got in some really big trouble in high school when they used to call into corporate answering services, and highjack (something like a blackbox on a payphone if you even know what I am talking about) a connection. Then they would link into BBC/IRC, and have worldwide conference call's. Wow the memories!

3vi1 3 years ago

OMG... I was a sysop in the vidgames forum on Compu$erve at the time. We didn't have (normal) email addresses, just numbers (though later people could email our when they added Internet connectivity. LoL...

SammyHayabuza 3 years ago

Man..I was 14 in 1994, the AOL commercials were on everyday on every channel, but I don't blame them for not knowing much @bout it, I guess it was more intimidating comparing to today,where the net is easily more accessible and you don't even need a PC to get there.

Unfortunately, the only place back then in 1994 that I could have been able to have access was @ my school, but my Computer teacher didn't let us use his PC which was the only one that had a modem.

In my neighborhood, The Bronx, you had a better chance of finding someone with a 3DO than someone who owned a PC, and that was unlikely to happen either.

Note: Does anybody remember a movie about a kid or some kids that used a computer in his room that had a program that lifts his house? The same idea was used for a PC commercial !!

Dave_HH 3 years ago

Is it me or is Bryant Gumbel totally annoying and worthy of a beating?

SammyHayabuza 3 years ago

[quote user="Dave_HH"]

Is it me or is Bryant Gumbel totally annoying and worthy of a beating?


Edit: Is it just me, doesn't Bryant Gumbel resemble Iyaz a bit? (not in a bad way, its like Bryant is Iyaz on steroids asking questions like crazy!! LMFAO

coolice 3 years ago

Ooo... U guys had Soo much fun back them rapid1... i've seen the movies here and there where they show kids hacking and making calls all over the world... or calling every phone line in a certain code haha.

Do that now, i'm looking at 4 years in prison... if i'm there, i'll petition for liquid soap dispensers... that way i never drop anything.

AKwyn 3 years ago

I was 2 when that video came out... So, Yeah...

realneil 3 years ago

I see your reference to the 1994 Northridge Earthquake and it brought back memories for me. I was 41 years old then.

I lived about 45 minutes away from the epicenter of that quake and believe me when I say that things were moving like crazy that morning. It was the worst one (out of several) I had experienced up to that point and it was violent. Freeway bridges collapsed, (while people were driving on them) apartment buildings collapsed, (with people sleeping inside of them)  fires broke out all over the place. It was a very bad time for everyone. We had strong aftershocks for weeks afterwords too.

I had recently bought into an advertising blitz by Home Depot that was selling 'Earthquake Preparedness Kits' that you could use to tie down your TV to the entertainment center, and the entertainment center itself to the walls. There were methods in this kit to strap everything heavy down to a solid surface. Water Heaters were strapped with metal bands,...and so on. So I had bought it, and some of my friends and family were giving me Crap about it, teasing me and such.

Then we had the early morning earthquake and nothing was damaged at my home except that the walls cracked. (it was a wood frame single story house that just shook back and forth) I filled the cracks with plaster and painted to repair it all.

All of the people who had been teasing me suffered varying degrees of damage to their houses,......TV's falling, dishes plunging from the cabinets, one guy I knew had his German Shepard dog crushed by his 36" full sized CRT style television as it fell to the floor. The dog died with it's spine severed.

We were glued to the TV for days afterwords. The overall damage was extensive. Stuff like that you seem to forget about over time until something triggers the memory and it all comes roaring back in a flash.

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